Review season with The Schoolhouse Review Crew is officially underway! The first product I have the pleasure of bringing you this year is from Koru Naturals, a company bringing the all natural skin, hair, and lip care products from New Zealand to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. For this review, each member of the review team received a 2-ounce bottle of Emu Oil and their choice of skin balms, lanolin cream, lip balm, or shampoo and conditioner. I chose the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm, which is a combination of Koru’s lanolin and emu oil. [Read more…]
Last year, I wrote about how I was going to try to plan a weekly menu instead of shopping daily. Back then, the plan lasted all of one week. That’s right: we couldn’t even make it work once. So I just kind of accepted it, and we went back to daily shopping. Fast forward to two weeks ago, and I decided it was time to try weekly planning and shopping again. This corresponded perfectly with the arrival of a book for review I requested from Blogging for Books: Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D’Arabian. The premise: It really is possible to make wholesome, healthy meals using whole-food ingredients found in a regular grocery store.
The book, like any standard cookbook, is divided into types of meals: snacks, breakfast, pasta, sandwiches, poultry, beef, soups, etc. We haven’t tried recipes from every category, but we have from several of them. Some of the ingredients aren’t as readily available as I hoped, at least in my area, so I’ve had to make a few substitutions (kale instead of Swiss chard in a soup, for example). But despite that, I have definitely found that the recipes in this book are absolutely amazing. And doable with “normal” ingredients. Out of the 15 or 20 that we’ve tried so far, all but two have gone onto a list for regular rotation. To have found at least a dozen new recipes that we all love is a wonderful thing.
My main complaint of this book is that it’s a trade paperback. I think cookbooks should always be printed with spiral binding so that it will stay open to make following the recipes easier. Additionally, I would like to see a photo of every recipe. I know this isn’t always feasible, but it’s very helpful in making sure you’re building everything correctly. These criticisms are minor in the long run, though. The book is so full of amazing recipes that I’m happy to overlook the problems.
So, what have our favorites been? I can think of three offhand that were exceptional. First, the sausage-lentil soup with chard (we used kale). The soup was very flavorful and hearty, and making it with brown-n-serve turkey sausage made it easy and healthy. We were all kind of sad when the pot ran empty. Next, the garlic chicken with potatoes. Oh, my goodness, that was amazing. Start by roasting some potatoes (whatever kind you like – we used slices of Yukon gold) and (a lot of) garlic in a roasting dish (I used my deep dish 9×13 baking pan) with a little bit of olive oil. [Read more…]
No, my blog is not going to become just a book review site ;). I’ve just really been enjoying the books I’ve been getting from Book Look Bloggers and devouring them. I want to get the reviews up quickly so that I can get new books. Today’s book is called Love at Mistletoe Inn and is written by Cindy Kirk.
Hope and John made a huge decision when they were just 18: they skipped their senior prom and went to get married instead. Immediately upon being pronounced man and wife, Hope regrets the mistake. The “minister,” a college student ordained online for the sole purpose of performing weddings, assures her that if he doesn’t send in the paperwork to the state, it will be as if the marriage happened. Not legal. She feels better armed with that information. [Read more…]
I recently joined BookLook Bloggers, and I must say: if all the books are as good as the one I just finished, this will be a match made in Heaven!
I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I was reading recently (I read this book on my Kindle), and the simplest way to explain it is what I told them: a historical romance set over the backdrop of a murder mystery. [Read more…]
As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I had the pleasure of casting my vote in their annual Blue Ribbon Awards. All members of the Crew are invited to share their favorite vendors of the year in a variety of categories, and then the votes are tallied and awards given to the vendors. Here are the winners of 2014 (links will take you to the Crew blog post for the product unless noted otherwise): [Read more…]
Can you sell a torch purse to a princess?
Do you, Miss Princess, have money to burn? Then let me introduce to you the torch purse – it burns your money for you!
How about a bone sandwich to a dog?
Mr. Dog, what you need is to eat a sandwich like your owner does. But peanut butter is too sticky for dogs. Designed especially for you, so the move to sandwiches isn’t too abrupt a change from your preferred food, I give you the bone sandwich!
Christmas is coming. Like it or not, we’re already into November, and that means Christmas is just around the corner. And Christmas is a time for family traditions, both old and new.
(Please don’t hear me saying that having traditions is what Christmas is about. It’s not, and I know that. It’s about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Traditions are just a nice thing to make us humans feel “warm and fuzzy.”) [Read more…]
I have a super fun product to talk to you guys about today: Clued In Kids! For review purposes, I received both the Halloween Treasure Hunt and the Baseball Treasure Hunt. These are available as PDF downloads for $5.99 each. Having them as PDFs means, of course, that you can print as many as you’d like and reuse them, which makes these a great value.
So what is Clued In Kids? The answer is very simple. Helen Bertelli, the founder and president of Clued In Kids, writes Treasure Hunts for kids. You purchase the hunts, hide the clues, and let your kids go. For about 5-10 minutes worth of work on your part, you can easily keep your kids occupied for 30-60 minutes (possibly more, depending on the children). Each hunt is designed around a theme – Halloween and Baseball, in my case, but there are also loads of others (Thanksgiving, Winter, Happy Tummy, Gluten-Free, Homework Reward, and many others). [Read more…]
When I first found out that the Schoolhouse Review Crew would have the chance to review some DVDs from New Liberty Videos, I wasn’t too mussed. We don’t have a TV or a traditional DVD player (just the DVD ROM on the computer), so I didn’t intend to request this product. But then I saw the actual list of films that would be offered, and when I saw Warriors of Honor ($19.95 for a physical DVD) on that list, I had strong suspicions that Will and the boys would be really interested. You see, it’s a film about the Christian faith of two Confederate generals – Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. My boys (and man!) are big history buffs, and the Civil War is one that fascinates them all, so I went ahead and requested this movie after all. [Read more…]
If you’ve been reading these pages for very long at all, you know that I’m a sucker for foreign languages, especially French. For over a year now I’ve been searching for “the perfect foreign language curriculum.” The conclusion I’m coming to is that it just doesn’t exist. However, Middlebury Interactive Languages comes pretty close. For the purposes of this review, we received a six-month subscription to their Elementary French 1 (Grades 3-5). As the product title suggests, this is designed for upper elementary students – roughly grades 3 through 5.
For this review, we were given several options of Middlebury courses – French, German, Spanish, or Chinese, each available in a variety of levels. It was a really tough call for me whether to start the boys with Elementary French 1 (which has no prerequisites) or Elementary French 2, which has the prerequisite of French 1 or equivalent. You know, of course, that we’ve been doing French off and on for a long time with the boys. But I wasn’t sure if the stuff they’d learned up to this point would be enough to qualify as “or equivalent,” so we went ahead and did Level 1. [Read more…]