Gluten-Free Apple-Blueberry Crisp

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This is a recipe I long-ago adapted from the Pilsbury Cookbook. The original recipe didn’t have enough topping-to-fruit ratio to satisfy JavaMan, nor was it gluten- or dairy-free. And the addition of blueberries is our own as well. (It’s also delicious with peaches instead of apples.)

We enjoy this version so much more than the original. Humble as it is, I’ve taken it to dinners and pleased crowds, and we’ve made it a regular breakfast treat as well. It’s delicious just as it comes out of the oven, but my kids also enjoy it with some coconut milk drizzled over the top. Oooooh, decadent!

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  • 6 cups fruit (I tend to use about 5 cups apples, and a cup of blueberries)
  • tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (like these)
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I use 1 part rice flour, 1 part sorghum, 1 part arrowroot or tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup grapeseed oil


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place fruit in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with cinnamon, water and lemon juice. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix with pastry blender or fork until crumbly but moist. (Depending on whether you use old-fashioned or quick-cook oats, you may find your mixture absorbs more or less of the moisture. Add additional oil if it is not moist enough.)

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over fruit. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm or cold. It’s yummy both ways!


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Excellent Resources: A Review

Back in 2011, I was privileged to attend the OCHEC homeschool convention. One of the main speakers at the convention was Andrew Pudewa. To say I was impressed with his ideology and methodology would be an understatement.

At the time, I wasn’t sure about incorporating his writing lessons into our curriculum–it seemed so ambitious, and our children so young–but there were aspects of his methodology I began to employ right away. And as time has gone on more of his ideas have been incorporated into our homeschool.History of Canada curriculum

Recently, I became aware of a sister company of Andrew Pudewa’s Institute for Excellence in Writing based in Canada with resources aimed at Canadian students! Even better, these resources could be downloaded and the videos enjoyed online, making it an ideal option for a family living abroad!

The company is called Excellent Resources, and the curriculum we have been using is entitled History of Canada. It is a theme-based exploration of the principles of good writing. We have been using it to improve Pumpkin and Sweetpea’s writing skills while simultaneously reviewing Canadian history. How wonderful is that?

Even though on one hand, I was enthusiastic to begin reviewing this curriculum with our children, I entered the process with a fair degree of trepidation as well, since early experiences with more serious writing in the summer did not go well, particularly with Pumpkin.

However, after using the curriculum since the beginning of this school year (which for us started somewhere in the middle of October), I have seen both children’s writing skills improve in a way I could not have imagined before.

And during one recent writing lesson, while polishing off a writing assignment, Pumpkin was heard to say, “I love writing.” I was shocked. And thrilled!

Each new lesson builds gently on the principles in the previous one, everything patiently and meticulously explained in the videos that accompany the curriculum. There is a lot of hand-holding in the first lessons, with increasing independence as the lessons progress. New vocabulary and grammar instruction is woven throughout the lessons.

Excellent Resources: A Review

Those familiar with the sister company, Institute for Excellence in Writing, will recognize some of the concepts taught:

  1. keyword outlines
  2. writing from notes
  3. dress-ups
  4. banned words
  5. limiting note-taking
  6. topic and clincher sentences
  7. incorporating higher-level vocabulary

All this is studied while at the same time learning (or in our case, re-learning) about the Vikings, Champlain, Cartier, Cabot, the courier de bois, Madeleine de Vercheres, the Loyalists, the war of 1812, and Canada’s role in the Underground Railway.

The course is comprehensive, and leaves students with a good knowledge of how to write from both source text and out of their own imaginations. It teaches sound principles of editing, and I really appreciate the checklists included in each lesson to keep the student on track.

Excellent Resources carries the full range of IEW’s products for the Canadian market, and two other Canadian-themed curricula, each designed for a different grade level: All Things Canada and Neighbours with a Difference.

More than once while using this curriculum I have remarked that I wish someone had taught me to write in such a systematic, painless way. Although I picked up the principles of good writing along the way, it is something I “had a feel for” not something I was taught. And therefore something I found difficult to quantify or pass on to my children. JavaMan has been on hand during a number of our lessons, and he has been impressed with the quality of the writing instruction as well. He remarked that he did not receive such good instruction in writing until he reached high school.

But even more than what we’ve been able to accomplish this school year–which is significant–I appreciate that my children are gaining an understanding of what good writing is and how important it is. They now see the difference between something that is written well and something that is not, and what an impression each can leave on the reader.

I owe all this to Excellent Resources for their truly outstanding product. Thank you, Excellent Resources!



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The Beloved Daughter Audiobook Launch

Friday Fiction FixOne of the loveliest things about this journey into authorhood has definitely been all the wonderful friendships I’ve made with fellow authors. I “met” Alana Terry on Twitter. We struck up a friendship because of our mutual interests: writing and homeschooling. (Yes there are a few others out there crazy enough to try to do both at the same time!)

Today I’m hosting Alana as part of the blog tour for The Beloved Daughter audiobook launch! Alana Terry is an award-winning author. Earlier this year, I downloaded The Beloved Daughter for my Kindle, and it quickly became one of my favorite reads of 2013: a poignant story, beautifully told, with descriptions that have you jumping right into the story.

The Beloved Daughter, an inspirational suspense novel, is a story of persecution and triumph set in the oppressive North Korean regime. The audiobook version of Alana’s bestselling debut novel is narrated by Kathy Garver, a four-time Audie award winner and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Motion Picture Council. (You might also recognize Kathy as Cissy from the TV show Family Affair.)

Listen to a sample of Kathy reading from The Beloved Daughter.

The Beloved Daughter

Synopsis: In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. It is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being. The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.

Join the giveaway


*Winner, Women of Faith Writing Contest

*1st Place, Book Club Network Book of the Month

*Amazon Bestseller (#5 Christian Suspense)


“…an engaging plot that reads like a story out of today’s headlines…” ~ Women of Faith Writing Contest

“Alana is a master storyteller, and I can’t imagine anyone failing to be
captivated by this harrowing tale
. What we have here is a compelling
story, but it’s also one of great importance.” ~ Brad Francis, Author of The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living

“The Beloved Daughter is a beautifully written story that is…both personal and representative of the challenges that many North Koreans still face today.” ~ Sarah Palmer, Rescue Team Coordinator at Liberty in North Korea

“The author does a phenomenal job… HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – but have tissues handy.” ~ Pauline Creeden, Editor AltWit Press

Order your own copy of The Beloved Daughter.

Awesome Prizes!

You don’t want to miss out on the month-long Beloved Daughter audiobook launch party. See the Alana Terry facebook page to get started. Multiple winners every week … Hundreds of $$$-worth in prizes!

ENTER THE DRAWING: In addition to the Facebook party, you can enter the grand prize drawing below for a chance to win a $100 gift card to either Target or Amazon (you choose!), or one of the awesome prizes from the prize gallery  (think Christian T-shirts, jewelry, books, CDs, lotions, and more)!




a Rafflecopter giveaway


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