National Pizza Month!

Who knew..?

October is National Pizza month and pizza, specifically, thin crust cheese with pineapple and tomato slices (I  know, my husband thinks I’m weird) is my absolute fave. We are fortunate to have a fabulous locally owned pizza place that hands down, beats all the typical chains.

pizza slicing

It’s a guilty pleasure at least once a month, typically on Sunday nights (especially now during football season)!

So let’s all raise a slice and celebrate this month:)



How I’m Using Up the Last of the Garden Veggies

I love October.  I really do.  The colors are magnificent.  The weather, delightful.  a Fall 2014 182The only part that makes me sad is that the garden winds down and stops producing in the early fall.  We still have a few cherry tomatoes coming up, and some green onions.  There were three small zucchini on two of our plants, but the last time I checked they were looking a bit on the shriveled side.  :)

However!  We still have some gorgeous produce to use up.  a Fall 2014 181Some cukes and tomatoes, and some very large zucchini which sneaked up on me!  a Fall 2014 027Last night, we had part of one zucchini with a fantastic pizza-esque recipe I found on Pinterest.  (More on that later.)  But, the zucchini had gotten so big before I discovered it (we were out of town) that the rind was a bit on the tough side.  The insides were perfect, though, and I wanted to use it, so I made one of our family favorites today at lunchtime; Marie from Proud Italian Cook’s Zucchini Tomato Gratin.  I figured that baking the zucchini for awhile would soften them up.  This is such an incredible recipe; the flavor absolutely explodes in your mouth.  Yet it’s so simple to prepare!a Fall 2014 219You can’t see the zucchini at all, but trust me, it’s in there!  Layers of zucchini and tomato slices, with some sauteed onions tucked in one layer, along with other layers of bread crumbs and fresh shredded Parmesan cheese.  We’ll have this as a side to our chicken, broccoli and brown rice dish later tonight, for dinner.

Another way I used up our zucchini was a fresh veggie saute.  This was super-simple.  First, I sauteed chopped onion in a little olive oil.  Then I added sliced zucchini and let it cook until the zucchini softened a bit and was starting to look a bit translucent.a Fall 2014 006Then, I added sliced mushrooms and cooked a bit more.  Lastly, for both some pop for the eyes and the taste buds, I threw in some cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves.  I left those in the pan just long enough to heat the tomatoes somewhat.

Then, I dished them onto plates and added a little grated Parmesan cheese (for a little more pop!).  a Fall 2014 011You would not believe how meaty (so to speak) and satisfying this was!  Normally I try to eat meat protein a couple of times a day, just because my energy level tends to crater if I don’t.  But this kept me going all afternoon, until dinner, the days I made it!

Do you have any amazing things you’re doing with the remainder of your garden produce?  I’d love to hear about it, if you do!

Enjoy!  –Wren


TOS Review: Apologia iWitness

Apologia Review
We are huge fans of Apologia Educational Ministries.  You can imagine, therefore, how excited we were to review some new books from Apologia; iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness.

Have you ever wanted to know more about how the Bible came into existence?  Many of us have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and know a little about how they authenticate not only books of the Old Testament but also their accuracy.  We’ve heard of the early church fathers and about how church councils met on decisions of which ancient texts fit the guidelines for inclusion in the canon of Scripture…and which didn’t.  We may even have heard a bit about archaeological finds which gave credence to history as it’s revealed in the Bible.  Have you ever wondered about how to teach your children these things, or about the history of the Christian church after the canon of Scripture was considered closed?  That’s a whole lot of world history, discoveries and documentation we’re talking about!  I’ve never felt that I personally had a good understanding of all that, or that I knew how to teach these things to Jackson.

Apologia’s new books by Doug Powell enabled me to do just that.  Each book shares historical finds, documents and archaeology which underscore the Bible, its kings, people and events.  They’re written for readers aged 11 and up.  And, the author presents these discoveries in a very user-friendly and fascinating way!  The information is presented in bite-sized chunks in fun fonts with incredible pictures of ancient art, manuscripts, scrolls and mosaics, which makes for highly interesting reading in all of the books.

Apologia Review
Old Testament iWitness

We started reading these books to closes out our morning Bible times, and we started with Old Testament iWitness.  This one begins with a description of Hebrew manuscripts; how they were stored and cared for, what happened when they became torn or damaged, and the extreme accuracy with which the scribes copied them.  How were the books of the Old Testament selected to be included in the canon of Scripture?  Powell shares with us 4 criteria that Jews over the centuries used to determine this.  We learn about the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible, and its three components; the Torah, the Nevi’im (“the Prophets”) and the Ketuvi’im (“the Writings”).  The Torah is, of course, the first five books of the Tanakh, written by Moses.  The Nevi’im, or the eight books of the Prophets, includes such books as Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the 12 Minor Prophets.  The Ketuvi’im is composed of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, The Scrolls (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, Ezra and Chronicles.  After introducing these categories to us, Powell teaches us more about each section and its importance to the Jewish people.a Fall 2014 214

We also learn about the Septuagint and its importance; covenants; and specific data about the authors of each book, when they lived and why they wrote.  Powell describes and defines for us the Apocrypha, the Vulgate, the Intertestamental Period and a bit about the Bible and archaeology.  He even includes a timeline of what happened when in the Old Testament and during the periods of the kings of Israel and Judah, and the captivities and returns.  It is a truly excellent resource, and can be a great foundation for anyone’s understanding of the Hebrew Bible.

Apologia Review

New Testament iWitness

We then delved into the next two books.  Powell’s New Testament iWitness follows a similar pattern to his Old Testament iWitness.  He opens with the Councils of Carthage and Hippo (A.D. 393 and 397), and makes the point that these councils didn’t “select” books for the New Testament; rather, they simply “recognized what the church had always believed in.”  Powell then introduces us to the criteria for what could be recognized as Scripture, and how any book or writing considered for this had to meet each one of those criteria.  We learn about early church fathers like Athanasius, Eusebius, Tertullian and others.

New Testament iWitness also discusses the hymns and creeds which were developed not only for worship, but for teaching doctrine to early believers.  (Remember that many people weren’t able to read, or have their own copies of the Bible during this time.)  Each of these came directly from Scripture, and Powell even shares their references with us.

Did you know that there were books considered for the New Testament, or canon, that were rejected?  Early believers considered these to be useful for teaching or for encouragement, but they didn’t meet the criteria for church canon.  So the church was careful to delineate between these and actual books of the Bible.

One of the most fascinating pieces of historical fact in this book is the number of surviving manuscripts of the New Testament as contrasted with other early historical documents, and over how long a time period they were written.  For example, there are 5,813 copies of the New Testament written over a period of 30-60 years.  The next closest document in terms of total number is Homer’s Iliad; there are 1,757 copies written over a course of 500 years.  Other documents are mentioned (from Demosthenes, Plato, Pliny the elder and others) but none of them comes close to the New Testament’s total number of manuscripts or the short time period of their writings.

Apologia Review
iWitness Biblical Archaeology

This book has an absolutely incredible account of historical finds that underscore the truths and realities of the people, places and events of the Bible.  From Egyptian temples and chronologies, to the Gilgamesh Epic, to finds at Nineveh, to the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, the personalities, triumphs and tragedies of God’s Word are proven time and time again in archeological discoveries.  Not only Old Testament histories (including the Dead Sea Scrolls) are mentioned, however; Powell shows us finds from the eras of Hadrian and Constantine.  And there are many proofs of the New Testament times, with documentation of figures from Jesus’ time and following.  For anyone, whether archaeological novice, Bible scholar, historian or just plain student, iWitness Biblical Archaeology is a fascinating read!


We have enjoyed learning so much from these three slim volumes.  Powell’s books seem to be well-researched and well-documented; in addition to the information and photos included in each book, there is a bibliography supporting all the information he covered.  Perhaps most important is the weight and validity of Scripture that all these books, and their historical data, prove.  I personally found that they taught all of us crucial things about church history, archaeology, and the early Jews and Christians.  These iWitness books provide both interest and excitement to a family’s historical studies or Bible times together!

iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness are all available from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Each volume costs $14.00.  I truly recommend them to you, especially if you have budding Bible scholars or history buffs among your children!  But even if you don’t, you’ll learn marvelous things about the Christian faith that will delight you and inspire you.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Enjoy!  –Wren






Crew Round-Up: Artist and Composer Study

Artist and Composer Round-up

Are you looking for some fun and interesting ways to add more art and composer study to your homeschool?  This week’s Crew Round-Up may be right up your alley, then!

We really love creating art at home.  There is something so restful and relational about it;.  Jackson and I usually do it together; we each have our own art journals, so we can sit side-by-side and share art supplies as we create.  It is a fantastic way for us to bring peace, community and enjoyment, especially after a long day of studying core subjects.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog today, and see what we’ve all got to share with you!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Awesome Science Opportunity: Groovy Lab in a Box Giveaway!

I’m participating with a number of other bloggers in a cool science giveaway.  One person will win a 1-year subscription to Groovy Lab in a Box.  Read on for more information!

@GroovyLabinaBox #STEM #giveaway perfect for #homeschool science curriculum

Sponsored by: Groovy Lab in a Box


Hosted by:  The Squishable Baby


Groovy Lab in a Box is a monthly subscription STEM box with comprehensive hands-on activities in engineering, physics, chemistry and math.  Your child will be treated to a full year-long science curriculum – focused on developing experimentation, creativity, and problem solving skills – all while creating a love for science.  Groovy Lab in a Box is fun, engaging and complete science learning experience.  Look at how much we enjoyed our launch-it box…


Experimentation is fun!


Learning About Elastics


All of the monthly boxes are unique.  With one investigation a month, your child will get a full learning experience through Groovy Lab in a box’s Beyond the Box which includes supplemental videos, games and online activities.  By the time your year is complete, your child will receive exposure to all branches of science!


This is the perfect for your year-long homeschool science curriculum


Enter Below for your chance to win a 1-Year Subscription to Groovy Lab in a Box.





Giveaway open October 14-November 4, 2014. Open to US residents only. RV $280.


The Squishable Baby and all participating Bloggers are not responsible for prize distribution.

Enjoy; and I hope you win!  –Wren




We visited this amazing Aquarium, located in Valencia, Spain. It is the largest in Europe and we were impressed with the cleanliness, care and appearance of all represented species as well as the large tanks provided.

According to the official website: “The Oceanogràfic of the City of Arts and Sciences is the largest aquarium in Europe and contains representatives of the world’s main marine ecosystems. Each building is identified with the following aquatic environments: the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands, and the Red Sea, as well as the Dolphinarium with 24 million litres of water and a depth of 10.5 metres. The Underwater Restaurant and the Access Building which welcomes visitors stand out because of their spectacular roofs designed by Félix Candela.”

Our favorite part was the tunnel that you walked through, surrounded by all manner of things, overhead and on either side, It was crystal clear…beautiful.

Here are various photos; they were taken with an I-phone, so I apologize for the lack of clarity.


Blue fish



Shark 1

Fish 2


Overhead sharks

Overhead shark 2


If you are ever there it is a must see!


Quote of the Day: Thankful

a Fall 2014 185

“I’m just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life, trying to stay that way.  I think that’s the best way to start your day and finish your day.  It keeps everything in perspective.”

–Tim Tebow

Enjoy!  –Wren




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