The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

One of our best Christmas activities this year was making “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers. We went over to a friends house armed with graham crackers and lots of candy. She provided frosting bags with royal icing and even more candy. We put everything on the table and said, “Have at it.”

The creations that everyone came up with are amazing. We ranged in ages from 8 to 20. The boys did big, spread out creations built on top of boxes. The girls kept them smaller, but no less detailed. I was awed by the creativity that showed in all the houses.

Gingerbread houses creating

Gingerbread displays

Gingerbread Sarahs house Collage

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve, Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve, Eve! Or so my kids tell me every year on December 23rd. They learned this from watching the movie Eloise at Christmas Time. It has become a tradition to celebrate Christmas Eve, Eve. We do not actually do anything special except to say it to each other over and over. I think it is fascinating listening to what my kids pick up on in movies and books and this is one phrase that has stuck year after year.

So, for our Christmas Eve, Eve, we had a very busy day. We went to Sunday School and church. Then we had Christmas program practice. Then I did just a bit of shopping. Then it was time to go Christmas Caroling. This is a yearly tradition and much looked forward to. We gather at church, then car pool to various houses of older church members.

This year we had 27 people caroling. It was so much fun. The kids have a great time together, the adults laugh and joke. But what really makes it all worthwhile are the smiles on the faces of the people while we sing.

Another activity Ben and Rebekah engaged in this afternoon took a bit of imagination. For the next week, they are sharing their big sister’s room while their cousins are here. They sleep across the room from each other, Rebekah on a cot and Ben on a sleeping mat on the floor. They decided to use empty wrapping paper tubes and tape them together to make a long tube that will reach from one bed to the other. This way they can talk without disturbing Sarah. At least, that was the plan. Reality is that they both whisper a little too loudly, but they are so very proud of their “machine” to be able to talk to each other quietly.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Time Difference and Communication

Having a sister who lives half a world away from you is hard. But, I have found that there are advantages to being 17 hours apart. When I wake up too early and can’t go back to sleep, I can message my sister. It is late evening for her and she is usually on her computer before going to bed. We can then chat a little before she goes to bed and I have to get up and get ready for the day.

The same goes for phone calls, too. My sister will call me when she gets up in the morning. It is about 2:00 in the afternoon for me. It gives me a nice break in the middle of the day to stop and chat for a little bit.

The technology available to be able to communicate quickly and easily is wonderful. I love that I can just grab my phone and quickly send a message. If she has time to answer she will, if not she will answer when she can.

We communicate in some manner almost everyday. I am so very thankful for the technology that makes communication with my sister easy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Traditions


December is a month full of traditions and memories. In our family, we celebrate Advent, which starts on a Sunday four weeks before Christmas. What excitement for the kids as they go to church and see the first advent candle lit. They know that Christmas is coming soon. At home, we daily light our family Advent wreath while we are doing our devotions.

Each morning to begin school, we take our usual worship time and make it a time of Advent preparation. We light the Advent wreath, one new candle each week. Then we sing an Advent hymn out of our hymnal. I like to go over the words and phrases of the hymns with my kids to make sure they understand the meaning of each hymn. Then we say our prayers. The last part is a very special book called The Advent Book.

The Advent Book was given to us in December of 2003 by a wonderful friend. Since that time, not an Advent season has gone by that we have not used this wonderful, memory making resource. The book is a thick, hardcover book with very sturdy pages. Each page is beautifully decorated with a scene of a door. The doors are all different, some red, some wooden, some single, some double, some that look like castle doors. Behind each door is a wonderful picture and words of the Christmas story.

I love the way the entire Christmas story is told, with no embellishment. The illustrations are stunning. After 9 years of using this book, my kids look forward to a certain door because the picture behind that door is so beautiful. It has truly become a wonderful Advent tradition. I am thinking I should order four of these books to save for when my children grow up, get married and have families of their own to carry the tradition on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Growing Up Wild

growing up wild

Missionary stories. My kids love to listen to and read stories about the lives of missionaries around the world. So we have been fascinated by watching Growing Up Wild DVD’s.

Growing Up Wild is a DVD series featuring the four Wild brothers who are growing up in the wilds of remote jungles in Indonesia. There are five DVD volumes with 3 episodes on each DVD. Each episode is about 15 minutes in length and focuses on one aspect of their lives. On a separate CD included in each set, is an activity guide that corresponds with each volume. The guides are designed as a “jumping off “ point to further the fun and learning based on the videos. The goal of the Growing Up Wild DVD’s is to testify to the greatness of our God and how He is working in remote parts of the world.

ClarkClan Experiences

We received volume one and volume four of Growing Up Wild. Volume one introduces the Wild boys and includes the episodes: 1)Home Sweet Hut 2)Supply Trip 3)Sun and Water. Volume 4 continues the adventure and includes the episodes: 1)Amazing World Around Us 2) Adventures in Culture 3) Tribal Calling.

Ben and Rebekah were fascinated with the videos. Each episode brought new ideas to talk about and discuss. I liked using the activity guide along with the video. It brought a greater depth to what they were seeing on the screen. On the first episode we filled in a Venn diagram of what was different and the same between our house and the Wild brother’s hut. This discussion was continued even after we were done with the worksheet. Ben and Rebekah kept coming up with differences and what was the same for the rest of the day. Another activity was building a Wano house like we see in the DVD. Ben really took to this idea. He spent a long time outside trying to figure out how to build a house out of sticks.

When I asked Ben and Rebekah what their favorite episodes were they both stated, the Sun and Water episode from Volume One. They liked the idea that all electricity was solar powered. Ben was fascinated by how the water system worked.

I feel one of the best parts of these DVD’s is that they show what real life is like for them. They show their house and how supplies are received. They show the problems with bugs and mice in their hut and how they attempt to solve some of these problems. They also show how they assimilate into the Wano culture while still also maintaining remnants of American culture. One of the best study guide activities, in my opinion, is the “Culture Worksheet” comparing our culture to the Wano culture. I feel the Wild family truly showed us what it is like to be a missionary in a foreign land.


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Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew mates also reviewed the Growing Up Wild DVD’s. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the video series.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received 2 DVD’s of Growing Up Wild for free from Growing Up Wild in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apologia—Journeys of Faithfulness

apologia logo

journeys of faithfulness book cover

About the Book

Journeys of Faithfulness is a devotion book written for women. It is a book that is easy for mothers and daughter from about age 12 to go through together. It is also appropriate for study by yourself.

Journeys of Faithfulness takes the life and faith of five women from the Bible draws you deeper into their stories. The book is written in the style of historical fiction. It takes the true story as found in the Bible, but adds the background details and characters. Sarah Clarkson captures the feelings of each of her chosen women. You can really feel the irritation of Martha with Mary. Feel the joy and concern of Mary as she tells her family of the visit from the Angel of the Lord.  Esther and Ruth round out the Biblical character studies in this book.

The book is divided in to four parts. Each part has three chapters. At the end of each chapter is a devotional and a short bible study. The Bible study is easy to understand yet has enough depth for both young women and adults alike.

ClarkClan Experiences

Sarah (15) and I enjoyed reading this devotional book. I, at first, wondered about the appropriateness of adding thoughts and words to the Biblical characters, but then decided that it added depth while not taking away from the true meaning of the actual Biblical account.

Due to our move that took place during this review period, I have used this book differently than I originally had planned. I had planned on doing it together. But with all the activity I had going on, we ended up each reading the chapter and devotion, doing the Bible study and then coming together to talk over what we had learned. This worked fairly well, but I am hoping for part four, to do a little bit more together.


I would recommend Journeys of Faithfulness from Apologia.Sarah Clarkson has a beautiful gentle style of writing I enjoyed. I found this to be a study that applied to both myself and to Sarah. Each of us found that we enjoyed reading the chapters and the devotional pieces. I know, for myself, that reading the devotional for the second chapter resonated with what I am feeling in my life. Sarah told me she really enjoyed each chapter and really liked the style of writing. She said it made the Biblical accounts of these women come to life for her.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew members also reviewed the book Journeys of Faithfulness. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they and their daughters thought about the book.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the book, Journeys of Faithfulness for free from Apologia Ministries in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Activity Bags


“Where Fun and Education fit in the same bag.”



  • Math Games In a Bag
  • Designed for elementary age children
  • 33 games with instructions
  • $15.00 available as an e-book

About  the Product

Activity Bags began by the creativity of two ladies, Sherri MacLean and Paula Reetz. Both of these ladies homeschool their children. In 2002, Paula was wondering how to keep her 3 year old busy during the older kids school, while also having fun and learning. She called her friend, Sherri, and they got together and brainstormed ideas. From this small meeting of two mothers, Activity Bags came about and has been growing ever since.

Not only did they come up with the idea of creating bags filled with fun, educational activities, they also figured out how to create a swap with other mothers.  These swaps quickly became very popular.

A swap occurs when one person takes the lead, distributes the instructions, and sets a date to meet for the exchange. Then each mother gets instructions on how to create one activity. They make this activity as many times as they have participating in the swap. On Swap Day, everybody brings the activity they prepared. Participants will then exchange their bags so each person participating will go home with many different activity bags.

ClarkClan Experiences


We were the happy to be able to review the e-book Travel Activities in a Binder as well as Math Games in a Bag. I was given opportunity to choose which books to review. I chose the travel activities e-book because we tend to spend quite a bit of time in the car. I thought the math games would be a fun way to review basic math facts.

When I received the downloads for the e-books, I quickly downloaded them.  I encountered  no problems while downloading and saving to my computer. Then I set out to read the e-books and see what these books were all about.

I first checked out the Travel Activities in a Binder book. This e-book contains instructions and printable pages for over 40 activities. It was not hard to follow the instructions and, using colored cardstock, print out the various activities. Then I took an extra binder we had on hand, as well plastic sheet protectors. It took me about an hour to print and put together the activity book. I added the square of felt called for to erase the pages, two dry erase markers and two dice. Then the book was complete

I gave the book to Rebekah (9) the next day when she had to wait by herself at bell choir rehearsal. The book was a big hit instantly. She loved the variety of activities and spent the entire hour trying new things. Then I took the book back, and kept it for the next time we had to wait somewhere.

Ben (10) became so interested in what Rebekah  was doing that he quickly joined in most of the activities and liked them just as much as Rebekah. They loved to play “ad libs” and hangman together. The wide variety of activities was a pleasant surprise. There were, some two person games, some single games, scavenger hunts, mazes, road sign crosswords, blindfold drawing and many more activities to keep this book from getting boring.

Math Activities in a Bag also provided a much needed respite from the ordinary math drill. I made up about 4 of the 33 bags to choose from. We played a multiplication toss game with dice and beads. It also helped Rebekah solidify her math facts using another of the games made with math fact triangles. When these bags have served their purpose,  I  plan on putting together new bags to keep things fresh and fun.


I would whole heartedly recommend these e-books. They were simple, easy to use and easy to put together. Rebekah and Ben have really enjoyed using both the travel binder and the bag games. The bag games gave them a little bit of fun before we started our regular math for the day.  The travel binder took about an hour to print and put together, but has been well –used. They take it along on long car trips and other times they need a quiet activity while I am at a meeting.

I did not hold a swap, but read through how it is done. It looks fairly straightforward and easy to put together. If you are part of a co-op or have many homeschooling friends, a swap would be a great way to get all the activities with minimal effort on each participants part.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew members were able to review many different Activity Bags books. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they had to say about these books.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received two e-books, Travel Activities in a Binder and Math Games in a Bag, for free from Activity Bags in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beloved Books–Sugar Creek Gang


Beloved Books is a company dedicated to bringing wholesome stories and books to life on audio CD’s. They carry a wide variety of audio CD’s from Scripture Songs to Historical Fiction to Missionary Stories and Life. Their main ministry is to share the Sugar Creek Gang stories.

The Sugar Creek Gang  stories are a series of Christian adventure stories originally written by Paul Hutchens in 1939. A few years ago a man named Paul Ramseyer began to dramatize the books for radio. Now they are available as audio CD’s. There are over 100 hours of audio on 72 CD’s. These stories are loved by families because they present the gospel in an easy-to-understand way. The whole series becomes a discipleship journey.  Nature study, poetry, hymns and science lessons all find their way into these delightful stories.

The author, Paul Hutchens, began his career as an evangelist. He became a Baptist minister and traveled around the U.S. When he developed tuberculosis he began writing. The first Sugar Creek Gang book was published in 1939. Each story takes you back in time to one room schoolhouses, hot summer days and barefoot boys. Christian principles and the courage and confidence to share the gospel are woven into each adventure story.

ClarkClan Experience

We were graciously sent the first volume of the Sugar Creek Gang audio CD’s.  This includes six different stories: The Swamp Robber, The Killer Bear, The Winter Rescue, The Lost Campers, Chicago Adventure, and The Secret Hideout, presented on 12 CD’s.

Ben (11) and Rebekah (9) as well as mom were the testers for this product in our family. Ben and Rebekah have a long history of loving books and stories on CD. The Sugar Creek Gang was no exception. We received the CD’s one day as were were getting in the car. I popped one into the car’s CD player and when we arrived at our destination, the Ben and Rebekah were not ready to get out because the story was not finished.

This enthusiasm remained high throughout the review period and they continued to listen to find out what was going to happen next to the Sugar Creek Gang.  I knew these CD’s were a hit when Ben did not want to stop them when it was time for dinner. These stories really captivated Ben. They are full of adventure and suspense.The stories follow a continuing story line, although each one can stand alone. We listened to them in the order they are on the CD, as recommended.

The stories present real life, with its real problems and emotions. One story I remember has a father who is a drunk. This is handled tastefully, giving enough information to know the seriousness of the situation without being judgmental. Another time, the main character has a new sister and is having trouble with his emotions over it. Once again, this situation is handled gracefully and works out nicely. There is quite a bit of suspense and even some danger within these stories. You can tell they were written in the late 30’s and early 40’s. The kids are allowed to play by themselves in the outdoors and also work out their own problems. While this is different than our day and age, it nevertheless makes for exciting adventures. Ben often talked how he wished he lived where he could just play outside in woods and near ponds.


I would recommend these audio CD’s to other families. We have truly enjoyed them. They are fun, exciting and most important teach a good lessons about God. The only caveat I would have is that they come from a Baptist perspective.This shows up in the story lines as someone needing to be “saved”. This is not exactly the language we, as Lutherans, use, but it gives us an opportunity to talk about other denominations and how they differ and are the same as ours.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew mates also were able to review The Sugar Creek CD’s.  Visit the Crew Blog to read what their thoughts and opinions on the product are.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received volume one of The Sugar Creek Gang, for free from Beloved Books in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Breakfast Favorite

Today I thought I would share one of the ClarkClan’s favorite breakfasts. Baked Oatmeal, Yum! We just love this breakfast. Easy to prepare, filling and most importantly: very tasty.

I have been making this basic Baked Oatmeal recipe for years.

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups rolled oats (I use old-fashioned)

3/4 cup brown sugar (originally was using 1 cup, but found I could cut that amount with no problems.)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup works well, too)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Stir in cranberries. Spread into a greased 9x13” baking pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes ( my oven never takes that long, about 30 is right for us.)

That is the basic recipe. Now for the fun parts. I end up adding other ingredients for the fun of it. This week I have been adding a cup of cooked, butternut squash. I mix it in with the liquid ingredient, without changing any proportions. The Baked Oatmeal comes out, moist and delicious. I think pumpkin would work equally as well.

This recipe also works very well made up ahead of time. I have made the entire recipe, exactly as written, but instead of putting it in the pan to bake now, I put the mix in a zipper bag, label and freeze. Then all that is needed is to pull a bag out the night before, put it in the refrigerator to thaw, dump it in the pan and bake. This recipe can also be easily doubled. Double all ingredients and put in either two 9x13” pans or one large double cake pan (bake the double cake pan just a bit longer)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crossbow Education–Duo Window Reading Rulers



Crossbow Education is a company originally based out of the U.K. Bob Hext was a teacher who devised games to teach his dyslexic students. From a small beginning, they now have their products in over 60% of schools and colleges in the UK. They also have  a US branch which concentrates mainly on resources for Visual Stress and Junior Learning.

Their Crossbow name and logo refer to their beliefs as Christians. They believe the symbols of the Cross and Rainbow stand for the powerful life-changing truths of Christ dying in our place and the rainbow that symbolizes God keeping His promises.


We reviewed the Duo Window eye level Reading Rulers ten pack. This pack includes all ten colors of the reading ruler. The colors include: yellow, sky, celery, purple, grass, magenta, jade, pink, aqua, and orange. Each ruler is approximately 8 “ wide by 3” tall. They are made of lightweight, yet sturdy, plastic. They have a 1/2” window at the top, an opaque 1”section, then a 1 1/4” wide window at the bottom.


The duo window helps in two different ways. With the smaller window at the top, the focus is confined to approximately one maybe two lines of text, depending on text size. This is useful for early readers and readers who have trouble in with skipping lines in chapter books. The bottom window shows  a chunk of text at a time.

The colors help to cut the glare from a white page with black printing. The preference for one color over another is entirely personal. Crossbow recommends that you test each color, choosing the one you feel works best for you. They also state that you may like one color one day and a different color the next. Lighting conditions can also make a difference in which color works best for you.

ClarkClan Experience

Rebekah(9) was our tester for this product. I showed her the product, how it worked and then let her pick the color she wanted to try first. She choose the purple first and picked up a book.

She found that it was hard to use this product while lying on her back to read. On her stomach was better, but the best way to use this was sitting in a chair with her book on the table.  She had no trouble figuring out how to use this. She would put the reading ruler on the page, then move it down as she read. She told me she uses the large window near the bottom more often that the single line at the top. She never settled on a favorite color, she would use whichever color struck her fancy that day.


I did notice that while she never complained when I asked her to use this for her schoolwork, she did not pick one up while reading on her own after “official” schoolwork was done for the day. When asked what she thought about the product, Rebekah replied, “They were ok. I just liked them for the color, because I don’t have trouble with skipping lines anymore.”

One thing I noticed was that the size could sometimes be a bit cumbersome for smaller books. But the paper work included with the product states that you can easily trim the reading ruler to fit your needs.


I think that this is a very well made product. The plastic was sturdy, yet lightweight. The reading windows were a good size. I found that at times I liked using one to read in bright light on a white page. It just seemed to tone down the glare.

I would recommend this product to parents of beginning readers, as well as, parents of kids who may be having trouble reading. The Duo Window reading rulers can really be good for kids who have trouble skipping lines while reading. I would also recommend trying it for kids who complain reading make them tired to see if the colors help reduce fatigue while reading.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew members also tried out the Crossbow Education Reading Rulers. Visit the Crew Blog and read what they thought about the product and how it worked in their family.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a ten pack of the Duo Window eye level Reading Rulers, for free from Crossbow Education in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Me First

Sometimes I wonder if I give too much advice. I never want to seem like a “know it all”. But there are times I see parents having a problem with something I have gone through with my kids. If I can, I try to offer a solution that has worked for us. The other day, I was able to share my solution for the “me first” attitude kids can get.

I don’t remember Matthew or Sarah having this problem. But I remember realizing one day that Ben and especially Rebekah were getting really bad about wanting to be “me first”. They would fight each other to be the first at just about anything, snacks, getting in the car, toys, you name it there was a fight over who was going to be first.

So I came up with a solution that worked like magic in our family. It was not instant but was easy to implement and practical. It works not just at home, but also while we are out in public. I have also taken this idea and used it while teaching younger kids in Sunday School and it works just as well out.

My solution is based on Matthew 20:16 says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

And that became my go to phrase. When Rebekah would push Ben out of the way so she could be first, I would simply state, “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” Then she would have to wait until everybody went ahead of her.

A practical application goes something like this. I am fixing a snack of apples and peanut butter dip. Ben and Rebekah are fussing over who will get the first apple. So who does mom give the first apple to? Well Matthew or Sarah, who have been sitting quietly and patiently. Who will be the last to get their snack? Ben and Rebekah.

Because I tried hard to consistently use this technique, the behavior eventually extinguished itself. But I have found it is a great technique to use in a classroom setting as well. One Sunday this summer, I brought in a snack of pretzels. One little boy yelled “pretzels!” and before I knew what was happening had his hand inside the bag. I quickly extracted his hand and told the kids the rules in our family. I explained how in our family if you try to be first, you will be last. Then I made him sit and wait until everyone else had been served. Only one other time over the summer did I have to remind them of this rule. The kids, of all ages,  learned Miss Jill would make you last if you tried to be first.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dayspring Christian Academy


Dayspring Christian Academy Online School Presents


About the Course

The Pilgrim Story is a self-paced online course designed for grades 3-6. The course is taught using The Principle Approach method of education. The Principle Approach is a method of education that holds a providential view of history. Christian character and Biblical principles form the core of The Principle Approach. Students using The Pilgrim Story are taught the providence of God in the Pilgrim’s lives and subsequently the founding of America.

The Pilgrim Story is a full course consisting of 17 lessons with assessments and ideas for continued study. This is a self-paced course allowing you to access the course whenever it is convenient. Access to the course is available for six months from the date of registration.  Each lesson is designed to take 30-45 minutes to complete. All pages needed to complete the course are included as PDF downloads within each lesson.

The PDF resources include, note sheets, quotes, vocabulary sheets,and extra activities. The course instructions are to make a notebook, divided into sections to keep all course materials in one place for later reference.

The lessons are in a slide show format. All slides are read aloud and your child clicks the “next” button when they are ready to move on to the next slide. The voice is the same for each lesson, a pleasant sounding male voice.

Each lesson begins with a review of the last lesson. The questions are read, choices given and the answers are entered into the computer. The quizzes are graded immediately and the correct answers can be seen. At the end of a unit, a unit test is given. There are two test options to choose form. An essay test can be downloaded  to do on your own paper, or a multiple choice test can be taken online.

ClarkClan Experiences

I used this online course with Ben (5th) and Rebekah (4th). We started this course with high expectations and excitement. I began by printing off two copies of all the PDF files for Unit 1. We set my laptop computer on the kitchen table, attached external speakers and began the study. We have been able to work through Unit one, consisting of 4 lessons and a unit test, and have completed 3 lessons in Unit 2.

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What we discovered was that The Pilgrim Story gave us quite a challenge.


We liked (most) of the information that was studied. The Pilgrim Story gives true, factual information about the pilgrims. It begins with a study of King George as well as the Geneva Bible. This background information helped to ”set the stage” for why the Pilgrims felt the need to leave England. I really liked that this study focused on the real story, using information from primary sources. This is definitely not a fluffy,” we all sat around and ate turkey” study, but showed the hardships and perseverance of the Pilgrims. It focuses on the providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims.

Ben and Rebekah had a couple stand out enrichment exercises within the lessons they completed. They both thought the Greek Translation project and mapping activities were the most fun.


While we liked many parts of this study, we found that it did not really work well for our family. My kids are not used to sitting and watching a computer screen for long periods of time. As well, we do not generally take notes, so the note sheets became a dreaded task for both of them. Each lesson said it should take 30-45 minutes to complete, but we found it took us longer. A lot longer. It generally took an hour or more to complete the lesson. To help stave off complaining, I would set the timer for 30 minutes and have Ben and Rebekah sit and work till the timer rang. I discovered that they generally finished about half of the slides in that 30 minutes. We would then finish the rest of the slides and notes the next day.

Another item to note is that there are a lot of pages to print, and each page is in full color.While this makes for a beautiful finished product, those on a tight ink budget may find this prohibitive.

My biggest problems,though was with information found in Unit 1 lesson 4.  The lesson was on Liberty of Conscience and gave principles that went against Lutheran doctrine. The study stated that “Liberty of conscience occurs when your conscience is free from the guilt of sin. You have a clear conscience because you made right choices.” This statement does not follow confessional Lutheran doctrine. We believe that we are free from the guilt of sin, not by anything we ourselves have done, but by what Christ has done for us.  We can stand before God with a clear conscience, not because of any merit of our own, but because God, in His mercy, sent Christ to die in our place and declare us free from sin, death and the power of the devil. I ended up stopping this lesson, and discussing with my children why we believe what we believe.


This study has challenged our family. It has not been the best fit for our family and learning style. I would not recommend it for kids who need parental interaction to stay on task or who have trouble with writing. It is an intense course. I will also have to caution other Lutheran parents that some of the doctrine within the lessons will need to be monitored.

I would recommend this course for students who like computer based lessons. The lessons are thorough and complete. I would recommend this study for families who are interested in The Principle Approach to learning. This would be a good introduction to that style.


Many of the Schoolhouse Review Crew members also reviewed The Pilgrim Story. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the program.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received The Pilgrim Story, a full online course from Dayspring Christian Academy. in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Easy, Quick Salsa

Sarah and I love a fresh pico de gallo. Pico de gallo is fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, garlic, green chili, cilantro, a little salt. We love to make this and eat it with tortilla chips. But in our part of the country, fresh, ripe tomatoes are hard to come by,so we have found the next best solution.

We make a quick salsa using canned Rotel tomatoes. (Rotel tomatoes are canned tomatoes with green chili.)  We have found that we like to open a can of Rotel tomatoes, drain them well, add 1/4 of a finely chopped onion, chopped fresh cilantro, a little garlic salt and a pinch of sugar. This is quick, easy and very tasty.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Busy Day

Today was one of the  busiest days I have had in a long time. To begin with, I got up at 6:00am and walked my three miles. I walk three miles on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as well as 2 1/2 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so this was a normal activity for me.

Then, I came home and cooked soft boiled eggs and toast for my kids for breakfast. I wanted them to have a good breakfast because two of them, Sarah and Ben, were going to go work a window washing fundraiser for the church youth group.

I received a telephone call asking if I would go and help supervise the youth so I ended up going with them on their window washing fundraiser. We spent 2 1/2 hours washing windows at congregation members houses. (This has been a very popular fundraiser, we raise a lot of money with this one.)

Sarah’s Venturing Crew was scheduled to have their highway clean up today. They usually need help, so I went out and walked the mile up the highway and back down the other side picking up trash. I will say that it was a beautiful Fall day here in the desert, 85 degrees, slight breeze, full sun. While I was picking up trash, I saw lizards scurrying about, bees buzzing around bushes that are in bloom, and the mountains that I love so much. I love living where I can look around and see for 70+ miles. So I pulled out my phone and took a picture of the beauty that God has given.

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We have lived in many different places and there is beauty in all of them. Sometimes it can be hard to think of the desert as beautiful, but it is there. I found it today in little purple flowers blooming on the side of the road. Beauty is in the little yellow flowers of the greasewood bush and in the lizards scurrying around when I scare them.

2012-10-08 14.49.17

To finish up my busy day, I came home and made pizza pockets for dinner. I have been trying to perfect this recipe and today it worked out pretty well. Instead of just mozzarella cheese inside, I made up cheese like I would put in lasagna, adding some pepperoni to it. Then I rolled out my pizza crust in small circles, spread some sauce on the circle, put a large spoonful of the cheese and pepperoni mixture and folded the crust over and sealed it. Then I placed them on a pan and baked them. My kids thought they were very tasty and I was able to make enough for dinner and enough to put in the freezer for lunch another day.  

Needless to say, I am very tired tonight. I am planning on going to bed and hopefully will sleep all night waking up at 6:00am tomorrow, ready to walk and begin another busy day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Box of I.D.E.A.S.


Box of I.D.E.As. (Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities) is a company dedicated to making learning interactive centering around a specific subject area. Your child will be drawn into critical thinking and knowledge through activities and a variety of fun topics.

Box of I.D.E.As. is packed with 10 or more activities plus additional ideas for going deeper into an area of interest. Each box has been thoroughly researched and includes web links.for further exploration. Box of I.D.E.As. can be used in multiple ways: as a supplement to a normal history program, it can be used for a homeschool group activity. or just a fun break from normal school work.

Box of I.D.E.As. currently has five topics available for study. They have World War II Pearl Harbor, Eleven (featuring eleven different subjects focusing on the number 11), Salt, Quilting and Laundry. They have many more boxes planned and coming soon. Each Box is available in two different formats, a physical box or a PDF download. The physical box  includes everything needed to complete the study printed out and ready for use.The PDF download includes all modules in separate files ready for printing at home. The cost for a physical box is $79.00 and the cost for the PDF download is $49.00.  The boxes are designed for students ages 9-16.

ClarkClan  Thoughts

We were given a PDF download of the World War II Pearl Harbor study. The cost for this specific product is $49.00 and can be ordered from Box of I.D.E.As.  I found this to be easy to download and had no problems opening the files. I liked how the files came in as separate files and were well labeled. This has made it easy to print off each module as I need it without wading through previous modules.

When I open each module on my computer, the first page contains the contents of the module and printing and cutting instructions for that PDF. I found this page to be of great use to me after the first module I opened and printed off without reading anything. I realized later that I had printed things front to back that should not have been, I printed pages I did not need to and it generally was hard to use. Once I went back, read the first page and realized it specifically told me which pages to print, on what kind of paper and if it should be printed on the front only or front and back, things went very smoothly.

Each module contains anywhere from 7 to 14 pages. Not all of these need to be printed out. Following the instructions, some pages can be read straight from the computer. I found this to be helpful, since internet links are provided for further study and we could then easily look up the sites. Other pages are printed for student work and then others are printed on cardstock and cut apart for games.

I used this box mainly with Ben (10) and Rebekah(9). Ben has been very interested in World War II all summer and has been researching on his own through books he picks up at the library. He was very excited to get started. Rebekah is not nearly as big a fan of studying World War II, so she was just along for the ride.

The first module begins with a study of Pearl Harbor before becoming a Base. It talks about the black lipped pearl that grows in the harbor, the natives and then the exploration by Europeans, Americans, and others. After reading the page of information, then researching on the web using the link provided, the activity page was measuring pearls with an included paper ruler. The game was an endangered Animal Match.

Each module runs along the same lines as the first. A page of instructions, a page or two of information to read, extra web links to explore. Then a pencil and paper activity and finally a game of some kind. I found that the activities were more suited to Ben’s 5th/6th grade level than Rebekah’s 4th/5th grade. But that could also be due to the subject matter being extremely interesting to Ben, but just okay for Rebekah. Ben’s favorite game so far has been the Pearl Harbor Timeline game. We have played that multiple times he likes it so much. And the best part is he is remembering the sequence of events about the Attack on Pearl Harbor, “The Day that will live in Infamy”.

Box of IDEAs collage


I would definitely recommend Box of I.D.E.As. to other families. We have had a great time with it. I found the age range of 9-16 to be fairly accurate. My 9 year old had some trouble with the math activities, but Ben at 10 could do them with help.  We did not do all the writing extensions included as they would have taken a lot of time and help from me. If I were to use this with my 15 year old daughter, I would definitely have her doing the writing assignments to make it more in depth for her. I liked the mix of “book work” and “hands on activities” included in each module. My kids looked forward to getting the pencil and paper activities done so we could play the game for that module.

I reviewed the PDF version of this product. This was not a huge deal to me, as I have a nice laser printer. But, I wanted to mention that there is a lot of printing that will need to be done, as well a lot of the games are printed in color. Many cards are actual pictures, so if ink costs are a factor, looking into the physical box may be a better option. A nice feature of having the PDF is that you can print off as many copies as you need for how many students you have. With the physical box, you can purchase extra student modules for $4.00. These include all consumables so you can teach more than one child.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew members reviewed Box of I.D.E.As. The two topics up for review are the World War II physical box and PDF version and the Salt physical box and PDF version. Click on the Crew banner or here to read what others had to say about the product.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a PDF copy of Box of I.D.E.As. World War Two Pearl Harbor for free from Box of I.D.E.As. in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homeschool Legacy–Weather on the Move

Weather on the Move Homeschool Legacy

For the past few weeks we have been using a Once – A – Week unit study from Homeschool Legacy.These studies are designed so families can set aside their regular curriculum one day a week and interject a little fun, creativity, and hands on learning. These studies use a wide variety of subjects to explore one main topic.

We have been using the Weather on the Move unit study. By the end of the 7 weeks using this study, Boy Scouts will have earned their weather merit badges and American Heritage Girls their Young Meteorologist Badge.

A variety of activities and subjects are included in each weeks lesson. The focus for the Weather study is science, therefore many science lessons and experiments are the mainstay of this study. While science experiments abound, history, geography, language arts, crafts and more are also included.

The lesson begins with a library reading list. The nicest thing about this list is that the books are arranged by the Dewey Decimal system to make them easy to locate in the library. A supply list for the day’s activities is also located at the beginning of the lesson. Each activity that matches a Boy Scout merit badge is easily denoted in the book with the Boy Scout symbol. American Heritage girls can also look for the symbol to earn their badge.

The library books chosen for the week are meant to be read every day. As well, a family read-aloud is designed to be used daily. The rest of the activities can be done all in one day as a replacement for your regular school subjects. All subjects are covered, from family devotions, to science, history, geography,language arts, research, arts and crafts and more . A “Stump Your Dad” Trivia question is fun for the kids to ask and see if dad really knows.  Field trips round out the study.

ClarkClan Experiences

We have been using this study for five out of seven lessons. We really liked the family devotions. The devotions “set the scene” for the day’s lesson and brought into focus what we were studying.

We found the science experiments we have done to be fun and worthwhile. They were easy to implement, as long as I had gathered supplies ahead of time.

Arts and Crafts was also a favorite with my children. They enjoy all types of art and loved learning new things. For example, Rebekah learned how to make paper snowflakes, so our house has been covered in flakes.

One stand out feature for me was that by completing the study, my Boy Scout, Ben, will earn the Weather merit badge. I liked having this study to be able to fulfill a Boy Scout purpose while also having fun and sharing the learning  with Ben’s younger sister.

Problem areas for the ClarkClan

There were times I had a hard time implementing the study. An example would be field trips. There are field trips suggested, yet we have not taken one. We live in a  fairly small town and the field trips suggested were not available in our town.

As well, I had a slightly hard time with the idea that this was a “Once –A –Week unit study, that needed something done, (reading, read aloud) on a daily basis. A second day was also needed for field trips.


I would recommend this study, especially to other families with Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls. They are in depth and easy to follow. It took us about half a day to complete the activities, which was perfect for our busy Tuesdays. I had to work around a few things, such as the field trips, but was able to make the study work for us.

We reviewed the Weather on the Move book, but there are many Once – A – Week unit studies available. Visit the Homeschool Legacy website to see the full list  of science and history studies available.


Visit the Crew Blog to read reviews on a variety of Once –A – Week unit studies.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a PDF copy of Weather on the Move for free from Homeschool Legacy in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Raising Real Men–A Cry From Egypt

Raising Real Men


A Cry from Egypt focuses on a Hebrew slave girl, Jarah, her family and the life they lead as slaves under the Egyptians.  It is a rough life, with harsh overseers. Jarah’s father is a believer in the one true God, Yahweh, while her mother follows the god’s of Egypt. This creates a tension in the family, that forces Jarah to think about faith and who she will follow.

Just when life seems to be unendingly harsh, with Jarah, wondering if Yahweh is listening, along comes word that the “lost” prince, Moses is back. Then amazing, yet baffling, events begin to happen. Rivers turn to blood, frogs appear in droves, flies are everywhere, and more. What does it mean? Will the Hebrew slaves ever be free?

The author, Hope Auer, is a homeschool graduate and has been writing stories and plays since she was young.  Through her passion for history and telling stories, she has created The Promised Land Series. She loves the Lord, life, church, family, and children.

ClarkClan Experiences

Our family likes to read historical fiction. Historical fiction makes history come alive and very memorable. A Cry from Egypt by Hope Auer is historical fiction of the highest caliber. It is well researched and accurately portrays the time period of the Hebrews during the ten plagues.

Three people in our family read this book, mom, Sarah (15) and Ben (10). The consensus among us was that this was a well written, interesting book. Ben read the book during his reading time and enjoyed it. Sarah was given the book and asked if she would read it and tell me what she thought. Once she started, Sarah finished the book quickly and stated she really enjoyed it. She would like to read the second book in the series. Mom read the book and was quite impressed at the story. It was true to the biblical account and brought to life the hardships and heartache of being a Hebrew slave. Excitement, adventure, faith this book combines all in a fun to read, action packed book.

Our family would recommend this book to others.  It is appropriate as a reader or read aloud for kids from about 7 up to adults. There are some intense overseer encounters that involve whippings so caution should be used if reading this book to younger children.


Other Schoolhouse Review Crew members also read and reviewed A Cry From Egypt. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the book. As well, another book published by Great Waters Press was reviewed. You can read the reviews of Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship on the Crew blog.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a copy of A Cry From Egypt for free from Raising Real Men in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Family Time Fitness


  • Homeschool Physical Education Curriculum
  • Fitness 4 Homeschool – Core 1
  • K-8 Curriculum – Good for the whole FAMILY
  • No previous knowledge of physical education needed
  • 260 lesson plans/ minimal preparation time
  • Assessment Tools to help track progress
  • Encouragement emails
  • Online Webinars
  • Lifetime access to all program updates and revisions
  • Available for a one time payment of $57.00


I have kids that like to be active. They play outside, ride bikes, rollerblade, but I have never specifically done physical education with them. Family Time Fitness has changed this fact. We now have a specific time for PE and are having a blast doing it.

Family Time Fitness has created a physical education curriculum  that allows homeschool parents to teach PE easily. The program is designed to fit every age and ability. Using a structured program helps to provide the building blocks of proper physical development. The curriculum is customizable to fit any schedule and can be used in almost any space, either indoors or outside. It is progressive  and sequential but also utilizes repetition. While it is marketed specifically for K-8th grade, the Core 1 curriculum is designed so the entire family can join in the lessons.

Family Time Fitness also offers a High School Physical Education program. This is a foundational strength course and helps to meet the PE requirement for high school. A co-op program with 52 lessons is available for use in a group setting.

ClarkClan Experiences

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We have found this program to be very easy to use and a lot of fun. The supplies were minimal and we had most everything or were able to obtain it at the dollar store. Ben(10) and Rebekah (9) were the main kids to use the program, although Sarah (15) joined us at times and mom did the exercises along with the kids.

The PDF files come in batches of 20 lessons each. So to familiarize myself with the program, I printed off the first file which was 62 pages long. I found out that all I really needed to print off were the last 20 pages. The first 40 pages are in depth descriptions including internet links for each exercise. These are good for the parent to look over beforehand and make sure they know how the exercise works. The last 20 pages are one page summaries. These give the equipment needed and the names of each exercise so the parent can quickly glance at the sheet to see what is coming next

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Each session begins with warm-up exercises. These stretch the muscles out and get them ready for the more active section. Activity/Game play comes next. This is the “get your heart pumping” make you sweat part of the session. My kids had a great time with these activities. The cool down has the muscles being stretched out again. The session ends with an outdoor activity, if you so desire.

Except for the outdoor activity, all activities can be done indoors. We have a fairly small house, but were still able to accomplish the exercises indoors. At one point, we decided to do the entire session outside, but quickly decided it was not for us as the grass made the kids itchy when they were laying down for the stretches as well as ants crawling over them made a not so pleasant experience.

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I was surprised at how much we enjoyed this program. I thought that since the kids were active, they were getting the exercise they needed. While it is true they were getting exercise, there were things that they needed to work on. For example, I learned that Ben had never learned to skip. So we taught him. It was absolutely hilarious when Ben was learning to skip and in a way only a 10 year old boy can, stopped, looked at me and said, “And WHY do I want to learn to skip?” He learned. We also learned that even though he is very active and plays sports such as tennis and golf, he was not very flexible. The warm ups and cool downs have helped with this. Rebekah as well has gained a lot from this program. She is more confident in her movements and had a great time learning the new stretches and playing the games.

Initially, I thought that there was too much repetition in this program. But after using it consistently for over a month now, I have changed my mind. My kids have not complained at all about doing the exercises again and again, in fact they like that they can feel themselves getting better at them. I also liked that each session was not competitive. Each kid was able to do the best of their ability without feeling like they were competing against each other.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew mates also reviewed Family Time Fitness. Click on the banner above to read what they thought about the program.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a PDF download of Fitness 4 Homeschools for free from Family Time Fitness in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul

This summer Matt and I were privileged to take 5 youth/young adults to CA for a Higher Things conference. While we were there we were able to go to the beach. This was special to me because I was able to stand in the Pacific Ocean and pray for my sister who lives halfway around the world in Guam, also in the Pacific Ocean.

While I was standing in the waves that were crashing all around us, I started singing to the kids every song I could think of that involved the ocean. The one hymn that kept coming to my mind was “When Peace, like a River”. The lyrics start out “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll”

I had no idea during that trip, that this hymn would comfort me over and over in the next two months. There have been times in the past months that I have felt like the sea billows are rolling over me. But then, I remember the rest of the first verse, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.”

It is well with my soul. I may not know what is coming next, but I am continually learning that God is in control. I have faltered, I will falter again. But I know the forgiveness that has already been granted to me through Jesus death and resurrection. I can say with confidence, “It is well with my soul”.

Speekee TV


In the Winter of 2011, we were given the opportunity to review an introduction to Spanish course called Speekee TV. Speekee became a favorite at our house fairly quickly. You can read our review by clicking here.

Now it is Fall of 2012. For the last six weeks, we have been reviewing Speekee again.  My kids are about 18 months older than they were when we last reviewed this product. I wondered how they would like the videos, would they still be interested? I am happy to report that, yes, they still like Speekee and have learned from watching the programs.

  • Speekee “The World’s Number 1 Spanish Course for Young Children”
  • Speekee TV – Spanish for Kids online program
  • Designed for ages 2-10
  • $7.50 per month or $60 per year subscription plans
  • Free two week trial is available by clicking here.
  • No minimum subscription periodSpeekee

Who is Speekee?

Speekee is the purple puppet pictured above. She is the main character in a series of 10 videos designed to give kids an introduction to speaking Spanish. Speekee, along with Dino, Lupe (sock puppets), and a group of all age kids, sing and dance while your child does the listening and learning.  Each Speekee video is filmed in Spain using real Spanish speaking children. The Speekee program originates from the UK (Britain) and the Spanish taught is Spanish as spoken in Spain.

The videos were created by Jim Porter and are just the tip of the iceberg for the Speekee program. Jim Porter has broken the videos down into segments and provided a scheme of work with worksheets and activities to cover two years. There are 10 videos in all and each one is broken down into four weeks of activities. To make the program even more user friendly, he has also provided “Fast Track”. 

Fast Track is a weekly e-mail with everything you need to have a week of Spanish learning. It has a link to the video for the week, as well as daily activities. One nice feature of the Fast Track e-mail involves the dialogue from the video written out for you to practice with your child. This helps with planning out using each lesson during the week. From the Fast Track screen, the worksheets for each lesson are also available to print. The addition of Fast Track has made this a very easy to use program.

The music is catchy and the lyrics are fairly easy to learn.  You can have the option to have they lyrics printed at the bottom of the screen or keep them off completely. The action on the screen, along with the hearing of the Spanish are what helps your kids learn. Most of the time we kept the written lyrics off, so the kids were not distracted by the words scrolling along the bottom of the page.

The Speekee program is designed for ages 2-10. We are at the older end of the age group with a 9 and 10 year old using the program. My kids enjoyed it tremendously when we reviewed it before, and once again liked hearing the catchy music. One thing I noticed with my older kids was they wanted to go faster than the Fast Track program had them going. They wanted to do one video per week, instead of stretching each video out over four weeks.  This could also have been a result of having reviewed this program before and the kids knowing which videos were their favorites and wanting to get to them.

I would recommend the Speekee TV program for a great, gentle, and fun introduction to the Spanish language. I think it is ideal for pre-schoolers and early elementary ages. I find my kids and even myself singing the songs from the videos randomly throughout the day.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed the Speekee program. Click on the banner above to read what they thought about the program for their children.

Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a subscription to Speekee TV for free from Speekee in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Worry and Fear

Stress, anxiety, fear, uncertainty. These are all a part of life and I am struggling with them right now. I have had problems in the past with these issues, but have been facing them much better. Then I had a minor surgery, and had what they think was a reaction to a medication that cause major panic attacks.The medicine is gone, but I am still undergoing some stress symptoms.

I thought I was doing much better. I was not in a fight or flight type of mode with the anxiety just under the surface. Then yesterday seems to have set it off again. It was a stressful day, very busy with kids going in all directions. We had also put an offer down on a house. We were expecting a counter offer, instead we got word someone else had offered as well and did we want to change ours.  Then a bowl fell from the dish rack and a piece came up and hit my daughter’s foot. It was not a big cut, but fairly deep. My husband had one of his paramedic friends come over and check it out for us. He determined it did not need a stitch, just some super glue, so we took care of it.

Needless to say, all this has put me on edge. I  am praying as much as I can. Praying for others, to take my mind off of my worries.  I am also determined to just go on with my day. Complete school with my kids, go to co-op, then help at chimes and play bells with evening. While doing school, I am also hoping to get some laundry done and hung out on the line. I walked this morning and am planning on walking some more to relieve the stress.

I am determined to remember that God will never leave me nor forsake me. That just as Job had trial after trial, God was with him and He will be with me, as well. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Everyday Homemaking–Everyday Cooking



About the Product

Everyday Cooking is a collection of tried and true recipes and hints. Written by Vicki Bentley, a homeschooling mother of eight, who offers her “in the trenches” way of cooking. With an emphasis on whole foods, Everyday Cooking offers busy families easy to prepare, nutritious and budget conscious recipes.

ClarkClan Thoughts

We have had a great time using this cookbook. I liken it to opening your mother’s favorite recipe box and finding all sorts of recipes inside collected as favorites over the years. In fact, when my mother was looking at the cookbook with me, we both kept exclaiming  “we make that recipe”.

The cookbook starts with a section for busy families. This section gives advice on how to get dinner on the table quickly by preparing items in advance. The breakfast ideas section gives alternatives to dry cereal and milk in the mornings.

Then the main recipes start which are divided into categories: Appetizers & Dressings, Bread & Grains, Main Dishes & Soups & Sides, Desserts & Snacks. The recipes contained in these sections are the bulk of this cookbook.

I came to the conclusion that the main reason I really enjoyed Everyday Cooking was because Vicki cooks like I cook. There were tips that I already use as well as picking up a few new ones. Every recipe we tried we enjoyed.


This dinner shows ‘unstuffed cabbage” that we served with bread and watermelon.

Another favorite recipe was ‘Cornstarch Pudding”. This quickly became almost dangerous because it is so easy to make. My kids learned that it only takes about five minutes and they had warm chocolate or vanilla pudding.

2012-09-05 13.18.23Recently we were given fresh off the tree apples from a friend at church. So we pulled out the Everyday Cooking and looked to see if there were any recipes using apples. Sure enough, there was an “Apple Crisp” recipe. Rebekah had a great time making this for the family. And everybody had a great time eating it.


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I think this would be an excellent cookbook for both new and experienced cooks. I liked that the bread section contained multiple color pictures to show each stage of what the bread should look like. This is a great help to someone who is just beginning to learn bread baking, as well as more experienced using a new recipe.

The ending sections contain valuable information on meal planning, grocery shopping, kitchen equipment and more. Learn how to make a menu for a month of meals, then make a grocery list to go with that menu. I found the article on slow cookers versus pressure cookers to be very interesting. I have never used a pressure cooker, but may have to look for one.

The only thing to remember that may be a little frustrating using this cookbook, is that these are family recipes. This means that the instructions can vary in their depth depending on the recipe. Some cooking experience is helpful. 



Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew Mates also reviewed Everyday Cooking. Visit the Crew Blog to read their reviews as well as the reviews of another Everyday Homemaking book called The Everyday Family Chore System.

Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received an Everyday Cooking e-book for free from Everyday Homemaking  in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s