Friday, September 28, 2018

Broccoli Cornbread

It's been a really long time since I've posted a recipe. I don't even have the picture of the finished project with this one. 

Camera problems. 

Anyhoo. We are having a potluck this Sunday at church (they call them "carry-in's" around here). And this particular recipe for Broccoli Cornbread is one that is easy to whip up and always gets rave reviews 

It's especially nice in the cooler months. It's great on soup night. It also happens to be featured in our family cookbook. 


Broccoli Cornbread 

1 cup cottage cheese
4 large eggs
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 (8.5-ounce) packages corn bread mix 
1 (12-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (make sure you don't leave it'll have extra liquid if not)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I use some sort of cheddar)

Preheat your oven to 375 and grease a 9X13 pan. Wisk the cottage cheese and eggs together...add butter. Stir in the onion, cornbread mix, broccoli and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into the baking pan and add the rest of the cheese on top. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes. 

I am fixing a Mississippi roast to take along to the potluck, but one of my favorite ways to serve this is with a big pot of veggie soup. it doesn't get any better than that! 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Picta Dicta Natural Road (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

We've tried a couple of different Latin programs in our years of homeschooling. Most of them have been for the purpose of review. When we first started out I thought a classical education was what my heart was singing for. Then eventually realized that while my heart sang a classical tune, the rest of me was far more relaxed than I had anticipated. That being said, I was really excited to get to review a Latin course from Roman Roads Media called Picta Dicta Natural World

Before I move on too much into my review, I need to tell you that Roman Roads was extremely generous in providing us three licenses to try out the course. You might have figured out by now that Picta Dicta is unique in that it is an online product and is entirely self-paced.  The product is intended for elementary students and up so it is perfect for all kinds folks interested in learning a bit more Latin. 

Other than our glimpses into other Latin programs, my experience with Latin is from Indiana Jones and singing in choirs throughout my life.  Funny story (and a little bit off the subject). I was a "helper" at co-op this past week in the choir room. When the choir teacher pulled out a particular song I squealed, "Oooo, Latin!" She asked me if I was a Latin teacher (she was worried just in case she was pronouncing something wrong). It must be noted that in choir it is not the exact pronunciation that is most important, but that EVERYBODY is pronouncing the words the same way.  

I'm not sure how the rest of the world (meaning all of you) signs up for Picta Dicta Natural World, but I am not going to go into how I got to my profiles...other than it was really easy. I did realize somewhere along the line that I had not completed a step setting up my profile and thus could not figure out what I had done wrong...initially. Never fear. 
There is always a friendly customer service person or teenager there to tell you where you went wrong.  
This is an extremely helpful video going through the program. 

Now it would be super simple for me to tell you all about the program, but I like to see what I'm doing so I thought I would show you how a lesson works. 
Now this is an early lesson. Obviously they are get much harder. There are over 200 chapters avaiable...and one or more of us had to do a chapter or two over (and over again). 

The first lessons are about animals. This first Chapter is Basic Animals and this portion is from the Learn Latin. We are introduced to each animal and given a little story, folklore or history. For example, war pigs were used to scare the mighty elephants used for battle. I don't know if you know this but pigs can be onery. They aren't all Charlotte. I concure with those elephants. The Latin word appears up in the lefthand corner. When you click on it you hear the pronunciation and repeat it. 

After moving through just a few animals, you are quizzed. 

Anybody know? 

You are taken to a screen where you can choose from six different animals. 


However, sometimes we just don't pay attention. Mr. "sus" was labeled incorrectly under his turn. Never fear. This program is self-correcting and Mr. "sus" will appear often until the game feels we have mastered his monicker. 

Sadly, on this day... scores weren't that high. We are given stars for how well we managed the game. This one little star tells me that possibly someone needs some more practice. The redo icon to the right allows us to do that. 

There is also a Latin Picture and Spell Latin with each chapter, as well. 

This is such a fun and innovative way to study Latin! It is certainly better for those kids who need extra repetition and some hands-on experiences. Which pretty much sums up the entirety of my household. Adults included. 
For those of you who are worried about the "pen to paper" aspect of a curriculum, there is free downloadable workbook. 
I love that the program adapts to each student and gives us plenty of time and opportunity to make mistakes. It is certainly worth your time to check it out. I don't think you will be disappointed! 
I also have to say that the artwork in the program is really lovely. Just an aside, but I think you'll agree.

It's a keeper! 

You can connect to Roman Roads via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. 
Facebook:   @romanroadsmedia
Instagram:  @romanroadsmedia
YouTude:  @romanroadsmedia
Pinterest:  @romanroadsmedia

Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}
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Kingdom Files (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

Some of my favorite reviews I get to do involve books.  Surprise! I know you didn't see that one coming. For this review, I received two books from Barbour Publishing. These books are from a series called the Kingdom Files Series. They sent us Who was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? for review.

The Kingdom Files Series, written by Matt Koceich, currently has six books ready for consumption. The books are intended for ages 8-12. The other titles include...

  • Who Was David?
  • Who Was Daniel?
  • Who Wad Esther?
  • Who was Jesus?
The books are an easy size to manage (just under 100 pages long) and contain plenty of illustrations and maps. The most interesting aspect of the books (besides the subject matters) is how Mr. Koceich has created a series that is so much more than storytelling. 

Each book is divided into three portions. 

The Fact File gives the character's name, provides biographical information; such as where he or she is from. This section all talks about what the character did in the Kingdom of God. It's that section you probably wish somebody would include in the back of every Bible behind the concordance. 

The Action File is the character's story itself.  I appreciated the ease of the narration and that Mr. Koceich didn't add any conversations or events that he imagined could have taken place. It's all straight from the source but written in a way that kids can read. This part also contains "clues." These clues provide a bit more information about the story and character.

The Power-Up File is the action part of the book. How do we apply what we just read? For example, Each Power-Up has a memory verse to learn. This portion of the books is essentially a small devotion. 
    What I Thought

    Sadly, my teenage son has leaped ahead of the suggested age range for the Kingdom Files.  Though I can tell you secretly that he really enjoyed them.

    While both books were hits, I think Who is Jonah? was the favorite. We saw a live production of Jonah a few years ago a Christian theatre. It was fantastic. I am always sad for Jonah. In Sunday School you are taught about the days he spent in the belly of a whale. You learn that he learns his lesson and finally obeys God.

    What you don't understand is that Jonah's heart wasn't really changed through his experience in the belly of that whale. He practiced obedience, yes, but God still had to show Jonah that there was so much more at stake...even in Jonah's own heart.

    Who is Jonah? does a fantastic job at speaking to more than just those obvious takeaways we've heard all of our lives. One of my favorite Power-Up File's is Power-Up #8: God is Grace.  The big
    story of stories is His grace. This comes from the Power-Up.

    "The enemy is doing everything in his power to make us feel like we're one mistake away from God shaking His head and walking away from us. But this isn't truth. God is grace. Forever. ........Live your life full of thankfulness for everything God has done and is doing, because He is grace."

    Now that will preach, my friends. 

    Beyond the edification and encouragement found in the Power-Up File, I found the rest of the book to be just as neat. Of course, it had me at the timeline found and found in the Fact File and I immediately start perking up when anybody mentions "From: Gath-Hepher"....I love all of the history stuff. 

    These are just really cool books! They are kind of detective/devotion/Bible study books. Who could ask for more?  

    This one is a keeper! 

    You can connect with Barbour Publishing via the following social media outlets. Read more reviews by clicking on the banner below. 

    Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}
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    Friday, September 7, 2018

    The Gyn

    My husband tells me that sometimes I can be mouthy.

    He knows better.

    Mostly, I am guilty of not speaking up.

    Last week, my nurse practitioner and I "practiced" what I was going to say to my gynecologist. I had told her that maybe I should see somebody else. That I just knew that if I went back to him that he was going to "prescribe" the same course of treatment that nearly every other gynecologist I had seen in my life was going to suggest and he wasn't going to hear me.

    My nurse practitioner "hears" me.

    This is about to get a little personal.

    She told me that unfortunately, most everyone would feel that they would have to run the same battery of tests he had completed the year before and would want to run again.  But she also told me that I needed to speak up for myself. That I was intelligent and that I knew what I wanted.

    And what I wanted mattered. ( I really need to have her make a general doctor's note a can carry around in my purse for this)

    You see, when I go to a typical gynecologist visit it is never typical for me. There is always a sense of unfinished business. There is always a sense of loss. Most of the time, I can brush it off and bury my head in a magazine or book.

    Only seldom do I go back to the exam room and have a typical visit. There is always an issue to be discussed or a problem to be solved.

    And while I have many "specialist" who I have standing appointments is the gynecologist who has always told me things I didn't want to hear.

    You are not ovulating.
    They are not regulating.

    There is no heartbeat.

    When it came time for my visit to my gynecologist it was not a pleasant one. I cried ugly tears. I'm fairly certain I scared the man. I'm also pretty certain he's never made a hillbilly mad before. Not to mention the number of unchecked hormones coursing through my body.

    But, I also know what I want. This girl, this woman...had to learn to walk again. She faced death full on and cackled...The Muffin says I cackle. I am sure there are those that have traveled across my life and have discounted my tears and my pain, but we all have 'em.

    Let me tell you something. You don't know me. You don't even know the half of it.  If I said the half of it, you probably would be offended. I'm mouthy somewhere up there.

    As I was listening to that young man speak (I'm fairly certain he's younger than me) I wondered if he had looked fully at my chart.  But also realized that some of those qualities of "hearing" came from time and experience.

    Our time together did not end badly. Eventually, he did hear me. He became less defense and actually gave me some really good advice. Though the man didn't offer to find me a baby somewhere and we all know that would have made everything better.

    I have never been shy about talking about infertility or my love affair with adoption. Josiah is everything. And he knows it.

    I just never figured on still having this unfinished business and sense of betrayal so late in the process. Especially after everything else I've been through. 

    Confrontation and painful feelings are just so stinkin' hard to talk about.

     And we are all such ding-dongs. Really! The minute anyone of us wants to vent or cry about something "some" beacon of "light" has to stand up and remind us that we are so "blessed" and have so much to be thankful for. Or relate a story of a relative that has suffered a  tragedy that makes your story pale in comparison.

    Word of advice? Just let people talk. Don't try and fix things. And don't start your reply with "well, you think that's bad..." 

    Shew. So that was the tale of my time at the gynecologist and the visit he'll never forget.  Though I did eventually get to my favorite little boutique and spent too much on clothes.

    There are many kinds of therapy, my friends. And nobody went in debt and died to do it.

    I feel that I do need to make a bit of disclaimer here before I finish my little rant. The Muffin and I are not trying to conceive. The Muffin, my cardiologist, and my momma would KILL ME! There are some other things going on. I'm just speaking vaguely to protect the gentle sensibilities of my Uncles, Daddy and any other male relatives who might happen on this post.

    You never know.

    GrammarPlanet (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

    The latest review I have for you is GrammarPlanet. So far, I've been quite impressed.

    Way back in the day (before the Interwebs were even a thing) I learned grammar the old-fashioned way. My teachers were also big fans of diagramming sentences and I still can't look at a sentence without automatically diagramming it in my head.

    I am not quite a grammar fanatic, but I do kinda/sorta probably mostly cringe when reading most social media posts. Much like the one I just wrote.

    I do feel like grammar needs to be part of a good, if not great, education. However, it's a lot harder to teach...especially to someone who doesn't enjoy reading as much as I did as a kid. My son is also dyslexic, so we have spent a good amount of time just celebrating the reading part of the process.

    Josiah does so much better when he can constantly review. He has a hard time playing catch-up and likes to compete with himself. GammarPlanet is perfect for him in this regard.

    I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's talk about the particulars.

    GrammarProgram is an online program. You will need a reliable Internet connection, a good set of speakers, headphones or earbuds and some way to print a set of notes that come with each unit. It is intended for kiddos who have no knowledge of anything grammar to those who think they know everything but want or need review. That covers a lot of folks.

    GrammarPlanet actually has a FREE version that you can sign up for that features ads. The trial version I played with this version and perfectly respectful.

    In fact, I initially enrolled Josiah and me in the same course. Granted it has been a bit since either of us have simply needed to identify only the nouns in a sentence, but this is the deal. If you are playing around and trying to whiz through a lesson and happen to score poorly on your practice questions....

    The program will prevent you from moving on, my friend.

    You will either have to appeal to your mother and master of the GrammarPlanet dashboard to unlock the next Unit or you will have to do the poor Unit all over again.

    There be consequences in grammar.

    Eventually, our account was changed over to an Ad-free version and I have to say that this was much better for Josiah. I am not sure about the cost on this, but if you have a kiddo who is easily distracted I would recommend this version. The program itself is wonderfully simple and perfect for kids who need just the basics and none of the fluff.

    Which, in my humble opinion, is about everybody.

    Before you get ready to head on over to sign yourself up, I don't believe that version is ready for the general public so don't get too excited. But do sign up. They will have the Ad-free version ready for everybody very soon...I am just not sure when.

    On with the show.

    I don't have a screenshot of video lessons, but each Unit begins with those. These lessons are taught by the lovely Erin Karl who is CEO and Owner of GrammarPlanet and Analytical Grammar. She does such an awesome job. She is easy to understand and very clear in her explanations.

    As I mentioned, the program itself is simple and easy to manage.

    You can see from the screenshot that parsing is used here. Parsing is simply labeling the part of speech in a sentence using an abbreviation. Here we are marking the noun.  The popup box is asking me about labeling the word.

    What you can't see is while the word is read is marked red, there is a little note at the bottom of the screen that told me that I had labeled something I hadn't been taught about yet.

    Here is the score sheet from Josiah's first Unit. I can tell what he struggled with by scrolling down to what was marked incorrectly.

    This is a screenshot from a test.

    And the screenshot after the test was taken.

    Another great thing about GrammarPlanet is that it is recommended for the student to work for 15 minutes a day. It's not going to kill anybody to work at anything for 15 minutes a day. You get great progress notes and you know your student is getting a solid grammar study and review. 

    The boy needs it. Every bit of it. 

    This one is a keeper! 

    You can connect with GrammarPlannet via the social media outlets. For more reviews click on the banner below.

    Grammar Program Online {GrammarPlannet Reviews}
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