Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homeschool Dads Beware

Most of us are home educating moms, but this is a growing group of home educating dads. They may be the primary teacher or a very involved father.

As much as we deal with the public questions and concerns about homeschooling in general, dads can face it even more so.

We were recently talking to a friend who schools his 3 daughters while his wife works. He's usually the odd man out at homeschool activities because, well, he's the man!
There are the awkward situations he has to deal with as well like public restrooms, swimming, etc., and there are the dangerous situations like just being out in public alone with his daughters.

Dangerous because people are being trained to question men alone with children.

Here's an example.

That's right. Surely there is something to be suspicious about a man being with a little girl. 

Think I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill? Let me tell you a story.

carousel_horse.jpgAbout four years ago, my hubby took my then 4 year old to the mall to shop for a present for me. She threw a MAJOR TANTRUM in the middle of the mall because she couldn't ride the merry-go-round. 

Like any good parent after deducing that this was not going to be a quick fix, my husband picked her up and started for the car to bring her home.

On the way back to the car, he was stopped twice by "civilians" questioning whether mija was actually his daughter. 
Then the mall cop on the Segway (yes, really) came up and began to question him. It didn't stop there. He literally followed my hubby and a still screaming mija out to our van. The mall cop looked into our van to verify it had a booster seat and copied down the license plate number and the info from my hubby's driver's license.

He truly expected the police or CPS to be at the house when he got home.

This was a really hard place to be. I was so thankful that there really were people who would step up to protect a child in case of abduction. The mall cop also did a good job even making sure to document the situation.

On the other hand, my husband was trying to be a good parent and was suspected because of it.

Would it have happened if I, the mom, had been the person dragging a screaming child out of the mall.

I doubt it.

Can you see the tantrum building?
The same year, mija had another MAJOR MELTDOWN when we attending a Tea Party rally. Leaving hubby behind to pick up all of our stuff, I carried a flailing, screaming child several blocks along a busy, active, boulevard. People were ever where.

Was I stopped or questioned? No.

Why? I think mostly because I was a female. 
Maybe secondary reason was because we were in a group of somewhat like-minded people. 
But mostly because I was female.

So, let's keep our men in prayer. This is just one more way they are being attacked.

125 Titus 2 Tuesday Button

Monday, April 29, 2013

BzzAgent in Action: Choco Zucarita review & GIVEAWAY

I've mentioned before about being a BzzAgent. You get great things to review for free. You don't have to be a blogger; you just have to share about the product. One-on-one. Facebook. Twitter. You get the idea!

This time, I received...
Frosted Flakes(R) Choco Zucaritas(TM)
Photo credit: BzzAgent
That's right. Choco Zucaritas. They've been around Latin America for quite awhile, but these chocolate, frosted-flakes are just now hitting our shores.

Well, I'm not a big chocolate cereal eater, so I asked the experts in my home what they thought.
Okay, our regular bowls were in the dishwasher. A glimpse of real life in this house.
He liked it! Hey, Mikey! (and mija!)
Both were impressed with the chocolate-y taste and the fact it stayed crisp. These are two very important qualities for this two connoisseurs. 

While mija had a few bowls over a few days, hubby devoured and enjoyed the remainder of the box dry as a snack.

Now for the fun part for you! I was given two boxes, and much to my hubby and mija's chagrin, I'm giving the second one away for you to try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 25, 2013

When does pre-adolescence begin

 Mija is not quite 8 1/2. She's too young for pre-adolescence, right?

Two events within the past few days makes me wonder (and fear).

Have you heard of No No Hair Removal? Here's a clip.

Well, we saw it on TV the other day.
Mija: Do you think we need that?
Me: No.
Mija: Well, I've got hair all over my legs, so maybe I do.
WHAT? My 8-year-old is concerned about hair on her legs?
I assured her that it's perfectly fine for little girls to have hair on their legs. I explained that after her body starts becoming a grown up lady, she can decide if she wants to shave her legs or not, but it's not a big deal.

Then last night we were getting ready for church. She 
Similar to these.
come out wearing a cute pair of cropped pants/capris. Not leggings, so they were not light to the skin. She decided she didn't like them because the "legs were too big." I said they were fine. Get where I'm going with this?
FIFTEEN MINUTES of meltdown, crying, pouting, arguing, complaining, etc. over a pair of pants?

The capris were clean, modest, and actually cute, but they were obviously straight from the pit of hell, and I was making her wear them.

She's too young for this, right?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Websites--Math Word Problems

Click to view
Math word problems are the nemesis of many astudent including mija. We've been working on them exclusively for the last two weeks. One thing I've noticed is that if she does them online, she's not so intimidated by them.

Here's two sites we've been using:

Math Playground--Mija has really enjoyed "Word Problems with Katie."

Syvum has Kid's Math Word Problems 1 and Kid's Math Word Problems 2.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Healing Hearts with Helping Hands---UPDATED

Mom, Me, and Roy about '72
A little over a year ago, I lost my step-father. I had an interesting past with him. It made the experience very challenging. While I was dealing with my own feelings, I also had to traipse back and forth dealing the the funeral and things with and for my mom. It left my hubby and mija home alone and me exhausted physically and emotionally when I was home.

  • Meals would have really handy.
  • Cards or calls would have been a blessing.
  • Visitors at the visitation or funeral would have helped ease the pain. 
I received a card and some comments on FB. My BIL and SIL came to the visitation. That was it. Those things were VERY appreciated, but it seemed my loss was somehow minimized in others eyes. Maybe because I didn't live with him as a child. Maybe because he was "only" my step-father.

I just know I was hurting.

I think that is why Lorrie Flem's new book ministered to me. It's entitled Healing Hearts with Helping Hands
 In it, she encourages and teaches how to bless those that are going through loss. 

She offers a lot of advice like:
  • What to say
  • How and when to say it
  • What meals to bring and not to bring
  • Godly advice
  • Recipes to use
I really like the how-tos which makes ministering to those in grief less intimidating. There is a lot of great insight, too, like realizing the grieving process and need for help may go past the funeral, the needs of those dealing with prolonged hospitalization, and doing specific acts of service instead just offering to help.

After all the practical elements, Lorrie goes into the what and why of blessing others. She also offers almost nine pages of verses. To be honest, while I want Scriptural support, I thought nine pages were a little too much. God promises that His Word does not go out void, however!

She ends the book with several recipes and cooking ideas that she uses when serving others in their grief.

I really appreciated the practical elements of this book. It really did make ministering to the grieving more manageable. It was also helpful to have ideas on how to help in other ways besides providing food. It shows that those who are financially struggling can help, too.

Healing Hearts with Helping Hands is currently available on Kindle for $2.99. Remember, you don't have to have a Kindle in order to read a Kindle book. You can download it to your computer or device for free.

Want a great deal?

If you wait just a few days, you can actually get this book for only $0.99!! 
This is the Spring 2011 edition,
 but you get the idea!

This Eternal Encouragement resource will be ONLY $0.99 this coming Wednesday-Friday, May 1-3. Just go to the same link on those days. (Updated dates.)

But wait! There's more!

Remember that Eternal Encouragement Magazine in now digital and FREE! You can still get the March/April edition and soon the next one should come out. Just go HERE to get your free subscription. 

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review through the Gabby Mom program.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Autism Awareness Month--Faith Meets Autism….or is it Autism Meets Faith?

I asked my good friend, Tenderrlee Hughes, to write a piece for Autism Awareness Month. I really wanted her to share how her faith has played a role in being a mother of children on the Autism spectrum. Hope you're blessed.

As some of you may know, April is Autism Awareness month. I am a struggling older single mom with two young adult children (out of four) remaining at home who are both special needs: Asperger’s, autism, severe ADHD, OCD, PDD-NOS, Bi-polar, learning disabilities. You name it, I probably deal with it daily in my home!

I am 57 yrs old and with the Lord being my strength and my portion, I have raised all of my children pretty much single-handedly, especially the two youngest, Isaiah and Genesis, my two “special” kiddos.

Life, raising one child with special needs, let alone two, is not for the fainthearted and is a life of sacrifices. Our “road” traveled the last 23 years has been quite a rocky one: Frustration and tears over sometimes not understanding my children and what they are thinking, what to do about the extreme behavioral issues…..  I have asked myself numerous times, “How could ANYONE do this without the Lord and survive?” As I have met many other parents of special needs children along the way, through school, Special Olympics, and work, I have found the answer. Without the Lord, most parents DON’T survive and end up deep in despair, find mental health professionals and meds for themselves if not alcohol for their comfort and escape.

I could go on and on about all the trials over time with special needs children: the holes punched in the walls, the numerous IEP and special education meetings at school, and many visits with teachers, and principals because of outbursts or usually because of the constant bullying done to them…. and doctors and even police visits…..but….
The better part of all of this is what the LORD has done!
Tenderrlee, Genesis, and Isaiah
I have always tried to make speaking to and about the Lord and using God’s Word in our lives, as daily as our 3 meals a day. Isaiah, at 23, has had the greater struggle. He has only embraced his autism just in the last couple of years and that because of the Lord in his life. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times he would tell me when he was in high school, “Mom, I just want to wake up and be normal.” Because I have always prayed with the children every night for as long as they can remember, we began praying that one day, Isaiah would accept how God made him and want to be used for whatever God wants, special needs and all.    
Genesis, 22,  has always embraced who she is and made a decision to follow Christ when she was in grade school.  She is a bubbly one who can talk the hind leg off a mule, but this girl has put my faith to shame at times! I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of an example:
After nearly 10 years (including times of separation) of living with a very verbally abusive husband, (the children’s stepfather), a threat was made on my life, the police were called, then our family counselor was called for a meeting the following night. The plan was for Isaiah & Genesis to have their say about what happened, then they would be dismissed to their rooms so the adults could get down to “brass tacks.” Isaiah had his brief comment, then left. Genesis got up out of her seat and I cringed to think of what she might say as she was so unpredictable. She looked right at him and said, “Daddy, you are so mean and hateful to us….but I still love you.”  Then she turned and walked away.
Autism and Faith collided.

I would like to think that I have been instrumental in nurturing my special kiddos in the Lord. (And it definitely helps to have wonderful support from older siblings and a great church family to assist in that!) But it is Isaiah & Genesis who have helped ME grow in the Lord!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Funny--World Penguin Day

Not to be confused with Penguin Awareness Day back in January, this coming Thursday, April 25 in World Penguin Day. Had to share a baby penguin giggling!

Source: youtube.com via Rhonda on Pinterest

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Inspired: A Divine Calling

Awhile back I reviewed Lord, I Give You this Day. Here today is a devotional drawn from it. You can get a taste of what I was talking about in my review!

Baking Sugar Cookies

Yesterday, I was awakened to find a recipe book and ingredients collected on the kitchen table. Mija declared that she was making cookies for daddy to celebrate his recent new job.

With only slight hesitation, I declare her plan viable. You see, it wasn't that long ago that our food was rationed because of my husband's unemployment. The hesitation was because I had to quickly reckon if we had enough to spare. Yeah! I thought it would be okay.

She had gone though one of my permanently borrowed cookbooks from my mom. From all the actual recipes, she chose one for sugar cookies which my mom had jotted down by hand.

Mija had gotten all the ingredients, but needed a little help deciphering my mom's shorthand.

First of all, props to mija's teacher for doing such a great job teaching her fractions! ;-) She totally understood the fractions in the ingredient list. 

The only things I did in making the cookies was find the baking powder while explaining that there was a difference between baking powder and baking soda. I knew there was baking soda in baking powder, but there were more things as well.

I also flushed out mom's recipe a little bit, as well, explaining that generally you cream together the shortening/butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla first, and then add in the dry ingredients.

I also had to assure mija that if it chilled longer than one hour, it would be just fine. 

In the next step, one thing I did was roll out the dough. After all, that part can be a little challenging with a chilled dough. The other thing I did was take the pans in and out of the oven. After all, 400 degrees is pretty hot!
So, all in all, she did it all including all of the decorating. 

It was actually a very special activity. First, to have my daughter make cookies from a recipe my mom wrote by hand. Second, to roll out the dough with the rolling pin my grandfather made for my grandmother. It's so cool that mija remembers that and told me the story about the rolling pin!

And of course, it all counted for school! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Websites: Chemistry

I felt like some chemistry this week for science.
A great reason to use Chemistry Cat!!

The Homeschool Mom offers an e-book on how to make your own periodic table.

Middle School Chemistry is just that. It's a site that offers lessons plans for middle school chemistry. It has activities and multi-media. Some if not all could be adapted for other ages.

Chemistry for Kids has experiments, of course, but also games, videos, lessons, quizzes, and facts. 

Sheppard Software is known for all its educational games including these games dealing with the elements and periodic table.

Creative Chemistry has a lot of fun resources including printables, puzzles, and more.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ibotta--an easy way to earn money

I mentioned previously about getting cash back from Ibotta. You can earn money on any of regular purchase that is a deal, but when you add it to a sale with a coupon, it's a GREAT deal! 

There's an app for both Apple and Google.

And now, as you can see below, there are some special bonuses now for newbies--$2 credit when you do 2 deals within your first 2 weeks!

Just CLICK HERE to join!

Introducing the New Ibotta!

New Ways to Earn with Bonuses and Store Extras.

Go to the Main Menu in the Ibotta app to discover your Bonuses. As you complete Bonuses, you will unlock even more! Be on the lookout for hidden surprises.

Introducing the New Ibotta!

$2 Bonus for New Users

Every new user can earn an extra $2 for redeeming 2 offers within the first 2 weeks of registering. Now's a great time to join Ibotta!

Newbie Bonus

Inspired--Lost in Him

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Websites---National Frog Month

Last week Friday Funny had the adorable frog! Today I'll share some website to learn more about frogs in general.
Frog 13 Clip Art
Exploratorium has a page on frogs. I especially like the links for world myths about frogs and the tracker where you can hear different frogs.

Animal Planet has a lot of colorful information about frogs, toads, and other amphibians.

Enchanted Learning offers many printables and coloring sheets on frogs. Some are only accessible by members, but many are free to all!

All About Frogs is frog nirvana. Froggy gallery. Froggy interactive games. How to say frog in other languages. Froggy fables and jokes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Review: Cleaning House---more than just a housekeeping book

I overlooked Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement until I read that subtitle. Youth Entitlement. That was a subject I thought had merit.

In her book, Kay Wills Wyma shares her real-life "experiment" in helping her children overcome some of the entitlement issues that are facing most of our youth today.

I appreciate her honesty! She doesn't have it all together and neither does her children. I can learn from a real person. 

Each month she undertook a new chore or responsibility for her children. She shares stories about how the new aspect of the experiment went. She ends each chapter telling not only what her children learned that month but also what she learned that month.

She writes with humor which makes a book with some pretty deep thoughts a fun and easy read. In addition to giving her ideas, she provides ideas from her "Ironing Board" who are a group of her friends and mentors.

I highly recommend this book. 

When I first started reading, I was a little concerned about what seemed a lack of God in the content, but was pleased to see as the experiment continued, she could see and share more of God's work through it all.

Convicting and comic.
Encouraging and entertaining.
Realistic and rallying.
Honesty and humor.

Find Kay on her blog or on Facebook.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Monday, April 8, 2013

Free Printable!! My Country Report

Are you ready for another free printable?!?
Here is a fill-in the blank report for a country. I made it because I thought it would be a great introduction to writing reports about countries.

It's definitely a step above just fill in the blank sheets, because the answers are plugged into an existing report format. It becomes an introduction in the proper format to write a report. The last sentence is an open format allowing the student to include one interesting fact of their own.
It was also a first experience in research. Usually, mija and I look things up together. For this report, I found a couple of website with information about Australia and let her research from those. Previewed sites allowed me to have assurance that she wasn't going to come across unwanted content.

I've also included a key, so you know exactly what each blank needs.

This will regularly be available on my My Printables page.

Let me know what you think!

 Hip Homeschool Hop Button 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Funny--Cute Frog

So, frogs say "ribbit," right? ;-)

BTW, this video led to some research about the frog and a review about amphibians. Spur of the moment science class!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CVS Coupon Run--I paid 5 cents on the $1

You know you're broke when you too broke to coupon! That's why it's such a blessing to be able to start investing in a Sunday paper again!

Here's my first, real CVS run in over a year! A few of the things I wanted were out of stock.

almay cosmeticsClear Shampoo---$4.99
Free Coupon from CVS coupon machine
$1.25 rebate from Ibotta
Betsy's Price: +$1.25

I purchased 2 Almay Mascara for $5.99 each and 1 Wet 'n Wild nail polish for a total of $15.47
Earn $3 ECB
$5/$15 make-up purchase from CVS coupon machine
$5/2 Almay Cosmetic Products
Betsy's Price: $0.82 each!!

So, I purchased $27.06 retail. I paid $5.47. I received $3 back in ECB meaning I paid $2.47 which would be a savings of 91%. But then I top of that I earned a $1.25 rebate from Ibotta which means I ended up paying only $1.22 for $27.06 in products. A savings of 95%.

I've shared before about how I buy next year's  stocking stuffers and Easter basket items after the holiday is over. 

So I purchased some candy and items at 50% off. The retail total would have been $11.34. After the 50% off, one item free because it was "Buy 2 Get 1 Free", and using the $3 ECB I received on the first order, I only paid $1.65. That's a savings of 85%!

A word about holiday candy. Most are now marked with "Best when used by" date. While I've been choosy in the past concerning which candy I would trust for a whole year, the dating on the candy is a handy tool.

Check out the coupons in Sunday's paper.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Websites--Music

My post yesterday encouraged me to share more about some music sites I use or would like to use.

Classics for Kids has the timeline I used yesterday as well as a lot of information about the orchestra and instrument families. Many selections of music are available 

G Major Music Theory is a great resource for teaching music theory, piano, and more. There is a free music theory curriculum with flashcards. There is also free sheet music for various skill levels.

Songs for Teaching has all kinds of songs for all kinds of subjects. Want something about counting? How about Latin, grammar, or environmental science? So many different subjects with so many different songs. Remember, music is one of the best ways to memorize.

The Piano Student offers links to several other site. There are links for composer biographies, free sheet music, worksheets and even video music lessons.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Louisa May Alcott Collection--only $1.99 on Kindle

I saw this great deal over on Free Homeschool Deals. 
You can get Louisa May Alcott Collection 39 Works: Little Women Series (Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys), An Old Fasioned Girl, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Mysterious Key, Under the Lilacs, MORE for Kindle for only $1.99! What a great deal! Not as good a free, but definitely not bad. :-)

Masterpiece--Famous Composer

Have a fast and easy music lesson today. Watch this cool video which mentions various composers. We then went online and looked at pictures of the composers mentioned. I mentioned that it is believed the Bach and Handel were Christians and about how many children Bach had (talk about quiver-full). We also checked out the timeline to see where they fit in history. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recipe for your Extra Ham--Smothered Ham 'n Cabbage

Ham is one of the traditions of Easter dinner. Here's a recipe you can use for some leftover ham.

baked ham w clovesI just made some of this last week. I wish had taken a picture. My family loves it anytime of the year, and my hubby doesn't even like cabbage. I originally got this recipe from Prism Weight Loss.

Smothered Ham 'n Cabbage

3 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (I just use a half of onion.)
1 clove garlic, minced (I use garlic powder if I'm out.)
8 oz. of cubed ham (I never measure this. I just put in however much looks good.)
1/2 cup mushrooms (I NEVER add mushrooms and don't miss them.)
4 cups green cabbage (I just use the whole head.)
2 cups sliced carrots 
1 bay leaf (Always forget to buy, so I never use!)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (I like a little more.)
2 cups water
2 packets instant beef broth & season mix
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

In 5 quart saucepan or Dutch oven heat butter until bubbly and hot; add onion and garlic and saute until onion is softened. Add ham and mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add cabbage, carrots, bay leaf, and pepper and continue sauteing for 5 minutes longer. Stir in water and broth mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Stir in dissolved cornstarch and let simmer, uncovered, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.

It's thick and yummy. Stew-like. I use the times mentioned as a suggestion.
It goes well with salad and a bread.

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