Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Weekly Meal Plans

I've been sick for the last week and a half.  Finally broke down and got antibiotics to help knock it out but needless to say, dinner hasn't been high on my priority list. However, I have to admit, the kids and my husband have really stepped up and taken control of some of the meals to help me out, even if that included ordering pizza.    Charles was in Vegas from Thursday til Sunday so the kids took control off two of the three meals. 

Starting Thursday, Charles and I will be starting portion control and a more clean eating regiment using the 21 Day Fix.  Depending on how things go, I might start posting menus and such from that in the future.  We will see :)

Tuesday - Chili with fritos (made my husband)

Wednesday -  Moroccan style meatballs, roasted cauliflower and couscous.

Thursday - Chicken sandwiches with chips (made by the kids)

Friday  - grilled cheese and soup (made by kids but forgot to take a picture)

Saturday - Pizza and Wings


Sunday - Pork Tenderloin with zucchini and tortillini

Monday - Tandoori style chicken, cucumber and tomato salsa, wild rice and spicy garlic naan bread.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

My Teaching Library (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE 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.


I love using handouts for homeschooling.  Sometimes, extra practice is what the kids need to really help them to really understand what they are learning. However, for the life of me, I am not one of those able to make cute handouts that engage them on my own. I often spent a good portion of time scouring the internet trying to find worksheets that fit into the concepts that we are working on with the hopes that someone else has made what I am looking.  When I was given the opportunity to review the annual subscription to the Download Club from My Teaching Library, I was pretty exited to have access to thousands of resources that I could explore and add to my school day.

 My Teaching Library was started by Lynda Ackert, a mother and public school teacher both in Public Schools and overseas for the Department of Defense for over 20 years.  After becoming a mother, Mrs Ackert made the choice to homeschool her children which led to her realizing that she enjoyed making printables and handouts and wanted to share this with other homeschool families.

 With resources for grades Kindergarten all the way thru 12th grade and covering a wide variety of subjects from core classes such as language arts, math, science, history  as well as electives such as Bible studies, foreign language and physical education, My Teaching Library offers a wide arrange of subject material. 


Materials are arranged in such a way that makes searching by subject, grade and topic easy. Homeschooling families can purchase each product individually or get unlimited downloads/resources when they subscribe to a Download Club membership. Two memberships are available (annual and lifetime).  

How We Used It

Logging into the Download Club for a homeschool mother is equivalent to a kid in the candy store.  There is so much available on so many different subjects.  I simply just browse the list of topics, find something that looks interesting, click the download button which adds the material to my account, and then download it to my computer and print out for our classroom.

One particular resource we have used has been the Middle School Daily Grammar.  We have been including these lessons each day in our language arts class.  The lessons are short and only take us an additional ten minutes roughly to add to our day, but it has really helped the kids to grasp concepts such as parts of speech and sentence building. This particular download is 234 pages and in my opinion is extremely well written and explains grammar concepts perfectly for Ash and Garrett to understand. The lesson are also short enough to keep their attention, which is always important, especially with Garrett.

Another thing I really like about My Teaching Library is that the Download Club gives you access to all grade level material.  This came in handy when I realized Ashleigh in particular was struggling with reducing fractions.  I found a great set of handouts that while designed for 4th grade, were perfect to download, print out and give to Ashleigh as a morning drill to help her get more proficient with reducing fractions. 

Another resource that we found useful was the Bible Verse Memorization chart.  Garrett and Ashleigh have to memorize a verse from the book of Matthew each week.  I never really thought about keeping a list of their memorized verses until I saw the tracking chart.  The kids have been able to use it to write down their verse each week after they successfully recite it.   We also have been enjoying ( okay, Ashleigh and Mom have been enjoying - Garrett hates writing so him, not so much) the daily writing prompts for each month.  The ones we have been using are for grades 4th-6th grade. While we haven't been using them each and every day, I have been finding two each week to use for them as part of their weekly writing assignments.  Some of these topics have been really thought provoking for the kids, such as discussing the need for literacy and remembering those lives lost on September 11th while others were just fun topics such as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins' birthday. 

To learn more information about My Teaching Library, be sure to visit the company's website.  You can also find more information on the following social media platforms:


  Be sure to click the banner below to find out how other members of the Crew used My Teaching Library resources with their families within their homeschool.

My Teaching Library Download Club {My Teaching Library}

Monday, September 14, 2020

Weekday Meal Planning


Sunday:  Jamaica Beef Patties with spicy mango slaw and rice and beans

Monday:  Chicken Divan with broccoli and pasta

Tuesdays:  Slow cooker barbacoa tacos with pineapple slices

Wednesday:   Leftover Barbacoa stuffed poblano peppers with quinoa, corn and cheese

Thursday:   Somosa Pie

Friday:  Homemade pizzas - Caprese and Hawaiian

Saturday:  Pulled Pork Hawaiian sliders with spicy roasted Brussels sprouts and mac and cheese

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

Our cat Newton seems to think he's part of our class and often sits on the table watching the kids doing their assignments.  Often time, he likes to play with their pencils and interrupts our class when he bats them off the table onto the floor.  But he sure is pretty to look at ;)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

Last week, the base offered all families a free fajita dinner.  Simply get in line, they bring a bag to your car with chicken, tortillas, rice, beans, chips and salsa.   I was glad I got there early because the line was unreal long.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Reading Eggs (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE 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.

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If you’ve done any research on affordable reading programs for younger students, you’ve probably come across the website Reading Eggs from Blake eLearning Inc.  It’s been nearly 6 years, when I first started homeschooling Garrett, that I came across their website and it caught my interest.  At that time, it was only one program, the original Reading Eggs program.  I remember signing up for a free trial at that time, Unfortunately,  Garrett had issues with sensory sensitivities and couldn’t work with the program.  However, some years later, we tried again and Reading Eggs quickly became a website that we came to enjoy in our household.

RE-logo-abc6 years after that first attempt, the Reading Eggs website has grown considerably and now consists of Five separate portions that target students at different levels of their reading journey.

Reading Eggs Junior is designed for those students just beginning.  Using funny animation, this portion focuses on toddler games and preschool activities for children 2-4 years of age using alphabet games and songs to develop phonemic awareness.

Reading Eggs is the original Reading Eggs program designed for students aged 3-7.  This program uses many activities such as games, songs, animations and quizzes to help students learn phonics, spelling,  and develop strong reading skills.

 Fast Phonics is designed for children ages 5-10 who are either beginning to learn to read or might be struggling with their reading skills and need some extra instruction.

Reading Eggspress is for children ages 7-13.  This portion of the program helps to improve reading comprehension as well as to help students improve their Lexile reading level.

Mathseeds is designed for ages 3-9 and focuses on math skills.  

 For each program, students follow a designated learning map.  Each map follows a fun theme to keep learning interesting.  As they progress down the map, they build upon what they learned on previous maps.  Each lesson is numbered and picks up where the student left off on the previous session. For each activity they complete, the student earns golden eggs, a digital currency that can be spent on digital rewards on the website.

The child friendly dashboard makes it easy for students to either continue with lessons (the center button), visit the library where they can read leveled books, visit the arcade to play games, go to the mall to spend their golden eggs on clothing for their avatar to wear or for furniture and pets for their digital apartment.  In the stadium, students can compete with other students on the website in games involving grammar, spelling, and reading.  (Students are not able to chat or communicate, so no worries of inappropriate contact with your student).

Fast Phonics is a new feature that teaches and reviews foundational phonics for kids ages 5-10 as well as older students who are struggling with reading.  Using a yeti theme, each of the levels, or Mountain Peaks as the program calls them,  covers one set of letters in great depth, and includes a series of interactive activities, animated videos, and decodable books.  These activities help to book letter sound recognition and to build key phonics skills quickly using a systematic, synthetic phonics approach.   The program has 12 “peaks” or levels for the student to work through, and levels can be adjusted by the parent if needed.  


Another recently added feature to reading eggs is the Mental Minute drills.  If you are unaware, Reading Eggs also has a math portion of the program called MathSeeds which helps teach students aged 3-9 the core math and problem solving.  It’s also a great option for those who have older students who struggle with math facts and need extra help. As a new addition to the Mathseeds portion of the website, REading Eggs recently added Mental Minute Drills.  These are 1 minute drills for students to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Students have 1 minute to answer as many problems as possible.  Each drill is over a particular math fact family, such as multiplying by 5, subtracting from 6, ect.

Parents can easily keep an eye on their student’s progress with the Progress report found for each student.  These reports show the progress made for each program (Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspress and Math Seeds).  With this report, parents can see how many Lessons have been completed, how the student did on the quizzes they have taken, How many books they read through the program.  Parents can also track their child’s Lexile level and see how it has improved over the course of the lessons.



In addition to the various Reading Egg programs, the website also offers a nice selection of leveled reading books that students are able to access and read on the webpage. Books can be searched by reading level or subject of interest such as fairytales, Cats, nonfiction and more.  Students read these books on their own and are awarded golden eggs for reading a book and then taking a comprehension quiz over it.


How We Used It

Garrett and Ashleigh have both used Reading Eggs in the past.  Ashleigh had used it about two years ago but we continued our subscription for Garrett for another year afterwards.  His membership lapsed a few months ago, so he was very happy when he was able to log back into the program.  He noticed that there had been some changes since he last used the program – most notable the addition of the Fast Phonics option.

Ashleigh decided to work using the Reading Eggspress portion of the program, while Garrett used both the Fast Phonics as well as the Reading Eggspress portion.  Typically the kids worked with the website 15 minutes three times a day.  This allowed for me to complete our daily spelling test with one kid while the other stayed productive while working on Reading Eggs.  This allowed for the kids to complete 2-3 sections of the portion they were working on for that day.  With roughly 9 sections for each Lesson on the map, this had the kids completing a lesson every week.

For those who have used the original Reading Eggs that is for ages 5-7, Reading Eggpress is completely different. Where Reading Eggs focused on letters and phonics and learning to read, Reading Eggpress is designed to help students who are reading to improve their Lexile reading level and develop comprehension skills. Both of my kids are reading well enough to use the Reading Eggpress program rather than the early learning programs.


Some lessons would take a bit longer, with the only completing one section per day.  This was on days when they were required to read a section of a chapter book and then answer questions about what they read. Garrett especially would take longer on these sections as he tried to pass the quiz without actually reading and learned that he could not do that. Once he slowed down and actually read the passage, he could answer the questions, but reading the passage often took him the entire time and he would return the following session to complete the questions.

Garrett works on reading one of the books.


Comprehension Quiz following reading

From the parent’s dashboard, I was able to easily adjust the reading level for each of the kids so that the material being presented to them either wasn’t too easy or too hard. That way both kids could work at their own level since Ashleigh is at a much higher reading level than Garrett is currently at.   There is an assessment test available on the Reading Eggs website that can be used to place students in their proper level before starting with the program.

As mentioned, Garrett also used the Fast Phonics portion of the website.  The aim of it is for younger students than himself, but I think him reviewing phonics is a good thing as there are many letter blends that he still has issues with. 


We were a bit late finding the Mental Minute drills, but once we found them (They are found on the Math Seeds Dashboard), Ashleigh quickly took a linking to them.  We already do daily math drills with our current curriculum, but I’m not going to complain if Ashleigh decides to use a few minutes practicing her math skills.  These drills are exactly that – one minute is placed on the timer and students answer as many questions as they can.  They must get at least 10 questions correct to complete the level.  


I think Reading Eggs has been a great addition for a supplement for our homeschool. However, it would be very easy to use it as a dedicated reading program for younger learners.  For students who are more sensitive to sounds and busy animations, it might not be a good fit as the programs feature lots of flashy animation and songs, but outside of this, I would recommend it for those looking for a proven program  to improve elementary reading and math skills. The website still offers a 30 day free trial, so it's easy to try it out to find out if Reading Eggs will work for you. 

#hsreviews #readingeggs #eggsplorer

For more information about Blake eLearning Inc and Reading Eggs, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:



 Members of the Crew were given a one year subscription to the Reading Eggs website to use with their families.  Be sure to click the banner below and read their reviews as how they used the program with various ages and grade levels.

Reading Eggs Subscription {Blake eLearning Inc Reviews}


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