Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book Club update and next selection

Life happens, doesn’t it? Sometimes things just move at the speed we think they should or that we plan on and sometimes they move so fast we are holding on for dear life! It just happens. But we do have the next selection for you!Women Heroes of WWII

We are reading Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J Atwood. I am about halfway through and have found these stories inspiring and fascinating.

I don’t have the book in front of me but I believe that there are discussion questions in the back of the book, which is good since I cannot find any online.

We will be posting a bit later than normal for June, posting on the second Thursday (June 8) instead of the first.

Wendy and I are also excited about the books we have lined up for July and August! Things just march right along sometimes. Enjoy reading and I’ll meet up with you in a couple of weeks to discuss these heroes!

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Thin Stix ~ a Crew review

Thin Stix review banner

Love to paint, color, and create all things artsy? Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors is a product you need to add to your collection. Created by The Pencil Grip, Inc., these Thin Stix are a solid tempera paint appropriate for any number of amazing, fun uses. Thin Stix classic colors

Thin Stix are tempera paint in a solid, stick form. Solid tempera paint is bright, vibrant colors. In just a matter of seconds, the paint is so dry it will not smear or get on hands, arms, or anything that rubs over it. A while back we reviewed Kwik Stix and loved how easy they were to use. Thin Stix does the same thing, only they are a bit smaller.

We have truly enjoyed using this paint without having to get out the brushes and water. We have found that we can do some more detailed work than with the original Kwik Stix since the tip is smaller. I still wish they would make some that were even smaller. The vibrancy of the color makes me want to use them for everything!

working on the pirate rainbow

Ease of use with these is amazingly simple. You uncap like a marker. Roll it up like a glue stick. Use it. Roll it back down. Put the cap back on. That’s it. None of the fuss, muss, or mess. Paper, cardboard, wood, and more – it works on just about everything, it seems!

We have used these quite a bit on regular printer paper. They work great but we have experienced the pages curling up as they would with regular paints so a bit heavier paper is a better choice, though not necessary. You can see the coverage on regular paper and paint-like finish in these tessellation images.


One of the fun aspects of these is that because of the way they cover, you can use a textured paper and get a textured look from it. That was lots of fun. In this image of a Dala horse, you can sort of see that texture a little bit.

Mom's Dala Horse

Looking for the vibrancy of color? Take a look at this image of a mermaid looking at a sunset. The color is so bright! If you didn’t know this was done with a tempera paint stick that dries quickly, you would think it was regular liquid paint that is messy.

mermaid sunset

Placemats? Yes, those are easily created with Thin Stix.


Get well cards with pirates are easily made, too. Rainbows, battleships, and more. All are fun and easy. Though, if you don’t have a student who can control their paint stick easily, you might want to put something under their paper or project so that it doesn’t get on something you don’t want it to. We do have a couple of permanent marks on a tablecloth, though it is not a big deal since it almost matches the cloth!

pirate rainbow

various Kwik Stix available

When you realize all that can be done with these Thin Stix, you quickly wonder what all the company makes. Well, take a look at their website. Thin Stix and Kwik Stix both come in tons of colors, from the classic colors that we are reviewing here to metallic colors to neon colors. I would absolutely love to see just how bright the neon colors are!

nighttime flower

The company has these available for purchase on their website and Amazon but you can also pick them up at Toys R Us. These make wonderful gifts and parents and kids alike love them!

At Home.


Want to see more projects completed using Thin Stix? Check out other reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}Find The Pencil Grip, Inc. and Thin Stix on social media:




Crew Disclaimer

The Typing Coach ~ a Crew review

The Typing Coach online course

Miss E has a goal of becoming a better typist so we were pleased to be able to take a in-depth look at The Typing Coach. An online audio tutorial, The Typing Coach Online Typing Course is applicable to students wanting to learn to type, from ages 8-80 or beyond.

Coach, your typing instructor, has created this program with the hope that it will make learning to type simple, less complicated. The key to this is following the plan exactly as laid out. There is not a pacing schedule for the program; you are to work on each lesson, repeating components, until it is mastered. This program will definitely be a great place to start for anyone who has not had any typing instruction.

The Typing CoachWHAT YOU NEED

The program has several components. In order to get the benefit of the program, you need access to the subscription program from The Typing Coach, internet access, a word processing program, and a printer. To begin with, the instructor needs to go into the program and print out the student pages, the Learning Checks pages, and the optional tracking page. Taking the time to read through the hints, the purpose of the program, the goals, and watching the videos provided will help you get started correctly.

HOW A LESSON WORKSThe Typing Coach working online

The student will open a word processor and The Typing Coach program. After setting up the printed page for the lesson and hitting play on the appropriate lesson audio, the student then clicks over to the word processor. Listening to the audio, the student is given the typing instruction. Listen. Type. Listen. Type. This is the basic process through which the instruction is given. At first, this is very simple – letter, letter, letter, space; letter, letter, letter, space. The instruction is give at a deliberate pace in order to encourage the student to take their time and work diligently at error-free accuracy.

After completing the audio course, the student is encouraged to practice and then to move over to the online Practice and Testing Center and take some typing quizzes. These quizzes are to see if they have done enough practice to move on to the next part of the program. There are time options for each Learning Check and once it is completed, the student will be given a grade. The goal is 100% accuracy. The speed will come with practice. After getting the 100% accuracy on that lesson, the student moves on to the next lesson.


There are a series of lessons that take you through all you need to work on to become an accurate typist, which is so necessary in our world. The lessons begin with posture, which makes a huge difference in ability. It moves on through the various rows on the keyboard and other keys used.


Table of Contents for The Typing Coach

The goal on each of the lessons is 100% accuracy prior to moving on to the next lesson. It is really tempting for students to move on before that mark but practice and accuracy are important in learning to type. That is why this is the goal and threshold for progress.


I believe this is a good, solid program that will work for lots of folks. I do not feel it is appropriate for all, though. As homeschoolers, that is expected so I wanted to share a bit about these things and make a couple of suggestions.

While I understood this was an audio course, I did not understand enough about how it worked. The pacing of the audio was slow and deliberate, which is understandable for beginning typists. It was, however, slow enough that it was a hindrance for my daughter. She often lost concentration because of the pace and already knowing how to type. (This is a trial page with a sample and additional information. I suggest listening to the sample to help determine if this is right for you.)

The format (open a window and listen to an audio) was difficult for my daughter (13) to work with. It felt disconnected for her. Part of that is that she already knew how to type and learned with a very different style of instruction, which relates to my next concern.

This program is definitely NOT for someone who knows how to type. I misunderstood this. I saw the goals of improved accuracy and typing speed and that stood out as something I thought this program could help her with. And it might have, if I had started her further along. Starting her at the beginning, though, was a mistaken since she could already type with good posture and knew where all the keys and numbers were.

Another concern that I had was the nonsense collection of letters, numbers, and punctuation. Those are extremely difficult to type if you know how to spell and type. This threw some massive curveballs our way that pushed the frustration buttons beyond reset for the day. I can understand the purpose of it in working towards accuracy (letter by letter will slow you down) but for some people, this is something that is just not something they can overcome.

The Typing CoachCONCLUSION

All in all, I think The Typing Coach program is good. If you have a student who has not already had typing instruction, this will likely be a good fit. If you have a student who does audio instruction well, this will likely be a good fit. This is a solid program that gradually walks the student through using all of the keyboard to by a competent typist. If you are looking for typing instruction, I encourage you to look closely at this program and to read more reviews from others on the Homeschool Review Crew who have been using the program for the last few weeks.

At Home.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {The Typing Coach Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Cooking Necessities – Middle School Monday

dessert apples recipe

Miss L (I cannot believe she now fits the definition of a middle school student!!!) has been expressing a desire to learn how to cook more things lately. So, I have been trying to make a more intentional effort to bring her into the kitchen often to help prepare dinner.

Some of the things she has been learning how to cook:

  • bread (we use a bread maker so it is really quick and easy)
  • rice
  • dessert apples
  • potatoes
  • eggs (boiled and scrambled)
  • pizza
  • veggies (steaming them)

These are some of the more intentional items and dishes we have been working on in the last few weeks.

Since we love dessert apples, I thought you might like the “recipe.” I call it a recipe very loosely because it is really simple and you add things to the amount your family would like. 🙂

For our family of 5:

  • 5 small apples, diced
  • 3-4 T ground cinnamon (this is really a “to taste” measurement – change it as needed)
  • 1/2 C brown sugar (again, this is “to taste” – adapt as desired)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C raisins

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for about 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. These are best served warm.

At Home.

O Sacred Head – hymn

O Sacred Head

This solemn hymn really speaks for itself. There is much to ponder in the lyrics of this hymn, written hundreds of years ago. The lyrics are attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century. There are also attributions to Paul Gerhardt in 1656 for the German words and to James W. Alexander in 1830 for the English words. That is quite a history and tells you that there is more to this hymn than meets the eye the first time you look at it or listen.

The music is attributed to Hans L. Hassler (1601) and then arranged by J.S. Bach (1729).

The last line is very touching and may it be true for all those who love Christ.

Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love to Thee.


At Home.

O Sacred Head

lyrics: attr. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century);tr. (German) Paul Gerhardt (1656); tr. (English) James W. Alexander (1830)
music: Hans L. Hasslet (1601); arr. J. S. Bach (1729)

1 O sacred head now wounded
With grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown;
How art Thou pale with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn;
How does that visage languish,
Which once was bright as morn!

2 What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever;
And, should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love to Thee.


Stylish Hair Accessories That Hold – a review of Lilla Rose

Flexi Clips from Lilla Rose

If you are anything like me, you have quit spending anything on hair accessories, no matter how cute they are, because they just don’t hold in your hair. It is so frustrating to find a clip or a barrette or a comb and purchase it, just to find the first time you place it in your hair it slips right down. Or worse – it slips off and you lose it.

Lilla Rose Flexi Clips have changed all that for me. Not only are there tons of adorable styles to choose from, they actually hold my hair. Some styles still slip but it is easy to put a small band underneath the clip to hold it in place. And I get to use the cute clips! I recently received Hibiscus Sea and Morning Joy for the purpose of this review and boy, do I like them! They have both gotten lots of use already!

My favorite size is honestly the XL, especially with summer here. Okay – it might only be May but the heat is starting to hit and I am wearing my hair up a lot now. But these XL Flexi Clips allow me to quickly pull my hair up into a bun. No fuss, no muss. I can truly have my hair done in under a minute. Just twist it up to a bun and place the clip over the top of it.

bun with Morning Joy flexi clip

It is neat. The clips adds color and interest and, yes, even cuteness. It stays put. And I don’t have to mess with it. On days like today, when we were out in the heat and the wind, hair stayed put and still looked decent when we came in an hour and a half later.braid held with Hibiscus Sea flexi clip

I have at least one clip of each size and I do like them all. My daughters all have at least one clip each, as well. They do a fantastic job of making hair pretty and holding it in place.

Miss J using Hibiscus Sea flexi Clip

Not sure what size is right for you? You can ask Jennifer (the post sponsor) by contacting her at (there is a banner in the middle of the page with Jennifer’s picture on it; click that and there is a way to email her) or visit Lilla Rose to see the style videos and suggestions they have. While looking for the videos, check out all the varieties of Flexi Clips they have. There are new ones all the time. Colors on Parade flexi clip

And if these are not your style, they also have hair bands (which are lovely and stay put, too – I have one that I enjoy wearing), bobbi pins (which my girls love to decorate their hair with after they pull it up in a ponytail), U pins, and more.

If you haven’t tried Lilla Rose, I highly recommend giving this company a try. Jennifer is a wonderful consultant (I’ve known her from the blogging world for a few years) and will answer any questions you have.

Contact Pretty Hair (a Lilla Rose consultant) through the Lilla Rose website – – or through Facebook.

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This post was sponsored by Lilla Rose consultant Jennifer (*******). I received two free clips in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.


Recital (violin) – Blogging Through the Alphabet

R Recital (violin)

A couple of weeks ago, Miss L had her spring recital with her strings class. She has been able to participate in a string class at Baylor. This class has benefitted not only our family (in that the cost is extremely reasonable, even cheap!) but it also benefits the students at Baylor who are learning to teach in classroom settings.

The recital was lovely. She and her class, as well as the two other classes, did a fantastic job. It was lots of fun and it is such a rewarding experience for her to get to show off all of her hard work this year. And it really was.

R Recital Miss L with violin

She started the year (last September) with a little bit of violin knowledge under her beltR Recital program for string project but not much. So, she began in the Bravo class with other beginners. At semester, they determined that she had made so much progress and was playing well enough to jump up a year and join the Encore class. Now that was huge and she had a big learning curve since they all had a year more experience than she did. But she undertook the challenge, practiced daily, and did really well.

The recital was the culmination of the year. We are hoping to return next year for their 3rd year class, though I can’t remember at this point what that class will be called. She still practices (almost) daily and really enjoys playing. We will encourage this for as long as she will pursue it with a heart.

At Home.R Recital

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