Thursday, August 28, 2014

Franklin County Virginia Agricultural Fair

We just finished Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, Farmer Boy today. I cried. I can't tell you the last time I cried at the end of a book, but this one did me in! I won't ruin the ending for you, but I will say that things certainly have changed over the years. The character and integrity of ten year old Almanzo was certainly one to be admired and would challenge many young boys today. 

One of my first grader's favorite parts of this book was when Almanzo entered his milk-fed pumpkin into the county fair. My children were on the edge of their seats, caught up in the suspense, wondering if he would win the blue ribbon against all the other entrants! 

County fairs were a big deal back then. Everyone took a break for a few days and head out in their horse and buggys filled with produce, goods and livestock. The community gathered together to spend time with their families, friends and neighbors.

When I heard that Franklin County, Virginia was bringing back the former tradition after forty years, I knew that our family had to be a part! I'm looking forward to good old-fashioned fun, with something for everybody!


Franklin County Rec. Park
Sontag Rd.
Rocky Mount, VA


Wednesday: September 10th 
5 - 10pm

Thursday: September 11th
5 - 10pm

Friday: September 12th
4 - 11pm

Saturday: September 13th
Noon - 11pm


Midway Rides

Dairy and Beef Cattle Show


Hubba Bubba Clown Show

Horse Show





Barefoot West

True Cadence

Lawnmower Tractor Pullers

The Kings

BMX Stunt Show

and much, much


View Schedule


Adults and Youth Ages 12 and Up

Children Ages 5-11

Children 4 and Under

Ride and Admission Wristband
For All Ages

So, if you are wondering if we will be entering anything in the fair this year. The answer is, of course! It's all about the educational experience that this can be. And it comes right at the end of our Farmer Boy experience, perfect! They do have some veggies and flowers they grew this year they plan to enter. Great homeschool project! I'd encourage all local homeschoolers to jump all over this opportunity to get out with your family in a fun and educational way! If you are curious as to what you can enter, just check out the list! Stay tuned, as I'll be sharing more with you about the fair in the near future! Feel free to check out the Fair's Website for additional information.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

UberSmart Software {Review}

UberSmart Math Facts Review

To keep up with his math skills this summer, I had my son practice with UberSmart Software. This downloadable program ($24.95) is for Windows based computers. My son has been working with the UberSmart Math Facts program to rehearse his addition and subtraction facts and to begin learning his multiplication facts.    

I currently use Abeka Math for my two boys and have been using it with my oldest from the beginning. Personally, I am a fan of the memorization and the method of teaching used in that program. It encourages quick answers and memorizing of math facts. With my oldest, I used to sit with him and go through flash cards. The curriculum pretty much encourages this every day, I can't say that I was entirely faithful with it, but I would try! The challenge began though when my second son entered the picture. At first I would try to sit them both down and go through he cards. Fail. Obviously, the oldest would answer them all correctly first. Then, I would do half of the cards with one, and then half with the other. It worked for like a day, but the one not involved would always get so fidgety!

When I heard about UberSmart's online flash card program called UberSmart Math Facts, I was excited to try it out and see if this could be incorporated into our schooling! The timing was perfect too, summer. Summer is always a time where parents who take summer break are nervous that their children will "lose" some of their math knowledge. Previously I had schooled year round so heading into my first "summer" with the kids did make me a tad nervous, I'll admit. I was excited to have this program to try so my kids would still be able to work on their math over the summer.

How it works is you will download the program to your computer and receive a code to register it. This means that you can use the program completely offline. Once you download it, the program is on your computer and it is yours to keep. This program works on Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista only. Once downloaded and registered, you can add eight or more students at a K-6 level. 
UberSmart Math Facts Review

Once signed up, each student can take a test to see where they fall in the program and what skills they need to work on. My pre-schooler had a hard time finding the keys on the keyboard so she worked on keyboard entry, pictured above. 

With Keyboard entry, basically a number would appear and she would have to type it in. She enjoyed this task, it took a while but when she did it, she liked it. I think she liked the feeling of completing a task. 

After my first grader took the test, the results said that he wasn't really ready to work on his math facts such as addition or subtraction simply because he needed to work on his keyboarding skills. He was able to figure out the problems, it just took him too long to enter them on the keyboard. And, this is a timed program, so speed is key. I realized after this that he would do better with physical flash cards. Rather than trying to obtain keyboarding and math skills at the same time, I decided to skip this program with him, to ease the frustration.

As for my third grader, this program has been a perfect fit! It is challenging at times for him to stay speedy and type in the answers quickly, but he already is excellent at math and this pushes him to be even better and quicker! I started him out with easy facts and once he mastered those, I would go to harder ones. Now that we are in school again, he is working on his threes times table. Perfect! I simply go to the "learn" section of this program and have him watch the flash cards for the multiplication of the threes. He doesn't need to enter anything at this point, he just watches and learns. Then, I have him go to the "practice" section. It only takes five to ten minutes a day, but I will have him do it right before math class to get his mind working on the same facts that we will be going over! 

UberSmart Math Facts Review

I plan on continuing to use this with my third grader since basically, he can learn and practice his facts quickly and easily while I am working with the other kids on something else. The program is simple and effective for students who already have good keyboarding skills. If not, there is ample opportunity for students to gain speed and accuracy with this program!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Week in Review: Homemade Tomato Sauce

Yes, we did school this week, it just went a little different than the past two weeks in which we have officially been "in school." On Monday morning I realized that our tomatoes were in abundance so I put aside our boxed curriculum for the day and told the kids that we were making spaghetti sauce! I'm glad my kids like to help in the kitchen or this task would have been a drudgery. Fortunately, it was quite pleasant. I sent the boys out to the garden to pick a few more ripe tomatoes. Then they weighed what we had (on our baby scale turned kitchen scale), a total of 21 lbs. Not a huge amount for someone who does a lot of canning, but for us, it was plenty!

The kids then "washed" and got the tomatoes ready for our handy dandy sauce makerIt's pretty cool. You don't have to hull, peel or blanch, just put it in like a juicer and it separates the skin and seeds out for you!

The kids chopped the tomatoes into quarters, mushed them down, cranked them through and held the bowls in place as the juice went into one bowl and the seeds and skin went into another. 

I then added chopped onion and spices and boiled down for two hours until it was the right consistency. One small jar full was saved for my tasty rendition of chicken parm that evening and the rest filled 5 quart mason jars that I canned in my canner.

While the sauce boiled, my son read aloud from a seed saving book about how to save our tomato seeds for next year. We then watched a YouTube video about the same topic, compared notes and got started with the process!

Later in the week, we took a quick trip to the city and were able to practice our golf skills. Gym class, check! We did end up getting back to the books and both boys aced their tests for the week! A great beginning for a new school year.

How was your week? What did you do?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Healthy Snack Alternative

As parents it is important to know what our children are eating. Recently, I have been trying to make more meals and snacks from scratch to have more control over what my kids are actually consuming! With more and more parents attempting to provide their children with healthy alternatives to GMO foods we are hungry for healthy alternatives that we can feel good about!

Soy Bites exclusively by Crum Creek Mills are a GMO-free snacks that parents can be confident about. Pack them in a picnic lunch, or set them out in a bowl within everyones reach. Keep them on hand for those long road trips or pack them in your purse on field trip days. Here's a perfect munch food; healthful, convenient, single-served that is great for work, home, school or play.

There are so many ways to enjoy Crum Creek Mills Soy Bites. They're delicious on their own, of course. You can also use them for dipping hummus, light cream cheese, a bit of peanut butter, jelly or whatever else you like. Available in FOUR incredible flavors: Remarkable Rosemary and Garlic, Superb Sesame, Outrageous Onion and Everything! (A scrumptious blend of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic and salt). Try it out for yourself at!

Disclaimer: I will receive the product above in exhange for this review through the US Family Guide Blogger Program. All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adventure Landing {Review}

Why keep your kids fenced in on such a beautiful, sunny day when you can get outdoors and play some mini-golf? When we arrived at Adventure Landing in Winston-Salem today we saw quite a crowd! Apparently we weren't the only ones who wanted to practice our swing! Fortunately, there were three (at least from I could see) different courses to choose from! We chose a par 2 and got started right away! 

Even with such a crowd, everyone dispersed to different courses so you never really felt like you were on top of anyone, or rushed. Surprisingly, my kids (ages 4-7) didn't get tired throughout the 18 hole course. They just wanted to keep on going! My seven year old was the only one with a hole in one, yeah, I didn't even get one! My six year old just kept on moving through and his favorite part was the waterfall. He was continually concerned the ball would fall in the water, fortunately it never did!

Now, my four year old didn't quite understand the whole "not using your hands" thing and kept picking up the ball and placing it next to the hole to hit it in. Cracks me up.

Some Things to Know Before you Go

~ They prefer that you golf in groups of 4
~ No more than 5 swings per hole

On our drive home the kids were already asking to go back! Definitely a fun family outing! Maybe next time we will give the bumper boats or arcade a try!

Disclaimer: A big thank you to Adventure Landing and US Family Guide for free passes in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kombucha Revolution {Book Review}

What exactly is Kombucha? After reading Kombucha Revolution, I have come to the understanding that it is basically fermented tea. And not just any ordinary tea but in the first sentence of this book, the author calls it the "elixer of life" to detoxify the body, help with digestion and focus the mind. He even states that it reverses the symptoms of cancer. A bold claim? Maybe. But I could certainly be convinced. The closer man gets to nature and the elements of it's creation, the better it is for the body. God created tea leaves and there are healing elements within them. Actually, in our house, we turn to herbal teas before the medicine cabinet on any given day! So, it has been interesting reading about Kombucha and this whole new aspect of tea brewing!

This book introduces the reader to the history of Kombucha and the author's experience with it. Seventy-five recipes then follow including different infusions and preparations of the mixture. The only reason we haven't given any of these recipes a try is because similar to Keifer Grains or Sourdough Starter you need a starter to produce Kombucha, SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). I'm sure one of these days we will order some online or come across someone in our circle of friends that might be ever so generous to give us a "baby" SCOBY from one of their batches!

This revolutionary drink is certainly something to look into and I look forward to adding this book to our ever growing library of recipe books that we hope to tackle one day!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions stated are my own.