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.

Ancient History Go Fish Game – Review

History has never been my strong suite. In school I remember reading out of the book and then having to answer questions. In fact the only year I actually liked history was in seventh grade. I had one of those teachers who brought history to life. That is something that I am trying to do this year with AJ. We play games to learn in math, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, but I had never thought about using games to learn history. Prior to this review I had never heard about the Classical Historian but they offer quite a few different products including:

  • Online classes
  • Curriculum
  • Go Fish History Games
  • Memory History Games
  • Constitution Game
  • and more

The Go Fish games come in three different versions, Ancient History, Medieval History, and American History. The memory games come in the same versions. We were given a set of the Ancient History Go Fish Game. It retails for $11.95 and right now they have a deal if you  purchase all 6 history games it is only $59.99.

The Ancient History Go Fish Game comes with 48 jumbo cards featuring different topics.

  • Ancient Asia
  • Roman Empire
  • Mesopotamia
  • Political Leaders
  • Seven Continents
  • Rivers of Early Civilizations
  • Native American Homes
  • Ancient Hebrews
  • Roman Republic
  • Pre History
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Egypt

Each topic has four cards and a different color. There are four different games you can play with the cards. AJ has never learned about Ancient History before so I was a little skeptical of how she would react to the game. She loves it and asks to play every day.

We started by playing Go Fish. It is Just like the regular version except you have to ask for the category instead of the number. (Do you have any Pre History?) The goal is to collect all four cards in a category. While we had fun with the game I didn’t see too much learning. Each card has a picture, the word and three hints about the word on it. The issue I saw with that was that the hints didn’t really explain much about the topic.

Take this card for example. If you had studied Ancient History before then you might know what the Celtic Village is, but if you had not then the hints would not explain it. The only thing that you would know is that it is made of stone, it is in Europe, and it has many families. On the other hand the lack of information in the hints could lead to further discussions and learning. Some of the cards are more helpful with the hints, such as Cave Paintings.

The next game we played was Collect the Cards. Basically one person reads the hints on the cards and the other player tries to guess what the card was. We only played this game a few times. The second time that we played AJ was getting almost every card right, then I discovered that she could see through the cards. I think with the Go Fish game and this one, if you had previously studied the period in history it would definitely be a learning tool.

Then we tried the Continents Game. In that game the player that can put the cards under the right continent the fastest wins. We took a different approach. We went through the cards and tried to figure out with her prior knowledge where each card went. She knew that Egypt was in Africa so then she knew that the Nile River would go in the Africa pile. I think by far this was the most educational game. She had to use critical thinking skills and really think.

The last game was the Chronology Game where you have to put the events in the order as they happened. We couldn’t do that so instead we used the answer key and learned the order that things happened.

Over all I think the game is worth it for $11.95. I would have liked to see a category card for each category (like the instruction cards) that gave a little more information about the cards, that way even if you hadn’t studied the era in history you could still play and learn. If you are planning to study the era in history it will add a bit of fun to your studying. We will not get to Ancient History for a while but when we do I think these cards will be used a lot.

How Do We Know God is Really There? – Review

We can’t see God so how can we know he exists. To me the easy answer would be faith, but sometimes that is a hard concept for adults let alone kids. I was recently given the opportunity to review the book How Do We Know God is Really There written by Melissa Cain Travis, illustrated by Christopher Voss, and published by Apologia. (The same company who publishes those great planners I reviewed).

A little about the book:

This book is the story of a little boy Thomas and his dad. After looking at the night sky Thomas begins to talk to his dad about God and how a friend told him that there is no proof that God is real. The book goes on with Thomas’s dad asking questions which leads to Thomas understanding that there is a God.

It is a 24 page hard cover book with a lot of illustrations. Every other page is full of vibrant colored pictures. Aside from the funny looking people, my little one enjoyed the pictures. It is available Here for $16.

I really liked how the book is written in a kid friendly tone. It does not come right out and preach at you but lets the child think for themselves and uses the science of Edwin Hubble to explain that God is real.
I read the book by myself the first time because I was not sure what to expect, but I felt that it explained things clearly and then began to read it to my 10 year old. She didn’t seem too interested so I waited a few days. The second time I read it to her she liked it but became very defensive telling me that, “Thomas’s friends are just crazy because there is a God and he did create the earth.” This book definitely brought about a good conversation. I was glad to be given the opportunity to review it.


The story is great the quality of the book however is another story. We have read through the book about 5 times and the pages already have small holes near the center. There are strings from the binding sticking out, and the picture is tearing off of the middle from the pages sticking together. Overall the copy that I received seems to have been put together poorly.

These are some of the holes.

I am a little mixed on if I would recommend this book or not. The story is wonderful and I feel it will bring great conversation, but the quality of the book is poor.

This is the strings coming out of the book.

My Home School Grades – Review

I am still fairly new to home schooling, and very new to having to keep track of all the work my little one completes. Even though the state I live in doesn’t require records to be kept, I think it is important to have some kind of a record of all the hard work we do. AJ is in fourth grade so although the need to make a transcript is quite a few years off, it is something I will need in the future.

I was given the opportunity to review My Home School Grades. It is an online program that lets you keep track of your home school in one place. You can keep track of grades, extra curricular activities and even create a transcript. It is very simple to use and has four different videos that explain how to do everything.

The set up is very simple. You impute basic information and create your student. You can even upload a picture of them. Then you add a class for the student. Here you are given numerous options. You can select the school year, if the class was an entire year or semester, and if the class was an honors course.


The next step is to decide how to grade the class. There are many options here as well. You can select to just enter a grade for the class, make the class a pass or fail class, or enter in each lesson and have the system calculate the grade for you. If you use a well known program to home school with such as: Math U See, or  Apologia,  you are even able to import the lessons so that all you have to do is enter the grades. There is also the option to ask for a curriculum to be added to the list. Right now I don’t use a program that is listed we are doing a lot of work books, and next year we will be doing a unit study. I was able to put in my own lessons. It did take a little bit of time, but I entered each lesson into the system and now when AJ finishes an assignment I can enter in her grade. Even entering a grade has options. You can type in the grade (A, B, C), a numerical score (100, 95, 87) or the fraction they got correct (8/10, 51/60). No matter how you enter it the system will change it to your default setting for the class. Once you are ready you can also print out a very professional looking transcript.

Once you have the system set to your liking entering grades is quick and simple. You can create a different student for each of your children and have all your information in one place. There is also a screen to enter all of the extra curricular activities that your child participated in that year.

My Home School Grades is still being improved. One major improvement that is being worked on is a place to record attendance. I can’t wait for that to be finished.

You can access My Home School Grades from almost any device that connects to the internet, so not only is the program simple it is also portable.

You can get a lifetime subscription for My Home School Grades for only $49.99. That price includes all future updates to the program as well. I think that $49.99 for a complete record of your home school is a very reasonable price, but they are giving a FREE 14 day trial so that you can check it out for yourself and see if it is something that will work for your family.

I really like this product. I love the fact that all of my grading records can be kept in a safe place. One thing that I really liked was that you can enter information from prior years. We started home schooling mid year so it was nice to be able to input the grades that she received from the other school. I also liked that there were so many different options because no two home schooling families are the same. I would definitely recommend this program.

Waterproof Bible – Review

When I think of the Bible, I think of a holy book full of God’s word. I have had many Bibles over the year and in fact at the moment I have three of them sitting on my bookshelf. They are in fairly good condition because other than church they never really left my house. When I received a Waterproof Bible from Bardin Marsee Publishing to review, I didn’t exactly know if it was a product that I would use. The version I received was the King James Version of the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.
It has a very nice pink cover and is very well made. It is not the entire Bible but the small size would fit nicely into a purse or backpack.

There are five different versions available

  • ESV – English Standard Version
  • KJV – King James Version
  • NIV – New International Version
  • NKJV – New King James Version
  • NLT – New Living Translation

The Waterproof Bible is available in two forms.

  • The Full Bible for $44.95
  • The New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs for $24.99

The amazing thing about this Bible is that it is WATERPROOF inside and out. It is stain resistant, and tear resistant. The synthetic pages of the Bible will stretch before they tear and to help ensure the durability, each page is sewed in and then glued. They say you can hold the Waterproof Bible by one page and shake it around and that the page will not fall out. We decided to test it out. This Bible is so well made that even with a little bit of pulling the page stayed intact.

I didn’t know what to expect with waterproof pages, but they are beautiful. They are crisp and clear and the text is very easy to read. One of the things that I liked was the fact that I could not see the print from the backside of the page as I was reading.

Since I received the Waterproof Bible I have dunked it in water a few different times, each time after it dried it looked brand new. Today was the first time we went swimming this year so we decided to take along the Waterproof Bible and test it out some more.

AJ took it in the pool and the water just squeezed right out of the pages. As you can see the text on the pages is still clear as can be and the cover looks like new. The only thing I was disappointed with was the fact that the Bible sank to the bottom of the pool instead of floating.

The new products do float but I received an older version, one that was printed before they made the change to the floating materials. I have heard from many others that their Waterproof Bibles do float but ours didn’t.

Overall I think this Waterproof Bible is a great idea. It is sturdy and will stand up to just about anything. For now I don’t have any major plans to use this Bible. It will probably sit on my bookshelf with the others, but I love the fact that if I ever have the need or desire I can take this Bible anywhere. I could definitely see this Bible being great for those who are the outdoor type or for people who want to put their Bible in a book bag and not have to worry about it getting ruined. Sunday school teachers, missionaries, and kids away at camp would also have great use of this Bible. If you are looking for a new Bible that is durable, stain resistant, and waterproof, then this is the one for you.

My Birthday

We have another busy week around our house. Today was my birthday, Thursday is AJ’s 10th birthday and her inner squad at gymnastics and then Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Lunch at Olive Garden

I had a very nice day today. I went out to lunch kid free and had a wonderful time with my mom and my best friend. It was nice to get out and not have adult only conversations. I haven’t seen my friend since Easter so it was very nice. I got a flash drive which I definitely needed to store some of my pictures on and a new camera. I am so excited about the new camera. It is a Nikon Coolpix with 20.1 mega pixels and a 5x zoom. I played around with it a little tonight and I can’t wait to try it out on Thursday.

I can’t get cake from the store and have yet to find a good recipe for frosting that doesn’t require powdered sugar or cornstarch so I decided to try something different. I made a Double chocolate hot fudge sundae cake. It was actually very easy. I got the recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook 1500 Recipes for the Way You Cook Today.

Heat the oven to 350

1 Cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS Coco
2 tsp baking powder
 (that has corn so I have to substitute 1 tsp cream of tarter and 1/2 tsp baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt

Then add:

1/2 cup milk
2 TBS melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix with a fork until smooth.
Stir in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( I used milk chocolate) and 1/2 cup nuts ( I left those out)
Put that in the bottom of a 9-inch ungreased square pan

Then sprinkle the top with:

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coco
Top with 1 3/4 cup hot water or strong coffee (I used water)
Right before it went in the oven.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes until the top is dry and let cool for 10 minutes.
Waiting the LONG 10 minutes for it to cool.
It turned out so good. It was sweet, moist and melted in my mouth. I was expecting it to taste good but WOW this cake was amazing! I was even able to use my new camera to take pictures of it.
Topped it with ice cream and it was ready to eat.

We took the easy way out and ordered cupcakes for AJ’s birthday but we hope to have a fun day.Tomorrow will be filled with school work and cleaning so that on Thursday we can relax and have fun.