Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: The Curiosity Files- Cicada-Killing Wasp

I'm really excited to have the opportunity to review an E-book in The Curiosity Files about the cicada-killing wasp that is published by The Old Schoolhouse®. This 88 page E-book is offered at the unbeatable price of only $1.00!  To buy now click here, or call 1-888-718-HOME.  Just so you know all the E-Books published by The Old Schoolhouse come with a 7 day, 100% money-back guarantee. This unit study is for ages 8-13 and up but does have activities for younger children if they would like to join in. 

If you haven't ever used an E-book let me tell you why I love them.  
1. They download right to your computer in just seconds, so you don't have to spend money on shipping or wait for them to arrive in the mail.
2. We only print the pages we are going to use so that saves money on printing supplies.
3. Easy to navigate. I look through the table of contents and just click on something and I'm instantly taken to that page!
4. I don't have to store them on a book shelf, it's all stored in a file on my computer.

When we first opened up the file my kids and I were so delighted to find that it had bright colors with clear, vibrant pictures. The kids were drawn into the study by Professor Ana Lyze who guides them on a learning adventure about the cicada-killing wasp.  After reading for a while the kids thought the cicada-killing wasp looked kind of scary but we soon found out that they usually don't sting humans, and the male cicada-killing wasp doesn't even have a stinger and that the female will only sting if caught and aggravated.  I loved how they incorporated facts about how God designed this insect to mirror the cycle of the cicada and then they proceeded to tell why.  Every so often they broke up the reading with questions, games, some graphing and quite a few other activities.  The kids really enjoyed this and said that it seemed to make the reading parts go by more quickly because they knew a fun activity was coming up and this also seemed to keep them more focused while reading.

The Curiosity Files unit study covered a wide range of subjects all pertaining to the cicada-killing wasp like spelling, vocabulary, grammar, science, math, writing, history, Bible, geography, music, art and even cooking! The E-book also offers internet resources and video links plus a complete answer key which is an answer to prayer for every busy homeschooling mom. It was easy enough for my 3rd grader that has some special needs, yet challenging enough for my 5th grader and kept their interest throughout all the subjects.  You can take as much time as you would like (we took 5 days to cover all the info) or you could cover the information quickly in a couple of  hours, however you would not be able to do all the activities in that short amount of time.

 I would recommend this E-book unit study because not only is it very informative, but fun for all ages!  A couple of our favorite things were making a "bug pooter"craft, the pitfall trap, the yummy snack, and graphing.  After we were finished my son was sad and I asked him why and he said, "Mom, I had so much fun learning about the cicada-killing wasp and now it's all over" and I told him that there are 8 other unit studies available in the Curiosity Files and I know which one  you would like to learn about...zombie fire ants.  He's so excited and can't wait to get another Curiosity File and find out about the zombie fire ants so be on the look out for a post about the zombie fire ants!

disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of the The Curiosity Files-Cicada-Killing Wasp E-Book for review purposes. No other compensation was received. This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rebecca St. James CD

I won a Rebecca St. James CD and I'm so excited!  I just love her music.
For a  link to her Facebook page click here and here's a link to her website.

This is one of my favorite songs to sing at church.

Here she is talking about her new album I will praise you, it's a great praise and worship CD.  If you would like to buy it click here.

Do you have a favorite Christian singer?  Who is it?  I grew up on Amy Grant and Petra, wow Christian music has come so far since then, it's really amazing to see all the array of different music tastes that fall under Christian music now.

If you have children you may recognize her as the voice of Hope, the musicbox angel in the Veggie Tales movie An Easter Carol.  Here's a video of her in it, my kids loved that movie when they were younger!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution

We have been studying creation in one of our homeschool classes so I thought this would be the perfect video to watch so the kids could understand more about why we believe in creation and not evolution.  It was AMAZING both of the kids were on the edge of their seats just waiting to see what the next animal would be that defies evolution.  We were able to watch this on Netflix and I'm looking for Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution II and III and can't wait to watch them also.

This video was produced by Dr. Martin who is not your average creationist. He was the dentist for the president of the US years ago and a product of political correctness.  Dr. Martin himself was a traditional evolutionist, but his medical and scientific training would go through an evolution…rather a revolution when he began to study animals that challenged the scientific assumptions of his education. This was the beginning of the evolution of a creationist.    
Have you ever wondered...

Part One questions answered include..
  • Are there really creatures that produce “fire” to defend themselves?
  • How does a giraffe get a drink without causing lethal blood pressure to his brain?
  • How can geckos walk upside down, even on glass and not fall?
  • Other animals discussed include: woodpeckers, Australian Incubator birds, chicken eggs, beavers, Duckbilled Platypus, Black & Yellow Garden spiders, and Chuckwalla lizards

Friday, April 08, 2011

New Recipe of the week 14-Empanadas

I love to eat homemade empanadas but hate how long it takes to make each and everyone of those yummy pieces of goodness.  My friend Mika gave me a Lattice Pocket Pie Mold from Williams-Sonoma and now it's going to be easy peasy to make my empanadas. Oh, before I forget you need to head over to Mika's Pantry she has a giveaway and it's a pocket pie mold (just like mine) plus a mini dicer and she's posted 5 easy weeknight dinners...I LOVE the loose meat sandwiches they are totally yummy!


Notice how I stole some pics from Mika's blog...they have her watermark on them. You should never do this unless it's one of your BFF's and you are SURE she will forgive you plus I fessed up and totally linked back to her!  Isn't her button cute?  She's a cartoon cooking princess now!

Anyway, back to the empanada recipe...
I used to use this recipe to make the dough like this

3 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp. shortening
1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. milk

Mix dough ingredients well.

But now I use this
 or this 

when I can find it!  They are both quick and simple to use.

Next I cut out circles with a round cookie cutter or a glass, I do this until all the dough is gone.

Then add your filling (filling recipes are at bottom of the page), a spoonful will do if your circle is small like mine is.

Get a small bowl of water and using clean hands dip your finger in the water and then run it all the way around your dough circle then fold in half.

Now use a fork to seal the dough together

Place on an oven stone or on a greased cookie sheet, I then add an egg to a cup of water to make an egg wash and brush the egg wash over each empanada, pop them into a pre-heated 400 degree oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.  You can also fry them but our family tries not to make very much fried food.

They turn out golden brown! 


The possibilities are endless, you can make meat fillings or fruit fillings no matter which one you decide on they are all yummy!
I usually make a batch of chicken for the kids and myself (Kevin is allergic to chicken) and a beef batch for all of us.

1 lb. browned ground beef or cooked shredded chicken
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/8 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 c. sliced green olives
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
and some people like to put raisins in theirs but my family doesn't really like it.

For fruit empanadas just add any type of fruit filling like apple, pineapple, or pumpkin.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Middle Matters blog hop

Thank you to Macobi Scribe for letting me co-host her blog hop The Middle Matters.  She has a bunch of blog hops and is always looking for more blogs to hop to.  Grab a button, link up with her and if you are interested in co-hosting email and let her know all your info!  Here are the rules:
  • Follow Makobi Scribe on GFC, Twitter, Facebook or Networked blogs
  • Follow the co-host(s) for the week.
  • Follow the one before you.
  • Link up!
  • Comment if you would like a follow back.
  • Follow as many more as you can.

Monday, April 04, 2011

An April Fools Day surprise-Cooking with Kenzie

Makenzie asked for cake decorating supplies for Christmas and ever since has been making cakes, cookies and cupcakes.  She's becoming quite the decorator.  We were headed over to my in laws for dinner on April 1st and Kenzie thought it would be perfect to make a "special" dinner just in time for April Fools Day, she actually made dessert...cupcakes that look like spaghetti!  I think she did a great job.  Did you do anything fun for April Fools Day?

 First she baked the cupcakes and let them cool, while they were cooling she made the Parmesan cheese out of white bakers chocolate that she grated on my microplaner.

 It looks pretty real to me!

 Next she iced all the cupcakes with white frosting that she added 2 or 3 drops of yellow food coloring.
 Next the she started making the crazy looking noodles.

Now she got malted milk balls and coated them with strawberry jam and placed on the cupcakes then she added the "cheese"

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

For the Ultimate Blog Party I read that you are supposed to tell a little about yourself so here it all is in a nutshell.
Ultimate Blog Party 2011

I love to blog about my kids, they are both adopted from South Korea which naturally leads to adoption blog posts and all types of Asian traditions, foods, etc.  I also homeschool these precious kiddos so we do a lot of fun fieldtrips, Mom's night's out, projects and fun homesschool activites.  I have a couple of other passions, cooking, scrapbooking, photography, crafting and reading!  Join in and follow us for just a minute!

Friday, April 01, 2011

New Recipe of week 13-Creamy fusilli with squash

My sister in law Connie, is a wonderful mommy, cook, friend, cake decorator,  and the list goes on because she's good at everything. If you want to take a peek at her cakes click here (believe me you want to peek at them).

Connie made this for her daughter's Strawberry Shortcake birthday, one of my all time favorites is the cabin from Kenzie's Little House on the Prairie birthday party.

   She's kinda got it going on if you know what I mean!  So when she told me about this recipe I just knew it was going to be a huge hit with our family.  Even my veggie hating hubby approved of it and agreed we need to have it a couple of times per month. Wooohooo he's eating some veggies!!!

Ingredients (printable recipe)

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 ounces fusilli
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 medium yellow squash (8 ounces each), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.
    I used a 16oz bag so made a double recipe!

  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium. Add bacon, and cook until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain (leave bacon fat in skillet).
  3. Place skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash and garlic to fat in skillet; season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until liquid is evaporated and squash is tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  4. Add cream and cooked pasta to skillet; toss well, and cook until cream begins to thicken. Remove from heat; stir in Asiago, and add enough reserved pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta. Serve topped with reserved bacon and more cheese.


The Flirtation Experiment-book review and giveaway

About the authors:  Lisa Jacobson  is an author, a podcaster, and the founder of, an online community of Christian women aut...