Apologia Marine Biology {Review}

You guys know how much I love using curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries right? I only talk about it all the time and have been using it for years… Now that everyone is in high school we are looking at the older science courses. I have been interested in the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set for a year or two, but wasn’t sure we were ready for it just yet!

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

The course suggests taking it after a regular biology course. I would have done Marine Biology course with Ryan, but since he only has a couple months left of school, I figured I would let him finish his year out with everything else he has left.. I have done biology with Kyle and Lauren, but it wasn’t the Apologia course. I would definitely suggest using the Apologia Biology set before using this Marine Biology one.

Ryan did the Apologia Biology a few years ago and in using this Marine Biology it covers some of the same stuff at the beginning like a sort of review which would be easier if they had already used the first course.

Apologia Marine Biology text book
The text book that is included in the set is so wonderful. You *could use this as a stand alone product if you *had to, but the other items in the set really make it complete. The book is set up in such a way that it is very pleasing to the eye. It’s not boring as you read it like some curriculum can be.

Full color images, important information in text boxes, definitions bolded…it is just a pleasant book to read! Extra things are in different fonts/colors, that makes it stick out so you don’t forget to read it. Experiments look like they are written on graph paper in a more handwritten type font. The blue and green throughout the book is just appealing, especially with the marine topic. 🙂

Apologia Marine Biology schedule

The text book is broken down into 16 modules. If you follow the suggested schedule that would be approximately 34 weeks for the whole course. That includes time for tests, summaries, study guides, experiments, etc. I love following the schedule they provide as any typical day seems to be just the right amount of work. The schedule is found in the workbook by the way.

There are On Your Own questions throughout the book that will help the student think about what they learned with the question asked. I love these questions and there are only a couple at a time so it isn’t overwhelming. The answers to these are at the end of the chapter.

Most of the experiments listed use household objects, which is awesome! There are a few that use things that you may have to go to specialty stores for. In module 2 for example, you needed a certain aquarium plant. The back of the text book provides all of the needed experiment items for each module, so I typically look at that and make sure I have it all before we start that module.

Apologia Marine Biology workbook

Every time we use an Apologia science we always get the workbook. It just makes things so much easier for everyone! It includes the schedule that I showed above which I usually tear out and keep in the textbook. The summary and study guides can just be written in easily as nobody wants to write in a text book… I mean, if you do that’s fine, but really, who does that? lol

There is plenty of room for note taking, which I highly recommend your student to do. Apologia courses aren’t easy by any means, they are very thorough and very informative. There’s a lot of information covered!

The workbook has room to do the On Your Own questions that I mentioned earlier, the study guide questions and vocabulary, as well as the optional summary. The summary is extra work and my kids have more than once pointed out the ‘optional’ part, but no, we do it every time… Any time they can review what they have learned, that’s all the better for test time!

In the back of the workbook is the experiment observations. The experiment is listed again and you are given room to write down your hypothesis before the experiment as well as any observations during/after. You can also use the discussion and conclusion section to note what happened in the experiment. Each experiment is different so there are different sections for each one.

Apologia Marine Biology tests answers

Another part of the set that I love are the test booklet and the and the solutions and tests book. You could just get the solutions and tests book as there is everything in there, but personally, I like using just the tests booklet because that’s all it is, just tests. You can have them write in their or you can tear each one out. Easy!

The solutions and tests book so handy because it has the solutions for everything in the workbook in one place. Study guide, Summary, and the tests. I love that they are all in one place and I don’t have to flip back and forth when going over everything.

Marine Biology 2nd Ed Audio CD

One thing that was interesting for us this time around, was using the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD. Our biology course had a cd, but it was an older course and it wasn’t as like this one at all. This one reads the whole book. You know how many books from Apologia I have read? I mean, this is a lifesaver right here! My pronunciations are who knows how correct sometimes, but they can listen to this audio book and know that it will be right.

I will say that the narrator, Marissa Leinart, has a very calming voice… I think my mispronunciations sometimes helps keep things on the goofy side, but I think my kids like the break of me not reading to them, so they pay attention. 😉

Apologia Marine Biology cd controllerApologia Marine Biology cd playlist

Look how cute the player is.. It is setup to look like an mp3! I love it. It also makes it very easy to use! You can find where you left off and easily just click on it from the list. Then you can pause, play, or stop whenever you need to. I love how it is set up so much!

I think that we will be looking for these MP3 audio books from now on because it just makes it so easy!

The Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set is definitely the way to go as everything just works so well together! I hold on to all of my Apologia stuff so that the younger kids can use what the older kids did. All I have to do is buy a new notebook and we are done!

We are only a couple modules in and I am excited at what there is to still learn, especially module 11, which is about coral reefs!

If you want to see what others thought, feel free to click the banner below!

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}

Apologia Marine Biology

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Veggie-Go’s fruit and veggie snacks

When your kids have sensory issues you really aren’t 100% what will be a hit or miss as far as food goes. The boys don’t have as much of an issue as Lauren does with food, so they are good to go when it comes to fruit snacks. I hate the typical ones though, just all sugar! We recently tried Veggie-Go’s fruit and veggie snacks and they are a definite hit here!

Image result for veggie-go's logo

You may be wondering how ‘veggie’ the snacks are.. Well, they are made with other things like fruit that help in case your child isn’t a complete veggie fan. Each snack includes one serving of fruit and veggies. There are so many different combinations too!

Veggie-Go's variety

These are the ones that we all tried! We each had our favorites and I think it depends on how much you like the flavor of certain things. I am not a huge fan of beets, but it was mixed with strawberries that I love, so I could deal with it. The kids liked more of the less veggie ones, but they don’t eat veggies at all, so I wasn’t surprised with that one.

Veggie-Go's bites

The bites don’t look like a typical fruit snack. These actually look like real food, because they are! I think they look more appealing myself! And they have much more flavor!

Veggie-Go's strip wrapper

You can see what the strip looks like. All that goodness mixed in to one little strip.

Veggie-Go's strip

One thing I like doing with the fruit strips is to cut them into shapes. Yes, my kids are older, but it is just fun for me, lol. I just use my kitchen scissors and it cuts very easy. I love that they aren’t all sticky full of sugar, it makes it so much easier to cut them! I can let them eat the shapes and I can have the scraps. Maybe that’s why I like doing it, ha!

The owners, Lisa and John have lived and worked on farms across Europe and it encouraged them even more to come up with these snacks.

I like that I don’t feel embarrassed eating these while I am out. I mean, let’s face it, almost all of my vitamins are in gummy form, so I eat a lot of gummy things. Shh, don’t tell the orthodontist, lol.  Ryan has asked for strips to take with him to work as sometimes he doesn’t get a break to stop and eat.

Veggie-Go's activity book

They are available in our area at Whole Foods, but you can also get them at some Sprouts as well as Amazon. You may check out the find us section to see where else you can get them in your area. Of course you can get them on their website too, and for the month of September you can get this cute little activity book and pencil set with any purchase. There is also a downloadable coupon on the Veggie-Go’s website!

I was given some Veggie-Go’s fruit and veggie snacks to try in exchange for my opinion and these are something I would definitely purchase. I am always on the look out for healthier options for things.




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What I read in August

What I read this month

After all of the books that I read last month, I didn’t think I would read so many this month, but I guess I was wrong! I still read a good amount! I know it is going to slow down, especially come October, but we will see! I have already read 60 books on my Goodreads challenge and my goal was 62 for the year! That’s crazy to me! Well, here is what I read in August. Let me know if you have read anything that you have loved lately!


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – ‘On what slender threads do life and fortune hang.’

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.

Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.

What I thought: This took a very very long time to read… Reading it aloud was such a hard thing, lol. But I am glad we read it, it was a very good book. As long as it was, I appreciated the time that went into the characters and the story.


Before We Sleep by Jeffrey Lent – The sweeping, intergenerational story of a Vermont family, from WWII to the dawning of the ’60s.

Katey Snow, seventeen, slips the pickup into neutral and rolls silently out of the driveway of her Vermont home, her parents, Oliver and Ruth, still asleep. She isn’t so much running away as on a journey of discovery. She carries with her a packet of letters addressed to her mother from an old army buddy of her father’s. She has only recently been told that Oliver, who she adores more than anyone, isn’t her biological father. She hopes the letter’s sender will have answers to her many questions.

Before We Sleep moves gracefully between Katey’s perspective on the road and her mother, Ruth’s. Through Ruth’s recollections, we learn of her courtship with Oliver, their marriage on the eve of war, and his return as a changed man. Oliver had always been a bit dreamy, but became more remote, finding solace most of all in repairing fiddles. There were adjustments, accommodations, sacrifices–but the family went on to find its own rhythms, satisfactions, and happiness. Now Katey’s journey may rearrange the Snows’ story.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book, the different viewpoints usually mess me up in books, but this one worked. I kind of figured certain things out ahead of time, but in this book it didn’t ruin it for me.


The Swallow’s Nest by Emilie Richards – Three women fight for the chance to raise the child they’ve all come to love.

When Lilia Swallow’s husband, Graham, goes into remission after a challenging year of treatment for lymphoma, the home and lifestyle blogger throws a party. Their best friends and colleagues attend to celebrate his recovery, but just as the party is in full swing, a new guest arrives. She presents Lilia with a beautiful baby boy, and vanishes.

Toby is Graham’s darkest secret–his son, conceived in a moment of despair. Lilia is utterly unprepared for the betrayal the baby represents, and perhaps less so for the love she begins to feel once her shock subsides. Now this unasked-for, precious gift becomes a life-changer for three women: Lilia, who takes him into her home and heart; Marina, who bore and abandoned him until circumstance and grief changed her mind; and Ellen, who sees in him a chance to correct the mistakes she made with her own son, Toby’s father.

A custody battle begins, and each would-be mother must examine her heart, confront her choices and weigh her dreams against the fate of one vulnerable little boy. Each woman will redefine family, belonging and love–and the results will alter the course not only of their lives, but also the lives of everyone they care for.

What I thought: Well, being a foster parent really had me rooting for everyone in the story and I was conflicted, lol. I am glad they told the story of all the different people. I really enjoyed this book!


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – It was the time of the French Revolution — a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ great story of unsurpassed adventure and courage unfolds.

Unjustly imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexandre Manette is reunited with his daughter, Lucie, and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it though, the pair are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman — Charles Darnay — falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom, the dissolute lawyer’s clerk Sydney Carton. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.

What I thought: Well, I know I was supposed to *love this book, but it was just ok for me. It was a good story, but not a favorite. I am sure most everyone has read it and/or knows of it and I am surprised that I hadn’t read it yet..


Here and Gone by Haylen Beck – Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.

It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

What I thought: This was a book that I read quickly as I wanted to see what happened next. I could see it being made into a movie or something! It was definitely different than what I have read in the past!


Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Anglo-Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story’s narrator Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This setting provides the frame for Marlow’s story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness. Central to Conrad’s work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises important questions about imperialism and racism. Originally published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood’s Magazine, the novella Heart of Darkness has been variously published and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness as the sixty-seventh of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.

What I thought: Eh…it was ok, not a style that I usually like and it just didn’t grip me at all. Parts of it were ok, but nothing really exciting.


The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal – It’s late. The phone rings.

The man on the other end says his daughter is missing.

Your daughter.

The baby you gave away over fifteen years ago.

What do you do?

Nora Watts isn’t sure that she wants to get involved. Troubled, messed up, and with more than enough problems of her own, Nora doesn’t want to revisit the past. But then she sees the photograph. A girl, a teenager, with her eyes. How can she turn her back on her?

But going in search of her daughter brings Nora into contact with a past that she would rather forget, a past that she has worked hard to put behind her, but which is always there, waiting for her . . .

In Eyes Like Mine, Sheena Kamal has created a kick-ass protagonist who will give Lisbeth Salander a run for her money. Intuitive, not always likeable, and deeply flawed, Nora Watts is a new heroine for our time.

What I thought: Seems to me like my books every month go on a trend, another missing child book, lol. But this one was also really good! I loved reading this book and read it quickly to see what happened next. There were parts that I thought were brought in out of left field, but in the end it kinda worked out…


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – A President Obama “O” Book Club pick

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

What I thought: I guess I am not a huge fan of books written in verse and honestly I need more ‘plot’. I didn’t get connected with any of the characters although I felt what they were getting at with the words, which I liked.


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – A crisis of conscience uproots a clergyman’s family from the pastoral beauty of the south, sending them to a dreary city in the industrial north. Margaret Hale is initially appalled by the unrefined town of Milton and its population of factory workers. But after befriending a local family, she develops a sense of sympathy for the struggles of the poor. The demands of Margaret’s awakening social conscience are further challenged by her attraction to John Thornton, self-made man and wealthy factory owner.
Praised by Charles Dickens as an “admirable story, full of character and power,” Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1855 novel unfolds across the social divides of a changing world. The romance between the haughty but sensitive heroine and an intelligent, dynamic man of lower social status touches upon political, philosophical, and economic issues. An unflinching depiction of the bleak conditions of the working poor as well as a commentary on the mid-Victorian era’s class conflicts, this richly textured tale raises timeless questions about the nature of social authority and protest.

What I thought: I liked this book! Parts of it seemed like they weren’t necessary, but in general I enjoyed it. The characters were interesting and I liked the time period, it was well described as well..


The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana – No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

What I thought: Well, right off the bat I was put off by the political letter from the author at the beginning of the book. I just thought it was cheesy, no matter what was said. The book was ok. Some parts were good, but I just didn’t connect with the main character. I thought it would be better than it was.

Those are the books I read! I have started reading some of the paperbacks that I have here stacking up rather than hitting up the library, but I am still taking suggestions on book titles if you have them! 🙂


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Everyday Cooking {Review}

A while back we used one of those grocery meal delivery services that the kids would each cook a meal from. It really helped them get the confidence they needed to know they could make a meal like that. It started adding up the more we did, so we put that on pause for a while. I was excited to try out the Everyday Cooking cookbook from Everyday Homemaking. It turned out to be a wonderful thing for our kids to use recipes from!

Everyday Cooking

I received the e-book version of the cookbook, although a printed coil-bound book is available as well! I am much better with printed things so I think I would prefer the printed one, or to take the e-book somewhere to get it printed. It is almost 200 pages, so I wouldn’t want to print it here!

There are so many recipes in this book! And I appreciate the variety! The cookbook is filled with whole food cooking mixed in with some your (new) favorite chocolate cake recipes. It is a lovely mix of recipes that will surely find you being able to make something for everyone.

The idea started as a small section in the author’s homeschooling manual called Home Education 101. Apparently she started getting a following and decided to put them all together in a book!

The book is very simply laid out. The different sections are separated by pages for notes, maybe things you would add or change, or maybe you thought of your own recipe. I wish there were more photos, as that always sells me on trying recipes, but the recipes are very easy to read and go well with the simplicity.

We tried quite a few of the recipes! I didn’t get photos of all of them, but I wanted to share the ones that I did..
Everyday Cooking Stuffed Shells
First of all was the stuffed shells. Now this isn’t the easiest to photograph, especially since it was a dinner item, but there ya go. We kinda went overboard on throwing more cheese on top, lol.

I’ve made this once before a couple years ago with a different recipe and as I was going through the recipes, I realized I was in the mood for pasta so I looked closer at the ingredients. Well, it said I could substitute cottage cheese for ricotta and since I didn’t have ricotta, that worked…and I had all the rest of the ingredients!

The recipe was very easy to make and I had Ryan help with stuffing the shells.. It was very tasty and the cottage cheese didn’t change it in anyway that I could think of! It also made more than I thought it would! We all had an extra serving as well.. :ahem:

Everyday Cooking fruit dip

We also tried the fruit salad dressing. It is so simple, and the ingredients are kinda crazy to me, but it works!! I have a go-to recipe that I usually use, but it is a hassle really to make very often. This one I actually cut the recipe in half since I am the only one that eats much fruit really, yay for sensory issues! lol But the recipe doesn’t make a ton anyway, so it would be perfect for a typical household.. I also just used vanilla rather than fruit flavored yogurt, as I like it better. Had to go with the red, white, and blue theme with the fruit also…

Everyday Cooking Oatmeal chocolate coolies

Another recipe that grabbed my attention was the chocolate oatmeal cookies. I don’t use oatmeal to all it’s advantages, so I thought I should try them! I had to go to the store for trash bags anyway, so I picked up some plain oats as I was out anyway.. I had everything else though!

The recipe is actually very easy and not too involved as far as cookies go which is great, since our week has been kind of crazy. I am blaming it all on the eclipse…am I right??

I loved the addition of the oats in these cookies! I don’t know why I never make oatmeal cookies of any kinds, but I know I will definitely use this recipe again!

The first half of the book is recipes through and through and then there are some tips in the second half that are very useful! I have always wanted to make my own vanilla, but I never have vodka around, lol.

There is also a pressure cooker area, but it deals mostly with Instant Pots and we have a different brand, so honestly I haven’t looked at it took closely. I will though, and see if I think it can work with the one we have.

The very back has a section for students, a food and nutrition mini-unit. It says it takes about 1-2 weeks, but there are 13 things that your child should do.. She mentions that her children did it as a junior high/high school age and made it a part of a home economics credit. So many great things that build on why I want my kids to cook often while they are still at home!

I think this is such a great book and am looking forward to using it more! If you are interested, there is a coupon for 10% off your purchase on her site! The Everyday Family Chore System and/or Everyday Cooking (print or e-book) through Labor Day! The code is TOS10books.

If you want to read what others thought of the cookbook, or were interested in what they thought of the Chore System book, feel free to click the banner below!

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}

Everyday Cooking

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Current Netflix’ing going on…

One of the most common questions I see floating around on my Facebook feed is about tv shows. What are you watching on Netflix, or Hulu, or whatever.. It is also one of my favorite questions to see because I always get new ideas! Here is a list of our current Netflix’ing going on…

For a few years Jeffy and I just didn’t watch much tv at all. So once we started again we had SO many shows to watch and catch up on.. Grey’s Anatomy was a big one for us, we still aren’t caught up on it since we take a break from it every now and again..

We typically watch an adventure type show and then a funny show to balance it out. If we don’t watch a more lighthearted show after the more serious one, we tend to have odd dreams. We still do, but not as often.

Image result for criminal minds

Criminal Minds was a pleasant surprise. This was a suggestion from Netflix for us that we happened to flip to. We love these type of shows, as long as it doesn’t get too gross…

Image result for the office

The Office is a pretty good show to even out the seriousness of Criminal Minds. Some shows are definitely better than others but we at least get a chuckle out of each episode.

Image result for iron fist

Iron Fist is a more recent addition to our shows. For every two Criminal Minds we will watch an Iron Fist. I think it is our last show to finish before we watch the new Marvel show that started recently. We are usually very late to the game when it comes to tv shows, in case you couldn’t tell, lol.

Image result for atypical

Atypical is a wonderful show. Full of laughs as well as some more serious topics. Jeffy doesn’t watch shows like Parenthood, so this was a surprise to me that he wanted to watch this with me. I started watching it by myself and he happened to come in on the first episode and stayed…now it’s a thing.

This is our current lineup. I know Atypical doesn’t have many shows on yet, so I am sure we will be on the lookout for another show to fill the spot. We still have a while to go on Criminal Minds and The Office.

What is on your current Netflix queue? 🙂

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Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra {Review}

We were doing pretty well with our math curriculum…and then bam, lost one due to some changes that they weren’t ready for.. Ok, found a good substitute for him… And then bam…another one ended up spending hours every day on math work. That just isn’t ok in our house. I had heard great things about No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials so I was excited to have Lauren try it out..

No-Nonsense Algebra

Now, we have tried so many different things for Algebra.. And I was surprised that this was just a book when we got it. But it’s NOT just a book! Inside the first page is a code that you can use at the website to get videos for each lesson! I will talk about those in a minute..

I had Lauren start at the beginning of the book, just to see if this book went along with what she already knew or did things differently. That makes a difference! I highly suggest doing that whenever you switch a math curriculum!

The beginning was definitely easy so we started out doing a lesson every day. As it got more involved I had her doing four lessons a week. We are still doing that amount each week.
No-Nonsense Algebra worksheetThere is room in the book to write answers down, but I figured that I would just make up a little worksheet that had room for answers. She could also do her work on that page if she wanted to, or use another piece of paper if the questions are a little more difficult. This also makes  it easier to grade later.

When  it comes to grading, I go over her answers and mark the incorrect ones and she can go over the ones that she missed to see what she did wrong. This seems to be a good system for us with this book and she finds it a better fit than what we were doing.

The videos are fantastic! There isn’t any fluff it is just straight forward explanations. Everything is step by step and it builds on what you have already learned in each lesson.
No-Nonsense Algebra video

This is part of one video. You can see how each step is clearly gone through. Richard W. Fisher is the author of the book as well as an award-winning teacher, and he narrates each video lesson. He has a very easy voice to listen to and he talks in such a way that you just understand everything he says!
No-Nonsense Algebra video 2
You can see that there are a few different equations added now on the same screen. They are similar, but different enough that you will be able to do various questions easily now that you have watched them being done.
No-Nonsense Algebra video 2
As you move further along, you can see that the equations get a little tougher, but there are still plenty of explanations going on.

I love that each lesson in the book is quite short. It starts with a quick introduction letting you know what the lesson is about and provides some helpful hints. Then there are some examples with a few steps. The exercise section has all of your questions. There aren’t ever that many, I would say 16 has been the average. At the end are about four review questions. These just make sure that you understand what you have learned so far.

I think this may be a winner for Lauren. Right now it is her main curriculum for math and I think it is a great fit for her! The ease of the book and the straight forwardness of the videos are a perfect match…

If you want to read what others thought of their experience with No-Nonsense Algebra, feel free to click the banner below!

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra

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Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 Set {Review}

We have been learning everything Greece related so far this school year. I love when we can bunch a subject together all year long like that! It was perfect timing to try out the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 set from Greek ‘n’ Stuff.

Hey, Andrew!Teach Me Some Greek!
My kids are all older and therefore the website suggested we start with level 3. If your kids are younger, you may want to see what level you should start out with.

The workbook looks exactly as what is pictured above. It is spiral bound and the lessons take up about 170 pages with 36 lessons throughout the book.

I love that this workbook makes it easy for you to write your answers in the spaces provided! A lot of workbooks that offer this make the spaces way too small. Even though the handwriting section looked similar to the writing lines that they get when they are first learning how to write, my older kids didn’t even care about that.
Greek 'n' Stuff worksheetLesson 1 starts out with the alphabet. They have a diagram with hand motions to show you how to write that letter. For example, the Epsilon figure shows the hand on the right side is the first mark you make, and the hand on the left side is the second mark.
Greek 'n' Stuff cdThe worksheet also provides a pronunciation hint that is definitely helpful! And when we couldn’t quite grasp the pronunciation we would use this cd that had all sorts of help for us. Not only did it have pronunciations of the letters, it also had an alphabet song. It is pretty difficult to learn that, but once you do, it kind of stays in your head a while, lol.

The cd also had pronunciation help for the rest of the workbook, not just the letters of the alphabet. This came in handy so often because it is hard to know if you are getting the accent on the right letters and such.

Greek 'n' Stuff worksheet 2
As you progress through the book, there are more words as well as phrases introduced. The activities will build on previous learned items too, which will keep it all fresh in your mind.

In the back of the book are nine pages of a final review. This is pretty thorough, but it will definitely show you if you were paying attention! The last page is a crossword puzzle. I never thought of doing that in Greek, wow!

Also in the back is an appendix, which is broken down into many different areas. The glossaries, the alphabet, vowels and diphthongs, punctuation, breathing marks, word order, moods of the Greek verb, voices of the Greek verb, present tense, gender of the Greek noun, cases of the Greek noun, second declension, Bible copy work, and an index. All of those are helpful and they aren’t too wordy at all.
Greek 'n' Stuff flashcardsIn the very back of the book are some flash cards that you can use! These are awesome! I went ahead and made copies of these so I could cut them out but not be afraid that if they got lost they would be gone forever. I then glued them together, although you could use tape or whatever. You can see the example for both sides. One has the Greek word and the other has it all in English as well as what lesson and page you learned it on in the workbook…

I also got a copy of the answer key..and I LOVE LOVE LOVE when companies do this.. They make it look exactly like the workbook but with everything correct in the blanks! Ahhh, that makes it so much easier!

I am looking forward to getting through more of this! It’s kinda cool that when you visit Greek ‘n’ Stuff you will see that they offer more than just Greek! The Alone With God Bible Studies look pretty cool too! If you want to see what others thought of Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 or the Bible studies, feel free to click the banner below!

Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}

Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 Set

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Thursday Things

Woah…what a week! It’s one of those that went up and down.. Those are the kinds of weeks that it is even better to make time to think of the good things. So, here is the next Thursday Things! And no, these are never affiliate links or anything like that, these are honestly things that I enjoy… 🙂

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Triscuit Balsamic Vinegar & Basil –  Um.. hello? I so love balsamic vinegar and basil, and in a cracker? I’m all over it.

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Ok, these are NOT my teeth, lol… But I did get braces today. :sigh: I am not happy about it, but I am happy that hopefully my bite will be fixed. It’s going to take a while they think, so here goes nothin’.

Ryan got a job! We are so excited and hope it is a good fit for him, he starts tomorrow!

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Not Parent Approved – Such a great game.. It’s like Cards Against Humanity but for kids. We have played it a few times and have gotten so many laughs. I apparently get the perfect card when I draw at the end of a turn. Of course…lol. Ryan does pretty well though. I asked on FB for some favorite cheap games and someone suggested this one. There were so many suggestions though, I will have to go back and write them down!

Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur – This has been playing pretty frequently and I find myself enjoying it more and more every time. It’s definitely a favorite around here this week..


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In the Reign of Terror {Review}

You guys know how much I love the audio stories from Heirloom Audio Productions because I have talked about them frequently! We recently received In the Reign of Terror and the timing couldn’t have been better!

In the Reign of Terror

We’ve done a lot of Greek this year already and within the last couple months started working on this time in history. In the Reign of Terror is based around the time of the French Revolution.

Harry, the main character and 16 years old and from England, goes to stay with the Marquis de St. Caux in France. The hope being that Harry could teach his children English while Harry could get help with his military career.

The first few chapters are basically getting to know the characters and getting some back story but pretty soon it gets right into it. I was pretty surprised that there was a dog attack and a wolf hunt one right after the other and Harry was the surprising hero in those stories.

Shortly after the high of the attacks there comes bad news from Paris. This starts a talk on fleeing…and is full of more stories. I don’t want to give too much away! It’s definitely a story that will keep you wondering what is happening next!

I will say that some parts, especially the dog and wolf chapters, might be better for older kids, or those that don’t mind hearing stories about animals and people dying. Even animals attacking..I know some kids are sensitive to that.
Live the Adventure club logo
One thing I was excited about this go around was the new Live the Adventure Club ! Before, you could get a bunch of awesome extras that go with the story… And that was great! But now, it has turned into a whole community as well!
Live the Adventure Reign of Terror
When you are part of the club you can look at which audio story you are listening to and choose between the bonus content or listen online as shown above.

I love the listen online feature! I use my laptop during school and sometimes it just couldn’t keep up with the cd for some reason, so when that happens I like to have the option of listening online. And in the same way, our wifi isn’t the greatest, so I also like having the option of the cd! It all works!

The Bonus Content is where it is at though! And it is improved in how it used to be, just an easier layout and very user friendly.

When you go into the Bonus Content section for In the Reign of Terror, you will see the chapters lists on the right of the screen. You can click on whichever chapter you want to start with. You can click on the button that says Start the Adventure and it will take you to the start. Then you can listen to each chapter as you want them.

Further down the page is the bonus content! There is so much there! You can read the whole e-book if you want to.. or listen to the soundtrack! You can have desktop wallpaper too! There is a printable cast poster, which the cast in each and every one of these audio stories is pretty dang amazing! I would take it somewhere to get printed though, that’s a lot of ink! Also a printable inspirational verse poster.
In the Reign of Terror Study GuideIn the Reign of Terror Script

My favorite things in the bonus content though are the study guide first of all.. And then the script!

The study guide is filled with all sorts of things! You can go about accessing it a couple ways. You can download it so it is ready on your computer. Or you can access it through the Live the Adventure Club pages. Now, in the past I would have sworn that downloading it is the way to go because it is just always there and it is familiar… But wow…they really stepped up the game with the new club pages!

In the Reign of Terror Adventure Club

As you click on the first page you have options… You can listen to it, as I mentioned above…but if you wanted to, you could click on the read along script button! You know, that comes in handy with all of these french phrases and names being tossed around, lol.

I am very happy with how they have the Thinking Further section right there as well. So many different activities that you can do as well as questions to answer that make you think a little harder! There are twelve listed just here!

Every chapter also has a set of defining words. Most of these the kids knew, but there were some in french that they just weren’t sure of! And even some other words…they thought they knew what they meant, but they were way off…ha!

In the Reign of Terror Adventure Club Quiz
You can take a chapter quiz. Now this is available on the download too, and we usually just use these as ask and answer after each chapter and anyone that knows the answer would take their turn.. But this gives you an interactive quiz, where you check what you think is correct and you know right then and there! I love that!

At the very bottom you can check the chapter complete, bookmark the chapter, or mark it as a favorite. All great things that you wouldn’t even think you needed until you knew they were there. 🙂

I know I have been going on about this new club that they came up with, but I find it all fantastic and a great addition to the audio stories that we already love and enjoy…

We have listened to three other Heirloom Audio Productions in the past and you can read the reviews here, if you are interested! Beric The Briton, The Dragon and the Raven, and The Cat of Bubastes. Now, don’t ask me what my favorite is, because I couldn’t tell you..lol.. But if you were looking at titles that you might be interested in, those are the ones we have done so far and loved…

If you are interested in hearing what others thought of In the Reign of Terror or the new Live the Adventure Club feel free to click the banner below!

In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
In the Reign of Terror

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What I read in July

What I read this month

WOW!! I didn’t think I read too many books in July. I guess I was wrong! I just logged in to my Goodreads account and sat there wondering if it was playing tricks on me! Granted, Jeffy has been gone a bit this month and I tend to read at night rather than watch tv since it isn’t fun without him…but still. I really am shocked, lol. So, here is my very random list of what I read in July. 🙂


The Leavers by Lisa Ko – One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It’s the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

What I thought: This book was good and then kind of questionable and I just didn’t know how I felt about it while reading. It kind of jumped around a bit. I did end up liking it well enough in the end as everything made more sense to me.


At Any Cost by Mike & Hayley Jones – When Mike and Hayley set out to adopt a child from Sierra Leone, Africa, never in their wildest imaginations did they dream this venture would lead to the “Jones Dozen.” This dramatically moving story will amaze and inspire any reader. Their stunning observation: “It was the least we could do!”

What I thought: I enjoyed reading the story of this couple adopting so many children! Some parts of the book jumped around a bit as well as repeated itself a bit..but in the end it was a well told story!


Love Was Near by Sandra Martin – Love Was Near, offers a deeper look into the movie, Trust Fund, exposing what’s behind the story and what Reese is thinking. Like all of us, Reese is ready to forget some of the things she’s done and head towards a brighter future. But before she slams this chapter of her life shut, she takes a final glance back. She doesn’t turn to salt, but she does find she has plenty to learn about life, love and the risk of trusting others.

Reese invites us to join her on a very personal journey as she shares with us her everyday struggles and answers our questions of who did what and why. Leading us to questions about our own identity, purpose, and life plan. Don’t worry about having the right answers; there are none. Just be honest, if not for you, for the future you; It’s your story!

What I thought: This book goes with the movie Trust Fund that I talked about in this review. It was a journal type book, but it had a few punctuation errors that kind of drove me a little batty, but the overall idea was good.


The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis – This classic of Christian devotional literature has brought understanding and comfort to millions for centuries. Both Protestants and Catholics — as well as mystics and historians of religious thought — have studied these meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, finding in them a path to prayer and spiritual guidance. Written in a candid and conversational style, The Imitation of Christ discusses liberation from worldly inclinations, recollection as a preparation for prayer, the consolations of prayer, and the place of eucharistic communion in a devout life. With its simple, readable text, this translation will appeal to new readers as well as to those already familiar with this religious classic.

What I thought: Reading this aloud probably changed how I feel about it…but it was a hard read. It seemed repetitive quite a bit. I did get a lot of out it though!


Such Small Hands by Andres Barba – It was once a happy city; we were once happy girls. . . . Life changes at the orphanage the day Marina shows up. As she tries to find her place, she creates a game whose rules are dictated by a haunting violence. In hypnotic, lyrical prose, Andrés Barba evokes the pain of loss and the hunger for acceptance—a masterwork from the Spanish writer at the peak of his powers.

What I thought: This was definitely a different kind of book than what is normal for me. I was confused through a lot of the book, although it was interesting in a weird way. The ending was just kind of abrupt and I questioned the whole story, lol.


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour – You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

What I thought: I was intrigued by the characters in this book…even the ones that weren’t in it all that much. The author did a great job with them. I enjoyed the story as well!


The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land – Twenty-four hours. That’s all it takes for the lives of two young people to be changed forever.

Alex Chin has the world on a plate. A football hero and homecoming king with plenty of scholarship offers, his future looks bright. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is preparing to graduate high school at the top of her class. She plans to turn her NASA internship into a career. When a football accident lands Alex in the hospital, his world is turned upside down. His doctor is murdered. Then, his parents. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, and now it’s after him.

Alex flees. He tells Samantha not to follow, but she became involved the moment she walked through his door and found Mr. and Mrs. Chin as they lay dying in their home. She cannot abandon the young man she loves. The two race desperately to stay ahead of Alex’s attackers long enough to figure out why they are hunting him in the first place. The answer lies with a secret buried deep in his past, a secret his parents died to protect. Alex always knew he was adopted, but he never knew the real reason his birth parents abandoned him. He never knew where he truly came from. Until now.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book! It was a little weird, a little cool.. I think I read this one pretty quickly!


And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz – Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who’s always nurtured Nora’s talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history’s most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It’s a no-brainer: Nora is in!

Unfortunately, Nora’s mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter and her opinions haven’t gone unnoticed. Nora couldn’t feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they’ve ever been. But seconds after saying goodbye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: “Wait! Stop! I’m coming with you!”

What I thought: I enjoyed this book, the story of a mother and daughter. It’s probably pretty correct for a lot of relationships. I enjoyed reading about the various places they went to, and the people…


The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn – Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”

What I thought: I enjoyed reading about this couple as well as the other characters in the book. The story goes pretty much as well as can be expected, but I liked how it was written.


Crazy House by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet – No one gets out alive.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her home and thrown without reazon into a hellish prison known as the Crazy House. To avoid execution, she’s told to shut her mouth and keep her head down.

Becca was never really good at either.

Her only hope for survival is for her sister, Cassie, to find her—that the “good twin” will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it’s too late. Because the jailers at Crazy House soon discover they made a mistake that could get both sisters killed…

What I thought: This book was pretty good, I read it pretty fast as I kept wanting to see what happened next. I could easily see a sequel being made of this and even possibly a movie. Loved it.


Here I stand by Roland H. Bainton – With sound historical scholarship and penetrating insight, Roland Bainton examines Luther’s widespread influence. He re-creates the
spiritual setting of the sixteenth century, showing Luther’s placewithin it and influence upon it. Richly illustrated with more than100 woodcuts and engravings from Luther’s own time, Here I Stand dramatically brings to life Martin Luther, the great Reformer.

A specialist in Reformation history, Roland H. Bainton was forforty-two years Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale, and he continued his writing well into his twenty years of retirement. Bainton wore his scholarship lightly and had a lively, readable style. His most popular book was Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (1950), which sold more than a million copies.

What I thought: Again…reading this aloud was exhausting. Thankful for all of the pictures..lol. Sometimes it was hard to follow, but we got the basic idea…


The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward – Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate.

Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.

Beautifully shifting between perspectives, The Nearness of You deftly explores the connections we form, the families we create, and the love we hold most dear.

What I thought: I was caught up in the story pretty quickly. I was surprised at the jump in years when it happened, I wasn’t quite ready for that as I was attached to the characters the way they were at that point. There were quite a few characters and I typically don’t like jumping around from one to the other, but it worked out well…

:phew: If you read this far, you are amazing, lol. Let me know if you have any suggestions on other book titles! I am always looking for titles and most of the time I just grab books at the library that I am drawn to by the cover.. Like the last one has poppies which are my favorite flower. 🙂

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