Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fish Finelli (Book 1): Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles by Erica Farber

About the Book: 

When bully Bryce Billings bets Fish Finelli that he can't find Captain Kidd's legendary long-lost treasure, Fish and his friends embark on a quest to find real-life pirate treasure. Between sneaking into the library to track down Captain Kidd's map, stowing away on a boat, and trespassing on an island, Fish and his friends have their work cut out for them. But will Fish actually be able to find Captain Kidd's booty and win the bet? Appropriate for both boys and girls, this first book in the Fish Finelli series will inspire readers to use their imaginations, learn about the world around them, and appreciate the bonds of friendship.

My Review:
The kids and I  really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read, but cute, funny and really light hearted. It is a great book for juveniles ages 8-13. The book has enough action and adventure to keep you drawn into the story without going overboard. Not only was this an appropriate middle-age readers books, but it was filled with trivia and facts that engaged them. The illustrations were wonderful and flowed nicely with the story. I would recommend this book to friends easily.

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from Chronicle Books  in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

E.S. Farber is the mother of a boy who likes facts along with his fiction, which inspired her to write Fish Finelli. She has authored numerous books for children. She lives in Amagansett, New York.

Jason Beene is the art director of Callaway Digital Arts, teaches at MIT and RISD, makes games, and is father to two girls. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Weekly Journal Time

In my life this week… We have been dealing with sickness. Both my youngest son and I have been sick all week, so life has been moving at a snails pace. 

In our home school this week…Since we have been sick my daughter has pretty much been on her own. She is reading her own assignments and making sure her work is done. Of course, its not complete and we will have to go back over gaps, but she did her best and tried to leave me alone and just skip over things that were new that she did not understand.We are still in Rome, 2 months later we are half way through.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…This has been a great week for my daughter show herself she can accomplish her goals and work independently. Yes, she struggled through her work, but at the end of the week she felt pride that she could accomplish most of it on her own. She remembered to use the resources available to her. She googled, had her dictionaries out, got out the bible commentaries, looked at maps, used the sites I have booked marked for her, etc. This was really great since she will be starting 8th grade next year and working a little more independently.

 My favorite thing this week was…We snuggled and watched all the Bible stories again together since today is the last one. It was a great way for us to remember what Easter is all about, what Christ has done for us by dying on the cross and rising 3 days later. 

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…Games. I love making games for my kids to play. We play Mad Libs, Buzz Words, Some Body, Bible Trivia, I Spy, Matching Games, but my kids favorite game is Stories. We love to put a big pile of word cards in a bucket and each person draws five cards. Then we have to make up a story using those 5 cards. The youngest starts and makes up his story and then the next youngest etc, but they have to build off the previous story and the last person has to wrap up the whole story. We normally use our vocabulary words and word wall words in our bucket, but sometimes the kids want to add words of their own because they have a story they are aching to tell and need that card. It was a great game we could play that did not require us sickos to get up and run around. Plus, its also a great art project. Sometimes my daughter loves to take our story we made up and draw it out for us to remember it by.

Things I’m working on…Finding that  balance in my life. I am a single mom and work FT and homeschool at night. So making everything run together smoothly is always a challenge. Not allowing my self to get lazy and complacent, but get up and get the things done I know need tackled that day. That is when schedules come in handy.

I’m cooking…We are going vegetarian. So I am experimenting with cooking. Attempting to make complete meals to make sure we all get our proper nutrients without killing my food budget. The more indepth my kids get with the animal rescue programs, and groups the further away from eating meat we get.

I’m grateful for…My family. The gift of Gods salvation. Enduring grace that covers me daily.

I’m praying for…Struggling marriages. Children that have been abducted, are abused, mistreated, unloved. Those sold into sex trade.

Princess Rock Climbing 1stTime
A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Drizzle Rock Climbing 1st Time

Jack, Tobi and Drizzle

Yogi and his momma Bella

SPECK-Bible Study Tool


S=Sin to avoid
P=Promise to claim
E=Example to follow
C=Commandement to obey
K=Knowledge about God to Jesus' Holy Spirit

This is the tool that we learn in Youth Group to study our Bible with. It's really helpful and neat and simply to follow. Give it a try.


Slim4Life is a diet focused around not only dieting to lose weight, but a complete lifestyle change to what and how much you eat on any given day. Slim4Life follows the basic food pyramid. When going through the program, meal plans are designed on a person-by-person basis, depending on age, gender, body type and other various details. Therefore, no two people will have the exact same list.

As with most diets, though, there are a good deal of similarities because some food is just better for you than others.

What You Can Eat

 The Slim4Life diet tells you not only what you can eat, but what you have to eat every day. It stays close to the basic food pyramid on how many servings a person should eat of a specific type of food in a day. Because of this, the menu is very customizable and more about portion control than restricting certain foods.
Two servings per day. While there are many things you can eat to fulfill your protein quota, beef is only permitted twice a week, and never two days in a row. Some sources of protein are:
  • 4 ounces ground sirloin
  • 4 ounces ground turkey
  • 5 ounces veal cutlet
  • 5 ounces lobster
  • 2 large eggs
Four servings per day of most any vegetable. The general serving size of 1 cup is for raw vegetables only. If you’re adding cooked vegetables to your meal, use only a half cup instead.
  • 1 cup asparagus
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup cucumbers
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1 cup broccoli
Two servings per day of starches. Many diets try to cut out starches altogether. Slim4Life limits the number of starches, but doesn’t eliminate them completely. These can include foods such as:
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 of a corn tortilla
  • 1 unsalted rice cake
Two servings per day of only fresh or frozen fruit; no canned fruit, because the syrup it’s soaked in is exceptionally high in sugar. Some fruits you can enjoy:
  • 10 green grapes
  • 1/2 small grapefruit
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup watermelon
  • 3 medium apricots
Water is absolutely essential to well-being, and keeping yourself hydrated is a great way to help boost your body’s ability to burn calories. For this reason, at least 80 ounces a day should be taken in. There is also no limit to the amount of herbal tea or decaf coffee you can drink. Some recommended drinks you’re allowed on the Slim4Life diet include:
  • 2 cups tea or coffee
  • 2 glasses of Crystal Lite (or similar product)
  • 24 ounces of diet soda
Sample Meal Plan
  • Breakfast: 1 small apple, 16 oz water, 1 slice bread with no more than 1 tablespoon light margarine.
  • Lunch: 2 cups lettuce with 1 tablespoon of fat-free dressing and 1 small orange.
  • Snack: Nutrition or granola bar.
  • Dinner: 5 ounces of turkey breast, 1 cup broccoli, 1 slice of bread with no more than 1/2 tablespoon of margarine.
With this meal plan, drinking plenty of water is very essential. Avoid heavy seasonings and excess intake of salt. (The diet requires you to have less than 1/2 but no more than 1/4 teaspoon of Morton’s Lite Salt every day. This comes in handy for flavoring that chicken, turkey or beef to keep it from being overly bland.

The Food List: What You Can Eat & How Much

Below is a list of the categories of food you must eat each day. which foods fall into these categories, and how much of that food constitutes a serving.
  • Proteins: 2 Servings/day
    Beefs (only twice a week/never 2 days in a row)
    - Arm Roast... 4oz
    - Chuck Roast... 4oz
    - Rump Roast... 4oz
    - Ground Sirloin... 4oz
    - Club Steak... 4oz
    - Flank Steak... 4oz
    - Round Steak... 4oz
    - Sirloin Steak... 4oz
    - T-Bone Steak... 4oz
    - Lamb Loin... 4oz
    - Ground Turkey... 4oz

    - Cutlet... 5oz
    - Rump... 5oz
    - Chop... 5oz

    - Chicken Breast... 6oz
    - Turkey Breast... 5oz
    - Ground Turkey Breast... 5oz

    - Beef Liver... 4oz
    - Calf Liver... 4oz
    - Chicken Liver... 3oz

    - Striped Bass... 5oz
    - Cod... 6oz
    - Flounder... 6oz
    - Haddock... 6oz
    - Halibut (steamed)... 5oz
    - Lake Perch... 5oz
    - Fresh Tuna... 5oz
    - Mahi-mahi... 5oz
    - Lobster... 5oz
    - Shrimp (fresh)... 5oz
    - Sole... 5oz
    - Whitefish... 5oz
    - Orange Roughy... 6oz
    - Scrod... 6oz
    - Red Snapper... 5oz
    - Grouper... 5oz
    - Yellow Tail... 5oz
    - Bluefish... 6oz
    - 2 x wk *Swordfish... 5oz
    - 2 x wk *Crab (steamed)... 5oz
    - 2 x wk *Salmon Steak... 4oz
    - 2 x wk *Scallops... 4oz
    - 1 x wk *Tuna (water packed)... 4oz

    Dairy and Eggs
    - 3 x wk Cottage Cheese 1 % Fat... 5oz
    - 1 Lg Egg & Cottage Cheese... 4oz
    - Eggs... 2 Lg.
  • Liquids:
    Fresh Water... 10 8oz/day (required)
    Tea of Coffee... 2 cups daily
    Diet Pop (no colas)... 2 12oz cans
    Crystal Light... 2 glasses
    Herb Tea... no limit
    Parsley Tea... as needed
    Decaffeinated Coffee... no limit
    Thermoboost... 2 8oz glasses per day
  • Vegetables: 4 servings/day (1 cup raw - 1/2 cup cooked)
    Asparagus... 1 cup
    Bean Sprouts... 1 cup
    Broccoli... 1 cup
    Cabbage... 1 cup
    Cauliflower... 1 cup
    Celery... 1 cup
    Chard... 1 cup
    Cucumbers... 1/2 med
    Egg Plant... 1 cup
    Green Onions... 5 small
    Lettuce or Endive... 1 cup
    Mushrooms... 1 cup
    Mustard Greens... 1 cup
    Okra... 1 cup
    Peppers (green, red)... 1/2 med
    Radishes... 10 med
    Rhubarb... 1 stalk
    Spinach or Kale... 1 cup
    Squash (summer)... 1 cup
    String Beans (was, green or yellow)... 1 cup
    Tomatoes... 1 small
    Turnip Sprouts/Greens... 1 cup
    Zucchini... 1 cup
  • Fruits: 2 servings/day (do not eat after 6 pm/fresh or frozen fruit, not canned)
    Grapes (green)... 10 reg
    Apple... 1 small
    Apricot... 3 med
    Blueberries... 1/4 cup
    Cantaloupe... 1/8 lg
    Cherries... 9 med
    Grapefruit... 1/2 small
    Lemon... 1 small
    Orange... 1 small
    Peach... 1 small
    Pineapple... 3/4 cup
    Prunes... 2 med
    Raspberries... 1/4 cup
    Strawberries... 12 small
    Tangerine... 1 small
    Watermelon... 1 cup diced
  • Starches: 2 servings/day
    Diet Bread 940 calories)... 1 slice
    Melba Toast (unseasoned)... 2 slices
    Bread Stick (Diet Stella D 'Oro)... 1 lg stick
    Akmak Cracker... 1/2 sheet
    Rice Cake (unsalted)... 1 cake per day
    Millers Bran... 2 tbsp
    Kavli Crispy Bread, thin... 1 wafer
    Corn Tortillas (6" dia.)... 1/2 tortilla
    Ryvta Cracker... 1/2 of 1 pack (3 x per week combined)
    Baked Potato... 1/2 small (3 x per week combined)
    Brown Rice... 1/4 cup cooked (3 x per week combined)
  • Fats: 1 serving per day (apply after cooking)
    Diet Margarine... 1 tsp
    Promise Lite... 1 tsp
    Promise Ultra... 1 tsp
    Fleishman's Lite or diet mayonnaise... 1 tsp
Portions listed a raw weights unless stated.

You must also have 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of Morton's Lite Salt per day. You may also use 1 tbsp of mustard as a condiment per day.
You may prepare all foods by steaming, boiling, roasting, broiling, baking, pan frying, microwaving, or grilling. Do not use fat, lard, etc. Pam original, no butter, is allowed.
Limit artificial sweeteners (Equal, Sweet N' Low, Splenda) to 2 to 3 packs per day.

Allowed seasonings: Morton's Light Salt (1/4 to 1/2 tsp), pepper, garlic, fresh herbs and spices, apple cider vinegar and tarragon vinegar, Mrs. Dash, juice of one lemon per day. No regular salt or condiments.

Salad Dressings: 2 tbsp daily of Fat Free salad dressing. 

So how much does Slim4Life Cost

It appears to cost over $600 to start the Slim4Life program, although if you don’t meet your goal as initially expected, there are further costs in order to continue. Also, the programmed supplements, vitamins, snacks, etc are an additional cost to you.

These are some of the reactions of Slim4Life participants

  • My personal Slim4Life plan tells me what to eat and when, which helps tremendously with meal planning. For example, I eat 3 meals a day plus 2 ‘nutrients’ (a shake and a candy bar). Each meal includes a protein, a starch and fruit. For breakfast add milk, and for lunch/dinner add 2 vegetables. The plan is easy but also requires me to prepare the ‘limited food’ items which I’m allowed.
  • 5th day on Slim4Life, and now off the ‘preparation’ stage. Today’s menu: breakfast 2 eggs and an orange, lunch a cup of raw cauliflower (dipped in fat free ranch dressing) and an orange, supper 4oz grilled chicken, shredded, in a 6″ corn tortilla with ½ cup lettuce and some fat free ranch dressing – actually pretty good.
  • Finally at the end (11 weeks on) and am very excited. My Slim4Life diet consists of a strict food regime, only eating a certain amount of vegetables, lean proteins, fruit, and 80oz of water a day, combined with vitamins, herb supplements and essential fatty acid pills. I was not allowed to drink alcohol, eat sugar, dairy, oils, or preservatives. I’ve officially lost the 20lbs I set out to (I lost 11¾in. in my waist alone!), and have now begun the ‘stabilization’ phase. Slowly, over a 6 week period, they begin to reintroduce food into my diet. My weight will be monitored for one full year.
  • I signed up for Slim4Life, and paid $800 for personal counseling 3 times a week for 34 weeks. It’s really a very restrictive, prescribed diet, designed for fast weight loss. I still don’t know if fast weight loss is really the healthiest solution, but considering that I have yo-yo’d the same 50 lbs 5 times in eight years, I think it’s the only thing that’s going to keep me going.
  • This is what my diet consists of each day:
    a TON of supplements: vitamins, metabolizing herbs, essential fatty acids, carb blockers
    I can eat 2 servings of protein a day: lean meat (limited red), chicken, turkey, fish, limited eggs
    2 servings of starch a day: diet bread, brown rice, or 2 tbsp bran flakes
    2 small fruits
    basically unlimited green veggies, ½ raw, ½ cooked
    2 tbsp of fat free salad dressing
    1 serving of “lite” fat: mayo or margarine
    herbal tea
    diet seven up
    80 oz of water per day
    2 specials made from the program supplement foods: one is sweet, the other a soup or juice
    2 cups coffee, with just skim milk and nutrasweet (only 2 pkts of that per day)
    ½ tsp low sodium salt (nothing else can have salt in it)
    unlimited apple cider vinegar (salad dressing)
    the juice of 1 lemon

Is Slim4Life Successful?

The Slim4Life diet program appears to be a sensible plan with plenty of personal support and encouragement, and has brought successful weight loss for many overweight people, although the cost needs to be evaluated before enrolling.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What I Love Most About My Princess-March

Special Days: Crazy jumping, bible studies, science galore, and hanging out

Favorite Stories: I know this is bad, but you get so embarrassed when someone does something nice for you in a public way. This has been your month though. You got tons of praise and recognition for your outstanding essay you wrote over Christmas. You thought you could hide it, but it gradually leaked out over time and now everyone knows and is celebrating with you for bringing glory to God.

Fabulous Photo:  You riding the bull at Jump Street. You were so awesome.

Greatest Quotes:  " Please, don't make me." This was when you found out they were calling you in front of the whole church to read your essay to the congregation. you are so shy when it comes to personal attention for things you have done well. Which amazes me because you love to act and can get in front of everyone for that, but let them praise you and you get embarrassed and go into your shell.

What has impressed me most about you this month: The things you are starting to do behind closed doors is changing. I have noticed a more positive attitude in you lately. You are trying your best to fight less with your brothers and to make a conservative effort to live out what you are reading in His word. You re arguing less, and taking constructive criticism better. You are reading your Bible notes and praying on your own. I am very proud of all these changes, for I know it takes a lot of diligence and patience to make them happen on your part.

 Bible Verse:  Ok this is not a bible verse, but a quote I read that I thought was appropriate. You are learning to walk with God and to lean and trust on Him in all things. I think the recognition you got for something you did in secret was Gods way of letting you know that He is with you, encouraging you and your love for Him through those who also love you and want to see you further God's kingdom.

"Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you."–George Mueller

Where I hope to see you grow: In your faith. As it continues to shine out and blossom further, turning you into a princess after God's own heart. I am glad to be a part of this journey with you and to encourage you along the way. Hopefully setting a good example in my own life on how to chase after God despite obstacles that may stand in your way.

My Absolute 3 Favorite Thing We Did 

1. Biology A&P Labs: You loved all of it, until they got to the dissections, then they lost you. You got to dissect a earth worm, a frog, a cow's eyeball, a lamb's heart, a cat and a pregnant cat. You were not pleased. You loved doing the blood work, testing for diabetes, blood typing (AB-) but you drew the line at opening things up to explore. That's OK, that's why they have online dissections you can watch!

2. Jump Street/Youth group/Church: What do all these things have in common? They were all places you were recognized for your fabulous letter you wrote on helping out the homeless. You were honored first by the youth group. Annette and Susan both made you sweets to surprise you and Chris read your letter during your bible time-really freaked you out! Then the church brought you up before everyone and read your letter-really surprised again and embarrassed. THEN Our Calling gave you a special invite to Jump Street for their fundraiser to honor you! Can you say WOW. You did not write your letter for recognition, but it was fabulous for all these people who love and care about you to make it such a huge thing to encourage you to keep living your life for Christ and to keep spreading His message to the world! I am very proud of you baby. You took it all with humility and gratitude without boasting
3. Bible Study- We have been watching the Bible on the history channel as a family, following along. I am really loving all the questions you are asking and discovering the things that you find are important and wish they had included or loved that they did include. 

4. Dallas Heritage Village:March is always a busy month for us, but we love to take time and explore other cultures and time periods. This is what lead us to the DHV for a day of exploring. You brought your friend, Montana with us and you guys had a blast doing scavenger hunts and answering questions about history. We even made little leprechaun men.

What I Love Most About My Drake Bake-March

Special Days: Tooth Fairy, Birthdays, Stepping Back into Time

Favorite Stories:
You lost your first 2 teeth this month. Back to back with a week of each other. You wiggled them and wiggled them till they finally gave into your will and came on out. Your daddy got to pull the first one and I got the 2nd one. I have never seen you look so proud as you did when I got home and you showed me your first missing tooth. You did not cry and that made you even more proud of yourself. My big, strong little man! You were fine with the whole tooth fairy business up till your dad told you your tooth fairy would be a boy. you melted down and he could not figure out why. Well, you did not want a boy tooth fairy to see you in your underwear, but a girl one was ok. i made sure you knew that you would get a girl tooth fairy, then you were fine.Your dad on the other hand was bewildered.

Fabulous Photo:  Your missing teeth of course! Duh

Greatest Quotes:  "If you do this one thing for us, we will leave you alone for the rest of your life." This was in reference to putting up our pool in the 50 degree weather so you and your sister could swim. As cure as it was, the pool did not go up.

What has impressed me most about you this month: How many words you are learning to read! It has taken us a very long time to get some words into that vocabulary of yours, but finally, by Gods grace alone, you recognize words as you read! It takes you a while to catch on to new concepts, but when you do you get on a roll. Now you are spelling words all day asking what they say and then when you see them again you tell us all about it. I love seeing the glow in your eyes and how proud you are that you are learning to read onyour own!

Bible Verse:  
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Where I hope to see you grow:
Emotions. Yep, you see this one all the time. you struggle greatly with expressing yourself when your emotions run high. We have tried several techniques and are still trying. I will say they are getting better. You handle appointment's a little bit better, but you still slam doors, cry uncontrollably and just loose it. Especially when you feel let down or dont get your proper mommy alone time with no and I do mean NO interruptions, otherwise you freak out. We will keep working on it together and keep praying about it and I know with Gods strength you wll get this whipped in no time.

My Favorite Things We Did This Month:

1. Teeth: yep, you read right, teeth. Why? You lost your very first tooth this month! Actually you lost 2teeth this month. First your bottom left tooth, then the very next week your top right tooth! You got a total of $7 from the tooth fairy for both teeth! You were so stoked it was great to watch. So obviously those are my favorite pics up top for the month. The first one and the 2nd one, both showing how my little man is not so little anymore. Alas growing :(
2. Jump Street: We had a blast, hoping around supporting Our Calling, having a blast. We and your buddy Logan ran around like lunatics jumping on everything in site., I barley got to see you. It makes my favorite list though cause I love watching you have fun and enjoying being a kid with your friend.
3. Birthdays! Lots of birthdays this month we got to celebrate together. There was mine, your grandmothers, Matthew's, and Uncle Chunky Rays. can you say CAKE! Oh yea, you ate tons of cake for sure and had a good time hanging out with family celebrating their births. You even got me some really great pajamas to sleep in :)
4. Bible: I adore watching the Hx channel Bible with you and your sister. You get out your bible and follow along with me as the program progressing, looking for accuracy, things left you we wanted included and you ask tons of questions. It has been such a great way for us to bond and for Gods word to be captured on your heart further.
5. Dallas Heritage Village: We had such a blast spending St. Pattys Day here at the DHV exploring. you love having the opportunity to go into the church and preach. I took video and cracked up at how cute you are giving your "sermon:" while Delaney and Montana played music and other kids obeyed you! The parents were cracking up as well. It was a really cute moment.You had us take our bibles out, you talked of hell and sin and living right and not for the Devil or we will burn, burn, burn! You slammed your little fist down and all. I had to wonder if this is how you see our preacher. it was really adorable.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Green Madness

My March Madness Recap. This month has been packed full of wonderful things my family and I have done. It been a great educational opportunity wrapped up in a bundle of fun. Here is just a few of the things we managed to "learn" about this month.  

1. Green Shrimp: I don't know about you, but nothing says Happy March and Happy St. Patty's Day like
 some good ol fashion green shrimp. My eldest son made these, along with green eggs and ham (Yes, he thinks he is hysterical). My youngest on the other hand is not too sure what to to think. Once he figured out you can add food coloring to almost anything and it will change, we ate nothing but multicolored food till the excitement wore off. The sweet joys of food coloring, but hey it was a great introduction to the color wheel for him :)

2. Green body parts: We have been studying the human body for the last few months, so we thought it would be fun to do green hand prints and take the human heart drawings my daughter made earlier in the year and color them all in green.I will never look at the heart the same again.

3. Ireland: I love the little Scholastic handouts from My Weekly Reader and all my kids enjoy doing them, even if its just for fun. They are packed full of information about each Country and normally include a little recipe you can try out. My eldest made a huge pot of authentic Irish Potato Soup! it was delicious.
4. Rock Climbing: My kids learned the fundamentals of rock climbing this month. All about parlaying, weight distributions, hand eye coordination and so much more. Plus, they had a blast playing together and building their core muscles. It was win/win. They did not even mind my 1,000 and 1 questions I threw at them to make sure they were learning :)

5. Resurrection Eggs:  I love Easter. I love the the weather, the smell in the air, the lovely little easter outfits, the candy, the eggs, teh hunts, the phots...all of it, but what I love the most about Easter is knowing that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Saviour.It is something that I make sure we do not foget in the husel and bussel of having easter fun. Making sure everything we do and say point back to Christ for His glory and honor. So this is hte first year we have done Ressurection Eggs and we had a blast. you can read more about them on my past post by clciking the link.

Homeschool Blog and Tell March 2013  Something Green or 17 Things