Friday, December 31, 2010

Living Life on Purpose

That is something that I have worked very hard to instill in my children. My belief is that you should not simply allow life to run you over, and simply live in a state of reactionary responses.

There is a saying, "Those who aim at nothing, hit it every time."  That really does help explain part of what I am talking about. If you choose how you are are going to live your life, before you find yourself in a set of circumstances, when difficult situations arise, you, most likely, will choose an appropriate response.

Let me give you an example...say you are choosing to live your life in a way that will honor God in all things that you do. That would mean that would use the bible  as your guide, and set out on your journey.

So when you find that someone is unkind to you, you will remember that in 1 Peter 3:9 "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."  So then, you may decide not to retaliate at the person that has been unkind to you.  You may decide to smile and be kind, in spite of their behavior.  Now to some, that will seem crazy, however, there is peace in knowing that you are choosing to obey God, rather than live as a slave to your emotions!

I have found that when I have allowed myself to fall prey to my emotions, in the end,  I generally am riddled with guilt. It is much better to live a measured, thought out, purposeful life.

Now the question is, how in the world to help your children understand that they can control their responses. This is our current goal .. choose each of our responses carefully. There are a few tools that we use around our house that have been helpful for to aim at keeping on track....

One of them is this Acronym:


Everything you say needs to be

True Helpful Inspiring Necessary Kind

Not just one of those things.. ALL of those things!  That is quite convicting, is it not?

I know that I really need to THINK before I speak, if  the words that I am going to say are going to abide by those simple guidelines!

One of the other Acronyms that we try to live by is...


Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.

If you are truly living your life putting Jesus first, as He put you before Himself, when He died for your sins. And then, putting others needs before your own, you will find that you are no longer 'fighting for your rights'. Here in America, we are famous for fighting for what is rightfully ours. How about, rather, allowing God to work in your life, better, through your life.

It is amazing that when you stop focusing on your own needs, and focus on the needs of others... your needs first, will simply diminish in significance and second, you will find the the good Lord will bless you beyond measure. He knows better what you need, than you will even know. Trust Him, and not lean on your own understanding!

Usually, when you are obedient to serve others, before yourself, you will find the act of serving others, will bring you more joy than you could possibly imagine. Why not practice the art of serving others, on the very family the Lord has blessed you with?

How do you teach kindness and service in your home? Please leave me comments and tell me all about it! I look forward to reading all about it!

God bless you and your family!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Awesome Deals to be had over at The Schoolhouse Magazine!!!

I know, I share a lot of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine information with you all. I just can't help my self! As a long time subscriber.. since 2005, and now a 3rd year crew member, I just simply understand the value and quality of what you  receive when you subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Just when you feel like you are the only homeschooler who has ever felt discouraged, a magazine arrives, and their is an article about a homeschooler who not only experienced what you are going through, but includes how they conquered that trial! What a blessing!

I know that budgets are tight everywhere.. well at TOS, they have made it quite affordable for you to subscribe with them! Right now you have 3 options!

Check out the awesome deals at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!! 3 awesome choices!! You can get a one year print subscription for $7.95 OR pay $19.95 and receive the Cranberries and Cream Tote & Cranberry Christmas with your subscription OR you can pay $37, get the tote, Christmas book, Magazine and a planner of your choice! Remember, if you already subscribe, this will extend your subscription!

You can click here to read all the details!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Comfort Food

As I started to sit down and write this post, I was going to talk about how busy we are this season, however, what I realized, is that we are really not all that busy with seasonal activities, we are just busy with our life. Sure, there have been a few parties and activities that we have attended, however, they have been in lieu of normal activities, so really no extra activity there.

We have had some extra fun activities, such as a trip to Disneyland and basketball tryouts, however, other than that, it has just been our normal busy lives!

All this to say, when our family is very busy, I tend to cook less and less! I mean really, who has the time, or the energy? However, your body does  not feel well after several meals of eating on the go. So, you pay for that 'so called' convenience food!  Perhaps with lethargy, or at it's worst, with indigestion! So what is a family to do?

Well, it's quite simple really! Plan ahead, and cook at home! Not only will you provide a more nutritious meal, you will also save money! However, there is another added bonus! There is something so gratifying, when you have prepared something for your family with your own hands, versus using fast food.. or simply only using canned, boxed or frozen foods! ( ie. processed foods!)

This weekend was fun! I made home made pizza for the kids. I know not the healthiest of food choices, however, I know what is going into my pizza's, versus what is going into the pizza from the pizza parlor, or the grocers freezer! And really it was not hard to make at all. I simply made the dough in the bread machine, rolled it out in to 3 pizza's and topped it with their favorite toppings! The kids LOVE IT! ( Sorry, I forgot to take photos!) I spent much less money than I would have if I bought 3 pizzas! Now I say the kids loved it, because, I do not eat pizza! I love pizza, however, my digestive system does not agree.. ;-)

So I took the opportunity to test out a recipe from Shelley at One Roast Vegetable.  I have been taking her FREE class called Fresh from the Freezer and I have learned so much! ( You too can sign up for this class today! For every 250 subscribers she has, she will create another video! We are at video #20) Anyhow, she sent out a message, I believe to all her subscribers offering an opportunity to test one of her recipes. So, I took her up on it!  I made a recipe called 'White on White Quiche'.  And let me tell you, it was delicious!

Now here is the great thing, I had never eaten a quiche, let alone made one! I have made and enjoyed a fritatta, but never a quiche, so this was a first. And also, this recipe called for parsnips... do you know what parsnips are? I had heard of them, but I had never laid eyes on one, let alone consumed one! Did you know they look like white carrots?

Anyhow, here are a couple of photos of my finished product!

While I was cooking on Saturday, it has inspired me to get back into the habit of cooking every single day! Really, this comes down to planning. If I can plan ahead, I can work cooking into my day! Really.. it comes down to living out what I teach my children to do, which is, living on purpose! We should live out every aspect of our lives, on purpose! Not allowing, in this case, our schedules to dictate our lives, rather choose how we are going to live, and to do so, on purpose!

If you feel so inclined, leave me a comment, telling me your families favorite comfort food! Feel free to share recipes, too!!

Be well, be blessed, and live on purpose!!!! And make some comfort food for your family!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sale at Growing Healthy Homes!!!!

Last year, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to review the curriculum Nutrition 101: Choose Life!.  My family thoroughly enjoyed working through Nutrition 101 with my children. You can read my review here. Since that time, I have also enjoyed  their other products Gentle Babies, and Raw Food Feast.

Now, the reason why I am telling you all of this, is they are offering a discount, greater than any discount I have ever seen! 20% off any of their items!! I worked a homeschool convention in their booth, and the discount was 10%, however, until the end of December you can purchase Nutrition 101: Choose Life! at a 20% savings!  If you have been thinking about purchasing anything from Growing Healthy Homes, now is the time to do so!

Here is the info I was given by Growing Healthy Homes! I hope that you will be blessed by this generous offer!


Receive 20% off Nutrition 101: Choose Life! and any products from Growing Healthy Homes by using the discount code 20TOS10.  This offer is valid from December 15 through December 31, 2010, for unlimited uses.  Purchase products for your home and send gifts to your family and friends!  Blessings from our family to yours!

Friday, December 17, 2010

TOS Crew: Wits & Wagers Family

Recently, my family had the opportunity to review a game from North Star Games.  We received Wits & Wagers Family. It could not have come at a better time! Just in time for the holidays.. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!  The times when you are getting together with family and friends!

We put this nifty game to good use during our Homeschool Group Family Feast! A group of about 7 or so girls, ages 6-12 gathered in one of the bedrooms and played away!  What was the verdict? They loved it! They had no idea they were helping me review the product.  My daughter's take.. ( 11years old) was "It was fun!"

Several days later we sat down together as a family and played the game together, so I could have first hand experience with the game. And I agree with my daughter, it was fun!

What is awesome about this game, in my book, is that it really is a game that the entire family can play, and you do not even have to be 'smarter than the average bear' to play!

A question is read, and everyone writes down their best guess.. to questions like.. "How many times does the average person blink each day?"  After all guesses are written down, you place them in the middle in numerical order.  Now here is the wager part, each player, or team, is given 2 meeples ( markers) and with the meeples you place them on the answer you think is closest to the correct answer. They do not have to go on your own. Nor do they have to go on the same space. So if you think Little Johnny knows more than you do, you can choose his answer! Players are awarded points according to which meeple is on the correct answer, as well as if you guessed the correct answer!  The first person to 15 points WINS!!!!

Wits & Wagers Family, is sure to incite riotous fun!

To learn more about Wits & Wagers Family please visit North Star Games . You can purchase Wits & Wagers Family for $19.99 at Target Amazon and other local toy retailers.

Don't forget to visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates thought about Wits & Wagers Family!

***Note, we received a Wits & Wagers Family for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the game. All opinions express in this review are my own!  These opinions do not express a guarantee from the vendor. ***

Monday, December 13, 2010

Apples Apples Apples Plus a Pillsbury Giveaway

Recently, I was sent a Pillsbury “Love the Pie” prize pack which includes a VIP coupon for a free sample of Pillsbury® Refrigerated Pie Crusts, a pie dish, and apple themed kitchen items. I also received an additional prize pack to give away to one of my readers.

In exchange, I was supposed to go out to an Apple Orchard and pick apples and bake an awesome dessert. However, I have failed!! We jsut never made it out to the local apple orchards. However, never fear! I decided to make an apple crumble out of store bought apples!

Now, I did not use the pie crust, yet! I plan on using the pie crust in the near future.  I decided to make the crumble for Thanksgiving, to accommodate a diabetic family member.

So here is how I prepared the crumble.  First I gathered my apples....

And then I gathered all the supplies I needed.....

The next step was to peel and core the apples, and then slice them.....

Next, I placed the peeled and sliced apples in a bowl... and added powdered stevia,  Cinnamon, a little bit of flour. and butter and mixed until the mixture covered the apples.

Next I mixed together, oatmeal, a little bit of brown sugar, vanilla and butter. And then I crumbled it over the top of the apples. I must tell you I forgot to take a picture as I took it out of the oven. Now the one thing I know is that I should have put some foil over the top, because the top burnt a little bit.  The apple crumbled turned out delicious!

Now if you are interested in winning a Pillsbury “Love the Pie” prize pack for yourself. All you need to do is ......

~ Leave a comment, tell me what dessert you would make with your pie crust.

~Leave a comment, tell me your favorite apple dessert.

~ Follow my blog.

~ Repost this on Twitter.

~Repost this on Facebook.

~ Get 5 entries in you blog about it.

I will be drawing the winner on Dec. 20th. Please be sure to include a way for me to contact you, or your entry will not be counted.

Thank you and good luck!

****And the winner is...... Debra!!!  Congratulations!!!****

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Graphics Toolbox: Free Webinar and Creative & Educational Gift Idea!!

Tis the Season to Give a Creative & Educational Gift to  Your Homeschooler

NOW is the best time to introduce you to Graphics-Toolbox! Graphics-Toolbox is an easy-to-learn-and-use graphics design program.  By purchasing Graphics-Toolbox during the Christmas season, you are not only giving  a great gift, but you are also sparking the imaginations and broadening the education you are already providing your children!  It is also perfect for scrapbookers, hobbyists and small businesses; therefore, a GREAT gift for the whole family.

Give your family the gift of creativity  ~ Order by December 20th and receive free shipping.  Visit our website for more information and project ideas

As a homeschool mother and group leader myself, I see that we as homeschoolers often lack in the area of Technology and Graphic Arts.  With Graphics-Toolbox we can enhance the level of work our children are producing, as well as teach them skills they will use in their future college and professional careers!

I invite you to see below some of the Christmas Cards that were created by new users.

Here at Great Software Tools, we pride ourselves on Customer Service.  To that end, we would like to offer an opportunity for you to see some of what can be achieved with Graphics-Toolbox.

FREE Informational Webinars

We are conducting a webinar, specifically designed to show you how to incorporate Graphics-Toolbox into your homeschool.  We will share with you projects created by students of all ages, from elementary to high school.  We will also show you how you can use Graphics-Toolbox for all subjects and learning abilities. The best part is that kids enjoy using Graphics-Toolbox! It allows them to create images and presentations that far exceed their expectations ~ bringing hands-on learning into the 21st century!

Introduction to Graphics-Toolbox:  Where Learning & Creating Click!

Tuesday, December 14th, 11:30am PST / 2:30pm EST

We will be hosting the webinars through The  webinar has limited capacity, so please email us to sign up and then make sure you attend.

We will accept you on a first come basis and the scheduled attendees will receive a confirmation e-mail from us with a link to the meeting.

Send your request to As a bonus, all attendees will receive a free downloadable bundle that includes step-by-step directions and the files needed to create a dynamic and comprehensive homeschool project.

The audio through is very good and if you have a headset on your computer you can hear and talk directly through the service.  If you do not have a headphone, you can use your telephone to call into the meeting as well.  Generally you will be asking questions through a chat box, so if you do not have a mic on your computer you can communicate with us that way.

I look forward to your feedback and hope to be "meeting" you soon!


Jennifer Southern

Friday, December 3, 2010

TOS CREW: Master Innovations

Introducing Master Innovations creators of the master Ruler!  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, our family received 2 Master Rulers, one standard and one metric, along with a workbook and a poster.

So, you may be asking yourself, what is a Master Ruler, and what is so special about it? Let me tell you , this ruler is not your mother's ruler! (or even the one from your childhood!) I remember when I was growing up, all those little lines on the ruler, really, did not mean anything to me. Really, the only ones I paid attention to were the whole inch, 1/2 inch and the 1/4 inch.

With the Master Ruler, it clearly shows you and teaches what each line means. Not only as it impacts measuring, but it correlates it to fractions! How can it do that? Simple, really... they have used clear overlays, each marked with one particular line, 1/16, 1/8. 1/4, 1/2 up to 1 inch. When they are all laid on top of each other, you can see what you would see on a standard ruler. However, as you flip away the over lays you can easily see each measurement. It helps that each measurement has it's own color, as well.

Here, take a look at the ruler...

It is really amazing how simple this ruler has made understanding fractions. When I was a kid, I hated fractions! Oh, how I wish Master Ruler was around then! I have been using this with my daughter, and it has been a joy to watch the light bulbs go on for her!

Here you can watch a video, clearly showing how you can use Master Ruler in your math class!

You can purchase the Master Ruler and workbook for $15.95! A very affordable tool!  Please visit their website to see all the other helpful tools they have available. And watch your children fully engage in their math studies!

Don't forget to visit the Crew Blog to see what my Crew Mates have to say about Mast Innovations!

A Day in the Life of Creative Learners

??We had a fun little discovery today! Yesterday, my daughter borrowed my calculator, and today, she does not know where it is. So we were searching the internet for online calculators. ( This particular computer does not have one in the accessories section)

As we were searching we discovered that you can actually use the google search bar as a calculator! How cool is that....

Here check out a shot....

You simply type in the equation, no need to press enter, it will automatically start to solve the problem for you! What a neat resource!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fresh from the Freezer ~ FREE Online Cooking Class

Hello Friends!

Are you like me, and always looking for value? Well, today I have something for you that will treat you to great value in a couple of ways! What am I talking about? It is the FREE Online Cooking Class "Fresh From The Freezer".

Shelley from One Roast Vegetable will teach you how to both use your freezer as a pantry, as well as,  create recipes that you can make ahead and freeze, and just pull out when ready for it.

I have learned so very much during the class so far! And the great thing, is that you can sign up anytime, and watch the videos! As of this blog posting, there are 16 videos up and ready for you to watch and learn, and as long as people continue to subscribe, she will continue to make these free videos!  I need these videos! Would you please sign up today? Have I mentioned that it is FREE!?!?!?!

So, what have I learned? Well I will not give away all the secrets, you will have to subscribe to find out for yourself! However, I will tell you, that she will try out freezing many fruits and vegetables, as well as, dairy products, and then show us the results. It has already saved me money! I have popped things into the freezer, rather than the trash can, knowing I will be able to pull it out and use it later!

Then the really fun thing, is she will put together the items that we have frozen, and use them in a recipe! And share that recipe with you! You really cannot miss out on this! Your family budget, and your meal time will benefit from this FREE online class!

Won't you join me and Shelley, and countless others, as we learn how to cook, Fresh From the Freezer?

Happy Cooking!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Holiday Subscription Offer!!!!!

As many of you already know, I am a long time fan of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!  Long before I was a crew member, I have been a faithful subscriber to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. TOS is truly the best homeschooling magazine out there. Full of the support you need to keep you motivated on your homeschool journey!

Now, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families. U.S. and Canadian residents can receive a one-year print subscription and a FREE Homeschooling  with Heat tote bag, FREE Schoolhouse Planner of your choice, and FREE  E-Book: Cranberry Christmas for just $19.95. One-year subscriptions  start with the winter issue. It makes a perfect gift for yourself and  a friend. There are a limited number of tote bags available from  November 24 through midnight on November 29-once they're gone, they're  gone! Hurry and grab this tremendous value today! It's over $80 in free gifts--one of them the gorgeous Cranberries & Cream tote bag.

Visit here, to take advantage of this awesome offer!!

TOS Crew: Bright Ideas Press

Bright Ideas Press, creators of the Illuminations curriculum, also offer up Literature guides for many classic pieces of literature, as well as, books of the bible.  One of the great features to these literature guides is that fact that you can teach all of your children at the same time. This is the method of which I teach my children, so this method really appeals to me!

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received 3 literature guides. I received, The Book of Ruth, 1 Thessalonians and Acts. Each are available for $10 and are available for instant download.

These literature guides are sold separately, however they are part of the Illuminations curriculum. So there are places where it refers to reading selections that would be in the curriculum that are not available within the literature guide. Aside from that, I really have enjoyed using these guides. Everything you need is included (minus books and crafts supplies).  Within the guide, there are vocabulary words, discussion generator questions, hands on activities, as well as, history and background information surrounding what you are studying.

All in all, after you work through one of these guides, you will walk away with a deeper understanding of the Bible book that you are studying, than you had when you simply had read the book on your own. It encouraged the children to look up words they did not know, to connect the dots by looking at what was going on in the same time period, and then putting all this new found information together.

I would definitely recommend these guides for your family. The cost is right, and it is family friendly!  Check out all the neat products available from Bright Ideas Press, and don't forget to check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates thought about Bright Ideas!

Monday, November 15, 2010

2 and 2 Promotion The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

My favorite homeschool magazine of all time is having an amazing sale!!! If you have been waiting for the right time to subscribe.. NOW is the time!!! Or, if you would like to renew current subscription, you can take advantage  of this great offer as well! Enjoy!

On Monday, November 15, the price for a one-year U.S. or Canadian print subscription to

TOS Magazine is $10.

On Tuesday, November 16, the price goes to $12.
On Wednesday, November 17, the price is $14.

Each day we add $2 until Saturday and Sunday, when the price is $20. At midnight PST on Sunday, November 21,
the price goes back to its regular level.

The earlier you shop in the week, the more you save.

Plus, every 12th customer to purchase a subscription gets a tote bag.
Every 14th customer to purchase a subscription gets a copy of the E-Book: The 2010-2011 Schoolhouse Planner.
Every 16th customer to purchase a subscription gets a $25 gift card to the Totally TOS category in the Schoolhouse Store.
This excludes Molly Green and Download N Go.

As an added bonus, the highest ticket of the day on Monday, November 15 through Wednesday, November 17, will win
a $200 gift card to the Schoolhouse Store. This can be used for any company in the Store,except
Download N Go.

So, put 2 and 2 together and shop early! The earlier you grab your one-year new or renewing
subscription, the better the price you'll pay. Plus, you could receive one of the bonus gifts.
Or, you might be the highest ticket of the day!

If you are eligible for a bonus gift, you will receive an email from a member of the Schoolhouse Store team.

Click here for all of the details:

Friday, November 12, 2010

FREE Christmas Gift from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

The fine people of The Old Schoolhouse magazine have generously created a Digital Holiday Supplement to give away for FREE!!!

All you have to do is click HERE to get your copy! Be sure to save it to your computer!

I have just downloaded my copy and have begun to peruse it, and it is chock full of awesome treats.  From learning about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, to Christmas crafts ideas, and homemade gift ideas, recipes and activity pages!!! This is 176 pages full of Christmas Cheer!!

This Christmas Gift is meant to be shared! So please share it with all of your friends and family, so they can get in on the fun!!

Simply visit here to get yours today!!

Are you on facebook? Have you followed The Old Schoolhouse magazine? You can do so here.

Be sure to send them a thank you note! I know that your family will be blessed by all the goodies within the pages of this supplement!

May I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TOS Crew: The Write Foundation

During our homeschool career, I have struggled with teaching writing. I have always concentrated on the children being able to create complete thoughts; however, I have not focused nearly as much as I should on grammar and dynamics.

I have been looking forward to teaching writing, and finding a program that will help do so,and do it well. While, I feel like I have some level of writing skill. I surely, do not remember all there is to know about writing. And with all of the writing curriculum options, where am I to begin?

Enter in The Write Foundation.  As part of the crew, I was able to choose which level we were going to use, so I started at the beginning. We reviewed the first 15 lessons of Sentence to Paragraph Writing.

I keep thinking of the song Do Re Mi from the Sound of the Music… Let’s Start at the very beginning, .....a very good place to start…. when you read begin A-B-C when you write you begin with The Write Foundation!

In all seriousness, The Write Foundation truly does start by giving you the foundation you need to be a good writer. I am currently taking college courses and I wanted to brush up on my grammar, to ensure that I was meeting the grade in my lessons, as well as, making sure that my children are grasping all that they need to succeed!

So what is included?

The entire Sentence to Paragraph Writing Curriculum for teacher and student by Rebecca Celsor includes:

  • Spiral-bound Teacher Instruction Manuals with Lesson Plans (about 160 double-sided pages)

  • 1 set notebook-ready printed Worksheets (about 200 single-sided pages)

  • 1 CD with additional resources

    • Grading System

    • Grading Record Sheets

    • Word Games

    • Checklists

    • Teacher Presentation Sheets

    • Weekly Assignments

    • Extensive Reading list

    There are several different packaging options that range in price from $65 - $100. Please check out their website to see which set would be a good fit for your family.

Here is what Level 1 aims to teach your student.

  • Lesson plans formatted in an easy-to-follow system

  • Reinforces the construction of a basic sentence

  • Improves sentence structure with basic grammar and figures of speech

  • Teaches the organizational process of  brainstorming, outlining, rough draft and editing.

  • Quickly develops more interesting, informative sentences

  • Steps to writing the basic paragraph

  • Progress to writing two-paragraph papers

  • Guidelines, checklists and correct structure

  • Creative poetry writing

  • 30 lessons with lesson plans for either a one- or two-year format

Now, that all of the official information is covered, what did I really think of the program?  Well, I think that it is very thorough. And my children did indeed learn basic grammar and sentence structure, as well as, some poetry. The poetry was particularly helpful, as while we have read poetry, they have not learned a ton of poetry.

While the program did indeed get the job done, it was not something that my children enjoyed immensely. However, they did learn the material and complete the assignments.

If you would like to see what my crew mates think about The Write Foundation, please visit the crew blog and check out their reviews!!

I received a free copy of lessons 1-15 and teachers manual, in exchange for my honest review of the product.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tools of the Trade Tuesday!!! Chores

This post is kind of two fold. I would love to sit down and write a post that can give you all the answers to your burning homeschool questions! But alas, I don't have all the answers!! ;-)

I, like you, am on this journey that tends to change throughout it! So as I continue to write in the coming weeks, I will both share some things that have worked for us, as well as, ask you all to share things that have worked for you!

Here is my first question.... CHORES!

What do homeschooling families do. Now I would like input from any size family, however, I will say I would like to find out what large families are doing for chores! We have 5 children, ours are 11-18 all living at home.  We have tried many things over the years, and each are successful for some period of time. I am not sure if it is that we get bored easy, or what, but we seem to need to change our method of attack semi often!

We have tried assigning the big chores for long periods of time. This is how that looked. One group of children had the kitchen, and one group had the bathrooms. (There are 3 of them) They kept those chores for a LONG time. We are talking months... and the goal here was mastery of said chore. And then with all the little chores, we just worked on those together.

Now, they did, indeed, achieve mastery, but eventually, we had a bit of a mutiny. Well, not really, but they were very bored of the same chore. So we simply flopped. And for another several months that solved the problem.  And then the same problem surfaced...

Then we  tried our next plan of attack, which has worked for quite a long time. You can really read about it here.  Basically, I made up chore cards, and each child would pick a card, and what ever they picked that was their chore until we picked chore cards again. Now the goal was to pick the cards daily. However, life sometimes gets in the way of picking cards, so we changed that to, the job is yours until we pick again. And we also added if you had the dishes on one day, you could not pick it the next day to prevent the same person always getting the hard chore.

Now we are using this method currently. However, I sense that we have reached that time for a change. Now what?

So, this is where all of you come in! Please post your comments below and let me know how you and your family handle chores!  Let me know what has worked and what hasn't! Please leave as many comments as you would like!

Our family would like some fresh ideas!  We can't wait to read your comments!

Monday, November 8, 2010

TOS Crew: Our Land Publications ~ California

This land is our land, this land is your land, from California to the New York Harbor....

Well, actually we are staying right here in my home state of California!  Our Land Publications has taken a very unique way to teach history! They have broken up the text book and created easy to use and read newspapers that are put into chronological order. These bite size nuggets of information are just right for students to really hang on to what they are reading. As well as, understanding how each event impacts the next, or another part of history. Most history books are dry and boring, however, Our Land Publications is far from boring!

The program is designed for upper elementary students. I actually used this program with my 6th grader, as well as, some of my older children that have learning disabilities, including dyslexia. I wanted to see how they could handle this approach. Here is what I discovered...

It was right on target for the 6th grader. And for the older kids with learning disabilities it was awesome. This is  not dumbed down information! Many times, as a parent with a child with dyslexia, it is difficult to find reading material to match the intellect of your child. The books and information seem watered down or babyish. Not the case with this program! If you have a struggling learner, then this is indeed a history program you should look into!

So what is included in our package? You receive a teachers manual and a student packet. Within the student packet you have 32 issues of a newspaper to hand out to your student(s) to read. Within the pages are questions, maps, vocabulary, pictures and other activities! The 'Reaction Time' questions at the end of each issue require the child to think before answering! It is not a matter of simply perusing the paper and finding the answers!

In your manual you are given additional information for you to use to help teach that week, as well as some black line masters that will enhance your students learning and understanding.

All in all, this is a unique and successful way to examine history! I only wish that all history books were presented like this.

Our Land Publications also produce Our Land of Liberty, My Illinois, My Indiana,  and My Texas. You can purchase the My California set for one student and one teacher for $65.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about this and other products published by Our Land Publications!

Monday Morning Musings

Good morning! As I sit here in a dimly lit room, ready to start my day and sipping my hot cup o' coffee. I am listening to my children get ready to walk out the door... Nope, they are not headed out for school. Well, maybe they are, the school of life.

So, what is on our plate for today? First off we are headed down to the 'city' to have a doctor's appointment for my son. No, he is not sick, this is our regular check up for his epilepsy.  The whole gang is coming with me, because we are going clothes shopping! They are so happy! And so am I!

First stop the suit outlet store for the boys! Keeping 3 boys in suits is a hard thing to do. Our friends have clued us in to an awesome place that throws in the shirts, ties , socks, etc....

The girls will be learning the art of patience! As we will need to actually shop for them! Store after  store to find the best deal! I am hoping to teach them to not allow the money in their pocket to burn a hole right through! And to think through their wants and their needs!

The last part of the day will be spent getting chores done, and doing quiet school work! I am thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling!  We can educate anytime we like. So today, we will educate into the evening!

What has your Monday ( or Tuesday, or Wednesday......) looked like? Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Homeschooling! And don't forget to enjoy those children!

Friday, November 5, 2010

TOS Crew: Collectorz

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I am a bibliophile!  As a card carrying bibliophile, I need help with organizing all of my books! Does this sound a bit like your house? Chances are, if you have homeschooled for any amount of time you have found yourself knee deep, or worse, in books! And in need of an organization tool to keep you from buying the same book twice! ( Or dare I say 3 times??) Come on, please tell me that someone else has done that!

Well, let me tell you about Collectorz! It is a neat service that helps you catalog and organize your books...

With colectorz you can categorize your books, you can also keep track of books that you have loaned out ( another homeschoolers favorite thing to do), as well as, create a wish list of books for you.

Simply type in the ISBN number or Library of Congress Number and you are all set. There are several scanners available that would allow you to scan the barcode to enter. However, I did not have one, and simply typed the numbers in.

When the ISBN is matched, the book cover and description is then added to that title, for easy reference. Which is an awesome feature!  You also have the ability to list the books in several different ways; location, condition, author, loaned, borrowed and more!

If you need a little help organizing your personal library, and managing your book budget (not buying books you already own!) then give Collectorz a try. You can download the software for free which allows you to input 100 books, after that you will need to purchase the standard ($29.95) or the pro ($49.95) version.

Check out their website for more information.

And don't forget to check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Collectorz!

....... as a member of the TOS Crew, I received the pro version for free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, October 29, 2010

YUCK! It's a TOS Crew Review

My children and I have had Buckets o' Fun with our Buckets O' Yuck!!!! We had never heard of such a thing, however, once we found out that we were on the list to review this product we were super excited! It looked like so much fun! And guess what? It was!

So what is Yuck!!, you ask? Well, it is small polymer particles of different sizes, that when mixed with water, you will come up with some very interesting results.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent 4 samples of YUCK for free in exchange for my review.

At the top of this post you see a collage of the results of our experience with a Bucket O Yuck!!!  I must tell you, I really enjoyed this product, my only wish, was that we had a swimming pool full of it!

When you purchase Yuck! you will receive information on how to prepare Yuck, and some great activities you can do with your Yuck! Even educational activities! The kids won't even know they are learning!

There are four different kinds of  Yuck available, Sticky, Saucy, Snowy and Chunky.

Sticky, is the consistency of SNOT! Can you say.... YUCK?!?!?!?

Saucy, is the consistency of apple sauce... this was fun to squeeze!

Snowy, is exactly as it sounds, it is the consistency of snow! This one was our favorite!


Chunky, is the consistency of ice cubes!

Each of the varieties, came with a tiny pouch of just a few teaspoons of granules... after adding a few cups at a time of water you were set to enjoy your Yuck!

You can purchase one pound of yuck for $16-$20, depending on which variety you choose.

Please visit their website to learn more information.

Don't forget to check our what my crew mates are saying about Yuck! over on the crew blog!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PG Key

PG Key Safe Key is a computer protection service that you put on your computer, with no on going monthly or annual fees. Simply put in the key ( flash drive) and download, and you are all set.

What do you get with PG Key?

SafeKey Session Recorder

SafeKey Encryptor

SafeKey Safe Search

SafeKey Time Lock

SafeKey Alerts

PG Key says that it will help you create a safer online environment for your children, by recording their online sessions, logging usernames and passwords, providing age appropriate  website blocking, time lock and much more.

I would love to tell you more about PG Key. This is a product I was really looking forward to reviewing. However, my computer would not cooperate. Actually it was my virus protection. I have Norton 360 and it would not allow me to download the software, in fact it even deleted the download icon from the device.  I had contacted the company, they supplied a link to reset my device back to factory standard and offered to help me work around my Norton. However, I decided not to work around or shut down part of my Norton. I rely on my computer far too much for me to risk having it at risk for viruses and such.

If you would like to learn more about PG Key, please visit their website.  PG Key is available for a one time price of $49.99.  You can also request a free trial.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about PG Key!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homeschooling for FREE!!! Yes it is possible!

Recently, I conducted a poll on my facebook page, asking fellow homeschoolers to share their favorite free or nearly free homeschooling resources.

Why would I do this? It's simple really... look around you, families all around are struggling to keep their heads above water, whether they homeschool or not. However, when you homeschool, that is an added burden to the pocket book. Usually one parent is at home, add to that the fact that we are also responsible for our children's educational needs.

I do not have to look very far to see the effects of the current economical climate. My husband lost his job 2 years ago, while he has a new job, we still have been living on only a fraction of his previous earnings. This has given us the opportunity to see God provide in ways we could never imagine, as well as, really test my ingenuity.

We never were wealthy, so I have always looked for ways to get the most for my money.. or spend no money at all!  Applying this principle to all areas of our life, including educating our children, has served our family well.

What you will find below are the results of my facebook poll, as well as, my favorite resources. Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear what you and your family have done to keep homeschooling affordable!

I want to start by saying that over the years, what I have found is that when you are purchasing boxed curriculum, you are purchasing the convenience of someone else dong all the leg work for you. However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort and the leg ( or finger) work, you will find that you are still able to create a curriculum for your children, far superior to what you had even imagined. You will no longer be at the mercy of your pocketbook!

As a side note, before we move forward, I want to remind all of you, that it is up to you, to use your God given discernment to know if any of these resources are or are not appropriate for your children. Click through, investigate and enjoy creating your homeschool learning environment!

To start, I want to share a bit about what our homeschool group does. We have a curriculum  lending library. Members have the ability to check out available curriculum and keep as long as they need, and as long as they are members. No fee or late fees! Only requirement, you must be a current member! The next thing we offer is a used curriculum sale. We meet in one of our members church, and set up tables and invite homeschoolers in the area. This event serves 2 purposes, it allows us to make a little money on our books we no longer need, as well as, gives us the chance to purchase products we may need at a fraction of the cost.

If your homeschool group does not offer a used books sale, or if you are not a part of a local group, try the website for both buying and selling! This site is run by a homeschool family, and there are no fees to buy and sell.

Now onto the suggestions:

The first suggestion was to utilize your public library for books, high school courses on CD and even better you can utilize their heat and air conditioning!  Also, our library has periodic 'friends of the library' sales where you can pick up a book for 25 cents up to $1, and the last day of the sale is $1 a bag.  This is an awesome deal. I was able to pick up 2 Landmark American History textbooks on the $1 a bag day!

Visit any Nature Center, Zoo, Aquarium or Museum website, they usually are jammed packed with awesome resources. Free online grammar lessons designed for Middle or High School Has free homeschool curriculum for K-11th grade. Uses books that have lost their copyright (old) and are available on line for free, among other sources.. You can print for the hard copy, or simply read online. FREE Answers in Genesis Books, including study guides to go with them! Free large family printable homeschool forms. For early reading skills (preschool up to around 2nd or 3rd grade). There are online books, games, and a free language arts/writing workbook you can download. Teaching With God’s Heart for the World This is my friends blog. She started a new weekly posting on free homeschooling resources. This week is a full listing of math resources! This is my same friend, this is a listing of free reading resources. Awesome printables and other resources, both for your home and your homeschool! Lots and lots of resources! More Charlotte Mason resources. When you sign up for their weekly newsletter you will receive free download each and every week! Lapbooking on a shoestring.. however, this entire website has lots of resources! Art Appreciation You can order free dvd's, can be used for civics. Online spelling practice and tests. K-4th resources,  many subjects. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lots of great history and geography information. Great Lewis and Clark information Too many resources to list! is an ezine that brings you one, F.R.E.E, web-based curriculum idea every day — Monday through Saturday!

There are many many more that have not been listed here! So please, post your comment below and let me know what sources have helped your family!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Growing Healthy Homes and Young Living Workshops

Hello friends!

I am excited to announce that we will be hosting another set of Growing Healthy Homes and Young Living Workshops from October 27-Nov 1st, here in Southern California!

We have had the unique opportunity to have author Karen Hopkins come and speak to us in the past, and she is coming once again to teach some workshops, especially suited for the homeschool families!  While, as a homeschooler, you will find these workshops helpful and informative, you need not be a homeschooler to attend! Regardless you will walk away with knowledge on how to get your family healthy, and keep them that way! And even better, you will learn how using Nutrition 101 in your family will help get your children on board!

You can learn more about Growing Healthy Homes and Nutrition 101 by visiting their website.  You can watch a video about Nutrition 101 by clicking here.

And for more information about Young Living, you can visit their website.

Here are some of the workshops available:

“Start Living Everyday with Essential Oils”

This one hour workshop explains what pure therapeutic grade essential oils are and how they work in your body. A brief history and look at essential oils are reviewed with explanation on how to use the oils. The Young Living Starter kit with 9 essential oils are passed around so that everyone that attends can experience first-hand the ability of the oils to affect emotions and health.

“Discovering the Ultimate Superfood”

America is the home of the free and the country with the highest statistics of degenerative diseases and the fattest people in the world! Learn the 10 worst foods eaten by adults and children that will guarantee membership in America’s shocking statistics. Sugar, America’s food supplement that causes extreme addiction with be exposed.  An alternative lifestyle and superfood that will lead to health, happiness and longevity of life will be discussed.

“Healing Oils of the Bible”

In the beginning God placed the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden and said, “to you it shall be for food” (Gen 2:29) and the leaves “are for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2). Learn about the medicines, essential oils from plants, that God has provided for the healing of our body and maintenance of health. Modern science is revealing that pure therapeutic grade essential oils are more powerful than antibiotics through successfully treating and curing sickness and disease.

"Brain Power: Food for Thought"

Did you know that the food our children eat can affect their brain development - good or bad? Find out how to maximize your child's learning potential, support their brain function, even minimize the symptoms of lack of focus and decreased attention span through eating healthy foods and natural supplementation.

"Dr. Mom: Create your own Natural Medicine Chest"

Are you looking for a natural alternative to over-the-counter medications and antibiotics? Learn how to treat scrapes, insect bites, fevers, runny noses, coughs and even earaches, asthma and other family health issues naturally.

“How to Live Healthy in a Toxic World”

Over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into our lives in the last 50 years and less than 2% have even been tested for health safety. Learn how this has enabled parasites to exist in our environment and within us without our detection and our body’s ability to fight off these invaders. Discover what chemicals are in almost everything that we use and eat that is destroying us cell by cell. Protect your home and your children with powerful and natural remedies that destroy bacteria, virus and fungus.

“Nutrition 101: Choose Life!”

“Because I SAID so!” should be reason enough for our children to make healthy food choices.  Unfortunately in our “fast food’ culture, that reasoning often doesn’t stick for a lifetime of healthy choices. Learn about a fun and exciting way to teach your family all the why’s of what God designed for us to eat and create a legacy of abundant health for your family.

About our Speaker

Karen Hopkins, B.S. is a former Home Economics teacher who developed diabetes and early onset dementia at a young age due to S.A.D (Standard American Diet). Traditional nutrition courses did not prepare her for the onslaught of processed, fast food eating habits practiced at college and the busy lifestyle of a growing family (3 children). Forced to face the reality of a short life span due to excessively high blood sugar (250+ with medications) she reversed the prognosis in 8 short months with NingXia Red, Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, diet changes and exercise.

I was first introduced to Growing Healthy Homes this past year while working on the TOS Homeschool Crew, when I had the opportunity to review their nutrition curriculum Nutrition 101.

I met Karen earlier this summer while working with her at their booth at the CHEA Homeschool Convention. Karen has a wealth of information to share on healthy living. I am so thankful that she has made time to come back to California to teach these classes for my friends and family.  We are not sure when Karen will be able to come back to California, so we highly recommend that if you are interested in learning how to keep you and your family healthy, you plan on joining us for one or all of her workshops.

Our workshops will be held in Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, Lancaster and Highland. Email me and let me know if you would like more information on dates and times.

MySouthernYoungLiving @ gmail . com (no spaces)

Enroller/sponsor number 1163402

Friday, October 8, 2010

TOS Crew: Digital Frog

As a homeschool parent, I am always looking  for ways to give my children access to new and exciting, field trips and material.  With a limited budget, and limited time,  it takes a toll on what we can access. Especially when you  have a large family. This is where Digital Frog comes in and saves the day! You will be amazed where our current stops are going to take us on our TOS Crew Voyage. In fact, we will be stopping in three unique locations! The Desert, The Wetlands and The Rainforest.  How can that be possible, you ask... let me show you......

The fine folks from Digital Frog  have put together an awesome field trip series that comes on a DVD/CD.  We have had the program for several weeks now and have only begun to uncover all of the features that are available.

While I have looked through all of the field trips, we as a family have spent most of our time in the Rain Forest! My children have thoroughly enjoyed their visits!

Finally, there is a way for you to take your family on field trips of a life time and this time, and you don't even need a passport!   That is because, it is from the comfort of your own home!

On each field trip there is a wealth of information, that I could not possibly do it justice in a simple blog post.  I am going to focus on the Rain Forest Field Trip and share some of the features that are available.  And what our family thought about this program!

Once you open the Rain Forest Field Trip, you will find yourself with a choice to make. From the front Navigation, you will need to choose, whether you would like to take the Field Trip, do a Rain Forest Study, learn about Rain Forest Types, or about the Mechanisms of the Rain Forest or about the Endangered Rain Forests.

From here, I am going to show you what it looks like under one of the sign posts. Simply to give you the idea of the shear magnitude of information that is included within this program.

We are going to visit the Rain Forest Study..

Clicking on the black words, will open a definition window. Clicking on the sign posts, or on the blue words within this text will take you to the next destination.  For us, our next stop will be the Dependency Web.......

Now once you have entered into the Dependency Web section, you see, that once again, there is a sign post of many choices. As well as an option for a game, on the porch.... under each one of the sign posts, you will find a wealth of information on that topic... for us, we will be visiting the habitats....

Now, what you find under each tab, in the individuals sections are unique. You will find text, animations, photos, little movies all that really engage the kids throughout the field trip!  And they are learning interesting facts in context, not simple, boring, dry facts like coming from a textbook!

Now the last photo I want to show you is of the field trip...

Now while this is our favorite part of the program, it is also the part that we had the most trouble with!  Here you see a screen shot of the first post of the field trip.  In the gray screen, you will be transported to that location. You have the ability to click and drag the camera, looking in different directions, as well as, zooming.  As you journey through the field trip, you will be taken to different posts, and everything that is at that post will be discussed in the text, with clickable, definable words.  However, as you see, in this shot, the screen is gray. On this computer, we were never able to get this feature to work. However, we were able to get it to work on our other computer. So the children were able to experience this feature, and absolutely loved it! But I would be remiss if I did not mention that we struggled a bit here.

There are  2 other things, that I feel like I need to mention. First, if you have a struggling reader, whether that is due to a disability or because they are young, you will need to sit next to them and help them with the reading. There is quite a bit of reading. However, my dyslexic told me that the words were in small enough chunks and with all of the animations, and clickable things he could do, it kept him interested. Much more than if it were a textbook.

The second thing would be the fact that this is from an evolutionary foundation. So you will need to decide for your family if this product will be a good fit or not.

Now in addition to all that is available that already showed you, each field trip comes with printables to supplement the field trip. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I simply cannot even begin to cover all that is available.

Please visit Digital Frog to learn even more about their product. On their website, if you join their Frogger Club, for free,  you will have access to additional online websites to supplement your field trip.  You can purchase these field trips individually for $60.00 for the Home User License, or you can buy all three on one cd for $125.00.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about the amazing product.

Happy Exploring!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

For What Are You Thankful For??

You know, as we walk through this life, so often, we are so wrapped up in our own little world that we really don't even take the time to see the world we are living in.

The problems of the world and circumstances of life can keep us from seeing the gifts that each day bring us. Which leads me to this question....

For what are you thankful for? While there are many things that are a challenge in my life, at this very moment, there are far many more things, for which I am thankful. I thought I might share a few of them here...

  • I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His free gift of salvation!

  • I am thankful for my 5 beautiful children!

  • I am thankful the Lord has given me the opportunity to home educate them for the last 10 years.

  • I am thankful that no matter our circumstances over the years, God has provided a way for us to continue to homeschool.

  • I am thankful for an awesome church and church family!

  • I am thankful for children who love the Lord and long to live a good life!

  • I am thankful for a family that loves and supports me, no matter what!

  • I am thankful that JR has not had a seizure in over a year!

  • I am thankful that Sybrina is healing and able to leave the hospital!

  • I am thankful for the awesome homeschool group that I am privileged to serve and be a part of!

  • I am thankful for The Homeschool Crew!

  • I am thankful for the new opportunities the Lord has laid at my feet!

And believe it or not, I could go on, and on, and on! I have heard it said, the best way to change our attitude, is to have an attitude of gratitude! The children and I have started a new  'assignment' every morning.  As part of our family devotion time, we are listing at least 5 things that we are thankful for.  It is amazing the difference it makes in your attitude towards your day changes when you  are thankful for the gifts you have received.

So what is it that you are thankful for? Please share them in the comments below!

Have a wonderful gratitude filled day!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Graphics Toolbox Tuesdays..... On Saturday!

Hello everyone!

I thought I would share with you a project we made up in our house for the new school year.

This week we are having to 2 FREE Graphics Toolbox Webinars!

So, in honor of those, I thought I would post a project, even though it is not Tuesday.

I created this Schedule all within the Graphics Toolbox Software Program. I drew the lines how I wanted them, and then embellished with fancy ribbons and lines that come stocked on Graphics Toolbox.

Once I created the grid how I wanted it, I filled it in as needed. This is very user friendly. You can easily edit the box, by bringing it back into graphics toolbox, which is what I did to edit out the children's names and put the generic 'name' in. This took me all of about 5 minutes or less to edit.

Now, just so you know, I omitted the kids names, and our family name, as I thought it might not be a good idea to have those floating around the web.  However, at home,  our schedule is personalized!

If you would like to attend our FREE

Webinar, or would like more information, you can contact me at :

Friday, October 1, 2010

TOS CREW: Foundlings Review

You will find swamps, caves, dragons and dwarfs  at our next port of call. We are visiting Zoe & SoZo and the book Foundlings by, Matthew Christian Harding.

Right off the bat, I will be honest with you. I did not read the book. I simply handed it to my 15 year old son, and assigned him to read it, and allowed him to give me his thoughts on the book.

Here is how Foundlings is billed......

"Foundlings, book one of The Peleg Chronicles
is Historical Fiction that takes place in the
time period of Peleg, soon after the tower of
Babel dispersion. In its pages we meet
dragons, giants, false priests, the death hunt,
an under-city of the Dwarven Brotherhood,
and many memorable characters."

My son says, " This is a book about adventure, and how they trust in God in their tough times."

When I first gave the book to my son to read, he was not all that thrilled. He loves to read, however, the first part of the book was challenging for him. He struggled a bit to feel connected to the story.

However, in the end, he said, " I actually liked it."  It took him a few chapters and then he was hooked!  He even added... "This book was alot of fun!"

One of his favorite parts of the story was reading about these characters trusting God no matter their circumstances. He really liked the part about them trying to get out of the castle.

Author Matthew Christian Harding is a Christian, and the Peleg series is a Christian series of books. You will not find magic, evolution, or humanism within these pages!

Foundlings is available for $11.95, you can even get an autographed copy! Visit Zoe & Sozo to see their  full line of products available.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Foundlings!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FREE Homeschool Webinars ~ Graphics Toolbox

As some of you may know, I have started working with Great Software Tools. Great Software Tools creators of Graphics-Toolbox is an easy-to-learn-and-use graphics design program,  I first learned of Graphics Toolbox as part of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s  Homeschool Crew.  I fell in love with the program and am now working with them to intorudce Graphics-Toolbox to homeschool families across the country! As a homeschool mother and group leader myself, I see that, we as homeschoolers often lack in the area of Technology and Graphics Arts. With Graphics-Toolbox we can enhance the level of work our children are producing, as well as teach them skills they will use in their future college and professional careers!

Here at Graphics-Toolbox, we pride ourselves on Customer Service.  To that end, we would like to offer two opportunities for you to see some of what can be achieved with Graphics-Toolbox.

FREE Informational Webinars

We are conducting webinars, specifically designed to show you how to incorporate Graphics-Toolbox into your homeschool.  We will share with you projects created by students of all ages, from elementary school to high school.  We will also show you how you can use Graphics-Toolbox for all subjects and learning abilities.

We have two sessions for you to choose from.  The sessions are identical.  Please pick the time that would best suit your schedule!

Introduction to Graphics-Toolbox:  Where Learning & Creating Click!

Session 1:  Wednesday October 6th, 7:30am PST / 10:30am EST

Session 2:  Thursday October 7th, 10am PST / 1:00 pm EST

We will be hosting the webinars through  Each webinar has limited capacity, so please email us to sign up and then make sure you attend.

We will accept you on a first come basis and the scheduled attendees will receive a confirmation e-mail from us with a link to the meeting.

Send your request to As a bonus, all attendees will receive a free downloadable bundle that includes step-by-step directions and the files needed to create a dynamic and comprehensive homeschool project.

The audio through is very good and if you have a headset on your computer you can hear and talk directly through the service.  If you do not have a headphone, you can use your telephone to call into the meeting as well.  Generally you will be asking questions through a chat box, so if you do not have a mic on your computer you can communicate with us that way.

I look forward to your feedback and hope to be "meeting" you soon!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Graphics Toolbox- What People Are Saying!!

Life has been justa speeding by!!! I had promised a Graphics Toolbox Tuesdays to share what my family is creating with Graphics Toolbox, yet our summer has just gotten away from us!

Throughout our summer, we have used Graphics Toolbox to make all of our Birthday Cards and Thank You notes! It has been so much fun to create unique and fun cards  for our family and friends!

Today, while working on crew stuff, I ran across a post about Graphics Toolbox that one of my dear Crew mates posted prior to our review of the product!

Please take a moment to visit Tim @ Families Again to see what he and his family think about Graphics Toolbox!

To learn more about Graphics Toolbox, visit our website! Or click here to see a video telling you all about what our program has to offer.

If you have any questions, please send me an email!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

TOS Crew: Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power

This year's voyage is off to a great start! Our next port of call is with the fine people from New Monic Books, Inc.  As part of the TOS Crew, we were sent a free copy of Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power Learn Hundreds of SAT Words with Easy Memory Techniques, in exchange for our honest opinions... and here is mine....

First, let's talk about what are Vocabulary Cartoons? Are you familiar with mnemonics? A mnemonic device helps you learn something new, by using something that is familiar. Usually a picture and some sort of 'saying'. We, as a family, have used these to teach  geography and math, so I was excited to try this with my kids.

The purpose of Vocabulary Cartoons is to help your high schooler, really any age child, to remember unusual words that will be found on the SAT. Click here to see a few pages from the book.

As you can see, these 'Vocabulary Cartoons' are a lot of fun! Kids really do retain much more when they are having a good time!

How is this book used.......  (from the book introduction..)

" Each page has five elements:

1) The main word.  The word you wish to lean. It is followed by the phonetic pronunciation, part of speech, and a definition.

2) The link word. The link word is a simple word or phrase which rhymes or sounds like the main word.

3)The caption.  The caption connects the main word and the link word in a sentence.

4) the cartoon. The caption is illustrated in a bizarre or humorous cartoon which incorporates the main word and the link word into a visual mnemonic.

5) Each cartoon is followed by two or three sample sentences."

When you put all of these elements together, it really is a successful combination!

Now.. how did we use this book?

I simply handed the book, to two of my teenage boys. the instructions I gave them was to work on  2-3 words a day, and work their way through the book. To test each other, and do the little quizzes that are throughout the book.

The boys enjoyed the book, not only were they learning the words that were in the book, they had a good time doing it! They will never forget those visuals!  And in the end, they really did retain more words than they typically do! That scores points in my book!!!

And to top it off... the book is available at the ultra affordable price of $12.95!  Be sure to check out New Monic Books to see their whole line of vocabulary helps! Create a milieu of words in your home!

Take a moment, and visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about this neat product!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TOS Crew: Math Tutor DVD Review

Well, I must say, that I have been thrilled each year that I have served on the TOS Homeschool Crew that Math Tutor DVD has decided to be part of our voyage! I have been a long time fan of Math Tutor DVD.You can read my first review here and my second review here.  For those of you who have read my blog (or know me in real life) know that math is simply not my thing!

So as a homeschool mom, I have been on the lookout for math help! And for me, that has come in the form of Math Tutor Dvd!  Jason Gibson, math tutor extra-ordinare, walks you and your children through math.  Math Tutor DVDs have been such a helpful tool to us. When I simply cannot explain something to my children in a way that they can understand, I pop in the DVDs and Jason explains it for me!

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew this year we were sent 2 FREE DVD's in exchange for our honest opinion.

I was sent Pre Algebra Tutor and the Texas Instruments  TI-83/ TI-84 Calculator Tutor

Both of these DVD's are available at the links listed above for $26.99.

As in all the previous DVDs that I have either purchased or reviewed for Math Tutor DVD, your student will receive clear instructions on how to figure problems, or in the case of the graphong calculator how to use the calculator.

Now, I must admit, I do not have a child currently in Calculus so the Graphing Calculator DVD, I looked at, but we are not yet at the point where we need it. However, I put in on of the DVD's and Jason, once again, explains how to use the calculator in very clear and easy to understand terms.  There is an awesome screen shot of the calculator, which enables you to see exactly what he is doing, as he explains it!

If you are a family that will need help teaching math at any level, please look into Math Tutor DVD to help you teach your students! These DVD's have really blessed my family over the years!

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about Math Tutor DVD!

Happy Calculating!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


?Now you can drive past your local sweet shop without looking back. Yoplait Splitz is the new yogurt that tastes like a sundae. Providing all of the goodness of 100% real yogurt, Yoplait Splitz is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. With no artificial flavors or sweeteners and no high fructose corn syrup, this 90 calorie dessert is the treat your family craves.

For an even “cooler” experience, just pop a Yoplait Splitz in the freezer and in a few hours you can enjoy a cool, creamy cup of authentic frozen yogurt. Available in three delicious flavor combinations including Strawberry Sundae, Strawberry Banana Split, and Rainbow Sherbet, Yoplait Splitz is sure to have your family screaming for more.

Recently I was sent from the fine people of Yoplait, a FREE sample of Yoplait Splitz! Along with an insulated tote and rolled up picnic blanket! Now to be honest.. my kids are not big yogurt fans.. so they were not even willing to try these! However, a fine little 7 year old boy, who my son gives piano lessons to, absolutely loved these Yoplait Splitz. We gave him the whole pack!!

If you are a yogurt loving family check out.. Yoplait on Facebook or Yoplait on Twitter and “Like” or “Follow” the brand to keep up with the latest news on your favorite Yoplait products.
In addition, you  can visit to download a printable coupon for $0.75 off any flavor Yoplait Splitz today!

*This coupon offer for Yoplait Splitz yogurt is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee.

Would you like to win a prize pack, just like the one I received?  If so, the fine people at Yoplait are offering to send one to one of my readers!

Here is what you will receive..

A refrigerated sample of new Yoplait Splitz as well as a prize pack that includes an insulated carry tote and a roll up fleece picnic blanket.

To enter here is all you have to do... ( you may enter more than once!) Leave separate comment for each entry, and please include links!

1) leave a comment.

2) Follow my blog

3)Post on your facebook page ( send link please)

4)tweet about this contest  (send link please)

5)Post about this on your blog ( send link please)

6) Leave a comment telling me which flavor you would like to try!

Have fun! And good luck!

This Just In.....

******And the winner is.....................TRINA!!!!!!!   Congratulations! Enjoy your prize pack!