Do You Choose Virtues?

In my Opinion you could be the Richest person in the world and still have nothing if you don't have strong Character and virtues under your belt.  Growing up in the Foster Care system I unfortunately saw the ugly side of a lot of people.  Having seen what the lack of character and virtue does to a person I have always made that one of my TOP Priorities to teach my Children.  If you don't teach it and live it, how can they learn it and have it?

It was like Christmas morning when the mailman dropped off our package from Heather McMillan.
For the purpose of my review I was sent a set of Virtue Flash Cards (NIV edition), a sample Parenting Card, the downloadable Teacher's Handbook, a PDF of The Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Pages, and the free download of the Family Character Assessment.
There are 3 editions available right now, secular, KJV and NIV.  During a conference call, I was excited to hear that Heather from We Choose Virtues said she had an older kids version in the works! Mahala and Skylar have this on their wish list already!!!! :)

 I know there are a variety of items listed on the website, it can be a little overwhelming if you aren’t sure what to get.  Here are Heather's
top three items:
1. Flashcards ($14.99)
2. Virtue Clues ($5.50)
3. Poster ($15)

 I was so excited after I started using what was given to me for a review I went and ordered the Poster, Parent cards, 100 days of Virtues chart and the Virtue Clues!!!!  Everything is sooooo colorful and Kid friendly, I just love the catchy phrases and the cute names of each character.  This was appealing to Kaden because he is soooo Visual.  If it doesn't stimulate him enough then it would be a No Go from the Get Go! Heather put so much Love and Thought into this wonderful product....You can feel it with each new Virtue you work on with your Kiddos.  I will be a Life Long Customer of We Choose Virtues for sure!!!!

Heather shared some coupon codes for my Awesome Readers!  If you were interested in a homeschool kit, she is extending the coupon code that is listed on her website until the end of April. That will give you 20% off the kit!  There won’t be another coupon like that again until the Black Friday deals!  Code = Home20
The other coupon is for 15% off your total purchase and there is no expiration code on this one!  So, you can use the code over and over again! Code = Virtue15
You can not combine the 2 codes together of course…
Have Fun, I know you and your Family will enjoy this product as much as We have!!!!

If you’d like to read other WCV reviews by homeschooling moms, visit Mosaic Reviews.


Three Chicks in a Nest

I love Brunch on the weekends!  You don't have to get up super early and the food is a bit more hardy then the average muffin and juice weekend breakfast.
On the weekends I do tend to have brunch both on Saturday and Sunday depending on whats on our agenda for the weekend.
This weekend we didn't get to enjoy our Saturday morning together, because Mahala had 2 games first thing in the morning.  So I sent her and Dad off with sausage, egg and cheese biscuits!  Those are YUMMMMMY!

So, today is Sunday and I have to make up for yesterday so I started with making a Family FAVORITE of ours....Chicks in a Nest!
Normally what I do is use pre-cut frozen potatoes.  But, yesterday I was surprised to see a Favorite Food Network show of mine Pioneer Woman have a similar recipe and she used fresh potatoes.  So I thought, hmmmmm why not give it a try!

I gently boiled my potatoes and grated them in a bowl.  When I say gently I mean just enough that a fork will go into it.  Remember you still have to grate it, so you don't want a bunch of mushy potato all over your hands. ;)
 I added salt and lots of pepper.  I even put a dash or more of cayenne too. We like it HOT in the Manic House.

 After my potatoes are all seasoned I put them in a butter coated muffin tin.  Make sure you make the nest part for your egg to go into later.
Now there are a few benefits of using fresh potatoes, one just because they are Fresh...duh!  And two is that you don't have to let them thaw a little to make the nests before you cook them.  But, I did find with the fresh potatoes your nests might be a little compacted at the bottom, almost like a potato cake.  So there are pros and cons to everything. I think from here on out I will stick to the frozen potatoes.

 You need to put your nests in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes and then on a high broil for 5 minutes.

Then take them out and crack an egg inside each one.  Normally what I do before I put in the egg is add some cooked diced ham or sausage crumbles.  But, today the kiddos really wanted some corn beef hash.  So, it's straight up chick in our nests today!  :)

Next, put them back in the oven.  We like our yolk runny so I leave them in for about 8 minutes.  Just enough so the white is cooked.  Check off and on though because all ovens vary in temps. :)

 After you take them out of the oven, just use a fork and pop them onto a plate.  Be careful not to bust the yolk.....I always end up with the not so pretty one.  Mom's duty I guess!!  HAHAHAHAHAHA

This morning we also ate Spinach with garlic tomatoes and purple onions.  A requested corn beef hash from the kiddos, creamy grits and extra spicy leftover hash browns for the potato lovers in the house. :)

And to wash it all down I just made a quick OJ with some oranges that have taken up permanent residency here on my cluttered counter.  When I make homemade OJ I like to add the juice from a 1/2 of a small lemon to the pitcher.  It just does something to it....I can't explain.


Money Management Fun & Easy!

"Can I have this, can I have that".  "Hmmmmm, I think I never used that $5 I earned for cleaning out the car".  "Hey, do you remember I let you borrow that $1 for an ice cream back in July....I need it back now"?  Have you heard your Kiddos ramble like this from time to time?  I know I have and even though I have taught some basics about saving your money and my two oldest have bank accounts.  I really winged it and didn't think twice about it.

So, when I was asked to use the FamilyMint Program I was really excited.  I thought great, now we can tie up any loose ends on managing your money and the kids would have tools to independently keep track of how much money they have.  We could all use help with money management and need to form new money habits.  Habits like thinking differently, planning differently, reacting differently and behaving differently. It takes at least 2 months to form a new habit. The FamilyMint Method is built around this basic truth and takes about that long to complete!  YAY!!!

Mahala has not only a Bank account, but 2 piggy banks.  And when she started looking around she noticed she had money everywhere.  She found money under the bed, on her desk, in the bathroom, in her jewelry box and any other spot she normally would just stash her change.  The amount she had surprised her and she was ready to start the process of saving and managing her money better.

Mahala is very Goal Driven!!!!  That is a good thing for me as her Mom. She really liked that Online you could visually see the item you want to save for and progressively get closer the more you save.  We did tend to use the Workbook more then the online portion.  I love that you have the option!!! The first day she surprised me at the breakfast table, "Did you know that only 3% of people set goals?  I was impressed how excited she was to learn.  The Guys at FamilyMint believe that Goals are self-fulfilling, create energy, and can lead to extraordinary lives and I do agree with them.

My favorite part about this Step-by-Step Money Management Program is all of the worksheets and tracking sheets.  And their Blog has so much info and tips that the money You could save just from that alone would pay for this program.
Mahala's favorite part besides being closer to her "Goal" was all of the Fun Money Facts that they had throughout the Workbook and the Vocabulary words.  I've never seen a child so excited about Vocabulary words. :)  Also, she is looking forward to hanging up the Awesome Certificate of Achievement upon completion.

I''m very proud of her success so far.  I would have never thought to look into this kind of program to use with my children.  Thank Goodness I was Blessed with this opportunity to review such a well thought out and encouraging product!!!  With that said I would definitely recommend The FamilyMint Money Management Program!!
Special Introductory Bundle Offer

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Money Management Certification Program workbook +
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This review is part of the Mosaics Reviews: A medley of review perspectives. To see other perspectives please visit  http://mosaicreviews.com/family-mint/


Invasion of the Leprechaun

We were Invaded last night by a little Green Man.........a Leprechaun!!!  Kaden was so excited to wake up and see little tiny foot prints leading to a loot of Gold chocolate.

This is my first year doing anything like this for him, because he really wasn't able to focus on any real tradition or have excitement towards anything that didn't include a chess move or sequence of objects.  But, the past year we have seen so much progress. 

Of course he needed to investigate.  He just knew it was paint and had to take a closer look.  But after careful observation he noticed it was slimy like soap.  Oh no...........

 I used a Max Steel boot and diluted soap colored with green food coloring.  Luckily Kaden's investigation wasn't too long, because the Loot of Chocolate Covered Coins at the end of the trail was to tempting!!!!!   I guess the Luck of the Irish was on my side this morning!!  :)

Rocco was our Leprechaun Guard Dog.  I think it was a tough night for him.  Luckily the Leprechaun got away and was on his way to the next house.


Green Light!

Why would Skylar be up on the roof of our house......Hmmmmmmmmmmmm???????

 Because Mahala and Kaden decided to do a little Science experiment and shoot off some rockets with baking soda and vinegar.  How fun!!!!!  Actually, it was way fun!!!!
I love to see the kids doing projects o their own....safely.  Anything to get them from in front of a screen gets a GREEN light from me.


Gardening with Gary Emmett

I was beyond thrilled to get a copy of this book to review.  I am known for having a thumb of death.  Every year I try to grow something and every year the trumpets play the same song.  But, this year looks a little brighter already!!!  Why, because I have some new tools in my gardening kit and I learned how to use them in this nifty book by Gary Emmett.

"He who fails to Plan is Planning to fail"- Winston Churchill uttered these wise words.  And I knew I liked Gary when I opened his book and saw those words glaring at me.  You know even though I'm not the most organized person in the world I love to at least read about becoming more organized.  I figure a little here and there will stick and then I'll be able to take over Martha Stewart's job. :D

One thing I learned that made a ton of sense to me was to keep a Garden journal.  Hmmmmm plan first and stay organized, what a concept!  Gardening is so much more then what catches your eye at your local Target Gardening center.

I loved the way Gary made me feel like I was sitting across the table from him.  With my "new" Gardening Journal, pencil in hand and ready to take on the back yard one seed at a time!!!!!  This can be a very intimidating hobby, so it's nice to have a friendly teacher beside you guiding you through the thorns and weeds.

After reading Seed-Starting The First Step to Gardening I've learned the error of my ways.  I haven't been paying attention to the right things.  You have to think about the seeds, soil and equipment needed to make your lush area just that, LUSH!  Did you know they have fiber pots that you plant directly into the ground. :O
When you have a baby, you don't just slap a pair of booties on it, strap on a diaper and fill it's bottle with milk.  A lot more goes into a baby's care then a $200 pair of Alpaca lined booties.  Same thing can be said about your garden.

Gary Emmett talks about his cherished memories over the years gardening throughout his life.  I look forward to more Happy Gardening Memories to come and less Plant Funerals.  I suggest before you tour a nursery or scour tons of catalogs for seeds that you get your own copy of this extremely helpful book.

 Make sure you share your garden pictures with me.  I will keep you updated on my little patch of Heaven too!!
Gary Emmett


Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes

 In the Manic Household we love our breakfast.  I can have breakfast food anytime of the day.  During the week we usually stick with cereal, waffles, muffins, oatmeal, breakfast burritos made with eggs, cheese and last nights veggie leftovers.  But, on the weekend it's a huge spread.
On Saturdays we usually have brunch because we sleep in and I'm just lazzzzy on Saturdays.  :D  I make sure to include the main Manic food groups..... meat, carbs, and dairy!!!
We love grits and homemade country potatoes, we have to have eggs and then we decide on what meat to have.  We just have a rotation....sausage, bacon and then cornbeef hash.  I know it sounds crazzzzzy, but it works and has been for 15 years.  We always have coffee and OJ to wash it all down. 

 Now Sunday is a whole different ball game.  Pancakes is the drug of choice around here.  And Manic Momma knows just how the Fam likes them!!!

 I always take a stick of butter and slice it while it's cold.  It just makes life easier.  Each pancake gets one butter square to swim in and one on the top after it's cooked for extra love.
 This past Sunday I decided to make my peanut butter cup pancakes.  I  use chocolates chips and when I can find them I use a little of the Peanut butter chips too.  The trick to not burning your chocolate chips is to sprinkle them in once all the bubbles have popped up and it's fully cooked on the one side.  Never put them in your batter and then pour into the pan.  For one the chips wont be evenly distributed through out the pancake and it will also burn and cause a stinky mess.

 My Family loves Peanut butter!!!!!!  So right after I flip it I toss on my second pat of butter and turn the heat on low.  Then I smear on a generous helping of peanut butter.  After it comes out of the pan and onto a plate I give a swirl or two of all natural honey and a swirl of maple syrup.  My Family likes the honey taste to be more predominate then the syrup. ;)  This past Sunday I was feeling extra Manic so I gave them a dollop of whipped cream.  Bellow is a pic of Skylar's huge pancake, I almost broke a wrist lifting this out of the pan.  He's almost 19...he could handle it though!!!!  HAHAHAHAHAHA


What to Do when the Lunch Bell Rings

Lunch time at the Manic house can honestly be Anything!  We are usually just in a Good homeschool groove when lunch time hits and Kaden ends therapy.  With that said making lunch is not on my mind.  But, when I'm prepared I can usually whip something together or at least have leftovers on the days that my brain is numb!
The other day we had leftover chicken enchilada soup and ham & cheese sushi!!!  Yummmmmmy!  What are some of your Favorite Lunches?