Category Archives: Homemaking

I’m back….

I’m back….

Hi again!

I know it has been a few months since my last post!  I really had to take a step back during that time and focus on what was important to me.  My family…..I had gotten so busy with reviews and blogging and running kids places that I was getting burned out.  Not to mention that I was having horrible morning sickness!

So now you have a million questions:

-What? Morning sickness?…..Yes, we are due near the end of May. Yes, we just had a baby. Well, he is 13 months  old now and walking around the house pretty well now.  He will be about 16 months old when the baby comes…yes they will be our closest babies by far! No, we don’t know what we are having. We told the ultrasound techs that we do not want to know what we are having, we want it to be a surprise.  We have 3 girls and 3 boys right now.  #7 is our tie breaker! We did not announce this pregnancy on Facebook….just to our face to face friends! (It gets old hearing all the same comments from people….Do we know what causes this?, We are like a bunch of rabbits, do we own a TV?…the list goes on.  Without me going on rambling about this right now, I find it sad that the church has such a low view of children in general and has taken the sovereignty of God out of the equation….but this is for another post for another day!)

-Am I still reviewing?…..Not currently.  I have taken the year off from reviewing with The Schoolhouse Crew Review.  While it was a ton of fun it was a ton of work.  My kids were sad when I told them we needed the year off….But do you know what?  It was the best decision! I felt like I was constantly trying to figure out what we were working on next and how to juggle it all.  I finally feel like we have a great flow to our homeschool days and that I am completing what I want to get done with my kiddos each day.  I have been contacted by some companies to review things and I am deciding those on a case by case basis.

So besides those 2 big changes we are up to our usual stuff!   The 3 oldest just finished another play…Narnia. Faith (7) just moved up to a pre-competition group for gymnastics.  We are playing that by ear and will reevaluate how we are feeling about gymnastics in June.  She is loving it and man is she building some amazing muscles!  I will be starting to resume blogging, but not to the extent that I had been.  I am enjoying the time with my kiddos. We are also starting the process of finishing our basement to make room for more bedrooms!  We really need them.  So this whole process I am sure will be taking up  much of our extra time!

Looking forward to being back….would love to hear if there are topics you would like me to address here in the future…just leave me a comment!

Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns: A Schoolhouse Crew Review


Sacha’s<25: Online video tutorials that take you from beginning sewing to making doll clothes in step by step instructions for ages 8 and up.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?10  stars

Did it help us learn?10  stars

Is it worth the money?10  stars

Is it useful to me?10  stars

Practicality- 10 stars

Quality- 10 stars

Kid Rating- 10 stars

I absolutely love it when a non-homeschooling item comes up for review with the Schoolhouse Crew Review team.  Much to our happiness we were given Learn How to Make Doll Clothes Video Course with 8 Free Doll Clothes Patterns from  Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns for review! Here’s what you get….with the online video course you get access for a full 12 months!

Rosie's doll clothes what you get

Joy, who is 12, has done quite a bit of sewing but had never made any doll clothes before. Once we were given our login information we were ready to get started!  Joy and I logged in and watched some of the videos right away.  Rosie is so much fun to watch.  Her energetic personality and enthusiasm for sewing is contagious. The 130 video tutorials are set up in 6 weekly sections.  However, you can click on any week and choose which topics you might need to watch. These tutorials are short but informative and take you from knowing how to pick fabric and cut patterns out to sewing.  We quickly realized that Joy and I have enough sewing experience to skip over a lot of the beginning video tutorials.

We headed right to the Course Bonus Patterns.  These are amazing! We printed out all of the instructions and patterns at the same time and put them into a binder for Joy (and myself).  Joy even cut out all the patterns that first night so she would be ready to start.

Rosie's Doll Clothes Binder


Rosie's Doll Clothes instructionsI absolutely loved the way she set up the video tutorials. They are short and go step by step through how to make each article of clothing.

Cutting out fabric

You get to visually see what the written instructions tell you to do.  LOVE IT!  Joy was easily able to watch the short videos and take herself (with Rosie’s awesome guidance) step by step through making shorts and a halter top the first time without any assistance from me.  I was truly amazed! Look at her huge smile after she finished these shorts!

shorts Rosie's doll clothes

Rosie's doll clothes shorts/halter

Joy quickly found out that it really does help to watch the videos the first time around on a project.  She also made the summer nightie.  However, this time she thought she would just read the instructions that Rosie has printed for you. She ended up making the straps too long.  Not big deal and easily fixed, but we realized that wouldn’t have happened if she had watched the video as she went along.

summer nightie Rosie's doll clothes

I worked on the crop top and thought I would do it without the video.  Boy was I glad to have Rosie walk me through making it step by step.  I have never seen a better sewing program.  You really can’t fail if you follow Rosie’s video instructions!

What I liked:

  • Videos are professional!  Rosie’s personality and instructions are awesome.
  • The step by step video layout is perfect.  My 12 year old had no problem making these patterns.
  • My daughter had so much fun sewing these clothes. She is thinking about starting her own business!
  • I had posted some pics on Facebook and Rosie actually commented on them!  How cool is that!
  • Learning to sew with doll clothes is a great way to learn to sew.  It is much cheaper because you need so much less fabric and supplies!

What I didn’t like:

  • Um, for a few days it was really hard to get Joy to want to do school! Actually she got it done really quickly so she could get on her sewing machine! In all seriousness we loved this product!!!! Thank you Rosie for creating this!!!!!
  • If I was a non-sewer I could see being frustrated with not being sure where to start.  You would have to watch a lot of video tutorials without ever sewing a stitch.  The bonus patterns are really for someone who knows how to sew.

To sum it up: Have someone wanting to learn to sew? Want to start a new hobby or business?  Look no further I have never seen a better learn to sew product ever!!!! Rosie did such a great job with these videos and instructions that anyone can learn how to sew doll clothes!

The important information:

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Order from: Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns

Price: $47.51

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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The Beginning of our School Year…Assessing Priorities and other Ramblings…..

The Beginning of our School Year…Assessing Priorities and other Ramblings…..

As many of you know because we review items almost year round there is always some kind of learning going on in our house, even during the summer!

This year was no exception.

This decided this year to ease into the school year. I highly recommend it. It sure does help to not have a full school day be such a shock to the system. Mid August we started with Science and Math. We did this while the kids were still studying very hard for the Bible Bee Competition.

Once the Bible Bee was over and we took a couple days to recover and get the rest of our school stuff ready we started our full days. We did that on a Wednesday this year. Kind of a weird way to start full swing.

I am a little bit bummed, we never had a real official start day so I never got my first day of school picture in or the usual traditions of sticks of gum in some of their school work as a pick me up and my writing on their bathroom mirror.

Now we are really back into the swing of things and our co-op has started as well.  I even forgot to take a picture that day!  Where has my brain gone?  I am going to not beat myself up for this!  Can I just take an unofficial first month of school picture? LOL!

Well whether you homeschool or not I hope that you are back into your school routine and things are going well. We have been overly busy this September and I am still assessing to see if our choices were wise ones.  We have kids going multiple different directions, which is something I normally try to avoid.  Time will tell, but I won’t be afraid to assess after this crazy season and decide if we should do this again or not.  Maybe it will work occasionally for us as a family.  I just refuse to get tied up into the American culture of having our kids involved in so many things that there is never time around the dinner table as a family.  I will not sacrifice our family time for kid or adult activities on a regular basis.  The best place for kids to learn and grow in the Lord is with their families and this can’t be rushed or hurried or crammed into a 30 minute window between ballet and soccer or school and drama.  You get the idea!

I didn’t mean this post to become a rant about the American culture of busyness but please take a step back and constantly reassess how your family is functioning and if it is what God wants for you…..

Do you have plenty of time to take this command to heart?

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child

Sacha’s<25: Learning about Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales has never been easier or more fun with this Project Pack product from In the Hands of a Child.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money?10  stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 8 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

We received Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child. This is geared for children in Kindergarten to 4th grade.  I chose to use it with my 4 and 6 year olds.

What is a Project Pack:

A Project Pack contains both the activities and the lesson plans or research guide needed to complete the activities.  Students aren’t just reading about a topic, but “doing” along the way as well!

Read more about What Lapbooking is here.

Our Experience:

I found it very easy to download this specific product and get started.  While I don’t know that I would always print out the entire Project Pack in the future I decided to do it this time.  I printed out the entire pack and bound it with my binding machine.  I found this to be an easy way to see what it was all about and to be able to flip back and forth between sections.

Other than the downloadable Project Pack there are a few other things that you need to get started:

  • File folders
  • colored paper and cardstock
  • tape
  • glue
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • items to color with-crayons, colored pencils or markers
  • Pencil

Hands of a child1

Once I had the Project Pack printed and bound it was time to get started reading and figuring out what I had to do to get started.  What I found upon opening the pages what the Table of Contents page, a Planning Guide (with a suggested 7 day schedule), a related reading page (with book suggestions to check out from the library), Instructions for the 20 Activities, How to page on making the base of the lapbook, Research guide-which gives you what to teach in each lesson, as well as the printables for each of the activities.

It is suggested that if you have a group of younger children that you cut out all the graphics ahead of time.  If I was using this with a coop group of younger elementary students I would definitely do this!  Since I was just working with my 2 girls I decided I would print out just the printable pages we needed each day to go along with the lesson.  Once we were done with that portion of the activities for the day I stored each girls papers in their own gallon sized ziplock bag.  My 4 year old just did the gluing while my 6 year old was able to do more of the cutting and gluing by herself.  While we worked on the activities I would read what they said and reinforce what we had just read in the research guide prior to starting the activity. We had the choice of using printables where your student could copy over the text for handwriting practice or everything was just printed out for you and all you did was cut, assemble and paste.  I started Faith out with copying the text but we decided it was too little for her and ended up just using the printed out option.

We chose not to do all of the vocabulary words, there were a lot of them and I didn’t feel that they were necessary for my 1st grader.  However, I was glad to see that they were in there for older students.

Hands of a Child Project Pack

My girls enjoyed doing the activities but they weren’t begging for more.  I ended up splitting the unit up over more than just the 7 days.  I couldn’t hold their attention that long to cover everything suggested for one day.

Faith loved the drawing portion of the activities.  She sat for hours (literally) drawing all kinds of dolphins from one of the recommended books!


Hands of a Child 2


What I liked:

  • I liked the information that it came with on each of the topics presented.  You could learn a lot about the subject without needing other resources.  Of course, we love reading books and loved going through the provided book list and checking books out from our library to supplement.
  • I like that there is a lot of depth to the unit.  It can easily be adapted to a Kindergardener by not doing all of the activities and that there is enough for a 4th grader as well!
  • There wasn’t a lot of extra work for me to do to teach a unit on this topic.  Well worth the money to have it all put together in one place for me.  I didn’t have to search for more information!

What I didn’t like:

  • The font used for the dotted line letters has the letter e starting in a weird place.  Faith noticed it and it bugged her! Also the font size was really too small for a Kindergarden or a first grader to trace over easily.  And too many words.  We ended up choosing to just cut and paste and not copy over the writing.  I wish that there was another option for font size so Faith could have written more of it.  
  • We found an error and therefore were missing one of the parts of the dolphin that we needed.

To sum it up: In the Hands of a Child has over 450 different lap books  available.  I would definitely suggest taking a look at their website to see all the different topics for various ages they have available.  We will be using more from this company to add some variety to our school year!


The important information:

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Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Lapbook

Order from: In the Hands of a Child

Price: normally $12.  Currently it is just $5!!!!!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew reviewed many different options of lapbooks and project packs for all different ages and subjects!



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Why we won’t play Moon Dough anymore…

Why we won’t play Moon Dough anymore…

Ugh!  I left my younger girls, ages 4 and 6, to play moon dough while I took a shower.

When they were done they told me they needed help cleaning up.  While most of the tools were cleaned up and a lot of the moon dough was put away this is what I cam into the kitchen and saw…..


Moon dough

A HUGE MESS! And it is’t just the table, but the floors and chairs as well. It is scattered through 1/2 of my kitchen floor. I don’t think there is a neat way to play with this stuff.

This is much worse in the mess department, and clean up is harder too, than playdoh!

OK, now that my rant is over, I will go and clean it up.  Do you have any toys or craft items that are banned at your house? Please leave a comment to save the rest of us!