Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: A+ Interactive Math

A+ Interactive Math  has been a well known name in home school circles for quite awhile now, with their interactive online and computerized math programs that utilize a multi-sensory approach, for first grade through Algebra 1. This past two months, we have had the privilege to review the Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan for our fourth grader, Kelly.

What are the benefits of this program? This program is designed to be used short-term, to help a parent or teacher identify any learning gaps in their student's math knowledge, and then fill in those gaps, bringing them up to a balanced knowledge base of all skill areas of their current grade level. It can be used in as little as 3 months, making it an ideal summer refresher before the next fall grade level begins.

How does the program work? It is web-based, so the student must have access to a computer to complete the test and work through their lessons. Once purchased, the parent can create accounts - one for the student to use for their work, and one for the parent to monitor progress.

Can this be used with any curriculum? Since this program's purpose is to identify problem areas, and fill in those gaps, it can be used at any time of the year, and with any curriculum that the student is already using. 

How to get started? A+ Tutorsoft has a demo video which I found very helpful in learning how to administer the placement test. After registering, the parent selects a 'home grade' that best describes the level of the child, and begins the child on their mini tests. The home grade basically just gives a targeted area of skill levels, and the lessons are actually tailored to the student's responses on the tests, rather than on any particular grade level.

What is the placement test like? The placement test is actually a series of 'mini-tests' that the student can take, either all at once, or broken up over several sessions. Each grade level has 10-15 skill areas that are tested, and each mini-test has up to 15 questions with multiple choice answers. When students "pass" a mini-test, by reaching or surpassing the designated level of correct answers for that skill, they are given a big thumbs-up and no lessons are created for that skill area, so the student doesn't have to waste time reviewing skills that they have already mastered.  The resulting placement tests only address the areas where skills are below grade level, and are tailored to the individual student's needs.

A sample question on the placement test.

What happens after the placement test is completed? The program will give results in several different forms, as progress reports, graphs, and my favorite - an animated progress chart showing the goal for each skill area, as well as where the student lands in relationship to that goal. 

A progress report for one of the mini-tests.

A sample of Kelly's animated progress chart. The goal is shown, and the little man walks to the mastery level that the student has achieved as demonstrated by their mini-test.

How do we start the lessons? The parent can have their child complete all the placement tests before beginning the lessons, or they can complete one skill area at a time - finishing the lessons for that skill right after the placement test, then moving on to something different. The lessons can be found on the student dashboard and are very easy for the child to begin. 

The lessons have two parts: First there is a short video lesson that thoroughly explains and demonstrates the concept:

Then there are worksheets generated for each concept, for the student to complete and practice, after watching the lesson. Here is a sample question. (All answers are multiple choice).

How do you know if the lessons were successful in filling in the student's learning gaps?  After completing the lessons and worksheets, the student goes back to the placement test and retakes that particular concept's mini-test. They are scored again, on their second (or more) attempt, and their progress is noted on the progress charts.

Here is a sampling of Kelly's progress in the skill area of word problems. I am pretty sure that the results speak for themselves:

Kelly's first attempt at taking the word problems mini-test - as you can see she was well below the expected level and goal for this concept.

After completing all the video lessons and worksheets for this skill area, I had Kelly retake the placement mini-test for word problems, and this is how she did: (actually surpassed the goal!)


My thoughts: I think this program is a phenomenal idea! Did you ever wonder, when teaching your children, how much has really sunk in and what they have retained? Do you ever worry about them moving on when you know they really haven't grasped an area?  Especially with math skills, their work will suffer down the road if they try to move on before they are ready, or when they really have not mastered or understood a key area in math concepts. I think this program is a great way to find out if there are any areas of their math understanding that need to be addressed before moving on to the next level.

Worth mentioning: The customer service/technical support from this company is quick and helpful. We had some technical issues with the tests, and they were addressed and helped quickly and efficiently. I had to contact the company with a question about using the program and it was answered promptly.

To see how other members of The Old Schoolhouse are using A+ Interactive Math, including a very flexible Family Math Package, click the banner below:

A+ Interactive Math Review

 Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: U.S. History Detective

We really enjoy using products from The Critical Thinking Company in our home school. Recently we were given the opportunity to review a new high school U.S. History curriculum that they have produced, called U.S. History Detective, Book One. 

About U.S. History Detective: This is a paperback, 330 page workbook that contains 65 daily lessons. It is designed to be used during high school, grades 8-12. This is part of a two book series that would cover an entire school year. Both books together could be considered a full credit of American History for high school students. U.S. History Detective is completely self-contained. Each day's lesson is printed in the book, and takes up 2-4 pages of reading material. Following the daily lesson is an assignment that varies by day.

What Historical Events Are Covered: Book One covers the early exploration of America with Columbus, through the major historical events of the next few centuries, and ends with the mid-1800's, Westward expansion, and the Reconstruction Era. The material is broken down into nine sections:

  1. Colonial Era
  2. The Revolutionary War
  3. Federal Era
  4. Nationalism Era
  5. Reform Era
  6. Expansion Era
  7. Sectional Conflict Era
  8. Civil War Era
  9. Reconstruction Era
Types of Assignments: There is a wonderful variety of assignments for the student to accomplish everyday, after they complete reading the lesson. Many of the lessons include multiple choice comprehension questions, that ask the student to list which sentences they found their answer in. (All the sentences in the reading material are numbered). 

An example of reading comprehension questions at the end of each lesson

Other assignments include writing prompts, provocative essay questions that cause the student to not only understand but interpret the history lessons, and in-depth map studies. There are also lists of vocabulary words to know.  

Full Color Maps effectively illustrate the lessons.

Lots of extras: I found plenty of detailed extras that really round out this curriculum, including editorial cartoons that teach the student the cultural mindset of the period they are studying, and help them understand and interpret various historical writings, statements, and events. 

Historical Perspective: This book is written from a secular perspective of American History.

What We Thought: We have read through and studied various parts of this book in our daily home school lessons. We have come to the conclusion that this book is very thorough, and effectively teaches the highlights of American History that every American high schooler should know before graduating. We found that controversial topics are written in an objective way, for the student to draw their own conclusions. It leaves plenty of room for the teacher/parent to guide the student in the perspective that they would like to emphasize.

Good to Know: Laura is currently studying for the AP U.S. History Exam, and we found many similarities between this material, both the types of multiple choice questions asked and the assigned essays, as we did in the AP study guides. That leads me to believe that if a student is studying and preparing to take standardized testing, either AP, SAT Subject, or CLEP, in U.S. History, that this book would be a great help in that preparation. 

Not To Leave You Hanging: There is a full answer key in the back of the book. 

Emphasis: As the title suggests, the purpose and plan of this curriculum is to teach your student to read, critically examine and evaluate the material, and decipher their own answers to the questions that are posed. There is training that guides them into distinguishing fact from opinion, and helps them learn how to begin evaluating the reading material for deeper meanings. Many of the questions go much deeper than plain black-and-white comprehension questions and answers. 

Current Price: This book is currently selling on the Critical Thinking Company Website for $39.99.

Special!! By using the code BLOGR315 you can receive 15% off any size order from Critical Thinking Company by ordering before 5/31/2015. If you are reading this past the time that this code is valid, I would suggest signing up for email specials from this company, because they are continuously sending out generous sales and special offers to their email subscribers.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of "U.S. History Detective, Book One" in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own, or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Taking Back My Home Update

As you know if you are a blog follower, I embarked on a 34 Weeks of Clean Challenge at the beginning of this year. I was doing great keeping up with the weekly challenges, until Michele started 'meddling' (LOL) and put up some challenges that were just not doable for one week for me....especially when the weeks had different obstacles thrown in the mix that soaked up all my time and energy.

Here are a few of the challenges that I have missed...although not completely. I have worked on them some, and started trying to make a dent in them. 
  • Master Bath (yay! Don't have one to worry about!)
  • Master Closet (ugh...did remove a bunch of clothes and donated them, but haven't done a major emptying and sorting as of yet)
  • Master bedroom (this was doing ok. I purged some things and had it nice. Then suitcases came back from a trip and now it needs attention again).
  • Arts & Crafts (this is one of those areas that just cannot have a little attention. It kind of needs a major overhaul between my stuff and all the kids' stuff. This one is purposely being put off until school is over for this school year).
  • Pictures & Scrapbook (Too scary to even approach at this time in my life! I think we will leave these safely packed away until the day that I can invest a week or two in it with undivided attention. I have managed to organize all my digital pictures nicely though!)
  • Family Room and DVD's. (While the family room still needs attention, we did sort through the DVD's and were able to get rid of a bunch that the kids have outgrown. Now all our DVD's fit nicely into the storage space we have for them, so that's progress)
  • Bathrooms (A work in progress - but not too bad overall. I could probably knock this challenge out completely until finished in just a day or two. I did complete the cleaning challenges for this one, including washing the shower curtain and toothbrush holders, but would like to completely organize everyone's gear, which will take a little more effort)
  • Entryway (A challenge that I completed with a nice cleanup of our high traffic side door that we use daily. All that it is waiting for is a purchase of a new "mud rug" for the floor and it will be complete.)
So as you can see, I wasn't a total slacker, but I am trying to be flexible and just roll with life as it comes.  I take my role as a mom very seriously, and when family needs attention, I have learned to put up with a little disorganization to meet the need at hand. Hopefully I can keep working at obtaining a good balance, and continue to get my home in order as well. It's a work in progress, and I try to keep a light heart about it and just keep trying, even when it's not what I would like it to be.

So here's a few of the things I have been working on that have kept me busy these past two months:
  • Finishing our 2014-2015 school year strong! And planning a graduation party for my graduating senior. 
  • Part of the family went on a missions trip to Mexico.
  • Helping in our family business.
  • College planning. I have been playing the role of full time guidance counselor lately!
I have also been sorting through old curriculum, getting it ready to sell, and planning next year for my two children that will be homeschooling. I have been able to sell quite a bit, make some money towards next year's purchases, and clear out some clutter in the process, which has been wonderful.

We also have a ton of fun and interesting review products for The Old Schoolhouse that we are working on. Stay tuned for upcoming reviews in Math, Latin, reading materials for Moms, and piano. There are a few products that we reviewed that we are continuing with, even though the review period is over, especially ARTistic Pursuits, which Kelly and I are doing together.

I linked up with Michele's 34 Weeks of Clean Challenge to keep it real and get myself back in the habit. Hopefully my story will be an encouragement to someone else who hasn't been able to keep up with every week. 

Maybe you haven't reached mastery, but you can still strive for success in the little areas!  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Countdown to Summer

Recently we were given the privilege to receive and review a new book from home of Golden Prairie Press! In the past we have used and reviewed several of Amy's books, including several others in the "Countdown" series. 

This new book is called "Summer Countdown" and covers five special days in Summer: Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day.

What is Summer Countdown?  This is a 151 page ebook that has fun family activities and historic stories for the five major holidays at the start of summer. Each of the first four holidays have three days of stories and activities leading up to them, and Independence Day actually has two weeks worth of stories and activities, and could be used as a nice summer unit study on American History and civics.                                                                                                                                                                                 Why use Summer Countdown?  Often we celebrate holidays as families simply because it's tradition or an excuse to have a nice dinner, but we sometimes fail to take the time to really reflect on what these special days mean to our heritage. This book is designed to help families teach their children the background behind these special days, and build some special memories around the celebration. Each day's activity and story should take about 30-45 minutes to complete. Each story has been carefully chosen to teach and inspire good character and values.

How we used this book: We read through most of the stories, and completed several of the activities during our review time. I plan on taking the time to use the stories again in our home, just as they were intended - in the days leading up to the special holidays this summer. My children are very intrigued with the stories, and I have really enjoyed learning the history of the holidays. 

Mother's Day/Father's Day: We enjoyed reading the history of how these days came to be national holidays through the sincere efforts of some very special people. We also about special mothers and fathers, and completed some fun games matching up famous mothers and fathers with their sayings and adventures. Both of these holidays include a special card to print that the children can color, with simple instructions for them to make into a card. I have included a picture of the cards they made.

Memorial Day: There are wonderful, patriotic stories and photos in the Memorial Day setting. Reading through this section instills a reverent respect for those who gave their life in the service of our country, and it was inspiring to hear once again how this Day of Remembrance was started. 

Flag Day has some very fun stories and activities, including a paper folding activity to make symmetrical five pointed stars, just like Betsy Ross! I think the activities of this section were probably the favorite of all the holidays for my children. 

Felt Flag Project (photo taken from the book)

Fun making five point stars -

Independence Day:  I really can't say enough about this section of the book. Independence Day has the longest Countdown...two weeks worth of stories and activities. There are biographical sketches of great Americans as well as obscure facts about the events surrounding our Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War. This section of the book itself could stand alone as a fascinating unit study about the War for Independence. I truly believe children will be inspired towards greater patriotism and character after working through these two weeks of lessons. 

Last thoughts: Typically summer is a slower time for schoolwork for us. We follow a traditional school schedule, and leave summers for lighter study or pursuing interests that we don't have enough time for during the main school year. I am so happy to have this book to use to enhance our summer. The material gives enough for the student to learn new things, but the approach is so subtle that the emphasis ends up being on developing fun family time while learning. There is even an opportunity to complete a child-friendly recipe! 

Disclaimer: I received a free 'Summer Countdown' ebook in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own, or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

{This post contains affiliate links. Because I believe in this company and enjoy it's materials, I have signed on to be an affiliate. I may receive a small compensation from any future purchases made by entering the Golden Prairie Press website through my affiliate links}

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Inspiring Missions in the Heart of Children

Elementary children are sponges when it comes to soaking up stories of heroes. Why not let their heroes be those that love God and will inspire them to do great things for God?

The following story is a biography of the life of one of my favorite missionaries in history: C.T. Studd. As you may recall, CT was a gifted cricket player in England in the late 19th century. He forsook all the glamour that this life offered him, instead surrendering to the call of God to serve on a several foreign fields, ultimately giving his life in the service of the King. His famous words, "No retreat, no regret" have inspired countless young people over the years.

This book is written to an elementary/middle school reading level, and does a fantastic job sharing the details of CT's life, as well as outlining his service on the mission fields of China, India, and Africa. What an exciting life he had!

It is written by Janet & Geoff Benge, and published by Youth With A Mission. It is currently available on Amazon {affiliate link included} as both paperback and Kindle version.


I would like to include a short book report written by my 4th grader after reading this book:

     Janet and Geoff Benge wrote C.T. Studd: No Retreat. This Christian Biography has 188 pages. This book was published in 2005 by Youth With A Mission publishing.   

     Charles Thomas Studd (mostly known as C.T.) was born on December 2,1860. C.T. Attended Trinity College, Cambridge College, and Eton College. After he got saved he felt called to China. He went to China with seven other men from Cambridge. In China, C.T. met his wife, Priscilla. Priscilla was another missionary who had come to China. She had very bad health. They got married on April 7,1888. After awhile in China they came back home for a break. While they were home C.T. felt called to India, so he went. After awhile in India he came back home for another break. During that break he felt called to the heart of Africa, so he went. While he was in Africa C.T. started his own mission, called the ‘Heart of Africa Mission.’ C.T. spent 20 years in Africa. He died on July 16, 1931, in Ibambi, Africa.

     My favorite part was when Alfred Buxton (C.T.’s helper and C.T. ate lunch with the cannibals. The cannibals gave them meat and C.T. said to Alfred, ’This meat tastes pretty good, I wonder what kind of meat it is?’ Alfred said, ‘You better not ask.’   

       Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Double rainbow over South Buffalo, NY

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: ARTistic Pursuits Elementary Art Instruction

Getting all wrapped up in the day to day home schooling life of reading, writing, and arithmetic, it is sometimes easy to overlook the special things that really round out an education - the passions that the children have that make home schooling so enjoyable. I try to make a priority out of their special interests, so that they can pursue and develop them regularly. One of my children loves her art. I find it challenging to really engage her in extra curricular art activities, since I am not a very "artsy" person.

Last year we had the opportunity to review a sculpting course from ARTistic Pursuits, and we greatly enjoyed it. When the opportunity came again this year, we were very excited to receive Elementary 4-5, Book One - The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits. 

What is ARTistic Pursuits?  This is a comprehensive art instruction course for all ages and ability levels. It is MORE than just a book of art projects! Designed especially for homeschoolers, it combines art appreciation, history of art, techniques, projects, and artistic terms into a complete course. Even though it has so many different factors included, the focus of the lessons really is to develop observation and creativity in the student, allowing them to pursue their art projects as they visualize it, not just as the instructor demonstrates.

About Elementary 4-5 Book One - This 90 page, comb-bound book explores drawing, sketching, and beginning colors for the elementary art student. Designed with an approximate grade level of 4th and 5th graders, it can be easily read through and used by the student independently with no extra instructor help.

Scheduling: There are 16 units, each containing several new terms for the artist, introducing a concept, an art appreciation lesson, and several project suggestions that will help the student apply what they learned. There are four lessons in each unit. If a student works on their art lessons for about an hour, twice a week, they will complete the entire book in one school year.

For the teacher: If a parent would like to give their child a grade, there is a handy grading sheet in the back of the book, with an algorithm for the teacher to use to objectively grade the student's work and participation in the course. This book is very user friendly.

About the lessons: The art appreciation lessons use simple and common works that allow the student to easily visualize the concept that is being taught. It also tells a bit of background about the work, connecting it with other subject matter that the student could be learning about.

The Units: In this book, the sixteen units cover the following drawing concepts: space, line and shape, texture, value, form, contrast, natural form, edges, balance, rhythm, overlap, depth, proportion, and movement. There are several units that will combine areas into interesting projects.

How we used this curriculum:  Kelly, my 4th grader, has been learning a lot about painting and color blending, and really enjoys it.  She had a desire to learn how to draw and sketch, so this book was the perfect addition to our art instruction! We worked on the projects together, which Kelly greatly enjoyed. Each time we had an art lesson, we would read the instructional pages together, then work on some technique practice that was being taught in the lessons. We would also complete the project suggestion for each lesson.

Blended subjects: The art appreciation lesson in the very first unit was the famous painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware".  This perfectly coincided with what we were learning in history, and really made the lesson on using space in drawing easy to observe.

Easy Supply Lists: ARTistic Pursuits makes it pretty easy to have all the supplies on hand that you will need for the entire course. For this book, the supply list can be found online, or at the front of the book. I found that the supplies needed for this book were very simple, and we actually already owned almost everything on the list. ARTistic Pursuits also sells supply packs though, for parents who would like to purchase everything at once.

A sampling of some of our projects:

The very first unit encourages the student to find simple, interesting subjects right in their own world, and draw them as they see them. They are given confidence that there are no "right or wrong" sketches, and that the blank sheet of paper is not to be feared. As the student works on simple sketches, they are taught basic drawing elements of using space to their advantage in their work.

As you can see, these are simple sketches of things that we saw in the kitchen during this first unit:

The student is also encouraged to use their imagination to draw things that they see only in their own mind:

Using lines and space in scenery - these trains are trying to draw everything together, both the lines used to draw them, as well as the lines in the background.

Kelly's (and my) favorite of all her artwork so far: (in fact, we even framed it)

What we thought of this program:  We are really enjoying this book! Creativity is emphasized and encouraged. I feel that the lessons give detailed directions to help the student discover how to properly draw what they are observing, without removing their own personal interpretation.  It shows the student what some common mistakes are, and instructs how to overcome those. For a student who really is interested in learning how to draw, this book will allow them to develop that interest into a full-blown hobby that they can enjoy.

Kelly's thoughts: "I like how this book shows me how to draw, but lets me choose my own projects, and draw them on my own, like I think they should look."  (She said this to compare ARTistic Pursuits to another drawing book she has, that uses step by step lines to show the student how to draw certain objects).

An All-Star Art Lineup: ARTistic Pursuits has an entire line of books available for purchase on their website. Their curriculum has levels available for preschool through high school.

Connect with ARTistic Pursuits on Facebook.

Members of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew have reviewed a large variety of materials from ARTistic Pursuits this week - click the banner below to read more reviews:

ARTistic Pursuits Review

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Reading for Entertainment: Messages

Every so often, I will read a book just simply for entertainment. Most of my reading material has some type of purpose, whether it's for a review, for my own personal devotions or development, or something I am trying to learn to teach my children. When I was younger, with less responsibilities, I literally ate through books. I'm the type of person who will stay up into the wee hours of the morning to find out how the story ends.

Recently, I came across this book in a Kindle freebies app that I receive. I figured....why not? It looked interesting, the sample chapter sucked me in, and it was FREE! So I downloaded it to my Kindle.

I have had a little extra time to read lately, and decided to go for a change of pace - reading something just for fun instead of for instruction. This book was sitting on my Kindle waiting for me.

Messages is a suspense mystery written from a Christian perspective. It is a modern story of a young journalist  in Boston named David Chance,  who begins to receive special "messages" sprinkled into words, signs, and reading material around him. These messages begin suddenly, and prove their reality, before leading David on an adventure to unravel a terror plot in real time in his city. As he struggles with how far to go when following the messages, his family is threatened, and he must make some tough decisions to keep them safe, while trying to save as many people as he can.

 One thing I really appreciated is that it was a moral book - no swearing, limited 'vice', and pretty 'clean' as far as suspense mystery novels go. There are some violent activities discussed, as to how they relate to the terror plot at hand, but they are fairly sanitized as far as detailed descriptions. There was a dialogue threaded throughout the story of a man who is struggling to know God, and seeking to understand faith. He has some great conversations with his Christian neighbor, who is gently trying to lead him through his struggles.

The story had a lot of surprise twists and turns that I was not expecting, and definitely kept me in suspense to find out what would happen next, and how the story would unfold. In the end, it all works out, which is always pleasant.

This story, though pretty unrealistic, made for great entertaining reading. It ended rather abruptly, and left a few loose ends that I would have liked to see concluded, but overall it fulfilled the desire I was looking for - a break from some heavier reading material I am working through by giving me a short, entertaining novel that is intriguing without compromising my Christian values.

Here's an Amazon affiliate link - Messages is currently available as a FREE download for Kindle users.

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Special Prayer for the President

My 4th grader recently had an assignment to write a letter to the president. She has been learning about properly formatting a letter in her schoolwork, and writing to the president is a great way to practice.

I did not prompt her in any way because I wanted to see what she would come up with on her own. I thought this would give me some insight on the perspective she has gained through listening to the many political conversations we have in our home. 

I have to say, when I read her final letter, it brought me to tears, and I asked her if I could share it here with you...such sweet and simple thoughts of a child.

Dear President Obama,

       I will be praying for your safety, your health, and your wisdom to lead our country. I pray that your heart will be soft towards God, and to not be mean to Israel.  


Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Allergy Free Muddy Buddies

Muddy Buddies have always been a favorite snack in our home, so I came up with an adapted recipe to take care of those of us who needed an allergy free version.

Here are a few of my favorite replacements when making my allergy free version:

As you can see, I replace peanut butter with No Nuts pea butter. Other nut-free alternatives could be soy nut butter, sunbutter, or any nut free spread. No Nuts just happens to be our favorite alternative, especially since the nut allergic person also cannot have sunflower butter.

Enjoy Life Chips are just plain awesome. They are better than milk chocolate, and completely top-8 allergen free.

Closing out the replacements is Earth Balance buttery sticks. These are soy based (although they do have a soy free spread) and look and taste very similar to butter. They also work just like butter in recipes, which is wonderful for baking.

Chex cereal continue to be gluten free, which is great, because they are often on sale, and are very tasty. The girls prefer using the rice Chex version when making Muddy Buddies.

Fortunately, powdered sugar is gluten free, which makes it very easy to find for this recipe.

Here is the recipe:

Allergy Free Muddy Buddies

9 c. Chex cereal (we recommend rice, but you may use any version)
1 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/2 c. "pea butter" (or peanut butter replacement of your choosing)
1/4 c. "butter" (we recommend Earth Balance, you may use the replacement of your choosing)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Step by step directions:

Gather ingredients

Measure chocolate, butter, and pea butter into a microwave safe bowl and heat on medium setting for about 1 minute. Stir. Continue to heat in 30 second increments, and stir until creamy. While it is cooking, measure chex cereal into a very large bowl. As an alternative to microwave cooking, you may also cook in a heavy pot over low heat, as you would normally melt chocolate, stirring continually. When it is smooth, remove from heat or microwave, and add in vanilla. Stir completely.

Pour the creamy melted mixture over the cereal, and gently stir with a spatula until all the cereal is well coated. 

Sprinkle the powdered sugar over the coated cereal while it is still warm, and gently stir with the spatula until all the cereal is coated with powdered sugar, and there is no longer loose sugar in the bottom of the bowl. 

Spread the cereal out onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet and leave out on the counter to dry completely, before packing it away in an airtight container. Try not to eat it every time you walk past the counter where it is drying! 

Recipe may be freely shared or pinned, but please link back to this original post - thanks!

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This recipe is being shared on "Try A New Recipe Tuesday" over at Lisa Boyle's blog: Home to 4 Kiddos.