Sunday, October 31, 2021

A Quick Prep to Make for November

Happy All Hallows' Eve!

I am praying it will be a safe and happy one for you and that, if you are going out trick-or-treating with littles, you go over road safety before heading out.

(I always remember how important this is on this day. For, if it was not for my eldest's guardian angel, he might not still be with us due to forgetting road safety one night on Halloween!)

I also want to remind you that tomorrow is the day when you can visit a cemetary to pray for souls, gaining indulgences for them. Most years, this indulgence is only available November 1-8, but this year (2021), the Vatican has extended the traditional All Souls' Day indulgence to the entire month of November.

With that in mind, today I made a quick prep for November: While printing copies of the St. Gertrude Prayer and Eternal Rest Prayer to give to others at our annaul All Saints Day party, I printed extras of the St. Gertrude Prayer to keep in my car so that my children and I will have them handy for use as we drive by different cemetaries this coming month.

If you do not already have the prayer memorized and do not have a ready copy of it in your vehicle, I suggest you print one, too. (You can find the one we use here.)

It's an easy prep to help you pray for All Souls throughout November.

May God bless you and yours this All Saints and All Souls Day and may you remember often to pray for al souls!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Learn Biochemistry and Microbiology at Your Own Pace {A Greg Landry Homeschool Science / Homeschool Crew Review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Do you have an older student who prefers self-paced online studies over books and "with Mom" learning?

My eldest child has always liked science, but, in recent years, has not wanted "with Mom" science studies. Thus, we are always looking for self-directed program that engage him enough to stick with and learn from, such as the 
Self-paced 7th-12th grade Half-Semester Classes that Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science offer.

The courses can give you and yours an excellent taste of what asynchronous, quality online science learning can be, too!

My eldest son was interested in taking one of these courses -  Biochemistry /Microbiology - when course access was offered to us for review, and he's been quite pleased with it, both because he finds the course interesting, engaging, and easy to use and also because, when he completes the course, he will have earned another
 0.5 credits for High School Science as he moves towards his goal of graduating early and also because

What is Greg Landry's Home Science?

Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science is a quality resource that can help make science learning - including labs - engaging and doable for 3rd through 12th-grade students who benefit from Live or Self-Paced Online Classes.

A Science educator with over 25 years of teaching experience, Greg Landry has taught 
and mentored thousands of students from homeschool to college. In doing so, he has designed and directed university Science courses including anatomy and physiology, biology, and cadaver labs; has had his scientific research published; has written several science lab manuals; and has developed online science programs which continue to be chosen by homeschool students as their go-to for science.

Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science  offers College Prep Science that seeks to educate students through lessons which build scientific inquiry, critical thinking, process reasoning  and data collection while also focusing on the graphical and written representation of research.

A professor, homeschool father, and husband, Greg is also a Christian. In fact, Greg designed his courses to help homeschool families, and has stated:

The Lord has made me very aware of my need for a grateful heart. I’m grateful for a God who knows me and loves me (with all of my faults), for my family, for the thousands of homeschooling families I’ve had the privilege of  working with over the past 20 years, for every sunrise, for the magnificence of His Creation, and for the trials in my life (James 1:2-4 ) that shape and mold me, humble me, produce perseverance, and mature me in my faith.

Greg has a heart for his students and a passion for science. As such, his College Prep courses aim to teach students the science they need to graduate and go on to university studies while also helping them to see that "God's creation did not just happen by chance - it wasn't an accident, a fluke of nature."

Tuition/access to one of Greg's self-paced half-semester course like the one my son is taking offers:

  • access to seven recorded classes sessions - whcih average 20-30 minutes each - that may be used by anyone in your family at his or her own pace 
  • a PDF study guide by Greg Landry 

  • email access to Professor Landry for any questions you may have as you use the class

The Biochemistry/Microbiology class which my son is taking covers carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, DNA, vitamins, hormones, viruses, bacteria, epidemics, antibiotics, pathogen cultures, and top 10 pathogen diseases.

My Son's Experience

To be honest, besides browsing the Greg Landry website, occasionally taking a peek at my son's course on my own, giving my son access to the Biochemistry / Microbiology course and checking in with him periodically to see if he needs me for anything or to ask him what he is learning, I have been hands-off with this course - just the way my son likes things.

My 15-year-old prefers self-paced, no Mom-needed learning.

So, when it came time to write this review, I asked him for more details about his experiences what he had to say about his experience with this course so far:

I chose the Biochemisitry / Microbiology half-semester course because it looked interesting. I had learned a bit about Microbiology in a biology class I took before and wanted to learn more.

In order to take the course, I had to log in on Canvas. Then, navigation was easy. 


I also had to print out notetaking sheets and some other materials and use the PDF coursebook online.

For each lesson, I watch Professor Landry teach a pre-recorded class for around 20 minutes. As he teaches, I take notes. Then, I complete worksheets when I have had time to print them out.


I enjoyed learning about glucose and glycogen and how, when there is a shortage of one, your body sends out signals to your body so that the cells break down the other. I find it interesting how the body can regulate itself so well.


I also was surprised to learn that if you have diabetes, you can go blind from it.


Another surprise with the course is that it really improved my notetaking skills. Professor Landry gave me an example of how to take notes that gives me a framework that works better than other approaches I have taken. I have even used his notetaking sheets for other courses I am taking.

I would recommend this course to highschoolers who want to take a deeper dive into the specifics of microbiology and biochemistry.

I would not recommend it to people who don't like biology, are not Christian, or cannot simply ignore the prayers at the beginning of classes and the sign visible in the background.

The science is sound, and I am enjoying it.

Learn More

Greg Landry Homeschool Science

Greg Landry offers a wide array of science classes, to include the following ons which Homeschool Crew members had the choice of selecting from:
  • the Virtual, interactive homeschool laboratory which is geared toward students in grades 7-12 and has two options:  a two-week lab intensive with set dates or a self-paced family subscription for Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. 
  • the Self-paced 4th-7th grade one-semester classes which can be worked through at your own pace with pre-recorded classes of Young Scientist Anatomy & Physiology, Young Scientist Biology, Young Scientist Chemistry, Young Scientist Physics, or Young Scientist Earth & Space Science.
  • the Self-paced 7th-12th grade half-semester classes, which include the Biochemistry / Microbiology my son is taking, or Exercise & Sports Physiology, Embryology / Endocrinology, Earth & Space Science, or Study Skills / Measurement / Lab Reports / Graphing.

Self Paced Online Homeschool Science Labs

Click through to find reviews of each family's experience.

You might also like some of the free resources Greg Landry offers.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

3 Venues to Consider for Hosting an All Saints Day Party

For years now, our family has been enjoying All Saints Day parties with friends, but we have not always been able to do so at the same location. So, flexibility has been key!

We've been able to adapt our plans to three basic spaces:

1. Indoor areas, such as halls and gyms

2. Homes, such as when a friend graciously hosted a small All Saints Day party for several families who were sick on the day of our local homeschool group's party)

3. Parks, such as when we enjoyed a potluck pincic and play All Saints Day Party

Each of these spaces has its perks and drawbacks.

Of course, having your party at a hall or gym means you'll have plenty of space to set up games, food, prizes, and more. However, somtimes, there is a rental fee, and, always, there is more behind-the-scenes organization, set up, and clean up that needs to happen.

Hosting your party in a home can reduce the need for as much behind-the-scenes organzation and potential rental costs, but can also mean fewer people can partake in the fun and one family tyoically ends up bearing the burden of extra work. For, let's face it: even if others help with set up, facilitation, clean up, etc., those that live in the home always end up with extra pre- and post- party tasks.

Parks offer more show-and-go ease for hosting your All sints Day party, so long as you have dependable people to bring games, activites, food, etc.

Also, bear in mind that weather happens. So, set a rain/bad weather date.

Further, recognize that other park goers may wonder what you are doing or ask to join in. (Consider it an evangelization opportunity!)

I'd love to hear your favorite venues for hosting All Saints Day parties. Be sure to comment with your ideas and tips.

You might also want to click through to find ideas for costumes, eats, games, books, and more related to All Saints Day.

Saints in Heaven, pray for us.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Avoid Library Fines while Enjoying 1,000K+ Resources {A LightSail for Homeschoolers Review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Raise your hand if you're ever racked up $10 or more in library fines because life got busy and you neglected to return huge stack of loans on time.

If you are the type of homeschooler who likes to draw from a wide variety of books, but does not want to risk such fines again, LightSail for Homeschoolers is a resource worth looking into.

Since receiving one year of access to a Premium Subscription of LightSail for Homeschoolers to review, my youngest son has not requested a single library book. For, at his fingertips, he has an incredible amount of digitized books to choose from and is enjoying browsing some, reading others, and learning more about how to use the many 
readingwritingvocabulary, and fluency 
resources that LightSail for Homeschoolers offers.

When I asked him for his thoughts for this review, he explained:

With Lightsail, I first had to take a placement quiz to see what level I am at. Basically, I read passages and had to answer questions by filling in words from four choices. 

After the quiz, I was free to read any book around my level and to watch livestream and videos. To watch the videos, I had to read for 10 minutes or more from a Powertext which unlocked the videos. The Powertext is a book at your level or a bit higher that will challenge you. I am currently reading a non-fiction one about war canines. 

The program also has audiobooks, action clips, encyclopedias, spelling, writing, and more. I have used a little of these things, but mainly like the reading aspect right now.

I find Lightsail interesting and want to continue to use it, because it has a huge variety of books that I don't have to return to a library. I would recommend it to any age student that can read and likes to be onscreen.

Diving a little deeper into what LightSail for Homeschoolers is, let me add some Mama thoughts:

LightSail for Homeschoolers is a
 complete, online, adaptive language arts platform that offers over 1,000 curated resources which work together to help advance students of all ages cross four pillar of literacy: readingwritingvocabulary, and fluency.

The Premium Subscription we received includes access to a bevy of e-books, dozens of modules, hundreds of features, and thousands of pieces of faith-based and secular content. We're talking digital books - fiction, nonfiction, classics, and more, - plus audiobooks, encyclopedias, current events, video clips and the list goes on... There are also special features for each pillar of literacy.

Fluency options include reading aloud, narration, memory modules, grading etc. 

options include vocabulary and definitions, spelling lists and spelling bees, cloze exercises in texts, dolch sight words, and grading. 

options include grammar skills, becoming and author and book sharing, essay writing, inquiry-based writing, informal writing workshop, and grading.

Then, our favorite, 
Reading options include booklists in classic, faith-based, and securlatr collections; the entire World Book Encyclopedia, Atlas, and Timeline; memory work; read alouds; built-in assessments; unit studies; content controls; and grading.

Of course, all this means you can use LightSail for Homeschoolers for all of our language arts and literacy needs, or you can cherry-pick what is most helpful and interesting to you and yours.

If I am 100% honest, I will admit that, due to the sheer volume of resources that LightSail for Homeschoolers offers, we have just scratched the surface of all the platform has to offer. Thus, I can not attest to every aspect of how it deals with every pillar of literacy.  I can say, however, that if your child likes to be onscreen to and to self-direct (as my youngest does), this resource is a solid one for language arts.

It allows you, as a parent, control over what types of content you want accessible to your child while allowing your child freedom within limits.

Also, since LightSail for Homeschoolers is such a massive resource, I would suggest that both you and your child take time to watch the introductory videos included with it before digging in. (Trust me, this will help you avoid frustrations, such as your child being locked out of certain resources.) I would also suggest, as we are doing, getting used to one aspect of the resource at a time.

Learn More

If you'd like to learn more about LightSail for Homeschoolers, be sure to click on over to see what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought about this comprehensive platform

You can also 
LightSail for FREE for up to 7 kids, getting instant access to thousands of exciting books if you sign-up today!

Plus, you can find LightSail on social media, of course:

LightSail is worth taking a look at as a way of helping grade K-12 children explore and develop language arts skills... without racking up more library fines!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

4 Favorite Books to Help with Saint Pictionary at Your All Saints Day Party

All Saints Day is nearing, so I have been busy deciding what games, activities, and eats to revisit at our (almost) annual All Saints Day party.

This week, I've been thinking about how fun our 2019 group All Saints Pictionary game was for young and old alike. So, before I go dig through our saint books to find my favorite four to set aside for playing this game again this year, I thought I would share the titles with you.  That way, if you'd like to order or get ahold of them before your own All Saints Day party, you can.

{Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.}

1. For Female Saints

Girl Saints for Little Ones by Kimberly Fries has big, colorful images, large-font, and brief text. It also includes some ideas for symbols in it. Thus, it made a perfect book for opening to a random page to give Pictionary illustrators ideas for a aint if they could not come up with any themselves.

2. For Male Saints

Boy Saints for Little Ones by Kimberly Fries (which I have previously reviewed) is just as ideal for all the same reasons. Of course, as the title indicates, it has male saints in it.

3. For Quick Facts and Ideas

Encyclopedia of Peg Doll Saints by Maggie Jetty (which I have previously reviewed) lists ample random facts about saints on each page in call out boxes which makes gleaning ideas for quick sketching easy.

4. A Classic!

Picture Book of Saints by Lawrence G. Lvasik is a classic chidlren's saint book which has an imag,e short biogrpahy, and prayer per page. With m,any aints in it, this one was the book most of the older chidlren who played chose to use for their sketching inspiration.

How to Play

To play All Saints Pictionary, I called a group of chidolren and adults around a white baord easel with a stack of saint books next to it.

I asked one child to come up, open to random page of a picture book, then, using the image or ideas on the page- and, somtimes, an additional whispered idea from me -
 the child sketched the saint, symbols of the saint, stories about the saint, or what the saint was patron to get others to guess the saint.

Whoever guessed correctly, chose a prize and took the next turn.

More Ideas

If you'd likemore ideas for your All Saints Day party, click through to find prior posts on costumesgames, and eatsand enjoy archives of older All Saints Day posts, too!

Saints in Heaven, pray for us.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

8 Easy Eats for Your All Saints Day Party

There are so many meals, snacks, and treats that can be made for All Saints Day.

In fact, if you want an idea, you could pick just about anything shared on Catholic Cuisine, peruse our past sharing of Simple Eats with the Saints, borrow an idea from Snacking with the Saints, or browse Pinterest.

You can also take a peak at these eight easy eats that have been served at All Saints Day parties we've attended through the years.

Mind you, our parties are often thrown togther fairly last-minute by busy moms who have too much going on, so you won't find picture-perfect set ups in the photos - just quick, easy ideas.

1. St. Thomas Fingers

Mini-franks were heated and put in a crock. Kids devoured them!

2. St. Bernadette's Sticks

We love bringing these, because they can be gluten-free and eveyrone likes them. 

Find a printable signfor this along with other snakcs here.

3. St. Maria's Stew

A crock of stew warms everyone up. Use your favorite recipe or the one here, and find a printable signfor this along with other snakcs here.

4. Blood of the Martyrs

Juice wigglers made like the orange juice ones described here, but with red 100% juice instead of orange juice, always go in a flash!

5. Saint Halo's

When you have Portuguese friends, their cookies become halos!

6. St. Francis' Friends

Who doens't like animal crackers? You can even find gluten-free ones.

7. St. Therese's "Carmel"ite Apples

Sure, they brown quickly if you don't shake them in lemon juice, ut sliced apples and caramel are always a hit!

8. St. Isidore's Bounty

It's alwasy good to have whole foods to balance the treats, so a tray of favorite produce is a must most years!

What are some of your favorite simple eats for All Saints Day parties? 
Do share them with us by posting them as comments or on our Facebook page. Thank you so much!

Saints in Heaven, pray for us.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

5 Favorite All Saints Day Games

October is upon us, which means All Saints Day is just around the corner. 

As I look forward to this year's All Saints Day party, I asked my children what their favorite All Saints Day party game or activity was throughout the years and thought about what others ones I should bring back this year.

I share them here in case you, too, are looking forward to an All Saints Day party and want some ideas.

1. Throw Satan Out of Heaven

My youngest child said, "the one where we through things off a ladder". He means our St. Michael game, which happens to be one of the first saint games we ever made and one we have played many times throughout the years.

It's super simple to play: just cover a ladder or stepstool with a blueish cloth to be "heaven", then have kiss toss a snake (Satan) toy as far as they can into "brambles" below.

Everyone at our parties has always enjoyed this game! You can find a free pritnable for it here.

2. Balance St. Thomas Aquinas' Books

My daughter said "the one where we balance books", which has been a perennial favorite of many of our repeat party goers.

Basically, kids walk across a board or low balance beam with books on their heads.

A tip if you use this game - don't use treasured books, because the binding can break as they fall off chidlren's heads.

You can find a free printable for it here.

3. All Saints Day Treats in a Jar Guessing Game

My eldest son said, "the one where I won the coins!"

He meant the candy jar guessing activity that friends often prepare for our parties based on ideas from Catholic Inspired, Catholic Icing, and Shower of Roses - three fantastic Catholic blogs!

4.  St. Anthony Seek and Find

My favorite - just because it always engages younger and older children alike and has a sensory element to it, is St. Anthony's Seek and Find.

For it, I put various beans into a container and hide small objects, such as religious medals, in them. Kids try to find all the objects before resetting the game for the next players.

Kids have enjoyed this one for years!

5. Serve with the Inspiration of St. Kateri

Finally, several parents at a past party told me we need to make our Serve with the Inspiration of St. Kateri activity an annual one. 

Admittedly, not all the kids like this activity, but some do - and it gets things cleaned up.

Basically, it is a clean up scavenger hunt. You can find a free printable for it here.

More Ideas!

If you'd like ideas for other games, you can find tons of them in our All Saints Day archives. Also, please feel free to share your own - with links, photos, or whatever - in a comment here or on our Facebook page.

Saints in Heaven, pray for us.


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