Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Making "Drive Time" Productive

Everyone's day is jam-packed, and it never feels like there is enough time to accomplish everything! Recognizing how to optimize all of the 'wasted' time throughout the day is a great way to help parents and kids regain some extra minutes to essential tasks- like during car rides.

Driving is the perfect opportunity to encourage kids to pick up a book and catch up on their reading, instead of being entranced by iPads and cellphones.
I seriously don't know why I have never thought about this...

Diono, the leading manufacturer in child safety seats and travel accessories, has created a simple infographic that breaks down the benefits of reading and how parents can utilize driving time to stimulate their kids' minds.

Whether it be on the way to the doctor's office, our homeschool co-op, the store, or even church, we spend a lot of time in the car. You can bet I'm going to start putting this time to good use and making my 7 year old read aloud to my 2 year old, so they both benefit.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

$150 to Spend on Wall Decals from Evgie - Giveaway!

I absolutely love decorating. I love changing things around and adding new (or old) things to complete a room and make it have that "homey" comfortable feel.

Decorating a nursery (or any room) in your house is fun! You get to pick out new colors and even a theme. There are many ways to decorate a room, but I think you can change a room so much more when you use vinyl wall decals.
It's better than paint because it creates a new scene. Plus it's so much easier than painting. I hate picking out the right color, and getting out all the accessories you need to paint the room.

Evgie has a huge selection of vinyl wall decals that you can apply to any wall and completly change the appearance of any room! Here are some of their newest designs!

Sleeping Leopard and Monkeys Children

Deer Silhouette - Animals in the Wild Wall Decal - 8 ft Trees Wall Decals

Jungle Animals Nursery Wall Decal - Monkeys swinging on vines - Monkeys, Elephant, Hippo, Zebra & Large Tree, Branches and Vines

Giant Noah's Ark Wall Decals Nursery

Custom Flag Name Outer Space Wall Decals

Right now Evgie has March price reductions! They have the lowest prices and if you use code 10OFF you will get an additional 10% off your purchase!

Evgie vinyl decals are made from high quality matte (made in Germany) vinyl which looks like they were painted on the wall. It is removable, so it's simple to transform any room over and over again. Just peel and stick, it's so easy! You can apply them to most smooth surfaces. It's also removable and won't damage walls!

More Reasons to Shop at Evgie.com

  • 100% SATISFACTION – If it turns you don’t love your decal you may ship it back and they will refund your money!
  • FREE test decal for you to practice on and EASY Step-by-step detailed instructions!
  • They can adjust the decal size larger or smaller and add additional colors. Contact them for pricing!
  • They offer custom designs. If you have an idea in mind of a custom design, let them know!

Now for the giveaway!

One winner will receive a credit to spend $150 on Wall Decals at Evgie.

  • Dates – March 14 - 29, 2016 1159pm EST
  • Open Worldwide – but if the winner resides outside the US they will need to pay the difference in shipping.
  • Prize – $150 To spend on Wall Decals at Evgie
Enter on the Giveaway tool below.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Homeschool Resources Under $20

It's almost officially Spring, which means for us homeschool mom's, we've already been thinking about what things we want to add or leave out of our next school year.

With homeschool conventions right around the corner, it's time to buy new and exciting curriculum and clever things that will help our children learn and retain their knowledge.

Educents is a website that has tons of discounted educational products. They have comprised a  list of homeschool resources that are under $20. Some of them are even FREE!

If you haven't signed up for Educents, you can do that here. It's free to sign up and they have some pretty awesome stuff.

homeschool resources for a budget

Here's a list of the best affordable homeschool resources - all available for $20 or less on Educents.

Helpful Resources
Homeschool Planner - This planner includes dated journal pages, practical forms, motivational quotes, and teaching aides to make your homeschool planning effortless and enjoyable.

Do-a-Dot Mega Bundle - 17 different activities that cover fine motor skills, numbers, letters, sight words, word families, shapes, colors, patterns, and early addition. All of these items are designed for us with do-a-dot markers, but they also come with a variety of suggestions for alternative uses.

Photography Lessons for Kids - Add some fun to your homeschool! Whether your kids have a point and shoot or a DSLR camera, the fundamental rules of photography can still be taught.

Math Resources

Tegu Geometric Blocks - Here's a hands-on way to learn geometric shapes. These blocks come in many shapes and colors.

Educents Tegu Blocks

Buy Now

Times Tales DVD - Kids can learn their times tables in a snap! Most homeschoolers say this DVD only takes about an hour to teach kids the upper times tables. There's also a downloadable version available.

Life of Fred Math Stories - After reading the Fred books, kids will never say "math is boring" ever again. These fictional stories weave in math concepts with real world examples. Start with the Apples book for early math, and follow Fred all the way to calculus lessons!

Tegu Geometric Blocks - Here's a hands-on way to learn geometric shapes. These blocks come in many shapes and colors.

Science Activities

Slimy Squishy Polymer Bucket - Learn, create, and play with your student. These polymers can help teach measurements, chemical reactions, and following directions.


Buy Now

One Minute Science Mysteries - Each story, just one minute long, challenges students' knowledge in earth, space, life, physical, chemical, and general science.

Language Arts Games & Lessons

uKloo Early Riddle Edition Treasure Hunt Game -Disguised as a treasure hunt, this literacy game gets kids physically active as they strengthen reading comprehension skills while solving clues to find a surprise.

ukloo treasure set

Buy Now

Let's Get Reading Bundle - Play detective with this printable packet investigating CVC words, phonics, word families and more! Kids can even print & wear spy gear!

Cursive Writing Worksheets - Make handwriting practice more fun with these superhero-themed printable worksheets. {These are FREE right now!}


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Volcano Facts and Science Experiment

Volcanoes are fascinating to me. When we first decided to homeschool, that was one of the first things I said that I wanted to do. Build and blow up a volcano. Here it is 2 years later, and we still haven't done it, but this year will definitely be the year where we blow stuff up!

science for kids

Volcano Facts for Kids

Before you jump into the volcano science experiment, share these interesting facts about volcanos with your little learners:
    • There are about 1,900 active volcanoes on the earth. This means they have erupted recently or they might erupt. Some volcanoes are extinct. Over 80 volcanoes have been found in the ocean.
    • Most volcanoes happen on fault lines, or cracks in the Earth’s surface.
    • Most of the earth’s volcanoes are in the Pacific Ocean, in an area called the Ring of Fire.
    • The word “volcano” comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
    • Lava from volcanoes can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Volcanoes spew out ash and toxic gases, as well as lava and lava boulders.

Cool Volcano
Infographic from Visually

Volcano Science Experiment for Kids

Check out how these kids use household chemicals to recreate a volcanic eruption!

Using the Volcano Kit from the video, little scientists are asked to mix chemicals to make the volcano erupt! This will be an experiment that Young Scientists will want to repeat again and again!
Want to get a discount on science experiments for kids? Save 50% on the Magic School Bus Science Kits on Educents!

Magic School Bus Science Kits

Get an exciting new Magic School Bus Science Kit delivered to your doorstep every month for a YEAR! These science experiments for kids include hands-on experiments with magnets, water, bacteria, fungus, lights, rainbows, and more!

Educents has the award-winning Science Kit subscription for 50% off
(Get free shipping within the U.S. and international shipping available too)!  
Buy Now

*This post was mainly pre-written for me from Educents but I love the Magic School Bus kits and have personally used them in the past.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Easy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

A friend of mine is currently on bedrest waiting to deliver her twin boys and since she already has 4 other boys to feed (and a husband), a few of us from church have been helping out and bringing them food since she can't get up to cook.

Today was my day again and I thought I'd share with you the recipe of the dish that I took them.

It's one of my favorites and best of all since she has Celiac Disease, it can be made Gluten Free!!

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (substitute with gluten free kind)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup quick cook/minute rice
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, {shredded}
  • 1 1/2 cup boiled chicken breast {shredded or chopped}
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets, {precooked}



Boil the chicken breast until done and then shred or chop into small pieces.
Precook the broccoli as normal.
In a large bowl stir together the soup, sour cream, chicken broth, rice and 3/4 cup of the cheese.
Stir in the chicken and broccoli until combined.
Pour into 9x9 baking dish.
Cover with the remaining cheese
Bake at 350 Degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the rice is tender.

I'm not sure what it tasted like with the gluten free substitution but it smelled delicious!

Leave a comment below if you try this recipe
and let me know if you like it!


Want To Know When I Add New Recipes?...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pregnancy Update #1

Hey guys!
I wanted to write a short update about how things are going on the pregnancy front.

I am currently 7 1/2 weeks along and am feeling pretty lousy.

As some of you know, I suffer from Psuedotumor Cerebri which for me gets worse during pregnancy. The symptoms of headaches and dizziness get out of control some days, to where I can't get off the couch. Like today, which is why I'm writing this post. I can't do any of the other 50,000 things I need to do at the moment, so I'm taking the time to catch up with all of you.

I have the best husband in the world who is being very gracious in the fact that I haven't been able to do much lately. I felt accomplished a couple of days ago because I actually was able to do the dishes...

So apart from the off and on nausea, I've had some other things going on that has resulted in an unplanned doctor's appointment with ultrasound to make sure things are going ok.

This past weekend, I started experiencing this "hunger pain" that was really getting on my nerves. I felt like I was starving, no matter how much I ate. It progressively got worse until by that evening, I was having the pain even while eating. By that point, I knew the pain wasn't because I was hungry.

I woke up during the night with what I'm assuming was a fever because I had the chills so bad it woke me from sleep. My whole body was shaking and my lips were quivering from being so cold.

The next day the same thing happened, and I was extremely weak. I could barely lift my head up kind of weakness... No fun!

So I had planned to call the doctor's office on Monday morning to ask the nurse if this was normal or what? I woke up Monday, went to the bathroom and saw that I was spotting...
So I immediately called the doctor and they asked me to come in to make sure everything was ok.
I went that afternoon and saw during the ultrasound the baby was still doing ok with a heartbeat of 136. (The spotting was blamed on some free fluid they saw during the last ultrasound.)

After talking to the doctor she suggested that I might have an ulcer. She put me on Zantac to see if that would help for now and I go back on Monday for my 4th ultrasound and first initial OB appointment.

I am happy to say that I haven't had the pain as severe in a couple of days and have been feeling better except for this attack of dizziness today, which I'm hoping will subside soon.

If you've ever had this pain that I'm talking about,
please comment below and let me know what it ended up being!

Read all about this pregnancy...
Here We Go Again

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Peanut Butter Chocolate Graham Crackers

It seems like I'm always wanting to eat lately, so today I thought I'd share a dessert recipe that you might enjoy. It consists of peanut butter, two kinds of chocolate, and graham crackers so what's not to like, right?

  • 2 Packages of Cinnamon Graham Crackers {18 whole crackers}
  • 12 oz. of white chocolate chips
  • 12 oz. of chocolate candy coating
  • 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter



Break graham crackers in half to make 36 pieces.
Mix together the white chocolate and the peanut butter and melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Stir until well blended.

Dip half of the graham cracker in the white chocolate, peanut butter mixture.
Lay on wax paper
While that dries, melt the chocolate candy coating.

Using tongs hold the dried white chocolate corner and dip the other half in the chocolate candy coating.
Lay on wax paper
Reheat the remaining white chocolate mixture for about 10 seconds and pour into baggie.
Cut a small hole and drizzle over squares to decorate.
Let dry completely before serving.

Want To Know When I Add New Recipes?...

Friday, February 26, 2016

10 Weird Early Pregnancy Symptoms You Might Not Know About

Seeing as how I have just lived (and am living) through some of these, I thought I would share some weird early pregnancy symptoms that you might not have heard about before.


Every pregnancy is different so you might get all of these, some of these, or (if you're blessed) none of these.

Because these are the weird symptoms you might not have heard about, I left out the main symptoms that everyone already knows about like nausea, tiredness, etc...

So let's begin...

If you haven't taken a test yet, but you find yourself having a stuffed up nose or are always blowing out bloody boogers (yeah I said it), you might be pregnant...

We're not talking about the occasional sinus congested streak of blood on the tissue after blowing your nose. We're talking a big portion of the boogers coming out of your nose being red and bloody.

This is because all of your mucous glands go into overdrive when you are pregnant and that includes boogers.
Just keep cleaning them out and enjoy the 30 seconds of free breathing before they form again.

If you keep getting whiffs of wet metal (which is not a pleasant smell), you might be pregnant...

It's called Dysgeusia and many experts believe it is caused by the body's increased production of estrogen.

It usually doesn't last long and unless you're extremely sick over everything, it shouldn't bother you too much.

That's what I call it at least... You girls know what I'm talking about. Don't even act like you don't.

These usually come at least once a month (usually on the heaviest day), but with pregnancy be prepared for at least 1-2 weeks of this pain. Serious cramping before having to go to the bathroom.
I'm not sure the reason for it, except maybe the bodies way of cleaning you out before the inevitable... which brings us to number 4...

We all have encountered this little devil at some point in our lives...
Blame it (along with everything else) on your pregnancy hormones. They wreak havoc and cause the muscles in your bowel to relax - making them sluggish and allowing food to hang around longer in the digestive tract.

The good thing about it? There's more time for nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream, which lets more of them reach your baby.

I have had quite a few crazy dreams lately. Even ones that I've waken up after and felt like I needed to pray.... We all know we can't control our dreams but be prepared for some real doozies....
That's all I'll say on that subject.

I never snore. NEVER. Except if I'm pregnant...
It usually lasts the entire pregnancy too.
This is the same with my sister. Although her snore sounds like a donkey on it's last breath. When I stayed with her for 2 weeks after her first emergency C-section I was so tempted to plug her nose when she almost woke the baby with her loud braying noises.

I'm assuming she doesn't snore that way now though, so all's good.

I'm prone to dizziness anyways so that might be a factor in why I really struggle with this one, but from what I've read a lot of other mom's go through it too.

It is because early in pregnancy, your body isn't producing enough blood to fill a rapidly expanding circulatory system.

So try to sit, close your eyes, breathe, and relax until the feeling goes away.

If this is your first pregnancy you might not have this one. If you've had more than one baby, you know your muscles on your stomach aren't nearly as tight as they might once have been, so any bit of bloating (see #4) will protrude that stomach making you look like you are 6 months when you might only be 6 weeks!

I've been trying to hide this one for a few weeks now and it's getting warmer outside making it harder to wear baggy sweaters to cover the "baby bump" that's actually not caused from a baby yet....

This is what is called Round Ligament Pain and you might want to go ahead and get used to it. With my first two children this stabbing pain stuck around for all 40 weeks of the journey.

My close friends and relatives got used to me saying, "Oh! My hoo-hah!" quite a bit. Except for my mother. She would blush just reading this right now.

I know this is a normal one and not considered "weird" but I wanted to include it for all you first time mothers. I don't just mean a little soreness. I mean you feel like your upper half is going to rip off at any moment and the thought of taking off or putting on your undergarments makes you want to cry...
Just warning you.

So there are my 10 weird early pregnancy symptoms. I've suffered through all of these and more at some point in my pregnancies.

What else could you add to this list?
Leave a comment below telling me what plagued you during the early weeks.

Life of Fred Language Arts Curriculum – Read These Books Again and Again


Life of Fred is a fictional narrative that introduces students to
essential concepts in a fun and easy way.
Kids really love reading the Fred books.
The Language Arts Series covers concepts on
spelling, grammar, punctuation and more.

Life of Fred Language Arts on Educents
This series is best suited for middle school and high school students. The books can be re-read once every year to ensure total comprehension of all the concepts covered. Lessons include the seven parts of speech, punctuation, spelling, similes, silent letters, and so much more.

Why these books WORK:
  • Language Arts concepts are weaved throughout a fictional narrative about Fred, the 5-year-old math prodigy. The books read like storybooks, but have meaningful lessons embedded within the stories.
  • Every chapter is a daily lesson that only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to read and complete.
  • At the end of every chapter, there is an opportunity for students to practice the concepts covered during Fred’s adventure.
  • The Language Arts Series can be re-read once a year to keep concepts fresh in students’ minds.
  • Kids want to actually read these books - they are so fun!
Buy Now

Take a Look Inside Life of Fred Language Arts

What customers are saying about the Life of Fred Language Arts Series:
"This is a wonderful series. While it is presented in a silly, quirky manner it has a good coverage of grammar, and then some. It is an engaging story that helps you relate what you are learning to 'real' life." - Educents customer

"My kids love this series. We started with Elementary Math and have used Fred for our entire schooling. Hands down, the best curriculum we have found." -Christian Life of Fred Language Arts Books - Educents Buy Now

The Life of Fred Language Arts Series includes four titles:
  • Australia
  • Begin Teaching
  • Classes
  • Dreams
Here are a few examples of the concepts covered in each book.

In Life of Fred: Australia, students will learn…
-The difference between a hemistich and heteronym
-What these abbreviations mean: p.s. ps ps. and Ps.
-How to experience two summers and no winters each year

Life of Fred - respond to the story Educents Blog In Life of Fred: Begin Teaching, students will learn…
-The uses of 12 tenses in English
-The 16 ways to make plurals
-Why “since” is a dangerous word

In Life of Fred: Classes, students will learn…
-The six rules for hyphenating compound adjectives
-How the three moods in English are used -The four uses of italics

In Life of Fred: Dreams, students will learn…
-The three uses of a dash
-How to pronounce “viz”
-The difference between metaphor and metonymy

Check out the Language Arts books and the entire Life of Fred collection offered at the best price on Educents!

*Although I have heard about these books a lot,
I have not personally tried them yet.
This post was prewritten for me by Educents.*

If you have tried these books before, please let me know what you thought in the comments below!
I'd love to hear what you thought about them.
We're always looking for new stuff that might help in our homeschool.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Speakaboos Review & Giveaway


As most of you know, I homeschool my children. I currently have a seven year old finishing up second grade and a two year old who I say is in Preschool but really is just running around the house all day trying to distract her brother.

So while I have all kinds of ideas and file folder games that I want to put together for her to do, I just haven't had the time. She really enjoys when she gets to participate in some of our studies and is actually really excelling in foreign language. We're learning sign language at the moment and she has really surprised me with all that she's learned already.

I know she's in an optimal learning stage right now where she is learning something new everyday and I feel bad for not having the time to devote to her education as much as my second grader right now. She usually ends up with the iPad where I try to get her to stay on educational apps that I have downloaded for her, but when I look back she's usually made her way to YouTube..

For some reason those dumb videos of people unwrapping toys or opening "surprise eggs" full of play-doh is what she gravitates towards and I can't stand her filling her mind with all of that useless "entertainment".

I have finally found an app that she will stay on!
It combines the video aspect that she loves, with the educational aspect that I love.

It's called Speakaboos. Have you heard about it?

It has an easy to use layout that she has quickly learned to navigate.
She can easily find her favorite characters like Sid the Science Kid.
Since she thinks she's a princess, she loves the songs found under the Princess category too.

Miss Melodie singing The La La La Song is her favorite right now.

This app has also been great for my son in helping boost his reading skills. He can read along and learn new words that he didn't know how to pronounce before.

This app has greatly helped in our homeschool for both of our children.

Do you have a need for Speakaboos in your life?
Whether you homeschool your children or not, I know you're kids will enjoy this program.

Want to give it a try?
I have two ways to help you.

The people at Speakaboos are being very generous and allowing me to give away a whole year subscription to one of my readers!

To enter the giveaway CLICK HERE
Giveaway ends March 5, 2016

Option #2 - GET A FREE MONTH
Click here for a free month of Speakaboos.
Try it out and see how you and your family likes it.
If you choose to do the free month, let me know in the comments below how you like it!