Menu Planning for July 31, 2015

Remember how we bought 1/8 side of beef in the spring?  We split a 1/4 side with a couple who had no kids, so they took almost all of the steaks, and we took all of the roasts.  We split the ground beef evenly. . .And, within two months all of the ground beef was gone.

Now, it’s time for the next twice a year order, and we don’t really want to split a 1/4 this time.  (My husband really missed having steak!)

Unfortunately, we don’t have the $600 to $700 available to purchase a full 1/4.  So, it’s time for creativity!  We’re still spending $125 a week for groceries.  We have 9 weeks until the full amount is due for the beef.  (A deposit of $100 is due in early September.)  If I can somehow save the $600 – $700 out of the $1,125 we have for groceries for the next nine weeks, we can get the beef.

Writing it down, I see that is a tall order!  Anyway, maybe we can come close to saving that amount.

I have lots of organ meat in the freezer, and we just bought a 50 lb. bag of organic oats, so we won’t starve.  :)

If you have some great recipes for organ meat, please pass them my way.

Here’s our uber-frugal meal plan for the week:


Lunch:  Lemon Chicken, Broccoli, brown rice
Dinner:  Pork Loin Roast, sweet potato fries, cucumber & tomato salad


Lunch:  TBD
Dinner:  Chicken Hot Dogs, Spanish Rice, cucumber


Split Pea Soup with Ham Hock


Spaghetti with Jamie Oliver Sauce & ground turkey



Poor Man’s Meal


Freezer Dump Soup (this is something I created a few weeks ago.  I’ll share soon, but it has veggies from the freezer, tomatoes, and some Polish sausage)


Slow Cooker Meatball Veggie Soup

For more meal planning ideas, visit Menu Planning Monday and Gluten Free Menu Swap.

TOS Crew Review: Heirloom Audio Productions’ With Lee in Virginia

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

Bookworm is both a bookworm and a history buff, so when we had the opportunity to review With Lee in Virginia by Heirloom Audio Productions, we excitedly said yes.

As part of our review, we received:

  • the CD With Lee in Virginia as well as
  • the downloadable eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter,
  • a printable copy of an inspirational quote by Robert E. Lee,
  • the official With Lee in Virginia soundtrack MP3 download,
  • unlimited access to the Live the Adventure Letter E-Newsletter,
  • G.A. Henty’s original With Lee in Virginia ebook (with all new color graphics), and
  • a printable promotional poster for the CD.

(All of these items are available as part of the Family 4 Pack offer.)

More about With Lee in Virginia

With Lee in Virginia has a star-studded cast including Sean Astin, Kirk Cameron, Chris Anthony, Kelsey Lansdowne, and Jim Weiss.

The recording is professional and highly engaging.  Just like a good book, I found myself wanting to listen to more and more.  Bookworm and I listened to this story, but PB & J Girl (6) and Cuddle Bug (5) frequently listened in.  The story easily kept their attention, too.

The story is based on G.A. Henty’s book by the same title.  The story follows Vincent, a young man who lives on a Southern plantation.  His father died in battle, so Vincent will some day run the plantation.  He despises the way slaves are treated and routinely beaten.  Vincent intercedes on his own plantation and a neighbor’s when oversees over reach their authority.  Vincent does this at the peril of his own life.

When the Civil War breaks out, he promptly joins.  As Vincent’s father was in the military with General Robert E. Lee, Vincent knows Lee well and often has the opportunity to talk with him.

Our Experience Using With Lee in Virginia

The timing of this review couldn’t have been better.  Bookworm’s history program had just reached the Civil War.  He was supposed to have read With Lee in Virginia for the accompanying literature that goes with his history program, but we instead opted to listen to this version.

The production is amazing!  We listened to two tracks a day, but as I said, I found myself wanting to go on to see what happened next in the story.  The actors and the sound effects really made the story come alive.  In the end, we listened to the last six tracks in one day!

What both of us also appreciated was the study guide that came with the CD.  Bookworm isn’t an auditory learner, so having the study guide helped him focus his attention on the particular details of the story.  The study guide included a section “Listening Well” that asked basic comprehension questions about the story and “Thinking Further” which offered more philosophical questions.  For instance, Listening Well included questions such as, “Who is waiting for Vincent when he returns home?”, while Thinking Further asked questions like, “How does the change in Vincent’s life change the lives of many others?”

The study guide is over 50 pages long and is beautiful designed.  The background looks like parchment paper, and there are plenty of pictures of key figures in the Civil War, battlefields, etc.

The only drawback to this recording, and this is minor because we LOVED the whole product, is that the study guide was large, so my computer had trouble printing it.  I could only print a few pages at a time, but that was only a minor inconvenience for the quality of this product!

If you’d like to learn more about With Lee in Virginia, you can do so by following them on social media:

Facebook:  With Lee in Virginia and Heirloom Audio Productions

Twitter: Heirloom Audio Productions

I was one of 100 people to review With Lee in Virginia.  For more reviews, please click on the link below.

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

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Enrichment Studies Review and Giveaway

Main business logo--goes to home page
When we homeschool, I like to help the kids make connections and bring what we’re studying to life.  I can do this through YouTube videos, Netflix shows, lap books, etc.  However, searching for all of this material can take a great deal of time and energy.

This post contains affiliate links which help support Mom’s Plans.

Great Scientists--medium

Recently, I was given the chance to review Enrichment Studies’ Great Scientists and Renaissance Artists.  Because Bookworm just studied the Renaissance for history, the Renaissance Artists was a perfect fit.

About Enrichment Studies

Enrichment Studies does the work  of finding additional, educational materials for you, at a very reasonable cost, I might add.  For instance, Great Scientists costs $14.95 and includes the following scientists:

  • Archimedes
  • Bohr
  • Boyle
  • Copernicus
  • Curie
  • Darwin
  • Einstein
  • Faraday
  • Hippocrates
  • Kepler
  • Linnaeus
  • Morse
  • Newton

Even better, if you’re using Classical Conversations, the scientists in this enrichment study correspond with Challenge B.

Oh, did I mention that what ever enrichment study that you buy is yours for a lifetime?  That means if you take a classical approach and cycle through history every 4 years, you can still use the same enrichment study that you bought and used four years ago.  If you have kids spaced far apart like I do, the material will still be there waiting when the younger child reaches the age to study it.  How great is that?

Topics Covered in Enrichment Studies

The following topics have enrichment studies available:

  • Composers
  • Artists
  • Women Artists Throughout History
  • Art Appreciation
  • Inventors & Scientists
  • Jazz
  • Presidents
  • Penmanship

Our Experience Using Enrichment Studies

Bookworm isn’t a big fan of science, so I wasn’t sure how the Great Scientists enrichment study would go over.

He actually loved it!

We spent a bit of time every day learning about scientists.  Bookworm’s favorite one so far was Archimedes.  Thanks to Enrichment Studies, we watched several videos about the many amazing inventions he created that are still being used today.

In addition to the videos we watched, there were other activities about Archimedes like a printable crossword puzzle, a science experiment to learn about buoyancy and density, notebooking pages, and a free book about Archimedes.  All of the scientists had a variety of activities like this.

The Renaissance Artists also covered many different activities.  We spent some time looking at several artists and their work.  Michelangelo’s page, for instance, included many educational videos as well as fun activities like making your own sculpture using Ivory soap and interactive games about the Renaissance and artists.

If there is the potential for any questionable material that may concern parents (like Michelangelo’s many nudes), Enrichment Studies gives parents a warning to preview the material first.

Enrichment Studies Sale and Freebies

Birthday Bash Sale graphic medium

If you’d like to try Enrichment Studies, now is the perfect time to do so.  Using the code BDAY40, you can 40% off the enrichment studies you choose between now and August 1st.  (This is a steeper discount than is offered on Black Friday!)

Free Women Artists of the Renaissance

If you’d like to try out Enrichment Studies first, sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll get Women Artists of the Renaissance Fine Art Pages for free!

The Giveaway

Enrichment Studies is offering one lucky Mom’s Plans’ reader the chance to win the Renaissance Artists collection and the coordinating Fine Art Pages, a $29.90 value.

Methods of Entry

To enter, simply go to Enrichment Studies, and look through the studies offered.  Then come back here and tell me what specific study you found most interesting or useful.

As an additional entry, sign up for Enrichment Studies’ newsletter and receive the Women Artists of the Renaissance Fine Art Pages for free!  Come back here and leave a comment that you did so.

This giveaway, which is open to those 18+ years old, will end on August 5, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PST.  The winner will be chosen via

Disclosure: I received two enrichment studies for review purposes.  No other compensation was given.  All opinions are my own.

Our Homeschool Wrap Up, 2015-2016, Week 8

This post contains affiliate links that help support Mom’s Plans.

Do you ever have one of those weeks where it’s Monday, and then you just seem to blink and it’s Friday?  That’s what happened this week.  We weren’t exceptionally busy, so I don’t know where the week went!

Fun Activities

This week I took the kids to see Curious George as part of the discounted summer movie program.  I thought it would be packed, but the kids and I had the theater almost to ourselves.  (There were only two other families there.)

School Work

The girls and I read some sections of Living Long Ago as part of their Sonlight Core A curriculum, and they were particularly fascinated by the “ruffs” or large white collars that people used to wear.  There were instructions in the book to make your own ruff, but I didn’t have time to do it that day.

IMG_5966The next day, Bookworm and I were ready Gettysburg together, when PB & J Girl asked to use some paper.  The next thing I knew, she and Cuddle Bug had cut out the paper, folded it, and made their own ruffs.  They were pretty proud of themselves, and I was impressed with their creativity.

IMG_5968When we were at the homeschool convention a few weeks ago, I bought Famous Figures of the Civil War as a hands on activity for Bookworm to go along with his current history and literature studies.  On Friday, he decided to make Robert E. Lee.  I laminated it for him first so it would be more durable, and then he went to work cutting out the pieces and assembling it.  IMG_5970He loved the activity, and surprisingly, it took longer than he thought.  Now the girls want to make a few figures, so we’ll probably do that next week.

In Other News

In other news, at the homeschool convention, I bought the book, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling High School.  (Yes, my oldest is only in 6th grade, but I like to plan ahead!)  The author mentioned that Tapestry of Grace is a great curriculum, especially for kids that are strong in English.  I’ve spent the last 10 days researching Tapestry of Grace almost obsessively.  (Curriculum junkie, I admit it.)

I *think* I’ve decided to try it out by using the 3 week trial with the girls for Tapestry of Grace Primer.  I’ll buy the few books I need using my Swagbucks credit.  If I like it, I plan to switch the girls to Tapestry of Grace Primer this year, and Bookworm to Tapestry of Grace Year 1 next year.

What do you think?  Have you used Tapestry of Grace?  What was your experience?

Well, that’s a wrap for now.  I’d love to hear about your week!

I shared this post at Christian Fellowship Friday, My Week in Review,  Homeschool Mother’s Journal, and Weekly Wrap Up.

TOS Crew Review – Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance and Reformation

Home School in the Woods Review

When I was in school, history was one of my favorite subjects, but the way it was delivered was definitely not.  How boring can teachers make history in school?  Are you with me?

One of the things I like best about homeschooling is that there are so many great history curriculums that really bring history to life.  I’ve known of Home School in the Woods since I began homeschooling, but I hadn’t had a chance to try it yet.  Luckily, thanks to the Crew, Bookworm and I were able to try Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation.

More About Project Passport World History Study

IMG_5761Project Passport World History Study lets your children “travel” through the time they’re studying in history.  Some of Bookworm’s first assignments were to create a passport, a suitcase for his paperwork, etc.

Home School in the Woods Review

The Renaissance and Reformation curriculum has 25 stops (lessons), and each stop has approximately one to eight corresponding activities.  In total, there are 50 projects and activities in this course.  In addition, there is almost an hour of MP3 recordings.

This curriculum is designed for kids in 3rd through 8th grade and is supposed to last 8 to 12 weeks, but that is highly variable.  You and your children can choose how many activities to do for each stop, which will lengthen or shorten the amount of time you spend on the curriculum.  Also, there is an additional resources section that gives non-fiction and fiction books your children can read to delve further into the topics as well as suggested DVDs, music, and audio books.

Our Experience Using Project Passport World History Study

IMG_5947We’re Catholic, so I was a bit leery to use this course.  My main concern was that there be a balanced view of the Reformation.  I e-mailed the company before I agreed to the review, and they were wonderful!  They got back to me within 24 hours and said,

“You might want to read Cathy Duffy’s review of it! Cathy is a Catholic, so you will get a true take on it. We also had her review our manuscripts before going to print. In addition, a friend of hers who is a Catholic scholar gave his stamp of approval on the resources we used to gather our information. Although we are Protestant, it was our mission to provide an honest overview of the era.”

I appreciated the company’s effort and sensitivity to the subject.

Having said that, we didn’t get far enough in the course during this review period to get to the reformation. Bookworm worked on this course 20 to 30 minutes 4 days a week.  We did most of the activities at each stop, so we only made it through the end of stop 4.

IMG_5950Bookworm really enjoyed all of the hands-on activities and the many different activities he got to do from writing articles like a newspaper reporter to creating postcards, to using a timeline.  IMG_5948I skipped some of the art activities, but we plan to go back to this curriculum next year and use it, so I’ll include those then.

Our Thoughts on Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance and Reformation

Honestly, I have mixed feelings on this curriculum.

The Pros

So many hands-on activities for kids.  If your kids like hands-on learning, this is the curriculum for you.  Each stop has several activities to do.  There were so many good ones, that we did all of the ones we could feasibly do.

Appeals to different learning styles.  The activities range from writing a newspaper ad to putting together a menu to doing a timeline.

Shows more of the everyday life of the Renaissance.  Unlike reading a dry textbook, kids doing this curriculum learn about every day life of the citizens and the royalty by reading stories about famous people and average citizens.  Bookworm loved this.

The Cons

There are a lot of supplies to buy.  While this product costs $33.95 for the digital download, that won’t be the end of your expenses.  I had to buy quite a bit–colored card stock, colored paper, double-sided tape, just to name a few.  Plus, there is a lot to print, so you may run through printer ink faster than normal.
It is time consuming for the parents.  Before every stop, I had to spend 30 minutes to one hour printing the material for the stop.  This frequently involved printing on one side and then reading to see what to print on the other side.  I just did the printing and let Bookworm do all of the cutting and assembling, but some parents choose to do all of the cutting so their children only need to do the assembly, which would take even longer.

Having said all of that, I do plan to use this curriculum again.  I think it’s an excellent way to bring history to life for kids.  In fact, next year when we study ancient history, I plan to buy the Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt for a supplement.

I was one of 100 reviewers to review three different types of Project Passport World History Study.  (Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages were the other two.)  Click on the link below to read more reviews.

Home School in the Woods Review
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