Throwback Thursday…70’s TV shows!

I have such fond memories of the TV shows I watched in the 70’s..I was very young and they were good clean fun! My faves, in no apparent order!

  • Bewitched
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Charlie’s Angels (I wanted to be Kelly)
  • The Dukes of Hazard (I liked Luke)
  • Happy Days (jumping the shark)
  • Laverne & Shirley (milk and Pepsi)
  • Mork and Mindy (RIP)

These days, its pretty hard to find nighttime programming that has that same feel. Maybe Nick at Night or the Disney Channel…certainly not prime time.

Here’s to the good old days!

Who were your favorites?


TOS Crew Review: My Student Logbook

My Student Logbook Review
Our newest review item that I’d like to share with you came at a perfect time!  Jackson is in 7th grade this year, which makes it a wonderful moment for him to move into the world of personal calendars and tracking his own time and activities.  My Student Logbook has brought us into that world, and I am more than a little excited about it!

The folks at My Student Logbook have created a fantastic tool for students to learn to keep a record of their hours and schoolwork; a daily student logbook.  It is simple and fun to use, and even an encouragement as students discover how much work they do in a week.  Jackson and I received one to use and review at no charge.  It has been such a wonderful tool that I know it will be on our yearly list of school supplies, from now until Jackson graduates!  And something which I really appreciate, which is obvious in so many aspects of this tool, is that it was developed and created by a homeschool family.  Since they’ve lived the life we’re living, they really understand the planning needs of homeschoolers!

The daily student logbooks are offered in two specific forms; dated and undated.  Students can also select from nine different cover pages which are designed for them to select according to their own interests, such as sea life, butterflies, vintage map and so on.  The dated logbooks for this year go from August 2014 to July 2015, or you can select one for 2015.  This format has the year divided into weeks, with one week listed per page.  There is a space for notes.  The undated one has exactly the same format, except the months and dates are left blank so that the user can fill them in.  The My Student Logbook products are available in both physical book form and in PDF format, although the PDF logbooks do not come with a cover choice.  All the daily student logbooks are appropriate for grades 2 and up.

Jackson chose to go with the undated format, and being the science lovers that we are, he selected the space cover for his daily student logbook. a June2014 258The first thing you do when you’ve received your new daily student logbook is go to the My Student Logbook website, which has a brief instructional video which shows you how to set things up for your student’s subjects.  This coaches you on how to put your daily student logbook together and how it will work for your student day by day.  Jackson and I watched it together, and we were ready to go!a Fall 2014 002You can tell from this picture that the piece of paper on the left, the Checklist, is separate from the piece to the right that’s attached to the spiral.  This is a fantastic form of organization that the My Student Logbook folks have created.  You simply list all the subjects that are being studied at the moment on this page.  The little box to the right of each subject is for you to fill in the amount of time needed for each subject.  Then, you fold this sheet over your weekly class schedule and the subjects line up with the corresponding lines on each week’s calendar page.  Your student can easily check off each subject when it’s completed, day by day.  This Checklist is wonderful!  This way, your child doesn’t have to rewrite all of his subjects each week in his planner.  I can’t tell you how handy this is.  You can use and reuse this until your subject lists, your month, your quarter or even your semester changes.

As I mentioned earlier, Jackson and I received the undated daily student logbook.  So, we filled out our subject list on the Checklist page first.  We chose to do this with the subjects in alphabetical order, so that they’d be easy to find.  Then, at the beginning of each week we fill in the dates at the top of each week’s page.  There’s a line for the month, and then we put an abbreviation for each day and the date in the boxes at the top.  I made one slight change for our own record-keeping.  Instead of filling in the time allotted for each subject on the checklist, I put how many times we do the subject each week.  That has been a fantastic help for me as well as Jackson!  I use a paper lesson planner myself for our lessons.  While my own planner is wonderful, it doesn’t really have a section to list how many times each week we need to do our particular lessons to complete them for the year.  For example, we do math and Bible every day.  But our science is divided up among the days.  We do one day of health, one day of astronomy, and 2-3 days of chemistry.  So I have a different box for each of those on Jackson’s daily student logbook.  What a help that is!

There is also a fun segment at the back of the book where you or your student can fill in neat extras, from books he has read, to verses memorized, to favorite activities and events over the year, test records and more.  There’s even an “All About Me” section for your child to log all those personal likes, talents and favorites.  This can be especially wonderful if your child, like mine, isn’t one who would ever make a scrapbook!


a Fall 2014 005

Here’s what Jackson has to say about his daily student logbook:  “My Student Logbook is helpful to keep track of the stuff I’ve done in the day, and to know what subject comes next.  In previous times, there has been some confusion about what subjects went where.  But now, staying by the schedule really helps, so I can know what I have done and what I haven’t very clearly.  I also like the fun vibrant colors on the cover variations.  I really like my space cover but am also happy with the entire thing.”

I have loved many things about My Student Logbook.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Jackson is learning how to manage his own time and schoolwork, by keeping records of what he spends his school time on
  • He is being introduced to personal planners in a very simple and enjoyable way
  • I can tell at a glance how well we’re doing on our schoolwork, and how far we’re progressing in a given subject
  • It is incredibly simple to learn and use
  • The daily student logbook has a clear plastic cover on the front and a black plastic cover on the back, held together by a spiral; so it’s very durable!

If you’d like to help your students learn some wonderful time management lessons, or if you’d like to introduce them to the concept of personal planning, then My Student Logbook is definitely for you!  It has been an excellent tool for both of us.  As I said earlier, this is going to be on our curriculum list from now on!

You can purchase the daily student logbook from My Student Logbook.  (You can also see all the options of the covers there.)  The print version is available for the 2014-2015 school year, the 2015 calendar year, or in an undated form for $15.00.  The PDF version (instant download) comes in either a Family Use form, for $20, or a Single Use form, for $10.  The Family Use format is fantastic for a family which has more than one child.  Both the Family Use and the Single Use formats can be purchased for either the 2014-2015 school year or the 2015 school year.  They’re truly wonderful tools for homeschool families!

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Enjoy! –Wren

It’s football season…and there’s an app for that!

I enjoy the occasional football game (the Bronco’s, Cowboy’s and Colt’s come to mind) and although my husband isn’t obsessed, it is fun to watch football together on Sunday’s. Asking questions like: “what is a safety?” helps him share his knowledge and feel you know, manly.

So, when he asked me what time the Cowboy game was on I had to demonstrate my wifely coolness factor. I decided to see if there was a NFL app (of course, I knew there was).

So I downloaded the app: available at your itunes store; follow this link for more info!



For Times When You Need Encouragement, Try…

Books to Encourage the Homeschool Mom
As a homeschool mom, do you find that there are days when you need encouragement? (If the answer to that is “no,” I’m probably talking to Mrs. Incredible. But if you’re a mom and a homeschooler and NOT a superhero, read on!) Of course, I can answer “yes” to that question. There are many days in which homeschool is a smooth ride down a nice river. But the other days? When I wake up sick, exhausted, overtired from overcommitting, or just not feeling my best?

Those days do happen. And yet I still need to homeschool my son, keep records, do what I can in caring for the home or providing meals. So what do I turn to in those moments?

First, I turn to prayer. I come to God and ask for help in my times of need. Then I go to my husband and process things with him. Often, I’ll send emails to dear friends asking for prayer.

However, at that point, because I am a lover of books, I also turn to the printed word for assistance. Here are some of my favorite volumes which lift me up when I am in need of encouragement.

1. The Homeschool Mom’s Bible

niv_zps46b5b3b8[1]I received this Bible last fall, as one of the first reviews I did for the TOS Crew.  It has been the most wonderful resource.  Each day, there is a devotional written by homeschool veteran Janet Tatman, along with Bible readings arranged so that you can read through the entire Bible in a year.  I just finished the Bible myself; it was the first time in a long time that I had read through the entire thing.  (Maybe the first time ever….I’m not exactly sure!)  In any case, it has been the best way for me to start out my day for a whole year.  I plan to continue that habit, and I can recommend it highly to you!

2.  Flourish:  Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate


Flourish:  Balance for Homeschool Moms is a book that’s about exactly what it sounds like.  Mary Jo Tate helped me to bring organization to my home, schedule and homeschool that I’d longed for; and she brought personal hope to me in a place where I desperately needed it.  Probably the best homeschool/life organization tool for women that I’ve ever found.

3.  a June2014 002Almost anything by Henry Blackaby.  I discovered Blackaby back in 1994, when I did the Experiencing God Bible study for the first time.  Blackaby’s focus is helping others to know God, to experience Him in relationship, and to discern His direction.  I loved Experiencing God and even had the privilege of teaching this study as a missionary.  I often return to this book, and currently we’re using Blackaby’s Experiencing God at Home Day-by-Day devotional in our morning Bible times.  It is so encouraging, and a regular reminder that the God of the Bible and the Creator of all things desires a personal relationship with each one of us.  Definitely an encouragement!

4.  Elisabeth Elliot’s Keep a Quiet Heart

a June2014 003A number of years ago, I thought on the verse that commends women to have a gentle and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:4).  As an extrovert, I figured that it wasn’t very likely that I would ever have a quiet spirit.  Then, I married and eventually had a son; and I began to think of the verse very differently.  Instead of perceiving a “quiet spirit” as showing up as a quiet person, I started thinking about the state of my heart and how that was manifested in my words and in my behavior.  I thought about how important it was that my heart was in a good place each day as I was in my home teaching my son, or serving outside the  home in some manner.  A dear friend had shared with me in my early days of child-rearing Psalm 131:2, in terms of helping my child calm his own heart.  It says, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  David is speaking to the Lord and talking about the types of things he’s thinking about, things appropriate to himself and his standing.  What stuck with me was David’s drawing near to God to calm and quiet his heart.

Elliot’s book is a collection of writings that bring us to a quiet place, and encourage our hearts and souls.  I love her perspective as a former missionary, and her understanding of God’s great love for us whatever our life standing or circumstance.

5.  Assorted Fiction

Oftentimes, the next place I turn beyond prayer, fellowship and the Bible and devotional books, are well-beloved books of fiction.  I have so many favorites, but here are some that I return to again and again for a wonderful story and great encouragement.  Sometimes somebody else’s story can be of great comfort!

  • Sometimes a Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner.  Turner’s story of a community of people and the homeschool graduate whose life touches them all, is a personal favorite that has delighted me again and again.  Beyond the excellent story, the hand of God’s providence and love is visible throughout the book, reminding us that He is always at work even when we don’t think we see Him!  a June2014 007
  • Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer.  Cramer often writes of Amish families (I believe he has an Amish heritage) but this book of God’s hand intersecting with the previously well-ordered life of an ironworker (read: high-rise construction worker) and those he loves is the story of a 2-parent, 3-child Georgia family.  Mick’s plans and life–not to mention his family–experience an enormous upheaval that takes them step by step down a path he’d never have imagined in a million years.  This is a treasured favorite of both mine and my husband’s.  Full of laughter, joy, tears and unexpected hilarity, Mick’s journey will delight and encourage readers.  a June2014 006
  • Any of Jan Karon’s books, including her newest Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good are deeply encouraging and refreshing.  Father Tim’s life and adventures in Mitford will bring you into contact with curious, entertaining and wonderful townsfolk whom you’ll never forget.  You’ll cheer them on in their successes and cry with them in their sorrows; and rejoice at their faith and love.  a June2014 005

I hope that there’s something here that will bring joy and encouragement to you.  And if you have a special book that you turn to, let us know what it is!  And visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog starting on September 17, 2014.  You’ll get to read about lots more book choices there!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Amazing Home School Adventure Co. Giveaway—-Enter Today!

I am so excited to be able to share this truly amazing giveaway with all our readers today!  Home School Adventure Co, for whom I’ve reviewed two excellent curricula, is celebrating the release of their newest writing adventure with a Facebook party and a giveaway.  One winner will receive 5 curricula (in print format) from Home School Adventure Co., a worldview book bundle from author Nancy Pearcey and a cool Home School Adventure Co. canvas tote to hold it all!  Enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post, and don’t forget to attend the Facebook party next Thursday, September 18 from 9-10P EST to see if you’re the winner!

You might remember reading about Philosophy Adventure, my first review for Home School Adventure Co.  It is an impeccably researched and well-written curriculum which contrasts the beliefs and worldview of pre-Socratic philosophers with Biblical truths.  It has fantastic writing assignments and throughout the course, the student will not only be learning about philosophers of the ancient world and how their thinking either lines up or doesn’t with God’s Word; they will also be constructing writing and speaking assignments which will really cause them to think.  I loved doing parts of this curriculum with Jackson and we plan to revisit it again when he’s a bit older.

We also participated in the launch for Creative Freewriting Adventure last week, and Jackson and I also used and reviewed the curriculum.  Once again, we were so impressed with writer Stacy Farrell’s research, creativity and vision as we used the freewriting assignments.  I’ve linked to both the Philosophy Adventure and Creative Freewriting Adventure reviews so you can see more about these wonderful products and our experiences with them.  And read on to discover more about these curricula and the other resources some blessed person will win!

Home School Adventure Co. is ready to release their latest biblical worldview resource — Creative Freewriting Adventure – A Journey Into Freewriting!

Creative Freewriting Adventure is a collection of thought-provoking freewriting exercises designed to inspire creativity and critical thinking, even in reluctant writers.

The official release of this wonderful resource will be at a Facebook Party on Thursday, September 18, 9 PM ET. I’ve heard there will be lots of prizes given away that night (and some free stuff for all guests, too). I hope you will join me! You can RSVP here.

I am joining author, Stacy Farrell, and Home School Adventure Co. to celebrate the release of Creative Freewriting Adventure with this impressive giveaway, valued at nearly $300! One winner will win PRINT copies of all of HSA’s resources, plus 4 biblical worldview books and a lovely canvas tote bag.

Creative Freewriting Adventure Giveaway -- Winner will be announced at the Facebook Release Party on September 18

Here’s what you could win:

Creative Freewriting Adventure – A Journey into Freewriting ($21.95)

Bring joy and excitement into your student’s writing with these simple-to-execute (yet significant) writing exercises. No prep required. Just grab a pen and paper, set a timer, and have fun!

Writing can be hard work. Good writing most often results from much rewriting, and much rewriting can make a writer weary. Since Philosophy Adventure students polish one primary writing assignment over the course of several weeks (supported by clear step-by-step instructions and seven writing checklists), we created freewriting exercises to offset their hard work with play!


Philosophy Adventure™ — Pre-Socratics Complete Set with Resources CD  ($89.95

DO YOU NEED to teach advanced writing and speaking skills? DO YOU WANT your students equipped to discern truth as ungodly messages bombard them? DO YOU WONDER how to cover all they need academically as well as practically? Philosophy Adventure may be your solution!

Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.


Mere Christianity Journal and Softcover Print Bundle (Journal & Book) ($38.95)

Have we forgotten whose we are? In this “Age of Tolerance,” Christians are in danger of forgetting (or never learning) what distinguishes a Christian worldview from other worldviews. The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal is a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview. A companion to Lewis’s classic work, the Journal can be used for independent study with teenagers or adults, or as a group study in families, homeschools, co-ops, classrooms, Sunday school, and small groups.

This bundle contains the Print Edition of the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal with a softcover edition of Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis’s original work.


Philippians in 28 Weeks — Scripture Memory Resource ($28.95)

What does it mean to love Him with all your mind? The Bible is banned in many countries. Countless believers have sacrificed their freedom—and many, their lives—to spread the message of God’s love and salvation contained within its pages. Are we exercising our freedom responsibly? Memorize the entire book of Philippians in 28 weeks!


The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions ($28.95)

How do you train a heart?

George MacDonald’s The Wise Woman enchants readers while it contrasts the ugliness of pride, selfishness and conceit with the beauty of humility, sacrifice, and compassion.

The Wise Woman is a perfect story for a family to read together curled up on the couch under a warm afghan or after a meal. (It is only fair to warn you: once you read the first chapter, you might not put it down. More than one mom has stayed up late to read after her children have gone to bed.)

Read each chapter and discuss the literary analysis questions and vocabulary. Clear writing requires clear thinking. The exercise of formulating and writing answers will strengthen your students’ thinking and communication skills. Middle school and high school students create a profound keepsake as they write their answers in the book.

By offering students 16 to 24 literary analysis questions per chapter, this 160-page spiral bound edition teaches critical thinking in a way that is engaging and transformational.


Nancy Pearcey Book Bundle ($63.98)

Nancy R. Pearcey  is scholar in residence and professor at Houston Baptist University, where she is also director of the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture. She is also a fellow at the Discovery Institute. Previously she was the Francis A. Schaeffer Scholar at the World Journalism Institute, where she taught a worldview course based on her book Total Truth, winner of the 2005 ECPA Gold Medallion Award for best book on Christianity and Society. She has also served as professor of worldview studies at Philadelphia Biblical University, during which time she wrote her most recent book, Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning.

This bundle of books written by Nancy Pearcey includes:

The Soul of Science – Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy
Total Truth- Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity
Saving Leonard0 – A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals & Meaning


Home School Adventure Tote Bag ($18)

This duo color canvas tote is roomy enough to hold all of your Home School Adventure Co. resources! Sturdy and fashionable, it is emblazoned with the Home School Adventure Co. logo on one side, and the words, “Cultivate and defend a biblical worldview” on the other.



The winner of this giveaway will be announced during the Creative Freewriting Facebook Release Party on Thursday, September 18, 9-10 PM ET. Please join us on the Home School Adventure Co. Facebook wall that evening to find out if you won!

(Winner does not need to be present to win.)

Be sure to RSVP here.


 To enter the giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter below.  U.S. residents, ages 18 and older please.  Other terms and conditions are located in the rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy!  –Wren

Tomatillo salsa recipe!!

There is a local Mexican restaurant we frequent that has the most amazing Tomatillo salsa! So when I spied this bag of Tomatillo’s in the grocery store I looked pleadingly at my husband.


What you will need:

1 large onion

2 tbsp chopped garlic

1.5 lbs tomatillo

salt, pepper, cilantro


Peel and wash tomatillos. cut into quarters.

Peel and chop onion and garlic (all will be blended together, so size of pieces is not critical).

Roast all ingredients in shallow baking pan. occasionally stir contents and add slight amount of oil if needed.

The goal is to sear and roast until all ingredients are soft; Once roasting is completed, use an immersion blender to puree (or food processor) to smooth consistency.

Refrigerate for 12 hours. Add salt or pepper as needed. Top with a sprinkling of hot sauce of your choosing.

If you desire a creamier salsa, you could add a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy—Finch and husband!



Homeschooling an Only Child? Read the Crew Roundup Today!

Homeschooling an Only

Today, the TOS Crew Roundup is centered around one of my favorite topics:  how to homeschool your only child.  Well, it may not tell you HOW to do it….but you can meet other homeschooling moms of onlys and learn about how THEY do it.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to meet other awesome homeschooling moms who live in families blessed with one child!

Enjoy!  –Wren

New spin on a French classic manicure!!

So I read recently that french manicures are so out of style…okay, didn’t know that, but i’m not that cool anyway.

I decided to put a spin onto that old classic and see if it became cool again. If my co-workers reactions are anything to go by, we nailed it (pun totally intended).

Two coats of My Vampire is Buff (OPI shellac) followed by imperfect edging on the tips of the nails with My Favorite Ornament.

The result, subtle, classy and a trendy spin on the French Manicure.

mani buff and ornament

Try it…Finch!


For the first time this year, I planted cucumber seeds.  I’m a huge fan of cukes…in salads, Thai food or pickles…or just sliced and eaten!

I had no idea what kind of harvest we’d have….or if we’d even have one.  But I’m happy to say, the cucumber vines are busy!  We’ve picked three cukes over the past three weeks.  But suddenly, there are quite a few of them growing quite steadily!  And they seem to enjoy growing in groups.

Two on the trellis, with a baby one at the top

Two on the trellis, with a baby one at the top


A curvy cuke with a flower above it

A curvy cuke with a flower above it


A pair of cukes on the vine

A pair of cukes on the vine


Enjoy!  –Wren

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