Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A New year, a new stack of books!

It's a new year and that means a new stack of books to read! Every year for the past 5+ years I've been doing the Goodreads reading challenge. I think it's suppose to be something like 100 books in a year but the most I've ever read in a year was 43 books last year. 

Anyways, these are some books in my stack right now:

My goal for this year is only 12 books. Funny, that's what my goal was for last year also. I've found that if I make smaller goals it's super easy to succeed. So, what's on your list?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tales of a Grungy Crockpot...and how to de-grime it! Plus, a recipe!

I don't know about you but I use my crockpot about 1 to 2 times per week. It gets loaded down with everything from barbecue chicken to chili and sometimes it gets a little gross. The kids (and the adults) drip some food down the side or the chili boils over a little and the poor crockpot gets messy. So today, I saw the poor thing sitting on the counter and thought I'd give it a good scrub.

Here's the before photo. It's seen better days. I don't usually think about this thing. I just clean out the stoneware part and go about my business.

Here are the supplies I used to give this thing a good scrub. 

I hold on to old yogurt containers so I can use them for random things like this. You need baking soda, water, an old toothbrush, a cloth or paper towel and an empty container. First you are going to pour a couple spoonfuls of baking soda in to the empty container. Them pour some water in to make a paste. Like this. Sorry, I realize it's a little difficult to see the paste. It should be the consistency of school glue.

Then you will take your toothbrush and dip it in the paste and scrub the inside of the crockpot base. You can re-dip as needed. The baking soda acts as an abrasive to help loosen the caked on grime. Just keep scrubbing and dipping until you get it all loosened. It only took about 2-3 minutes.

This next part was a learning process as I obviously hadn't cleaned this thing in a while. You want to take the crockpot base and set it on the sink so that it's sort of straddling the sink (see the picture below). You aren't suppose to submerge the crockpot.  Then pour really hot water into the crockpot base. I started my electric kettle before I began scrubbing so I'd have the hot water ready. 

Placing it on the sink is very important because you see those 2 little dots in the bottom of the base? Yeah, apparently they are hole :) Learned that the hard way. But my countertop got an amazing steam bath. When you have rinsed it thoroughly and wipe down the inside this is what you'll have left. 

It could probably use a little more scrubbing but it's clean. Then use the paper towel or cloth and some hot soapy water to clean off the outside. And voila! A clean crockpot that's not disgusting or embarrassing. You won't mind bringing this to a potluck. You might even be so proud that you'll leave it out on the counter!

Now here's my favorite barbecue chicken recipe: 

Crockpot Chicken

3-4 chicken breast halves
1 bottle your favorite barbecue sauce

  1. Place chicken in the crockpot. 
  2. Pour barbecue sauce over the chicken. Save a little sauce if you want to use as a condiment later. 
  3. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for around 5-6 hours. 
  4. Shred the chicken and serve.
My family loves it on hamburger buns with cole slaw and chips on the side. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Review of Yearly Membership

See below review for more information and a coupon code for 50% off!

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Yearly Membership from! I’m completely hooked. I’ve been clicking through all the resources available and making my list for future class to teach while utilizing the website.

My favorite class so far is called Foundations for Teens. It’s a video based Bible curriculum for High Schoolers and probably nobody younger than Junior High ages (12+) as there are some mature themes covered. And I just happen to have 2 of those...High Schoolers that is. Here are some of the topics covered:

  • Apologetics
  • Prayer
  • Doctrine (The Bible, the Trinity, Creation, Sin, Salvation, Worship, the Church)
  • Why We Trust the Bible
  • Redeeming Darwin: The Intelligent Design Controversy
  • The Bible: Why Does It Endure?
Even in the very first video, I was hooked. I previewed the video and then immediately had to show my teens. They reluctantly came in to watch the video, which is only 19 minutes. But sometimes as a teen that feels like forever. Not the case here. This is a photo of the boys watching intently.

This is a 22 unit course with “approximately 28 hours of video instruction”. It should easily count for ½ credit. Probably as an elective.
On a more personal note, I found the hosts backstory very interesting. He gave his testimony and told about his Muslim family. I also enjoyed Mac Powell from Third Day! The kids really enjoyed that the video wasn’t super long and the footage was actually shot in Jerusalem. 

I think I would consider this particular curriculum for use in homeschool, as well as, in a homeschool co-op setting. It includes questions to print out and essay questions to complete as well. We printed out the questions for the first series and did those while watching the video. The boys said they appreciated the high quality of the video. And they brought up some interesting points afterwards about the cave which is the suspected site of Jesus’ birth. You know it’s good when your teens who don’t want to talk start telling you what they learned. This curriculum comes highly recommended!
My 12 year old even came in to get in on the action.

I also took some time looking through the website. There are lots of resources on there. I found the Planners especially interesting. The Schoolhouse Planner alone has 800 pages of calendars and schedules to make your school year planning go more smoothly. 

Also, with your Yearly Membership you get access to over 10,000 streaming videos through the Media Library provided by RightNow Media! Titles include VeggieTales, What's In the Bible, John MacArthur, Dave Ramsey, John Maxwell and lots of others. There's literally something for your whole family to watch. 

Something else I found to be really interesting and worth digging in to is the variety of courses available. The courses are broken up by subject and grade level to make it easier to find what you are looking for. 

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were recently given a  full Yearly Membership Option to for review. is a homeschool online learning experience unlike any other, brought to the homeschool community by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Available to families World Wide
  • Work at your own pace
  • Help Tutorials
  • Media Library with over 10,000 streaming videos
  • Courses are listed by subject or grade level.
  • Quick links to courses you know you are taking
  • Achievement Certificates
  • FREE planners and monthly bonus eBooks.
  • Record Keeping Help
  • High School Help
  • Focused Learning Centre to help struggling students with specific skills
  • Course Check Lists
  • Encouragement and much much more.



To see a FULL list of classes available in the following subject areas click on the links below:
Join monthly for $12.95 each month or save over 10% on a one-year membership for $139. One fee serves your entire family. Anyone living in your home can use the site 24/7. You can cancel anytime. Special pricing is available for small groups and co-cops.
Price includes all available teacher interaction and lessons, hundreds of e-books, the Schoolhouse Planners, and other downloadable teaching and learning products. Remember, you don’t need a membership for each child; one membership serves your entire family! From today until the end of the month we have a 50% discount coupon code for our followers.
In addition to the daily, weekly, or monthly lesson plans offered, members of SchoolhouseTeachers also receive many extras — Digital back issues of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, all 5 of the popular Schoolhouse Planners, recordings of the Schoolhouse Expos, free monthly eBooks and TOS supplements, and membership to Applecore, an online homeschool tracking software, among them.
Click here to see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members had to say about!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Just the most disgusting post I've ever written...With Pictures!

I am going to apologize in advance for this post. And I'm also going to make the following disclaimers:

  1. My mom did in fact teach me to clean the toilet. 
  2. I'm not a disgusting person.
  3. I do clean the bathrooms in my home. 
  4. I am not for hire.
  5. This toilet has been cleaned before. 
  6. *Insert whatever snide comment about my cleaning abilities*
Now that that is out of the way, lets get started. 

Here is what you will need:

One absolutely, embarrassingly revolting toilet. (Note: See that white bit? I already scrubbed for about 1 minute.) (Another note: the brown stuff is not "stuff" it's from hard water and scum.)

You will also need a container of this. It's called Bar Keepers Friend. It works similarly to Comet. I got it at Walmart for around $2. It doesn't have the bleachy smell of Comet. 

You will also want (and this is essential) one of these. It's a pumice stone designed for this very purpose! I got it at Home Depot for $2.49 each. If you have a really messed up toilet you may want to buy 2. I also found them at Walmart for $1.89 but I'd already gotten them at Home Depot. 

And lastly you are gonna want to protect your hand with a great pair of cheap rubber gloves. I got them at Dollar Tree :) They were going in the trash afterwards and I don't want to tell you how hard I searched Walmart for them. Seriously? I couldn't find them anywhere. 

Now that you've gotten all your supplies together here's what you do. 
  1. Put on your gloves cause eww.
  2. Open the toilet. (duh)
  3. Give the toilet a good scrub with the handy dandy toilet brush. Just to make sure you don't have uhm "stuff" floating around. *gross*
  4. Flush.
  5. Sprinkle some of the Bar Keepers Helper in all around. 
  6. Unwrap your pumice and dip it in the toilet water until it absorbs some of the water. Don't worry it's clean enough. And besides you aren't gonna want to use this pumice anywhere else. 
  7. Start taking out your aggression on the nastiness that is your toilet. Scrub like nobody's business. Make sure to get under the rim where the water comes from. 
  8. Flush as needed to clear out the gunk. 
  9. Make the kids come watch! Seriously, they need to know how to clean toilets too. 
  10. Get down so you can see the messy areas you may have missed. Grime likes to hide. 
  11. When you think it's good enough, add a little more Bar Keepers to it and give it another good scrub with the toilet brush. 
  12. Flush one more time. Voila! Clean toilet. 
  13. Just wipe down the rest of the toilet with a wad of toilet paper or a clorox wipe and make the kids come see how clean it is. Or make the kids do the wiping down. They'll thank you later. 
  14. Make sure your husband sees it too. He'll brag to the kids. At least mine did :) 
Here's the result: 

So there ya go. A clean toilet in less than 30 minutes. I actually went through 2 pumices. I cleaned 2 toilets. The first wasn't even worth mentioning. But together it took less than 30 minutes. Hopefully, this helps someone :)