Virtual Refrigerator

Welcome to another week of the Virtual Refrigerator. Our weekly blog hop is co-hosted by Angels of HeartEvery Bed of RosesHomeschool Coffee Break, and a Glimpse of our Life. Link up your art tutorials or projects that your children have been working on. Then pin the same to our virtual fridge by joining our group pinterest board, just ask any of us to add you.

Last Friday we had plans to spend the day at the beach with friends. It stormed. A sweet friend brightened our day with an invitation to join her family and tie dye t-shirts. She even had everything prepared! All we had to do was find white t-shirts. It turned into a very fun and colorful morning. We dyed shirts. She dyed shirts, beach towels, even fabric. Next time I want to dye pillowcases.

The colors changed a bit when we washed them, but I'm still delighted with how they all turned out. I planned to get a picture of my son wearing his, but I forgot and it is now in the washing machine. Have you ever tie dyed anything?

Join us at the blogs of any of the four bloggers who are hosting the Virtual Refrigerator. Link up, visit others who join us, try something new, then come back and share that, too.

Click these links to visit the co-hosts' blogs.    


    An InLinkz Link-up

While the Girls were at Driver's Ed...

My son and I found this fun place:

Linked to Wordless Wednesdayhttp://www.create-with-joy.com5minutesformom,


Homeschool Piano

The following resources were provided by HomeschoolPiano for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review.

Do your children want to learn how to play the piano? Do you? Or maybe your child can already play but wants to learn how to compose music. Homeschool Piano with Willie Myette may be just what you need. Homeschool Piano is a subscription program that gives you access to online piano lessons.  Access was also provided to all three "Books" of lessons: Homeschool Piano - Complete Set of Books which range from their Core piano for absolute beginners to book 3 at an intermediate level which includes concepts like syncopation and advanced scales for improvisation. 

My son enjoys composing music. I love listening to him just sit and create at the piano or his guitar. It doesn't always end up a complete song. He doesn't always record them. But when he likes the way it sounds and he works at it, he can come up with pieces that to me sound quite amazing. HomeschoolPiano seemed just right for him the more and more that I read about it, and I was right. The improv lessons built right into the program are teaching him so much about composing music, and he is continuing to improve. He is now in the middle of the second unit and continuing to make progress. 

One of my favorite features of  HomeschoolPiano is the ability to view the lessons over and over again. We have. We all watch, one child tries out the techniques on our keyboard, we watch again, another one tries it, and on another day we watch it yet again. At any point, we have been free to move back and review or move forward and watch lessons out of order. Each unit includes seven lessons with video, ebook, and quizzes. 

Each of the three units includes a corresponding book as a pdf download (about 50 pages each) which can be printed or read as an ebook. 

HomeSchoolPiano currently offers two payment packages with pricing as follows:

  • Success Package (One payment of $299) which includes unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students. 
  • Payment Plan (Payments of $99.97 per month for three months): which includes unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students. 
CorePiano = absolute beginner 
Book 1 = beginner, maybe brushing the dust off and coming back to piano
Book 2 = beginner to intermediate (starts incorporating more complicated concepts, songs and improvisation ideas)
Book 3 = intermediate (toward the end of this book we are getting into concepts like syncopation, voice leading and more advanced scales for improvisation)

All ages can benefit from using Homeschool Piano and students of all abilities can learn at their own pace. 

The Homeschool Piano method is a 6-step cycle covering the fundamentals of:

  • technique
  • rhythm
  • ear training
  • improvisation
  • song
  • reading

Lessons which range from 3-10 minutes in length may be viewed on mobile devices, tablets, laptops or desktops, and songs may be practiced on a piano or keyboard with at least 49 full sized keys. Click here to read more about equipment. After viewing the video lessons, students may have a lesson quiz or corresponding pages in the downloaded book. 

Homeschool Piano offered selected Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewers a lifetime subscription for up to five students on each account. All of my children were able to access this, but my son is the one who has benefited the most. He is listening attentively, trying out the recommended scales, trying new things. I am so happy with his progress using HomeschoolPiano. 

Are you skeptical of the outcomes with online piano lessons? Try it out for yourself; they offer a free trial! Click here to see if your equipment meets their requirements. Connect with HomeschoolPiano on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Youtube.

Click on the banner below to read the Crew Reviews:

Click to read Crew Reviews



Fresh Fig Muffins with Lifeway Kefir

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

moist fig muffins with kefir

Blueberry season is almost over. Pears are ripening on the trees. Right now, we have an abundance of figs on our farm. After picking figs last year, I discovered that there are not many fresh fig recipes online. Most call for dried figs. I've tried dehydrating them, but I've also had fun experimenting with new recipes. One of the few recipes I found that uses fresh figs is fig cookies. They were a hit with our family and friends. 

This year, we are recreating old favorite recipes to use fresh picked fruit as much as we can. Lifeway Kefir can replace milk, buttermilk, and even water for a nutritious boost of probiotics to homemade recipes; for instance blueberry kefir is a perfect addition to blueberry muffins or blueberry smoothies. Even the flavor of a boxed cake mix can be enhanced by replacing the water with an equal amount of Lifeway Kefir. What #KefirCreations would you like to try? 

My growing son seems to always be hungry, and I try to plan healthy options for his snacks. The kids went with me to our local Winn Dixie. We shopped for Lifeway Kefir 32oz Lowfat Cultured Milk Smoothies and a few more supplies for biscuits, homemade fig jam, and these fresh fig muffins. Lifeway Kefir was right in the center of the dairy aisle, and they had four varieties. This time, the kids chose raspberry and strawberry-banana flavors. Plain, strawberry, and blueberry are other options. We have tried them all. The plain is the most versatile in recipes, but the kids like drinking the fruit flavored ones best. Our family has enjoyed drinking kefir since Grandmommie introduced it to us a few years ago. My son's favorite kefir flavor is strawberry. For this #CollectiveBias shop, we used the $1 off coupon we printed at home after signing up through this link on their website.


"Lifeway Kefir enhances feelings of well-being for you and your family. Lifeway Kefir is a smooth, tart, refreshing cousin of yogurt, often thought of as the “Champagne of Dairy.” Originating in Eastern Europe over 2000 years ago, kefir’s probiotic cultures have long been enhancing feelings of well-being. Lifeway Kefir contains 12 live and active Probiotic cultures that support the immune system and balance digestive health. It is naturally Gluten Free, 99% Lactose Free and contains No Artificial Sweeteners and is rich in Calcium. Lifeway also only uses milk that comes from cows that are not treated with pesticides, antibiotics, or synthetic growth hormones. The cows are grass fed and GMO free."

Inspired by our favorite fig cookie and blueberry muffin recipes, my oldest daughter helped me create these fresh fig muffins. 

how to use fresh figs

Fresh Fig Muffins


4 cups flour (we use three parts whole wheat flour to one part white all purpose flour)
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon peel, cardamom, cinnamon, or your favorite spice 
1 cup melted butter (add salt if using unsalted butter)
1 cup Lifeway Kefir Cultured Milk Smoothie
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 cups diced fresh figs
1/3 cup sugar for topping

fig muffin recipe


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients; stir gently just until mixed. Add fruit. Scoop approximately 1/2 cup of batter into cupcake/muffin pan. Paper liners make cleanup much easier. After the first pan, my daughter remembered we had walnuts. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts was mixed into half of the batter. This recipe can easily be varied with different fruit or nuts. Be very generous with the sugar on top. It makes a crispy topping on top of a perfectly moist muffin. This recipe makes 24 large muffins. Bake 20-25 minutes until they begin to brown on top. 

muffins with jam and clotted cream

The crispy sweet topped moist muffin paired perfectly with a glass of tangy Lifeway kefir. We topped them with raspberry fig jam and clotted cream. My daughter shared muffins with Grandmommie and Pappy. Everyone who has tried these has liked them. We will be repeating this recipe! We enjoyed these for Sunday morning breakfast and plan to grab them for a quick breakfast as we leave early in the morning for the girls' driver's ed class. 

Disclosure:  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This is a sponsored post for #CBias. All opinions are my own. 


Scripture & A Snapshot

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

My son got two new fish in his fish tank Friday. Saturday morning they were dead. There is so much uncertain in this life. I am thankful for each day, each minute. Earlier this week my son asked if we could have unplugged time. He suggested an entire week. We started with one afternoon, but I think it is going to become a family habit. More time together without screens distracting us benefits everyone. The days are going by so fast. 

     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Please take time to visit some of the other links, too.
Scripture and Snapshot


5 Minute Friday: Bloom

"Throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right...Just five minutes."

As I read Lisa-Jo's post, I thought the word would be storm. Thoughts started circling through my mind of storms I've weathered and storms we are currently experiencing. And then, I kept reading, and her delightful sunshiny pictures of daisies revealed the prompt. bloom

Bloom. Refreshing. The second time this hour my thoughts have suddenly been changed from stormy to happy. I've been trying to teach my son to be more optimistic lately. I wonder if I could redirect his thoughts so quickly. Attitude makes such a difference in how we approach the day. Do you see the storm or focus on the flowers that are sure to bloom after the rain? My focus hasn't been constant lately. I'm filled with thoughts of kids growing faster than I can keep up, planning high school, upcoming drivers ed for the girls, we seem to go go go. I want to slow down. I want to watch them bloom.

A song from my childhood comes to mind. Lord I'm keeping my eyes on you. My 5 minutes are up. I'll find a link to that song to close.

Five Minute Friday

If You Have Ever Considered This Business Opportunity...

There is no time like the present!

Visit my website https://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair and read how you, too, can become a Lilla Rose Independent Consultant. This business IS a blessing!


Virtual Refrigerator

Last week the girls and I learned how to do counterchange smocking. The lady who planned the lesson donated a bag full of fabric and notions for Heather's #100dresses project. This precious pink gingham was just one of the prints that our friend shared, and we thought using that technique with her fabric on the dresses was a great plan. Heather made three more dresses today, and as soon as the counterchange smocking is completed they will be done, too, three more toward her #100dresses goal! 

Join us at the blogs of any of the four bloggers who are hosting the Virtual Refrigerator. Link up, visit others who join us, try something new, then come back and share that, too.

Click these links to visit the co-hosts' blogs.



    An InLinkz Link-up


SQUIGGLE Activity Pads

The following product was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Doodling was once thought of as a mindless activity, but studies are now showing the opposite results. Not only is it linked to helping one remember, it can also inspire creativity. Everyone loves to doodle, and the line of SQUIGGLE activity pads and games is a simple vehicle to make that happen. The Chief Squiggler at RandomLine Inc. believes doodling fuels creativity, helping to unlock the creative genius inside. The SQUIGGLE line of award winning games and activity pads now includes over 30 doodle pads and Spin and Seek hidden-object pads that offer something for all ages and interests. www.randomline.com

We received the Original Squiggle Spin and Seek which is a self contained non-electronic visual game. It includes an attachable mini yellow highlighter to color each item as it is found. 
SQUIGGLE® Spin and Seek
Ages 4 and Up

SQUIGGLE® Spin and Seek™ is a fun hidden-object game that will keep everyone busy for hours! Spin the wheel and find the hidden objects the spinner lands on.  Spin the wheel again to select another set of hidden objects or try an entirely new page . . . they are all unique. There are 100 pages with objects hidden within thousands of squiggly lines.  A great for travel activity that will never run out of batteries! Select from the Original Spin and Seek, BFF, and Fashion. For ages 4 and up; retails for $5.99.

The concept is simple. Spin the wheel to reveal three objects to be found. Search the page for the three hidden pictures. Color them with the included yellow highlighter. Repeat again and again for 100 pages of searching! There are a dozen different Spin and Seek games so the fun can go on and on. 

We brought the Squiggle Spin and Seek with us in the van and to the hospital room while visiting my Dad. Even Grandmommie searched for the hidden pictures. Designed for ages 4 and up, all ages of our extended family had fun with this. This game is one way to address visual perceptual skills through play. You can focus on visual memory by hiding the three objects to be found after the child is allowed to view those three images for a set period of time, then challenge them to find all three pictures without referring back to the ones at the end of the arrow. This is an important pre-reading skill. 

SQUIGGLE® doodle pads are based on a simple concept of turning a squiggly line into a picture. Everyone can do it.

The benchmark product, SQUIGGLE® On-The-Go for ages 5 and up encourages creativity by creating the starting point for a child to begin. It gives them a place to begin instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, which can be intimidating at times.  SQUIGGLE® On-The-Go has won multiple awards, is parent approved and great for on-the-go usage. It's compact, cute and goes anywhere while keeping kids to adults amused for hours! Create works of art with just the start of a squiggly line. $4.99

RandomLine also offers a line of award winning games and wipe off drawing pads.
·      SQUIGGLE® Selection Game - Players create a quick drawing that starts with a squiggle. The judge picks a word card from the deck and awards it to the drawing that best describes the word on the card! Ages 7+. $19.99

·      SQUIGGLE® Connect Game - an off-the-wall, hilarious game where players create a wild and wacky picture from a simple or comple squiggle. There's no artistic talent required . . . just the imagination! Ages 8- 108. $19.99
·      Hurry-Up! The Dice Game - is a fast paced dice game where players compete to get the best scores, but they better hurry up because the 30 second clock is ticking and time is running out! Ages 8+. $19.99
·      SQUIGGLE® Style - Bring out the fashion designer by mixing and matching clothing and accessories to create unique, hip, funny and wild outfits. Style opens up to a dry erase drawing art board and includes 6 coloring dry erase markers. Ages 7+. $14.99
·      SQUIGGLE® Monsters –First create a squiggly line on the dry-erase board, then spin the wheels to select a combination of features to make a monster. The best part is getting to make up “fun facts” about the monster on another dry-erase area. Ages 6+. $14.99

RandomLine games and creative activity pads are available in the specialty market, educational stores, book stores, gift shops and museums throughout the United States.

Visit www.randomline.com or find Squiggle on Twitter or Facebook to learn more. Toysmith is the exclusive worldwide distributor of RandomLine products. Toysmith: 800-356-0474.

Disclosure: The above mentioned product was provided for this review. No other compensation was received.


Back to Homeschool Giveaway

The following giveaway is coordinated by Trisha at Intoxicated on Life.

Are you ready to get back to homeschooling? We are! We're extremely excited about blessing 13 families (YES 13!) with a chance to win over  $1,000 in prizes, this is the perfect start to a new school year!

This month's giveaway will be focusing on some great homeschooling resources. Let's take a look at the prizes...

Enter to be one of 13 winners in our AMAZING Back to Homeschool
Giveaway! @ IntoxicatedOnLife.com #Homeschool #GIveaway

The Prizes

Homeschool Kit (1 winner - $98.99 value)

Win this we choose virtues giveaway kit in the Back to Homeschool

This Kit was assembled with everything a Homeschool parent needs to effectively teach 12 Virtues. It has 5 beautiful posters, a 100 Day's of Virtue achievement chart with stickers, flash cards and so much more. The Parenting Cards included in this set were created to help you inspire and demonstrate each Virtue and turn your home or home classroom into a place where Virtue is demonstrated with both attitudes and actions!

Homeschool in the Woods Package (1 winner - $103.80 value)

School time is nearly upon us! Got all your history resources ready to go? Never fear! At Home School in the Woods, we ignite a love of learning in YOUR child!

HISTORY Through the Ages Historical Timeline Figures help put the puzzle of history together. They allow you to follow across eras of time using illustrated figures to represent people and events key to world history. Our “Creation to Christ” set of wall-size figures cover many people and events of the Bible, Sumer, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece, and the Rise of Rome to the time of Jesus Christ (over 250 figures).

Leave textbooks and workbooks aside and bring your child right into the adventure with Time Travelers history studies for American history! Our first in the series, “New World Explorers,” contains 25 lessons that can spread across 5-10 weeks, incorporating notebooking, lapbooking, games, recipes, creative writing, authentic crafts, and so much more.

Or, pack your bags and grab your passport - take a trip through history and discover cultures at another era of time in world history with Project Passport! Included are 25 "Stops" that can spread across 8-12 weeks, where you will witness exciting events and meet interesting people of “The Middle Ages.  (All text, masters, directions, teacher keys, photos, and resource lists for the Time Travelers and Project Passports are provided on CD)

Perhaps you just want a lap book? Our Hands-On History Lap-Paks provide reading text and printables to make your lap book mini-study complete! And now we are introducing K-2 Lap-Paks for younger learners, with coloring pages in the text and an audio narrative included on the CD! Learn about a man who stood out as not only a founding father, but as an inventor, an author, a scientist, and a diplomat, to name a few of his many talents. That man was “Benjamin Franklin!

The Reading Game (3 winners - $34.95 value)

The Reading Game is a groundbreaking learn-to-read series that using play to teach children to read. Geared towards beginning and struggling readers, each of the 6 stories are told using 30 new words. The student then learns to read these words by playing a simple word matching game. This prize is going to 3 winners!

College Prep DVD Set (2 Winners - $129.85 value)
Sponsor: College Prep Genius

FREE College can happen to you! Raise your SAT scores as much as 600 points! Colleges go up on their rankings based on test scores, the higher your score-the more money you get! Don't fear these tests-they are merely logic tests with tricky questions that even many smart students have bombed. Good news is that every question can be answered in 30 seconds or less. Learn to find the hidden recurring patterns that point you to the answer! Finally see your scores soar by not falling for the appealing wrong answers or subjective phrasing.

Our program is not only award-winning, but has also been featured on Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, WE, TXA21, ION, UShopTV, The Homeschool Channel and more. "...BEST option"-Cathy Duffy, "VERY Impressed..."-Heidi St. John, "Highly recommended..."-Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

This prize has 2 winners!

Magic House Prize Pack (6 Winners - $77.52 value)
Sponsor: Magic House USA 

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Magic House is giving away a huge prize pack to 6 winners! Our family loves these amazing pencils. With these auto-feed pencils you'll never have to stop to sharpen or click a pencil again. Yes, the pencils self-advance as your pencils moves across the paper. They are super cool!

Each winner will receive:


  • 2 bookstands


  • 3 Pencilboxes


  • 5 Auto-feed Pencils


  • 3 Refill Lead Tubes(each tube contain 12 leads)


  • 10 Golden Edition Auto-feed Pencils


  • 3 Bio-ink Pens

  • Enter the Giveaway Below!

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