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5 Minute Grammar Lesson :: How to Use a Semicolon

Welcome to another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Today’s topic includes easy to follow rules so you can learn how to use a semicolon!

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How to use a semi-colon. 5 Minute Grammar Lesson with SimplifyLiveLove*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog.*

How to Use a Semicolon

Semicolons baffle a lot of people, but they shouldn’t because they are really pretty easy. As long as you can tell the difference between a complete sentence and a fragment, semicolons are very straightforward. They have two  main uses:

1. To separate items in a complex list.
Usually, when we separate items in a list, we use a comma: I like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Sometimes, the list is more complicated and we use semicolons instead: When my husband was in the military we lived in Sacramento, California; Tempe, Arizona; Okinawa, Japan; and, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Too easy, right?

2. To connect complete sentences.
Number 2 is the one that normally confuses people because they try to connect a fragment and a sentence with a semicolon, and that is WRONG.

Wrong: Although the police officer is a very big man; he wasn’t hungry and he wouldn’t eat the donuts. The first part of this sentence is a fragment. Instead of a semicolon, a comma should be used. OR, simply take the “although” off the first part of the sentence and it’s fixed:

Correct: The police officer is a very big man; he wasn’t hungry and he wouldn’t eat the donuts. Here you have two complete sentences linked by a semicolon. No problem, right!

To me, the hard part about semicolons is identifying fragments. As long as you remember that a complete sentence must have both a subject AND a verb, you should be fine!

Learn easy rules for how to use a semi-colon in this 5 minute grammar lesson with simplifylifelove.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson!

For more grammar help, check out these resources.

Want more grammar posts?

It’s or Its?

Less or Fewer?

Top 10 Mistakes Bloggers Make {and how to stop them}

Who’s or WHOSE?

Who or Whom?

And if you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Check back next Sunday for another quick grammar lesson! And if you’d like to get weekly grammar tips delivered straight to your inbox, please subscribe to my once a week newsletter. I promise I won’t spam you. 🙂

Ukrainian Egg Decorating

Many Hands House hosted a Magic the Gathering card game at her house. We weren’t going to go. I had arranged for a fabulous new babysitter to come over in the afternoon and I was going to get some work done.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

Well…the morning dragged on. It was dreary and cold outside and the natives (my children) were restless. So I scrapped my plans for “DW” (doing work) and we headed out to Melanie’s.

Ukrainian Egg Decorating

We were too late for the card game, which was fine because it’s geared for older children anyway. But Melanie had an amazing arts and crafts table set up with the most beautiful egg dyes and other supplies for making Ukrainian eggs. Have you ever tried your hand at Ukrainian egg decorating?Now, I grew up in Germany and making Easter trees is a big deal over there. The Germans I know decorate fabulous eggs and hang them on beautiful branches long before Easter. I have been nostalgic for their eggs for a long time as I am UNDERWHELMED every year by the cheap box egg decorating kits (you know, the PAAS kits?) I have been purchasing for my kids. I should have KNOWN there was a better way!

Melanie’s eggs are BEAUTIFUL! My kids were immediately drawn to the egg table and they all made (and broke) several eggs. Ben, especially, was excited and he created for a long time. We only had one near catastrophe when Cora’s hair caught on fire. YES! That little girl is an accident waiting to happen. Luckily, I was right there and freaked her out by beating on her head with my bare hand. I scared her much more than she was hurt by the fire. Neither of us was harmed and her hair is none the worse for wear. BUT – if you make these eggs – BE CAREFUL of the candle that melts the wax. That’s my warning.

Anyhow, here are the fruits of our labor, as well as an update on the wheat grass we planted last Wednesday, also at Melanie’s delightful home. (I think our wheat would look a lot better if it had not been accidentally left outside one night in freezing temperatures.) Our eggs don’t look much like ones in the book, but I think they are lovely nonetheless.

And now I am off to purchase my own Ukrainian Egg Decorating kit so that I my kids can practice their skills! 🙂

What’s going on in your homeschool? How are you preparing for spring?

Easy, Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola

Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola

Granola is a delicious treat at our house. We love to eat it by the handful or mixed with yogurt and berries. Everyone at my house loves it! It’s a fabulous and healthy snack, breakfast, or lunch. But, a good granola is EXPENSIVE! My solution: to make my own! In my opinion, homemade granola is even better than the store bought variety. And it’s much more frugal!

Here’s how you can make your own Easy, Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola! 

 I found the original recipe on the internet here. But, I have tweaked it to fit our budget and taste. I guarantee it’s different every time I make it, but here’s the tweaked recipe I loosely follow:

Homemade Fruit & Honey Granola

Homemade Fruit & Honey Granola


  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I mix almonds, pecans, walnuts - whatever I have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup dried fruit - cranberries, raisins, whatever I have on hand


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spay a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dried ingredients EXCEPT the dried fruit.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the oil and honey.
  4. Add the oil/honey mix to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Spread on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Then stir and spread it out again. Bake for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  6. In a large bowl, break the granola into large chunks. Add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

fruit and honey granola

As I said, I make this yogurt a little differently each time I make it simply by varying the mix-ins and nuts. I used craisins for this particular batch, but it’s also great with just about any dried fruit and also chocolate chips. When the chocolate melts and then hardens again around the granola, it’s really delicious. Sometimes I omit the flax seeds and the nutmeg. Sometimes I made it exactly as described. However you make it, you really can’t go wrong! We love it eat it by the handful – a double batch does not last long around here!

Would of OR Would have?

I’m really curious how social media and texting affect grammar. I ASSUME that texting and facebooking and twitter have a negative influence on grammar. But you know what they say when a person ASSUMES something… It could be that many people have always had terrible grammar and all these forms of communication make the mistakes that much more noticeable to people who care.

I have an MA in English Linguistics and I conducted a unique study for my thesis to learn how sociolinguistics impacts second language learning. Specifically, I looked at sexist language and found that it can change how language learners may behave. Language is CRAZY powerful.

If you don’t know, sociolinguistics is, “the study of language and linguistic behavior as influenced by social and cultural factors.” It fascinates me! In an ideal world, I would return to school and earn my PhD and I might just focus on social media. Social media and texting were not really around when I earned my MA in 2002. But, I know, linguists at universities are studying this right now. I would love to, too!

 Proper grammar for would of or would have
Anyway, here’s another common grammar error that I see all the time, especially on Facebook:

When we speak, it sometimes sounds like we say WOULD OF because of the way we slur our words together. However, it’s not correct in WRITTEN English.Always write WOULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE, and COULD HAVE. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. No exceptions! It’s just good (and correct) grammar.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson for the week! 🙂


Here’s another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson. 🙂

A Grammer Lesson on the workd Acrossed ??

When we moved to Iowa 5 years ago, I started saying “Acrossed,” as in “I went acrossed town yesterday.” It’s something a LOT of people say in these here parts 🙂 and I picked it up without realizing it. I was talking to my sister one day on the phone and said something with “acrossed” in it. She started laughing and had me repeat it. Once I repeated it, I was horrified! How could I, an English teacher of all things, say “acrossed?” Needless to say, that day was the last day I uttered that terrible word.

Since then, I hear it everywhere! My hubby, bless his heart, my father in law, friends…it’s rampant in Iowa. Thankfully, my husband quit using it very soon after I pointed it out…

Anyhow, ACROSS is a preposition (He went across the street.) and sometimes an adverb (She ran across to say hello.) It it never used (correctly) in the past tense.

CROSS is the verb that can be used correctly in the past tense: “He crossed the street.”

And there’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson. Do you hear “acrossed” where you live?

5 Minute Grammar Lesson – Everyday or Every Day?

Here’s another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson!

5 minutes grammar lesson - Everyday or Every Day

I see mistakes with every and day almost Every Day! 😉 When should they be combined as one word and when should the be separated into two words?

Everyday means ordinary, normal, commonplace. It’s an adjective that modifies a noun: His everyday coat is dirty.

Every day means “each day.” “Every” is an adjective that modifies the noun “day:” I have to eat chocolate and drink wine every day or I will go nuts.

I am continually surprised by how many, many places mistake the two usages. Have you seen them used incorrectly? 🙂

Master Bread Recipe

This is the recipe I use to make 5 loaves of bread (start to finish) in a little over an hour. When I posted this on Facebook, a lot of you asked questions which I answered here.

Master Bread Recipe

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.

Place in Bosch mixer:
5 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup honey
1 heaping Tbsp. salt
1 heaping Tbsp. Dough Enhancer.
10 cups ground wheat flour
3 Tbsp. Saf Instant yeast
A couple cups additional flour

Mix dough on low speed. Quickly add as much additional flour as needed for the dough to pull away from the side of the bowl so that the sides of the bowl come clean. Mix it for 5 minutes. Oil hands and counter well, divide dough into 5 loaves and let rise in loaf pans, sprayed with non-stick spray. Let rise for approx. 30 minutes until they have doubled in size. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Rotisserie Chicken Rub Spice Mix

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own rotisserie chicken, this spice mix for a great rub really helps give your chicken that store bought flavor!

If you've ever wanted to make your own rotisserie chicken, this spice mix for a great rub really helps give your chicken that store bought flavor!

My parents gifted me with a counter top chicken rotisserie machine (like this one) many years ago and this homemade spice mix is the missing ticket to deliciously homemade rotisserie chicken. If you don’t have a rotisserie machine, you can also make rotisserie chicken in a slow cooker (this Hamilton Beach is the one I have!)! And, I love to use this versatile spice mix in chicken noodle soup too. Here’s my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.

Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken

Update: I have started making a delicious rotisserie chicken in my Instant Pot! If you’d like the recipe, head over here: it’s pretty easy and very, very delicious.

Rotisserie Chicken Rub Spice Mix- If you've ever wanted to make your own rotisserie chicken, this spice mix for a great rub really helps give your chicken that store bought flavor!

Here is a very easy spice combination to make any rotisserie chicken divine:

If you've ever wanted to make your own rotisserie chicken, this spice mix for a great rub really helps give your chicken that store bought flavor!

Rotisserie Chicken Rub Spice Mix

Garlic powder
Onion powder
Chili powder
Black pepper
That’s all! I prefer to add 2-3 TBS of each spice and make a large batch when I make this recipe.

Rotisserie Chicken Rub

Rotisserie Chicken Rub

A savory homemade spice mix perfect for making rotisserie chicken and many other dishes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 TBS Garlic powder
  • 2 TBS Onion powder
  • 2 TBS Thyme
  • 2 TBS Salt
  • 2 TBS Paprika
  • 2 TBS Chili powder
  • 2 TBS Black pepper


Mix together an equal amount of each spice and store in an airtight container.

Put them in an empty spice jar and shake it over your whole chicken. Make a lot so you don’t have to mix it the next time you make a chicken! Don’t forget to label your jar so you know what’s in it… 🙂 By the way, if you like to make your own spice mixes, I highly recommend these Ball Canning Jar Spice Lids! I got some a couple years ago and love them.

Apple & Pear Scones made with Whole Grains

1.      apple & pear scones

Apple & Pear Scones with Whole Grains

Apple & Pear Scones with Whole Grains


  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ? cup whole wheat flour
  • ? tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ? tsp. salt
  • ? cup sugar
  • ? cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/2 cup diced pear
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and cut in butter until the mix resembles small peas.
  3. Add the diced fruit and then add milk.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Turn dough out onto a cooking stone.
  6. Form a 9" circle.
  7. Top with extra sugar if desired.
  8. Cut circle into 8 pie shaped pieces.
  9. Separate the pieces so they don't touch.
  10. Bake for 22-28 minutes.
  11. Enjoy!

Apple & Pear Scones made with Whole Grains

Simplify breakfast time by making scone packets for your freezer. I get out 5 different bowls, mix all of the dry ingredients together (one recipe per bowl), and then dump each bowl into a freezer bag. Then next time I want scones, instead of having to get all of the dry ingredients out again, I just pull a bag out of the freezer! I got this idea from Jessica over at Life As Mom and it works great for me.

Have you ever tried whole grain baking, like apple & pear scones?

Homemade Easy Bake Oven Mixes Make Great Gifts!

Homemade easy bake oven mixes make great gifts! Not only is it easy to make your own, but it’s also a great learning opportunity for kids. Involve your kids in the gift giving production this year. Here’s how to make your own fabulous Easy Bake Oven Mixes!
homemade easy bake oven mixes

Homemade Easy Bake Oven Mixes

My daughter received an Easy Bake Oven last year from Grandma for Christmas. She LOVES it! And she makes some fun things.However, once the mixes that she got for Christmas were gone, we realized the downside to Easy Bake Ovens! The mixes are outrageously expensive. Not only are they expensive, they are also full of ingredients I’d rather my kiddos not eat.

My six-year-old daughter is a thinker, though. Since I have not bought her new mixes,  and she is out of the ones she got last year, she asked me one day if we could look for Easy Bake Oven recipes on line. I thought that would be a great homeschool activity, so we did. And we found all kinds of recipes! She picked out a few she liked and we decided that we would make a cookbook (I’m always thinking of ways to trick her to write), and homemade mixes for her cousin for Christmas.

We found lots of fun recipes at these websites:


anna's easy bake recipe

Turn it into a learning opportunity!

It took some work to get a legible cookbook. Initially, I had her copy the recipes on blank, lined paper I printed from Donna Young’s Homeschooling Resources. However she is still perfecting her handwriting, and I quickly realized that we needed a different solution. So, I downloaded a dashed font here, typed the recipes out myself, and then had her trace them. That worked a lot better. After all the pages were complete, we had it laminated. Then we used a three hole punch to punch holes. She picked out a pretty ribbon and we “bound” the book.

anna and homemade easy bake oven mixes cookbook

Once the book was complete, we made the mixes. First, we mixed all the dry ingredients together and made baggies of mixes. We tried the baggies with pretty ribbon and I wrote out what wet ingredients to add to the dry ingredients to complete the recipes. Now, we have a fun, frugal, and educational gift to give to her cousin! If it is only half as much fun for her cousin to make the goodies as it was for us to assemble the book and the packets, we will have a very successful Christmas present on our hands.

If you like this post on homemade easy bake oven recipes, you might like these ideas too!

Immune Boosting Sugar Scrub

5 Minute Succulent Planter

Homemade Gourmet Vinegar

I’m always on the search for homemade gift ideas, especially for boys, as it seems easier to find ideas for girls. Do you have any ideas for homemade Christmas presents? I’d love to hear what they are!