Baking is fun!

Making donuts baking is fun

Miss J enjoys learning about doing anything in the kitchen. Recently, we have watched a kids’ baking show on Netflix. This really upped her interested. So, this morning when she asked for donuts for breakfast, guess who made them?

We used the recipe that is the favorite of our family. But she did the recipe reading, the measuring, the cooking, and the decorating. I acted as the assistant and got out, put away, and cleaned up after the baker. It was fun and she really enjoyed her breakfast. She did, however, need a shower afterwards since decorating can be such all-involving work and leave streaks of icing across your face and in your hair.:)

making donuts eat up

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Special Times for One



When your two older sisters are away at camp, for the third time this summer, and you are bored, what do you get? Special times!

Monday was our first day to do something. And since we had car business to deal with first, it was mid-afternoon before we got to do anything. But, she chose it and it was the zoo! While it was hot, it was still lots of fun (and boy did we really enjoy the aquarium buildings with their air-conditioning!).

Checking out the gibbons, the birds, the fish, the tortoises, the bats, the porcupines, the alligators, and oh, so much more! Sure, we sweated and walked and walked and sweated but it was full of exclamations of joy and lots of fun. Here are a couple of pics from the day.




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My Hope is Built on Nothing Less – hymn

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less
There are many things that are beautiful about this hymn. But I think my favorite is the security with which the words are stated. There is no hesitation or debating or weariness within the words. “Wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” Fact. What is stated, is.
Sometimes I wonder why things don’t bother me as much as they do others. “I rest on His unchanging grace.” Is that it? Is my God holding me up through things and allowing me to feel his grace and hope and love and security. There have been plenty of times when I should worry, according to the world. Even according to other Christians. But I don’t.
What about when something is bothering me?  What about when I am in “the darkness” or “the whelming flood“? I go to Christ. To the Solid Rock. And I put it in His hands.
There has been an issue on my mind for the last week or so. And I talked to several folks about it. Looking back on it now, I wish someone had just reminded me that God had it, that His grace was covering the issue, and that I just needed to allow Him to be “my hope and stay.” I am pretty sad that I dealt with the issue for so long before I realized I was looking to the wrong place and the wrong people to reassure me that everything was going to be alright. I should have looked to God. Live and learn, right? I sure hope so.
That was a good reminder, though. This song is spot on. And I have pondered on it this afternoon while writing this. I realize that I have missed my mark this last week. I am asking God for his forgiveness when I was allowing worry to take over my life instead of trusting it to Him. And, I am moving back into Jesus’ blood and righteousness so that I can stand on the Solid Rock.
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My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less

Words:  Edward Mote (1834)
Music:   William B. Bradbury (1834)


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. Chorus

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil. Chorus

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay. Chorus

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne. Chorus


Favorites: curriculum


That word is quite loaded, isn’t it?

What does that actually mean? Well, if you look it up, it means “preferred before all others of the same kind.” So when we are talking about curriculum, it means what is our preferred curriculum.

Still, that is pretty loaded. Do I go with what I prefer and like? Or the giggly girls? And which giggly girl? For which subject?

Miss J – age 7

Favorite subject: Math

Miss L – age 10

Favorite subject: English (specially cursive and poetry)

Miss E – age 12

Favorite subject: art


Horizons math cover


For math, we are using Horizons for all three of the girls. It is working well and it has taken us a while to get to this point. Miss J really enjoys math and will ask to do more than one lesson each day. She enjoys math games and has fun with all things numbers. We also enjoy using the free games from Sheppard Software and they have some pretty challenging math games.


For English, we are very eclectic. It also kind of depends on what you determine English to be. If it is Writers In Residenceparsing sentences, we don’t do that. If it writing, Miss L has been using Writers in Residence. She still is enjoying that and I think it is still a very good curriculum. For cursive, we have used a couple of different things (see New American Cursive) but really, once she knew her letter formations it was just a matter of encouraging her to put it to use every day. She really enjoys working on making it beautiful now. If you are looking for literature, we are using This opens up the critical thinking options and gives each child the opportunity to give her own take on the story or passage we are reading. We have researched a bundle of different book lists and ask the girls to read some specific books but overall, their literature comes from unit studies we are working on. Poetry? Well, Miss L really meant writing poetry. She doesn’t mind memorizing poetry, which we are doing, but she just enjoys the flexibility and freedom of creating her own poetry.

mobileMiss E? Well, she would rather not have to do school at all. So, she has absolutely no favorites. She really seems to enjoy art and we do that locally with The Art Center of Waco. They do a weekly artist study during the school year and we love attending that. We tend to try to do some additional study of that artist during the week and we have learned a lot of techniques with that. (See three posts I have shared about the Art Center: Matisse, Art Camp, and Rendon/Chagall.) We have also used Artistic Pursuits several times and we do keep that available for picking up a lesson here and there. (See reviews on the grade levels and on Construct.) Additionally, we enjoy using the art lessons from HodgePodge. Quick and easy yet applicable to many different studies we are doing.


My favorites? History. I really enjoy studying history. We do that a number of ways, much of which is literature based. We read and study a number of non-fiction books for each topic we cover and so far, we have chosen topics based on interests from the girls. Will that continue? I don’t know. With Miss E in 7th grade this year, we probably need to focus on some more specific topics so this area is up for debate at the moment. Hopefully, I will have this all parsed out in the next couple of weeks.

We will jump back into full time school at the beginning of August so I guess I’d better get moving on those plans.

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Favorite Curriculum 2016
I am sharing these somewhat random thoughts as part of the TOS Review Crew Round Up of Favorite Curriculum Choices. Looking for something in particular? Head over to the lineup and see what others have shared. (This goes live on Friday, July 22, at 8 EST so if you click over there ahead of that time, you might get an error. Come back and visit after the link goes live!)








Beric the Briton ~ a TOS review

Do you enjoy audio books? What about movies? What if you could combine the  best of both worlds? Enter Heirloom Audio Productions. They bring an amazing Christian historic story combined with top-rated actors to create an audio production that is phenomenal. The newest release is Beric the Briton and it is unmatched in quality and excitement.

Beric the Briton review

Heirloom Audio is a company that is dedicated to bringing families quality entertainment that teaches Christian values through history. Using the novels of G.A. Henty, they research thoroughly the background of the story and the specific hero/heroine for the novel. Then, rewriting the story into script form, they use technology to bring you a blockbuster movie without the screen. It truly is an amazing work of art.

Beric the Brinton CD coverSynopsis: Beric the Briton is the newest release by Heirloom Audio and we were excited to get to review it. This story takes place in the first century. Beric is a young Briton during the time when Briton is pagan, worshipping many gods, and living in tribes ruled by chiefs. Mostly, the tribes were united, especially against the Romans who are at this point trying to take over Briton. Beric’s mother is ruling his tribe at the beginning of the story but it isn’t long before Beric comes of age and the tribe agrees that it is time for him to rule.

Beric knows the Romans pretty well. He had been captured by them when he was younger and lived among them for five years. He was eventually allowed to return home but by that time, he could see the good among the Romans and the knowledge that they had. He knew that Rome was not all evil. The tribes didn’t necessarily agree with him.

However, Rome decided to invade Briton and Beric was forced to fight. He was again captured by Rome. He was taken to Rome, along with Amelia and Julius, Romans he had lived with previously. While in Rome, he was introduced to Christianity and came to believe in Jesus. This put him in a terribly dangerous situation. You see, Nero was ruling and he was trying to do away with all Christians.

Lesson: This brings us to what is truly a blessing from Heirloom Audio. They focus on people from history that have a belief in Christ and whose story teaches a truth about Christ. For Beric, it is that since he is a Christian living among Romans with an ruler who hates Christian, he must decide how to live his faith. He was a captive under a ruler doing away with Christians. He was vulnerable. Yet – he chose to believe in Christ and allow his faith in Christ to rule in his life.

What a lesson for all of us. Especially in this day and age. Our faith in Christ needs to shine as Beric’s did.

Beric the Briton inside CDs

Related Materials: As part of the TOS Review Crew, we were not only give the set of CDs for this amazing story. We were also given access to some of the extras that are available at various purchase levels. We received the Study Guide, a behind-the-scenes video, an ebook of the G.A. Henty novel, a printable poster of the cast, an MP3 file of the soundtrack, an MP3 file of the production, and a printable poster of the quote from Julius in the story.

The ebook has been an amazing read. It is such a joy to get to read where the story originated with G.A. Henty. It gives you additional information. I loaded this on my Kindle and took it on vacation to read. The posters would be nice if you have a student who enjoys decorating their room with posters or if you have a space you place inspirational quotes. They are beautiful and easy to print off or send to a local print shop to print for you. The MP3 files are simple to use and transfer well to various electronic devices. I placed these files in my Kindle and we listened to them on a road trip. I didn’t have to take the discs with us and we could listen even if we were away from a player. But I really want to discuss the Study Guide.

Beric posterStudy Guide:  Heirloom Audio Productions has improved their Study Guide for each new release they have made and this one is no different. This guide is chock full of materials to help create a full unit study. The guide has a bundle of materials that can be completed by an individual or a group. The guide includes questions, vocabulary, activities, Bible studies, and background information.

The Study Guide begins with some background information on the writer of the original novel, G.A. Henty. It also includes background information on Nero and Queen Boadicea. The guide takes the listener through the discs one track section at a time. A fantastic feature is that each page lists at the top the disc and track number, along with the running time so you can easily locate the section of the disc related to the discussion on the page. Each page features a section on listening well (comprehension and listening questions), thinking further (deeper comprehension and application questions, along with some outside information and application), and defining words (vocabulary).

Sprinkled throughout these pages are additional activities that enrich and expand the understanding of the time. These include recipes to make, background on customs, images, and additional information on important items from the story (such a gladiators and coins).

There is a listing of additional resources that can be consulted to learn more about the Britons and the Romans from the 1st century. There is additional historical information on Beric the Briton and the colosseum from Rome during the time of the persecution of Christians. And there are three Bible studies: the importance of studying history, Thou Shalt Not Kill, and One Way.

We had the study guide printed so that it could be used in several ways. Our favorite way to use it is to talk about the questions out loud. We will use the guide more in-depth this fall and Miss E will notebook some of the questions. I feel they lend themselves to this format really well.

 Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Our Take: As usual,  Heirloom Audio Productions has created an amazing product that teaches so much history that it is difficult to put into words. The quality of the production and the story are worth so much more than the cost of purchase. When you have something that your child listens to 10 or 15 times, you know it is good. And when the lessons learned are so much bigger than history, when they teach the truths of God, it is something worth grabbing and hanging onto.

Thank you to Miss E, age 12, for helping write this review and enjoying history presented by Heirloom Audio so much. It is a joy to share these moments.

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Read our other reviews of Heirloom Audio Productions: Under Drakes Flag, In Freedom’s Cause, With Lee In Virginia, and The Dragon and the Raven.

Catch  Heirloom Audio Productions on social media:
Beric The Briton Facebook Page
The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series Facebook page
Heirloom Audio Productions Facebook Page
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial
 Heirloom Audio Productions presents Beric The Briton


Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Crew Disclaimer


Honey’s Chocolate Pie

chocolate pie recipe

Miss E is quite the cook when she chooses to be. One of her favorite things to make is Honey’s chocolate pie. Named after her great-grandmother, this is a family favorite. She has also begun making it for potluck dinners at church. She made one yesterday for church and it was gone before I got to the dessert table.

Want to make it yourself, now that you have drooled over the computer keyboard?

Here’s the recipe –

  • 1 prepared pie crust (this can be a baked pastry crust or a graham cracker crust – both are good)
  • 4 T flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • dash of salt
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp butter


In a pot, combine the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, salt and milk. After stirring the eggs and milk together well, add it to the dry ingredients in the pot. Cook it on the stove top over medium or medium high heat. Stir constantly until it thickens. Put in the vanilla and butter. Stir. Let it cool. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Refrigerate until serving. Add whipped cream (Cool Whip) and chocolate curl garnishes if desired prior to serving.


Enjoy this yummy, super-simple treat.

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32+ Books to Movies Our Family Enjoys

Our girls love movie nights. If it is on video or Netflix, they are fans. Especially if they know it already or get to pick it. Well, the picking gets taken out of their hands fairly often and we use this opportunity to share what we consider classic movies with them. Most of the time, the girls love them. Some examples? The Sound of Music. State Fair. Little House on the Prairie. Mary Poppins. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And then there are the movies that we pick, or they pick, that were books first. Those are fantastic opportunities to do read-alouds as a family and then watch the movie together. Or perhaps the girls see the movie at the library and want to watch it. Guess what they get to do first? Yep – they have to read the book before they watch the movie.

Books to Movies.jpg

This allows for comparison, critical thinking, analysis, and so much more. Some of our favorites?

  1. Ella Enchanted
  2. Anne of Green Gables
  3. The Sound of Music (read the biographies)
  4. American Girl books/movies
  5. Chronicles of Narnia
  6. Mary Poppins
  7. Peter Pan
  8. Paddington
  9. How to Train Your Dragon
  10. BFG
  11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  12. James and the Giant Peach
  13. Princess Diaries I/II
  14. various fairytales
  15. Wizard of Oz
  16. Little women
  17. Charlotte’s web
  18. Robin Hood
  19. The Lorax
  20. Pinocchio
  21. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
  22. various biographies such as Corrie ten Boom, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, and more
  23. The Indian in the Cupboard
  24. The Cat in the Hat
  25. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  26. A Little Princess
  27. The Secret Garden
  28. The Tale of Despereaux
  29. The Polar Express
  30. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  31. Little House on the Prairie
  32. How the Grinch Stole Christmas



We have definitely had our fun with the book to movie comparisons and there are many more that I didn’t think of to list here.

Which ones have your family read and then watched? Are there some I didn’t list? We are always looking for more to enjoy.

At Home.



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