Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

We have had the opportunity to review products from Apologia many times over the years, and each time we've been thoroughly impressed. From science curricula to daily planners to biblical worldview courses to grammar and writing resources to heart-convicting books, their products are always top-quality and highly sought-after. In fact, they consistently earn awards for their resources, specifically their elementary science courses.  

This Christian company believes "that every educational subject in your home school can and should be taught from a biblical worldview built on the solid foundation of God’s Word and centered on Jesus Christ." It's always best to use products that reinforce your beliefs. That is one of the many reasons I was excited to use Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology in our home.

Apologia was extremely generous and sent us the entire set of this curriculum:

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text 
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal

There are 14 lessons that cover an intro to anatomy and physiology, the various systems of the body, health and nutrition, blood, and growth and development. Your students will learn everything from the strongest muscle in the body to which vitamin the bacteria in your colon produce to the purpose of dendrites to why you get dizzy after spinning in circles and more. The hands-on experiments get the students exploring about taste testing, learning Braille, testing fruits and vegetables for vitamin C, analyzing a chicken bone after vinegar exposure, crafting a stethoscope, creating a trivia anatomy game, completing a science fair project, and other fun ideas. 

The textbook makes it simple for the parent to teach the curriculum. The text is written directly to the student with a conversational tone. The book is engaging and gives multiple opportunities for the students to stop and retell what they've learned. The narration is written at the students' level (ages 6-13), but incorporates many more advanced terms that are relevant. More complicated words include a pronunciation guide and definition in the text. Like the other books in the Young Explorer Series, this one is full of  hands-on activities and scientific experiments. The pages are sprinkled with Try This! boxes that encourage the students to explore what they've been learning in a practical, interactive manner.

An MP3 Audio CD is included to accompany the text. The author of Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, Jeannie Fulbright, reads the textbook.  She has a pleasant, easy-to-listen-to voice, which makes it enjoyable for the students to follow along in their books. The Audio CD replaces the need for a teacher or parent to explain the book and would be helpful while driving or other times when a parent may not be able to instruct. Jeannie references pictures, illustrations, and diagrams, so it is beneficial to be looking at the book. Because the parts of each lesson are divided into tracks, you could use a combination of parent-led portions when you have the time and CD-led lessons when life is too busy.

The curriculum follows a Charlotte Mason methodology. Instead of depending on typical workbooks that need to be filled in with answers, it focuses on notebooking where the students can uniquely express themselves as they learn and record the information in way that they personally with retain. Apologia offers two notebooking journals for the course. The Junior version is designed for younger students or those with limited writing skills. It has coloring pages and fewer spaces for written text, but also includes other interesting pages, like labeling parts of the body, simple crossword puzzles, vocabulary puzzles, copy work pages, extra experiment ideas, and more.

The second notebooking journal is for the older kids. It has more places to personalyl record notes and incorporates some short answer question pages. It includes copy work pages, labeling activities, and crossword puzzles like the Junior book, but at a slightly more difficult level. The additional experiment pages are identical to its counterpart, making it easy to do with multiple kids of all ages.

This study (which is the same format as the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics study that we've enjoyed) has been perfect for our family! We prefer to do as much schoolwork as a family as we can. I love these times as it often leads to deeper discussions, whether about the text or a parallel topic. I read the lessons to all the kids (ages 12, 10, 8, 6), but only the middle two work through their respective notebooking journals. It's funny, because the two without the books are happy not to have to do extra work, and the two with the journals are happy because they enjoy the activities in them.

Of course, everyone's favorite part is the experiments! The book is filled with all types from simple activities like trying to complete tasks with your fingers taped together to more involved experiments like mummifying apples. There are easier small exercises throughout the lessons and then one big project at the end of each one. There is a list of all the necessary items at the beginning of the book and thorough directions that accompany each activity.   

This video shows just a portion of the activities that are included in the first 4 lessons of the book:

We're having so much fun Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology!

You can connect with Apologia on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this curriculum set on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lactation Cookies

* This post may contain affiliate links. 

Have you ever heard of lactation cookies?

I admit, the first time I heard of these cookies many years ago, I thought they had breast milk as one of the ingredients.

Nope. Not the case.

In actuality, they're cookies eaten to increase milk supply and are full of all sorts of healthy goodness.

A cookie that's good for baby and good for me??? Yes, please! (Really though, you had me at cookie.)

I nursed my babies a total of 89 months. That's nearly 7 1/2 years of breastfeeding. 

God designed women's bodies in a miraculous way. Most times, if a mom is exclusively breastfeeding, she will be able to produce sufficient milk for her baby. Sometimes though, she might need a boost in her supply. And who could turn down cookies if they're going to help you feed your baby, right?

These cookies contain galactagogues that are believed to increase milk supply: oats, flaxseed, and brewer's yeast. They have iron, fiber, omega-3, vitamin B, and many other nutritional benefits and healthy calories that are not only good for nursing moms, but the whole family, as well. I still make these cookies for my family, especially during road trips. It gives everyone a bit of a treat during the drive without completely loading up on sugar and helps them stay fuller longer because of the whole grain oats. And if you're looking for an even healthier snack, you can cut back on the sugar, too. In fact, these are so versatile that you can change it up based on what you have on hand. Toss in some extra nuts and seeds, swap the almond butter for peanut butter, increase any of the galactagogues, use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, add in some wheat germ, or even substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat. My crew isn't crazy about big chunks of nuts in their baked goods, so I pulverize them (the nuts, not the family, ha) in my food processor. That way we still get the flavor and nutritional benefits.

The cookies are soft, but dense, and full of flavor. They freeze beautifully (both raw and baked) and are a perfect gift to take to a new mom to help her boost her milk and give her a healthier snack to grab during those crazy first few weeks with a newborn. The recipe makes about 4 dozen, so there's plenty to share with the new mama and some leftover for yourself.

Or just do what I do and make a double recipe. Because if your family is anything like mine, these cookies won't last long.

Lactation Cookies
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour                     
1 teaspoon baking soda                                       
1 teaspoon cinnamon                                     
1 teaspoon salt                                                   
3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)                               
1/2 cup butter, softened                           
1/4 cup sugar                                           
1/2 cup brown sugar                               
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
1 cup milled (ground) flaxseed
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 3/4 cup rolled oats

1. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
2. In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, and water until creamy.
3. Mix in eggs.
4. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
5. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Slowly mix in oats.
6. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough (I use a cookie scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheets and lightly press down each ball.
7. Bake 12-13 minutes at 350°F.

Recipe adapted from Kathleen Major, PNP, RN.

* Some of the links in the content above are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 
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Friday, April 13, 2018

Things That Make Me Smile 3/9/18

Jake (12), Alyssa (9 1/2), Zac (8), Tyler (5 1/2), Nicholas

Happy Friday! We had a pretty typical week filled with Legos, reading, and lots of Smiles. How about you?

1. Nicholas: "Mom, you're my best brudder." (brother)

2. Tyler: "I'm hungry."
Me: "How can you be hungry? We just ate dinner."
Tyler: "Mom, I'm pretty much always hungry. When I'm not hungry, I'm stuffed, but when I'm not stuffed I'm hungry."

3. Nicholas, out of nowhere: "Three, two, one, I love you! I love chili!"

4. Tyler, singing: "Rock a bye baby in the tree top. When the wind blows really hard the cradle will fall and go splat on the floor! And then they get a new baby from the baby store."

5. Tyler: "I love pulled pork sandwiches! Except, I forgot what pulled pork was."


7. I told the kids that they were spending the night at my parents' house. Every two weeks, one child gets to spend the night, but this particular night, they all were.
Me: "I'm getting ready to go to Gramma's."
Nicholas: "No, I going to Gramma's. You not going to Gramma's."
Me: "We're all going now, but you guys are spending the night."
Nicholas: "I going, just one little boy. Just one. One little boy Nicky. Just Nicky and Gramma."

8. Reading with Nicholas.   

9. Me: "Are you dressed so we can go to the store?"
Zac: "Yes, I'm wearing black pants and this shirt."
Nicholas: "Dat's a terrible idea."

What made you Smile this week?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Things That Make Me Smile 3/2/18

Jake (12), Alyssa (9 1/2), Zac (8), Tyler 5 1/2), Nicholas (3)

I'm working my way through my catch-up posts. This was the overlap week with the vacation with my parents. On the way home we made stop at The Gateway Arch in St. Louis (my first visit!), let the kids run off some energy, and did some geocaching. As much as we all love vacation, it's always good to be home.  

1. Nicholas: "If I wash my hands on the wall, dat would be 'larious. Dat would be so silly."

2. Zac: "Tyler just did one of the nicest things he could do. He had two elephants stuck together (animal crackers) and gave them to Nicky."


4. Tyler, about his reading book: "I already read this story, but I don't remember it because I read it tomorrow."

5. Nicholas, about a picture of Leighton when we were first married: "Dat not fahder! Dat not my daddy!"

6. Nicholas, after he ate the leg off a sandwich cut into the shape of a gingerbread man: "Oh, no! My foot ouchie! I can't walk!"


8. Me, trying to keep Tyler focused on reading: "What's the next word?"
Tyler: "I don't know. I haven't read that word in years! Years, I tell you!"

9. Nicholas: "It's a frocodile, not a adigator." (crocodile and alligator)

What made you Smile this week?

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Our family loves cinnamon rolls

We make them for Christmas. We make them for Father's Day. We make them for Leighton's birthday. We make them because it's Tuesday. We make them because it's raining. We make them to celebrate. We make them just because. 

We don't need a reason to make cinnamon rolls, really. 

To be honest, the family is thrilled with any variation of this beloved treat. Bread, muffins, pancakes . . . 


This cake has been a family favorite for years. Moist yellow cake with sugary cinnamon swirled throughout and topped with a sticky glaze. It's all the deliciousness of cinnamon rolls in a fraction of the time. 

Tyler picked this cake to celebrate his 6th birthday a couple weeks ago. Each of the kids have looked at this picture as I'm typing this and have asked when I'm making it again. Hmm, maybe I'll throw it together in the morning and call it coffee cake, ha. With a name like that, it's totally acceptable for breakfast, right?

If you love cinnamon rolls, you need to make this cake. Then you can have a piece for breakfast, too. 

Cinnamon Roll Cake
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup butter, melted

6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla 

1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the cake until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 cake pan.
2. Mix together ingredients for the filling and drop by spoonfuls around the batter. Swirl the filling with a knife.
3. Bake the cake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, or until done.
4. Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the warm cake.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Things That Make Me Smile 2/23/18

Jake (12), Alyssa (9 1/2), Zac (8), Tyler (5 1/2), Nicholas (3)

We have been SO busy the last couple of months. It's a good busy though, making new memories and Smiling a lot. Because of it though, I am quite a bit behind with my lists. 

This week we went to Missouri for a vacation with my parents. So much fun! We met my uncle and aunt at a pizza place and arcade, experimented at the science center in Springfield, released butterflies and held lizards at the Butterfly Palace, did some geocaching, ate at Lambert's Cafe, played lots of games during the rainy weather, and more. We had such a fantastic time as a family. Here are a few more of our Smiles.   

1. Alyssa: "That's crazier than meatball pie!"

2. Nicholas, watching Alyssa paper quill: "It's magic!"

3. Nicholas, wanting a light on: "Daddy? Can you turn the kitchen on?"
Leighton: "How do you turn the kitchen on?"
Nicholas: "You push the button!"

4. Nicholas calling a heron a flamingo. 

5. Nicholas, asking me when dinner would be ready: "Is it 40 minutes, babe?"

6. Nicholas, looking at the bouquet on the table: "Daddy love you? Daddy love you wif fowers?"
Me: "Yes, he does."
Nicholas: "I don't love you wif fowers. I just a kid. And a baby."

7. Nicholas, loudly, pointing to a man in Walmart: "Daddy, is dat Santa?"

8. Tyler, about baby animals: "They're so cute!"
Nicholas: "Wait. I so cute."


What made you Smile?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

An Introduction to Civilizations and Cultures

* This post may contain affiliate links. 

If you know our family at all, you know that we love reviewing books, and the Carole P. Roman books and collections are no exception. In only 6 years, Carole P. Roman has written over 50 books for children and received countless awards for her works. Not only is she an accomplished author, she's a generous one, as well. We were able to choose any 3 of her titles. She has various series in her collection from books teaching about cultures and civilizations to bedtime stories to early reader chapter books to books about pirates teaching morals and more. Though they are all charming, we are partial to her If You Were Me series and were excited to read more. We received the following books:

If You Were Me and Lived in...Israel is the 19th book in the Cultures Around the World series. This series follows a distinct pattern. The book begins with a picture of the country along with its capital and then shows where it is on the globe. Next is a brief description of the capital city. The book also gives examples of what you may have been named if you were born there, what you'd call your parents, and what type of currency you'd use (and why its ancient roots). It talks about popular places to visit (why the Dead Sea got its name), some of the common foods (mmm, glida), types of recreation (Krav Maga, for example), and a special holiday.

There are other facts, too, like the word for school, why they read and write from the right side of the page to the left, and more. The last few pages  of the book is filled with the pronunciations of the foreign words used along with a brief definition. The pronunciations also found written throughout the story, but's it's nice to have a list of these words in one place. 

If You Were Me and Lived in...Australia is volume 8 of the same series and is also told in the  second-person style and follows a matching format. This book talks about the Old Parliament House and why its location was chosen as the capital city, what animals you'd find in the Great Barrier Reef, and when you might eat Vegemite (my kids are leery to try this). We learned when you'd use wickets, about Australia Day and why it is celebrated in January, and about a bareboat.

Like the other, this one  also concludes with a pronunciation guide with descriptions. This one is a tad shorter than the other at just shy of 25 pages.

If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West is the 10th book of the Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series. The books in this series are so much more in depth and contains much more information than the Culture series books.  Each one places you, the reader, in that location during that time period. This 50+ page paperback gives a fantastic description of what it could have been like to live in the American West in the 19th century. It explains why you may have left your homestead in the "Great Migration of 1843." It describes the hardships you would have experienced during travel in your conestoga, like the thick mud, clouds of dust, illnesses, and accidents. You learn about the simple clothing, the daily chores (like collecting buffalo chips to build a fire to cook dinner), why you would hang a pail of milk on the side of the wagon, and what you'd eat. You'll read about how you'd have to build a home in the new land, how you'd spend your days, when you'd be fortunate enough to attend school, and why you might long to be a cowboy. 

The back of the book contains a glossary of people, places, and things that are pertinent to that time and place. It also has a section about important or famous people and a description for each. These resources can be used as a spring board for further study.

My kids and I enjoyed these books greatly. With literature being the foundation of our schooling, I depend on living books for the majority of our learning. A book that puts you in the story and teaches without feeling like work is the preferred way to learn history in our home. These books are not full curricula on the topics, by any means, but they are a wonderful introduction. We had many "rabbit trail" discussions that were encouraged by the stories and took the time to look up pictures and more information along the way. The boys and I have been calling their sister Minerva for days, laughing about the buffalo "chips," making a grocery list for homemade humus and falafel, and dreaming about visiting the beautiful sights of Australia and swimming in the Great Barrier Reef. 

If you'd like to learn more about cultures of our world or civilizations of the past, Carole P. Roman has many award-winning options to choose.

You can connect with Carole P. Roman on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of the Carole P. Roman books and collections on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer

* Some of the links in the content above are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225.
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