About the title

In our home we want learning to be fun. We want to entertain our children first in order to get their attention. Once we have their attention, the learning can begin. School does not have to be boring. So our journey starts with Entertaining to Educate...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stewed Plums / Plum Butter in the Crockpot

Yesterday was co-op day.  The food co-op that is.  What a great day.  I ended up with extra items since one of our members couldn't make it for pickup.  The others did not want the "stuff" so I brought home the extras.  One of the things I ended up with was an entire carton of black plums.  The box said 28 lbs.  Twenty-eight pounds of plums???  What was I supposed to do with that?

We ate some of them, but still had tons.  I searched for easy crockpot plum butter or something similar.  After looking at multiple recipes I chose the easiest one I found.  (Had lots of other things to do today...)  I ended up with this:

8 lbs of plums (before removing the pits)
1 cup white sugar
about 3/4 cup brown sugar (this was my edition)

I peeled the plums and removed the pits.  I sliced the plums and added the sugar and placed them in the crockpot.  I cooked on high for about 8 hours.  After a good while it still had lots of liquid.  I put a wooden spoon across the top to vent the crockpot.  This helped the evaporation some.  I stirred the mixture every so often (when I remembered) throughout the day.  After turning off, some more of the liquid seemed to evaporate.

I ended up leaving them in chunks.  I thought about putting them in the food processer and blend them up, but I opted to leave as is.  They are very tart.  I ended up serving them on vanilla ice cream and the sweetness of the ice cream helped to balance the tartness ~ but oh boy ~ they are still pretty tart.

I still have about 1/3 of the box.  What will I do with them tomorrow???

Homemade Deodorant

One of the things that I seem to hate spending money on are those essentials ~ deodorant, toothpaste, soap, detergent...  all those things I REFUSE to do without....  I just hate to spend money on them.  Well, thanks to Pinterest (oh it can be such a dangerous place!!!) I got interested in trying out some things.

At our house, we like, no love to eat.  We don't eat out very often because I can buy groceries for a lot less money than what it costs to eat out and get so much more for the money.  I cook from scratch often and am always willing to try new creations.Why it never occurred to me to try other products ~ like deodorant~ I am not sure.

While scrolling through pins on Pinterest I saw, "Homemade Deodorant".  Hmmm, I got interested.  I looked at several "recipes".  The basic recipe seems to be very similar.  There are minor differences and formulas.  I went with what I felt was one of the simplest ideas. I decided not to add the extras until I knew if I liked it or not.

There are lots of reasons to make your own deodorant.  Cost is a huge reason.  The homemade variety is a tremendous amount cheaper.  The aluminum in commercial deodorant often causes staining of clothes.  There is also a lot of research that points to cancer and alzheimer's being linked to aluminum in deodorant.  But for me, one of the biggest things is:  IT WORKS BETTER and it is cheaper...

Here is one of the sites I looked at with information about Homemade Deodorant.  The basic ingredients are baking soda, corn starch, and coconut oil.  That is all I use.  Many of the recipes call for essential oils.  Those are for fragrance and they also have added benefits like anti-bacterial properties, etc.  I opted not to use them ~ simply because I don't already have them and when I made the first batch I didn't want to spend the extra money in case I didn't like the deodorant.

The recipe is easy.  I started with a very small batch ~ liked it and now I make a larger batch each time so I have to make it less often.  But, it only takes 3-4 minutes from start to finish per batch!  I usually go with this:

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch (can use arrowroot powder as an alternate)
5-6 tblsp coconut oil

I put 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil in a glass bowl or measuring cup and melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Remove from microwave and add 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup corn starch.  Stir together until mixed well.

Now, there are a couple different routes you can take from here.  I take a small plastic bowl and line it with either wax paper or plastic wrap and then pour the mixture in it.(this is not mandatory ~ but it makes releasing the deodorant from the bowl much easier.)  I keep my deodorant in the refrigerator.  Coconut oil liquifies at 78 degrees.  If it is really cool in your house, then keeping it on the counter will be fine.  I like the "stick" method.  By keeping it in the fridge it is hard and works like a regular stick deodorant.  As soon as you rub on your skin it will "melt" and applies easily.

An alternative method is to leave it out and use your fingers or some other applicator to rub it on.  This will be more of a lotion consistency.  This method did not appeal to me.  Some ideas you can use are putting the deodorant in an old deodorant container.  This did not work well for me but I have read about a lot of others that do.  Another option is popsicle molds.  I keep thinking I might try this idea someday. ;)

A few notes to consider.  I have been using this for over a year now.  I must say I will never buy deodorant for myself again!  The first week or so is a transitional period.  It seems as though I sweated a bit more the first week with my body adjusting to the more natural product.  After a few days, to a week, I believe that overall I sweat less now.  I do not ever notice an odor.  This product absolutely controls odor.  It is unbelievable!  My hubby has used it as well and he does not have any odor with it either.

There are reports that some people experience rashes or breakouts in the initial period.  Many believe that the cornstarch is an irritant to some.  If you experience that, I would recommend trying the arrowroot powder.  I personally have not tried it ~ but have read others that had great success with this also.

If you don't like this method, there are several other options out there.  Just search on pinterest or do a web search and you will find.  There is also powder method and a roll on method.

Try it out and see what you think.  I bet you will like it too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Time 4 Learning Review

Thanks Time 4 Learning.  We had some troubles during our initial review period and Time 4 Learning was very gracious and extended our review period.  So, this is a bit of an update to our last post/review.

Time 4 Learning is a fun way to learn.  The student is able to log on and easily navigate through the lessons and activities.  I like the fact the student is able to choose what subject / lesson they want to do next.  I am not a stickler about subjects being completed in a particular order.  I like the freedom of allowing my children to decide the order of subjects.

  The site is easy to navigate.  There is a parent section and student login sections.  As a parent you can easily see how many times your student has logged in.  You can also see a status of assignments completed and progress throughout the system.  There is an option to print enrollment and certificates also.

I would recommend Time 4 Learning if you have a child that likes the internet and enjoys fun interactive sties.  It is also good for those that do not enjoy physically writing.  Work is either clicking on selections or typing.  Your child will be tied to a screen and that may not be something some parents want.  You are limited to working at the computer and internet is of course absolutely necessary.  We only used this on a laptop so I can't say how well it works via tablet.

Time 4 Learning would be a good program for someone on the go as long as you had wi-fi available or your own hot spot. This eliminates taking extra books and materials with you.

At this time, we are not looking to spend the monthly fee associated with Time 4 Learning.  I do feel it is a fair price, and comparable with other curriculum.  It is a monthly charge so if you decide it is not a fit for your child, you can stop.   Time 4 Learning offers a money back guarantee if you are not happy.  That is fair and you can't beat that kind of guarantee.

Thanks again Time 4 Learning.  We really enjoyed getting a test run with your product!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Time 4 Learning ~ the results

Well, our review period has ended.  We are thankful for the opportunity to review the product.  I will be honest that we did not get to review the product as fully as I would like.  I don't know about everyone else, but sometimes life just happens...  circumstances and situations not on your calendar and not in your plans just happen.  They don't work out like you expect.  I had planned on us using Time4Learning as our curriculum for the past month.  Abandoning other curriculum so we could use it fully.  Well, that just did not work out as planned.

Right now we are having internet issues.  (Thanks ATT!!) We are not getting the broadband service all the time.  They are supposedly upgrading or something I don't know.  So, sometimes it takes forever to load and sometimes the pages won't load at all.  That threw a wrench in our plans. We also had a death in the family and traveled out of town for a funeral.  A few other things happened too.  You know the old saying when it rains it pours...  Well, hopefully we got it all out of the way for a while.  If only the trial was for 30 days, not 30 consecutive days...

My oldest (a 7th grader) really did not even get to try out the product at all.  She is really a technology lover and I felt it would go over well with her.  So, unfortunately we won't know about her.  My 4th grader did try the product.  He too is a technology lover and can almost be fooled into school work by it being on the computer (notice I said almost.....)

The 4th grader really liked it.  He would sit and work for much longer than a normal time for sitting with school work.  He enjoys working on the computer.  My kids get limited computer time (with almost no internet time).  Most of their computer time is with games loaded on their computer, music, or creating videos.

The cost for the subscription is moderate.  Our family is on a tight budget and search for bargain ways to obtain curriculum. I am not sure that we could justify paying the price.  But it is not as much as some products.  Also ~ there is no contract.  You are able to cancel and they do offer a 14 day money back guarantee. That gives you an opportunity to check out the program and see if it works for you.

I like that it is all set up for you.  You can see log in records and progress made by the student.  It is little effort on the part of the parent.  I guess you have to determine what works well for your family.  I have mixed emotions about everything being online.  That ties you to electricity and internet leaving you less flexible.  We enjoy working outside on beautiful days or taking work with us when we need to go somewhere.  So, that is one downside to this.

Overall, I would recommend the program.  We did like it.  Maybe we will have an opportunity to use it again in the future.  One thing I am disappointed about  is that I do not have the availability to see my child's records since our review time is over.  I have seven days to convert the account to a paid account and if I do that ~ I will have it all.  If not, they will be deleted.  I thought I would be able to print/save the records at the end of the trial period.  Guess I should have checked a few days earlier...

Thanks Time4Learning for the opportunity.  Maybe you will let us try it again sometime.

***Update****  we will be trying this for one more month to give it a better review...Stay tuned...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Update on Time 4 Learning

Well, I emailed Time 4 Learning and they responded the same day.  Apparently there must have been a big response to this opportunity.  They got our accounts activated and made the activation date for today so we will get the full opportunity.  We didn't lose a week after all.  We will get started tomorrow and see how it goes....

Stay tuned for more information... :)

Time 4 Learning...waiting

We signed up for a free trial with Time 4 Learning with the promise to blog about it.  Well, it has been six days and the accounts are still pending....  I have sent an email to the support and we will see what happens next.  Stay tuned to see if we get to try it out or not??

Happy Monday..

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Time 4 Learning Curriculum Review

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candidcurriculum review. Time4Learning offers an online curriculum for prek-8th, and resources that help with things like homeschool portfolio reviews. This can be useful as an afterschool curriculum as well. Be sure to come back and read about my experience.