Friday, July 30, 2021

Review~ Fermenting Foods with Fermentools

Disclaimer~I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

A few years ago, a fellow homeschool mom introduced me to the concept of fermented foods. It was a new concept to me, so of course, I was interested in learning more. Eating healthy and eating foods that are fresh were important to us. We already had a garden growing and we added chickens to our small little country farm 9 years ago. Learning to ferment foods with the Starter Kit from Fermentools seemed like a great way to add to our healthy foods in our pantry!

Fermentools was founded in 2013 with the idea to create a product that could turn basically any mason jar into fermenting vessel. The custom designed airlock system did just that! The materials were designed to last a lifetime. 
The system is simple to use, easy to clean, and most of the pieces are made right here in the United States!

Why are Fermented Foods Important?

By now, you've heard all about the importance of probiotics. Our guts are filled with live bacteria (good guys and bad guys) and yeast that help protect the lining of our stomachs and intestines. They help with the absorption of our food and nutrients. Many of us have guts so out of wack that our bodies are not getting the nutrients we need. When our systems are out of line, we weaken our immune system (we all want a healthy immune system right now) and reek havoc on our bodies. Food intolerance and autoimmune diseases can occur. 
We become tired, cranky, have bathroom issues, headaches, brain fog, can't sleep, gain weight, etc. 
The list goes on and on. 
But did you know that fermented foods are a great dietary source of probiotics!

1. They improve gut health.
2. They help restore the proper bacteria balance in the intestines.
3. They help aid in digestion.
3. They improve heart health.
4. They help improve the immune system.

Besides all the health benefits, fermenting foods is a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables. 
It can help families save money by preserving foods fresh from the garden or foods that they bought in bulk when they were on sale. 

The STARTER KIT includes 

1 Staninless Steel Lid
Made from 304 surgical stainless steel, the corrosion-resistant lid will last a lifetime

1 Glass Fermentation Weight
Made to fit inside your standard wide mouth Mason jar and won't react with your food

1 Air Lock
The air-lock inserts into the lid and allows for "burping" during the fermenting process.

1 Rubber Stopper

1 Rubber Canning Gasket

Himalayan Powered Salt
Ancient Himalayan salt has over 80 trace minerals 
and is ground so fine it will easily mix withcold water

Instruction Booklet
Contains instructions and a recipe for basic sauerkraut
Cloth Storage Bag

The only items needed that are not included are a wide-mouth glass canning jar and whatever foods you wanted to ferment. The kit allows you to work on one fermenting project at a time. If you want to have multiple projects going at one time, you would need to purchase additional tools available on the Fermentools website.

~My Experience~

This was not my first attempt at fermenting foods. Over the past few years, I have tried a few different fermenting recipes. In the past, I have made fermented pickles, fermented salsa, and kerfir water. 
I wouldn't say I'm a newbie, but I am still a novice at it though. 

The Starter Kit does make the whole process of fermenting foods a lot easier since you get everything you need. The system with the starter kit is quite different from the ways I have used in the past. The recipes I had used in the past had all come from a fellow homeschool mom who was a pro at fermenting foods. 
I do have to say her recipes where easier to follow and easy to execute. 

This is my second time reviewing the starter kit. Last year, I reviewed the starter kit for the homeschool review crew too. I will admit my first attempt with the starter kit was not a success. 

I had tried the basic sauerkraut recipe. I can't stand the stuff, but I tried to make it for my husband! When it was ready, it didn't smell right, some mold was growing on the top, and he decided to not try it. I can't say I blamed him for not trying it. I wouldn't have either.

This year, I decided to ferment some zucchini since we had some that was not going to get eaten before it went bad. I cut up my zucchini and added some spices: garlic,dill, pickling spices, red chilies, and a few grape leaves.

I did find that the zucchini was a little mushy after the process. I partially didn;t care for it. I did some research after the fact, and discovered that is is better to remove the fleshy center so that it will stay crispy. I don't think too many people like to eat mushy stuff. 

Overall this go around with the starter kit was a success. It definitely was easier to use and understand, but I've used it a few times now. 
I will admit, I do not use it that often. My family is not a big fan of fermented foods. 

Learn more about Fermentools

See what other great recipes the Review Crew tried out!

Till Next Time,

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Review~ Virtual Lab Chemistry from Greg Landry's Homeschool Science

Disclaimer~I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Over the years, science has not been a favorite subject of mine to teach. When the kids were little, I had no problem teaching science. We often focused on topics the kids were interested in. During their middle school years, a fellow homeschool mom, who enjoyed teaching science, taught them and a group of their friends.  As they entered high school, I knew they needed to have certain science classes to graduate and get into the colleges of their choice. I was excited when we were given the opportunity to review Virtual Lab Chemistry from Greg Landry's Homeschool Science

What is Greg Landry's Homeschool Science?

Greg Landry is a science teacher, a homeschool dad, and a former college professor. His passion for science and his dedication to students led him to create s few science courses ten years ago. He wanted to give the students confidence in their science abilities and succeed in their high school science classes. His creation of CollegePrep Science has given homeschool students access to science courses that focus on science inquiry, critical thinking, process reasoning, data collection, and the graphical and written representation of their research. 

The Greg Landry homeschool Science offers students and families a wide variety of classes. 

Live Online Classes for Science and Math

Biology- College Prep
Life Prep Biology
Pre- Chemistry
Chemistry-College Prep
Life Prep Chemistry
Life Prep Physics
Pre Human Anatomy & Physiology
Human Anatomy & Physiology
Marine Science

Algebra 1
Consumer Math

Self-Paced (Recorded) Online Classes

8th-12th Grade
Full Year (2 Semesters)
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School Conceptual Physics (basic math)
High School Human Anatomy & Physiology

7th-12th Grade
Half Semester
Exercise & Sports Physiology
Earth & Space Science
Study Skills/ Measurement/Lab Reports/Graphing

4th-7th Grade
Half Semester
Young Scientist Earth & Space Science
Young Scientist Biology
Young Scientist Chemistry
Young Scientist Human Anatomy & Physiology
Young Scientist Physics

Interactive Virtual Science Labs
7th-12th Grade
Biology/Human Anatomy & Physiology

ACT Prep Online Bootcamp

Our Experience with Greg Laundry's Homeschool Science

For this review, we received 12-month access to the Chemistry Interactive Virtual Science Lab. 
This subscription allows Therese and Michael to have access to the virtual lab experiments for 12 months. This was a perfect fit for us since both of them will be doing Chemistry this fall.

The Virtual Chemistry Lab offers students 10 different labs to work through.

Lab #1 Measurement in Science
Lab #2 PH Determination
Lab #3 Moles, Elements, and Molar Mass
Lab #4 Viscosity
Lab #5 Density Determination
Lab #6 Diffusion & Osmosis
Lab #7 Quantifying Surface Area 
Lab #8 Colligative Properties & Freezing Point Depression
Lab #9 Determining Molarity 
Lab #10 Determination of Relative Atomic Mass & Number of Neutrons

Before completing any of the labs, we watched the video, "Introduction to the Lab, the Scientific Method, and Lab Reports."This video explains how to use the virtual lab for your experiments, the scientific method, and how to create lab reports. It even offers guidelines for parents for accessing the grades for the student's lab reports. It's a very helpful video. 
One of the nice things about the Virtual Lab is that parents do not need to buy any supplies for the experiments. It's all done online in a cartoon science lab. 

Thelas each have a video that should be watched before completing the lab. The Introduction Video is the longest at 45 minutes. The rest are usually around 8-10 minutes long. After watching the video explaining the topic being covered, then it's time fort he students to give the expeiement a try. 

Each lab is explained in detailed steps. This allows for students to follow along easily and with little to no help at all from parents.

Students will need a notebook to write down notes. An example of a lab report is given for reference for the students. This is a great tool to get them ready for completing their own lab reports. 

The Virtual Lab is a neat concept. It seemed a little strange to me since everything is online. I think most of us think about science labs as being more hands-on. I thought the topics covered were great. The experiments helped students learn more about Chemistry and more importantly about taking notes and creating lab reports. 

Both Michael and Therese felt this course was a great addition to the Chemistry course they will be learning this upcoming school year. They did both say that they didn't mind the online factor, but they wouldn't want all their experiments to be done in an online science lab. They didn't have the same excitement factor as doing experiments in person. I would have to agree. If your student is more of a hands-on learner, I don't feel that this course would be the right fit. 

However, I would highly recommend the Chemistry Virtual Lab to complement any Chemistry course your students are doing. It's a great addition to any other course. I loved how it stressed notetaking and recording your information. It's a little costly, but if you figure out the cost of materials for "real" lab experiments, it probably comes out ahead depending on what program you are using.

Be sure to check out other reviews from the crew for the other courses offered from
Greg Landry's Homeschool Science!

Till Next Time, 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Review~ Art History Program from Creating a Masterpiece

Disclaimer~ I received a COMPLEMENTARY copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Art class has always been a fun part of our homeschool life. 
Every year, I have created lesson plans and dug through endless amounts of ideas on the internet. As an art major in college, I loved exposing my kids to art over the years. I was thrilled when we were asked to review the Art History Program from Creating a Masterpiece

 Creating a Masterpiece is an online fine arts curriculum for students and parents of all ages. The lessons are led by Sharon Hofer. She's the mastermind behind this online art program. Her goal is to help students of all ages explore their creativity, further their artistic abilities, and grow confident in their finished projects. The program provides students with step-by-step instruction through online videos. One of her biggest goals when creating the program was to teach students the technique and help them produce amazing results on their own.

Creating a Masterpiece offers students and families a variety of art resources and curriculums.

~Art Essential Program~
6 Artistic Levels, 68 Projects, 200+ Lessons, 27 Unique Art Media
Art skills taught include composition, color theory, depth, shadow, Perspective, etc.
$19.99 a month

~Drawing Program~
8 Artistic Levels, 60 Projects, 80+ Lessons, 3 Drawing Media
Step-by-Step instructions on basic drawing skills
$24.99 a month

~Art History Program~
3 Specialized Levels, 35 Projects, 90+ Lessons, Study the Historical Artistic Styles
Art history lessons with projects to complete 
$29.99 a month

~Full Studio Access~
Every Level of Every Program, Unlimited Access to All Projects, Every Art Media, 
$29.95 a month

Each program comes with multiple levels. 
Students of all skill sets can work through the programs at their own pace

For this review, we received access to the Art History Program. This program has three kinds of projects divided into three different levels. 

~Style of Art in History~
Projects are designed to help students learn famous art styles and create projects them resemble the styles.

~Historically Themed Projects~
These projects were designed to add a little fun to the student's lessons. They include a historical theme. Examples include drawing a pirate ship in pastels, drawing a Revolutionary War cannon with ink, and drawing a picture of a great Native American Chief. 

~Capstone Projects~
Projects are meant to teach students how to recreate an art masterpiece. This style of teaching reflects on how many of the great artists in history learned their own skills.

The Art History Program has a variety of projects for students to work on. 

Create a Faux Cave Painting 
Make a Relief Sculpture
Create a Fresco
Bust Sculpture
Faux Stained Glass
Faux Metal Working
Glass Etching
Acrylic Painting
Oil Painting

We chose to skip to a few of the first projects. A couple of years ago, I taught an art class with our local homeschool co-op. In that class, I focused my art lessons on the historical period the students were learning in history. It was a Catholic curriculum that tied in religion, history, Latin, and art into one. So when I first logged on to the Creating a Masterpiece website, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many of the same art project ideas I had used with my own class. 

Therese has had quite a few busy weeks this summer, so we decided to focus on the Egg Tempura project. We did change it up a little though. The project called for spices to be used, but we had leftover pigment from our art class, so Therese used that instead. She basically mixed egg yolk with our tinted pigments. She decided to make floral and butterfly designs. She wasn't able to spend as much time as she would like on these projects.  When she has more time, she does plan on going back to create a few of the other projects. 

If you follow a history course that runs in cycles, this is a great art history course that will tie into what your students are learning. 

Discover more about Creating a Masterpiece

Read more reviews from the rest of the Review Crew.
Click Below...

Till Next Time,

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Review~ 12- Month Subscription from CTCMath

Disclaimer~ I received a COMPLEMNTARY copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Over the years during our homeschooling journey, we have tried a variety of math curriculums trying to find just the right one. One thing I have learned in my 15 years of homeschooling is that it is essential to find the right curriculum for each student. No two learn alike. We were recently asked to review the 12-Month Subscription from CTCMath. We are thrilled to share with what we have learned about this Online Math Curriculum.

CTCMath is an online math program created by Pat Murray. His interest in math spans more than thirty-one years. As a homeschooling father of 10 children (5 girls and 5 boys), he knew there was a need to create a math program that was different from anything else out there. He wanted to create a math program that was geared to different learning styles and more importantly not boring for the students. One of his biggest complaints about education today is when teachers take too long to explain something. Michael would agree with him on this point. The desire to create a better math curriculum led him to create a program that had short, interactive lessons that appealed to a wide variety of learning styles. CTCMath is geared for students in grades Kindergarten through 12th. They even offer Calculus. The program is currently used by more than 200,00 students! 

How Does CTCMath Work?

CTCMath is an online math program. After purchasing a 12-month subscription, parents will set up accounts for each of their students. Students will then be able to log into their individual accounts to complete the daily lessons. Each student will have his or her own username and password. They can log in on their computers, phones, or tablets. The student dashboard allows students to see their assignments, assigned tasks, tests, and speed drills that will help with math memorization! Students will be able to catch up to their grade level, stay on target with their math, or move ahead if they are ready. The program moves at the students own pace allowing them to master the skills they are learning.

The lessons are presented in short 4 to 9 minute video lectures for the students to watch. They can also read the lecture in note form. 
They can download them in a pdf form and print them out for future reference.

After watching the video lecture, students will then work through the assigned problems. The problems are interactive and online.  Worksheets can be printed out for further practice and reference. 
For Algebra 1 and Geometry, the questions have been multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank. Michael preferred the fill-in-the-blank. He would usually gets 10 to 12 questions to answer with each lesson. Michael did need a separate notebook to use as scrap paper to work through the math problems. He would complete the work in the notebook and then type in the answer on the computer.

While the students work through the program, they'll be able to track their progress and see exactly how they are doing. 

CTCMath offers a full online math curriculum. Students can work through a wide variety of courses.

Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
Elementary Measurement
Elementary Geometry
Algebra 1
Algebra 2

After the students complete the sections they are working on, they receive certificates of work progress.

A perfect score of 100%

Average grade of 95% or higher

Average grade of 85-94%

The grade is based on the average of each lesson. Students are able to repeat a lesson if they do poorly on a lesson. The program doesn't just give the student a 100% then. It takes the average of the grades and calculates the students grade. The only way to achieve a 100% is to score it on the first attempt of the lesson. Students must achieve an 85% or higher on a lesson to move on.

These awards can be printed out for school records or if the student wants to display them. This is a great incentive for younger students. I found my high schoolers was not all that interested in me printing it out. I wasn't overly shocked by his choice.

Parents have their own separate log in to track their students. This area is called the Parent's Dashboard. Here parents can see what lessons their students have completed, how they have scored on the lesson, and see detailed reports on how they did on each question. Parents can also schedule lesson for students to complete for the week. I didn't use this section, since I already use a different online planner. I added my children's lessons into that planner. 

~My Thoughts~

CTCMath is a great alternative to the standard math textbook programs many homeschoolers use. It's a wonderful program for independent learners. It was easy to log in and see where your student was tracking with this program. The lessons are short and well explained. I love how the students can work from one grade level into the next level without having to purchase another program. I did have a few issues I have with the program. I felt that there wasn't enough online practice problems for the kids that may not understand a particular topic and there wasn't enough feedback on the problems that were incorrectly answered. An in-depth explanation would help a student understand something they may not be grasping. At least, that is how I feel. I also feel the program may not be suitable for a student that struggles in math. 

Discover more about CTCMath! 
Visit their website or social media accounts.

Want to learn more about the online math curriculums that CTCMath has to offer?
Click below and read a few of the amazing reviews the other crew members shared.

Till Next Time,

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Happy Homemaker Monday~ July 5, 2021 (It's actually Tuesday)

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

Good Morning, dear friends. I am a day late in getting this post up. Hubby was off yesterday because of the 4ht of July holiday, so I didn't get a chance to get this post up. 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. The kids went to a 4th of July party with a friend and had a great time. Hubby and I didn't do a thing. Sad, but true. I actually worked on lesson plans! Hubby did make some pulled pork for the holiday, so dinner was simple. Pulled pork, mac n' cheese, watermelon, and a gluten free lemon cake. It was delicious.

Let's get on with Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra! I just read that poor Marley (their sweet dog) is still sick and could use our prayers. So please pray for Marley and the family.
Stop in and visit Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and maybe leave a few words of encouragement.

The weather~

It'll be hot one this week! Of course with the heat comes afternoon thunderstorms.

Monday~ Sunny, 91*
Tuesday~ Sunny, 94*
Wednesday~ Sunny, 91*
Thursday~ Scattered Thunderstorms, 83*
Friday~ Partly Cloudy, 86*
Saturday~ Partly Cloudy, 86*
Sunday~ Scattered Thunderstorms, 82*

The cicadas are gone, but now we have a awful amount of flies! They are rather annoying. I have no clue where they have come from, but there are way too many.

On my reading pile~

Still working on this one. It's not a favorite, but I'm hoping it gets better. I hate giving up on a book.

Intrigued by Beatrice Small
It's one of the books off of my bookshelf. My goal this summer is to read books off my shelves that I haven't gotten too. I love buying books to read, but then add them to the shelves and forget about them, because I keep checking out books from the library. 

On my TV~

Criminal Mind

What's on the menu for the week~

I honestly have no clue. The kids have been gone for two weeks for dinner, so I need to see what they would like to eat. 

Monday~ Pulled pork, mac n' cheese, fruit
Tuesday~ Tacos
Wednesday~ Honey Mustard chicken, green beans, and roasted potatoes
Thursday~ Burgers, fries, and corn on the cob
Friday~ Pizza

A little buck came for a morning visit

On my to do list~

Finish lesson plans for history and English
Complete end of the year testing (this snuck up on me)
Book a few parties for Scentsy and Tupperware...want to host a party and earn free goodies? Just send me an email.
Sell the kid's old school books
Head to the library and return over due book (ugh)
Plan out social media for my businesses
Start working on my placemats
Work on a few homeschool reviews 
Complete two book reviews
Dentist appointments for the kids and I
Sit out in the sun

What am I sewing, crafting, or crocheting~

.HAHA...I still have begun either of these projects.... I have two projects to get started on. The last few weeks have been crazy so I'm hoping to get to them this week.....
I printed out a few quilting patterns for placemats, so I thought I give them a try. 
I have some Christmas tree skirts that I need to start on and I need to make a few throw pillows to match my new comforter.

I really need to clean off my sewing table and organize that room. It seems to be the catch all room. If family members have no idea where to put it or just don't feel like putting it away properly, it ends up there on my table. I just found a small cooler on it from a fishing trip. Yuck!


From the camera~

Sound asleep on his back

Looking around the house~

Vacuum and Mop the Floors...the animals will not stop shedding
Change the sheets
Weed the garden and flower beds 
Clean the bathroom
Finish painting the trim in the kitchen
Dust the living room and my bedroom

Something fun to share~

Something new with my business~

This is the cutest warmer ever! It would look so cute in a nursery!
Check out July's Warmer of the Month and Scent from Scentsy.

 Find out more about this adorable warmer, Monique's Scentsy. It's on sale this month too!

On my prayer list~

Our country and leaders
A friend as she gets closer to the due date of her first child
A young girl struggling with life
My great aunts that they keep getting stronger and healthier
My niece and nephew as they prepare to head off to college
Everyone traveling this summer season

Bible verse, saint quote, or devotional~

Till Next Time,
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