Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Southern Young Living Monday: What Makes Young Living Oil Special?

Today I would like to share with you a video that Young Living has released of Gary Young, president of  Young Living, teaching about Ylang Ylang. While you watch this video, Gary is explaining the care it takes in order ensure the finest quality oils.

Please take moment to watch Gary, and please let me know if you have any further questions!


Jennifer Southern

My Website

Independent Distributor


DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is solely for educational purposes.  It is not meant to diagnose, treat or mitigate any health condition.  As always you should consult the health professional of your choice for specific health information. The author, products mentioned or Young Living is not responsible for its mis-use.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Robert Pierre: I'm All In

I recently had the opportunity to preview and now review the new CD from Robert Pierre, I'm All In. I have been looking forward to listening to this CD. I love music, and my teenagers love music! They love to play, sing it and listen to it. Now I must tell you right off the bat, we are a very conservative Christian Family, and are pretty narrow when it comes to our range of music styling's that we will choose to listen to! And that goes for my kids, as well. They have self imposed standards that they live by.

Now, with that being said, I am keep my eye out for new good music for the kids to listen to, myself too, but mostly for the kids. Now, I have wanted to post this post for several days now, however, it has taken me a bit longer, because, my nearly 15 year old daughter took the CD, the day it arrived, took it into her room, and I have not seen or heard it since.... oh but she has listened to it.. over.... and over.... and over.... and over.... That right there, probably should sum up my review, right? Wrong! I wanted to listen to it and give my opinion as well!

Before I do that, let me tell you a little bit about Robert Pierre.  Here is the info that was shared with us as reviewers..


"For Robert, I’m All In is more than the name of his third studio album, due July 26 from thinkaboutit records. It has become Robert’s life motto as he responds to God’s calling to live fully committed to Him.  In addition to writing and recording I’m All In and playing on a summer tour, Robert also leads regular Sunday morning worship at his 800-member Orlando, Fla., church. And he’s done it all as a high school senior.

“All of the songs have something to do with things I was going through my senior year,” Robert said of I’m All In, “preparing to say goodbye to friends and not really knowing what would come next, but finding comfort and peace in the Lord’s plan for my life. The Bible talks about how the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the earth, searching for someone whose heart is wholly His, someone He can strongly support. This CD is me saying, ‘I’m all in.’”

Creating I’m All In was a powerfully personal experience for Robert, who teamed with veteran songwriter Jason Ingram (Tenth Avenue North, Sanctus Real, Bebo Norman) and legendary producer Matt Bronleewe (Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman) on the album. The result is a collection of songs that enthusiastically and energetically worship God while wrestling with what it means to be a Christian in a world full of difficulty and joy, anxiety and excitement."

I love the fact that he is so actively living for the Lord, and as a high school senior! Currently, many are reporting that the young adults are leaving the faith as they head on their own. Robert Pierre is an awesome example for the children to see a young person, living out what God has called him to do!

Now onto my opinion of the CD. I like it.  The music is not jarring, but it is indeed modern. I can understand the words that he is singing, and he is singing to the Lord! I can picture this CD playing in long car rides and the entire family enjoying the music! But, I can tell you, that the teenagers and young adults are going to really enjoy this CD! It is right up their alley!

To purchase the CD and learn more about Robert Pierre, visit his website today!

You can also follow him on Facebook!

I was supplied with one or more items for free for review purposes. I have received no other compensation for my honest opinion of said products. My review is honest and completely my own.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Freebie Fridays: Answers in Genesis

If you are a Christian Homeschooler, and you  have been homeschooling for any amount of time, you have no doubt heard of Answers in Genesis (AIG) .  In case you  have not heard of AIG, I wanted to give you some background information.

AIG, is the leader in Creation Science Apologetics. Ken Ham is the US Founder and Presidentof Answers in Genesis. He is a  seasoned speaker, who travels the world and engages his audiences. He helps them understand the straightforward story of Creation, and inspires them to be a soldier of the faith, by standing firm for Creation!

What's more, is that AIG also provides scientific backing to Creation Science!

In our home, we own several of the publications that AIG produces. We love their products. But did you know that they offer most, if not all of their book online for FREE ? That is right for FREE!!!  You can peruse their inventory and start reading today, by visiting their website.  And not only that, they offer study guides online for their books, for FREE! We have used these guides for books we have purchased, as well as, books we have used online for FREE! You can take  look at their listing here.

On their website you can find some great Powerpoint Presentations, that you could use to assist you in teaching your homeschool Science class!

As you can see, one visit to the Answers in Genesis Website will prove to be educational, and will assist you in equipping your children with the science they need, to help them stand firm for God's amazing Creation!

Happy Homeschooling!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Creating Thirst Thursdays: Being an Example

What is that saying, "Do as I say, not as I do!"  Is that how things are in your home? I hope not!!! When we find ourselves in a place where we are asking our children to live a certain life style, or live up to a certain standard, yet, we are unable to maintain that standard, what kind of message do you think we are sending to our children?  One that comes to mind, is that we are a hypocrite!

A homeschool mom once shared this quote with me, " Our children are our little mirrors. Reflecting back to us all WE need to work on."  Whether you are homeschooling or not, I think that statement is so true! I have found many times in my parenting, I will be correcting my children, and I am convicted that I too, struggle in that same area. I, often times, talk to God and say... 'Okay God, I get it, I see what you are showing me.. or teaching me right now".

But our children live with us, day in and day out, often times they know, even before we do, where we struggle, and where we soar!  So, when we find ourselves, in that position, being confronted with the mirror of our imperfection, what are we to do? I say, humble yourself before your children. Let them know, that you too, are a sinner saved by Grace, and that you too, need God's help to overcome. And that you know that through Him all things are possible.

Do you realize the connection you will have made with your child by doing that?

How about when you fail? Your children watch you as you fail, they watch you as you have been given too much change back, or when someone as wronged you. How do you respond in those situations? Are taking everything to the throne of God, and bathing those situations in prayer?

I have often heard, that in many Christian families, they have a rule, no bible, no breakfast. And for many families, that has worked and given them the schedule they need in order to achieve their time in the Word each and everyday. However, I have also heard many parents, who purpose to read their bible right when they wake up in the morning, before the kids are awake, while it's quiet. I have done that. But not everyday. There are many reasons for that. But one of them is, I want my children, to SEE me read my bible. I want them to see that God's Word is important to their mother. And that it's not just something I talk about.

How about you? How are you purposing to be an example to your children? I would love to hear about it! On Father's Day our church shared this video.  While it's intended audience are Father's. I believe that it speaks to Mother's as well. Take a moment to watch this video... you will be touched, I am sure.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What About Wednesday: What about a FREE issue of a The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (Digital)

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that I have been a long time fan of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! Long before my connection to them through the TOS Homeschool Crew. I have been a subscriber since 2005, and only on the crew since 2008.

Did you know that I have kept every single issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? Why? Good question! The answer is simple, the articles within the covers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine are timeless. What I find is that I can read an article once, and then use that same article even several years later!! The Old Schoolhouse Magazine provides crucial support and inspiration that every homeschooler needs!

Well, I have good news for you!!!!

You can now take a look at the brand new Summer digital edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. TOS is offering this digital issue of the magazine totally free with no strings attached. Enjoy this free gift from TOS—no registration or email address required to view the magazine! Take a peek here. Then share the link with your friends by clicking on the share button at the top of the magazine pages!

Take advantage of this awesome opportunity today! And see all that The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has to offer!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Graphics Toolbox Tuesdays: Meeting Core Writing Standards

With Graphics Toolbox, you have the opportunity to create fun and imaginative projects, while meeting Core Standards for every grade level.

Take a look at this short video to see how this young girl created a Mother's Day card for her mother, while meeting core standards at the same time!




If you would like more information on you too can help your children meet core standards through technology, visit Great Software Tools, or email me at


Monday, July 25, 2011

My Southern Young Living Monday's : Brain Power

If you are new to My Southern Young Living Monday's please take a moment to visit the Introductory post, Science of Young Living Essential Oils and then come on back over here to check out today's post!

Today we are going to talk about how you can help your brain!!!!  As homeschooling mom's it is crucial that our brain stays 'fit' and it is our job to make sure that we give our children every opportunity to have the strongest brain possible!

•Do you think what your children eat today, will affect their academic success?

•Do you think that what your children eat today will affect their brain function as an adult?

In today's culture we are living on the move, everyone is living in the fast lane unless you are purposing to live your life differently.

So for most people, that means that you meals consist of drive through dining or out of the box meals. Both of these options, while sometimes affordable and quick. Your body is paying the ultimate consequence.

What do we need to consume in order to improve and maintain proper brain function?


–Omega 3, Omega 6, and other fatty acids






Compared to 100 years ago, Omega 3 (Essential Fatty Acid) is down 80%,

B vitamins are estimated to be down to about 50% of the daily requirement. Vitamin B6 consumption may be low as it is removed in grain milling and not replaced. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E have also been lost in food processing. Minerals are depleted in a similar way. Fiber is down 75-80%. Antinutruients have increased substantially—saturated fat, 100%; cholesterol, 50%; refined sugar nearly 1000% salt up to 500% and funny fat isomers nearly 1,000%”.  ~Dr Donaldo Rudin


Take away all the fluid out of your brain and you will find that 60% of its mass is fat. Most of that fat is composed of DHA. DHA is one of 2 beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. EPA is the other one, but it’s found in very low concentrations in the brain. The tissues that have the highest concentrations of DHA are the retina of the eye (essential for taking in visual information, the synapses that control the flow of neurotransmitters between nerve cells in the brain and the mitochondria in each brain nerve cell that provide the energy to keep those cells alive.

If DHA is deficient in any of these 3 critical brain components, your mental functioning suffers and your intelligence begins to fall.

We are eating less Omega-3 fatty acids now than ever before. Diets used to contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids at a ratio of approximately 1:1. Today’s ratio stands between 1:10 and 1:20-25 (Omega-3:Omega-6)


We are not getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids to grow a healthy brain. Corn and safflower oils provide most of our Omega-6 fatty acids, but it is Omega 3 fatty acid (DHA) and (EPA) that are critical in the development of brain tissue, forming the very membrane that encases each of the 10 trillion neurons in the brain.

To complicate matters, mass-produced animals don’t contain the same amount of Omega-3 acids that wild-raised animals contain.  For example, farm-raised fish like salmon have a different balance of Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon that jump the waterfalls in icy-cold rivers and feast on natural foods.


So what are some of the affects of Omega 3 deficiency?

  • Depression


  • Eating Disorders

  • Cognitive Disorders

•40% of 4th graders can’t read at a basic level.

•SAT scores have declined every year since 1980.

•It is said that it is difficult to assess how our kids are really doing in public schools, because the tests have been progressively “dumbed down”.

•For example, California lowered their standards by changing the tests and still the scores keep dropping.

Do you want your children to have more brain power?

Give them free-range eggs, Omega-3, good saturated fats from olives, Avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, non-processed butter (store bought butter has natural flavorings) meats that are grass fed and no steroids and antibiotics. Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews and walnuts. Fish free of mercury, lead, PCB’s or dioxin.

I believe in whole foods over supplements. However…making sure that our children and my grandchildren are eating sufficient amounts of Omega 3’s I have found supplementation of this vital nutrient absolutely necessary.

Over the past 100 years, consumption of fresh produce has plummeted.

The USDA recommends 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

The average American eats less than 2 servings of both fruits and vegetables per day with a quarter of servings in the form of greasy, nutrient-dead french fries.

Ideally, 75% of your daily diet should include raw vegetables and fruits. Raw veggies and fruits can go beyond just veggie and fruit trays and salads. There are thousands of wonderful raw food recipes that can be found just on the internet.

Be careful of potatoes and carrots  because they have a much higher GI.

Grapefruit, apples, cherries, oranges, and grapes have a low glycemic index.

FYI about whole fruit vs. fruit juice… the GI of whole fruit ranks lower than juices, because the FIBER in the fruit slows the absorption of the fructose or fruit sugar.

Building a Supernormal Brain
•Supplement diet with Omega-3 pure fish oil*

•Maintain an insulin controlled diet

–Low-glycemic sugar foods only

•30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise daily

•Anaerobic strength training 2 or 3 times a week

•Meditation / Prayer

* Dr. Sears actually advocated 5-10 grams of a pure pharmaceutical pure Omega-3 fish oil, but with  a monthly blood test to check your AA/EPA ratio.

Bad Brain Foods
•Artificial food colorings & flavorings

•Artificial sweeteners

•Bleached flour


•High fructose corn syrup

•Hydrogenated fats (trans fats)

•Snack foods

Good Brain Foods

• Avocados


•Lean Beef

•Brewer’s Yeast


•Brown Rice

•Brussels Sprouts



•Collard Greens


•Flaxseed Oil




•Almond Butter

•Cashew Butter

•Walnut butter


•Romaine Lettuce





•Wheat Germ


In addition to these nutrient dense foods, supplementation is highly recommended. Our family uses; Omega Blue and Ningxia Red. 

"Omega Blue provides a clinically proven dose of omega 3 fatty acids, which support heart, brain, eye and joint health. {Young Living's} Omega Enhance preservation system blends pure blue chamomile, lemongrass, and clove essential oils to increase shelf life and ensure freshness. "

NingXia  Red are made with NingXia Wolfberries, which have been used for centuries for anti-aging, and health enhancing properties.  "NingXia Red is infused with the power of lemon and orange essential oils. NingXia Red is a nutritious wolfberry supplement that energizes, fortifies, and replenishes the body. Along with wolfberries, natures most powerful super-fruit, NingXia Red combines five other nutrient dense fruits like blueberries, raspberries and pomegranates to provide energy and an a array of health promoting antioxidants."

If you have questions on these, or other Young Living products, please contact me at or visit my website for more information!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is solely for educational purposes.  It is not meant to diagnose, treat or mitigate any health condition.  As always you should consult the health professional of your choice for specific health information. The author, products mentioned or Young Living is not responsible for its mis-use.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Creative Learners - Returning on Monday July 25th!

The last 10 days have been so jam packed and filled with activity, joy and sadness. Today is an off day, and then we have a few more days of work.. and we will return to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday July 25th.

The first few days of our hiatus the family and I worked at our church during our annual Spiritual Leadership Conference. It is something that we do every year to minister to not only our congregation, but to Pastor's and Missionaries from around the world. It was such a joy to work the administration table, and check in some of these amazing delegates, and get to know them better! Each year it amazes me how we can unite from all around the world, in one accord to worship our Lord! God is good!  During this conference we also honored our Pastor for his 25 years of service at our church! Thank you pastor for your biblical testimony and for modeling for us exactly what you preach! We are thankful you and your beautiful family.

The next mission on our agenda was the CHEA Homeschool Convention in Pasadena, California. I worked the Growing Healthy Homes booth! Have you seen their Nutrition Curriculum? If not, you need to click on the link and check it out!  It is an amazing curriculum that brings together, the human body and nutrition in a way I have never seen done, in any other curriculum. (ps... after I reviewed this book for the TOS Crew, I started working for them as a distributor, that is how much I loved their book!) I had a great time, I love spending the weekend talking about homeschooling and health, with homeschoolers!

We  came back from that event, and held health workshops around the So. California area. We met a lot of new people, and reunited with some old friends, and enjoyed a great time of learning!

However, in the midst of all this, our family suffered a loss... our dear sweet family friend, our Dalmatian, Dottie, passed away.  She has been our faithful friend and companion for 12 1/2 years.  It seems so strange to not have her here with us, any longer.  I think it has helped us all.. that we have been so busy, it has helped to keep our mind of missing her!

We have one more convention this weekend! If you are in the So. California area, there will be a Growing Healthy Homes Booth at the CHN Family Expo in Ontario. Stop by the booth and say hello! We would love to meet you!

Monday, we will return to our regular schedule and we look forward to getting back on track with you. Praying that each of you have had a wonderful summer! See on Monday!



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Homeschooling- What I Learned This Summer!

What I have learned!

This summer has been one of great learning in the area of Homeschool options! I know,  you are probably thinking, really Jennifer, you have been homeschooling for what seems like forever and a day! (ha!)

It has been very interesting.  It is much like being a new parent.  You remember when your kids were small… okay, some of you may still have small children.  But when you have small children, you feel as though you have this parenting thing all figured out!  Homeschooling is much of the same!  When I first started homeschooling,  I was very set in my ideas of how I wanted to do things.  And I was sure that I would never deviate from that very well laid path.  What is that saying that God laughs as we make plans…. like we actually are in control..

Back then, I was vehemently opposed to a couple of things… (a)using the computer or TV for most of my children’s education.  (Occasional videos and computer games were fine) (b)I had no need for a PSP! ( In the state of California, that is a Private School with a Homeschooling leg) I can file my own paperwork thank you very much!

Over the last several years, while reviewing curriculum I have been shown the value of DVD and Computer learning, and now my children use both.   And this summer, I have really seen the value of the PSP!  (eegaads!)

This year, I have actually signed my children up with one of our local PSP’s. (As I eluded to in my last post) Why you ask? For one simple reason,  I have athletic children who want to play Competitive Sports, and that is the one thing that I cannot offer them in the homeschool environment.  I still feel like I can file my own paperwork, however, I am willing to submit myself to the PSP’s authority, and follow their guidelines, in order to give my children this wonderful opportunity!

If you are in California, check with CHEA to see if there is a PSP in your area offering CIF Sports! And then take a moment to check out their guidelines and see if this is something that will help your high schooler meet their athletic goals!

There is one other area that I have learned about, while touring the Homeschool Conventions!  I attended a record 3 homeschool conventions this year!  There are a couple of programs that if you use them, they will help you pay off the cost of your child’s college education.

This is an amazing benefit.. and for some, this will be right up your alley. And it’s something you are going to want to know about long before your child is in high school!

One of the programs is from Liberty University . I believe that their program is from 3rd grade to 12th grade. This is an online homeschool option. It can be pricey, though I have known someone who has used it and absolutely loved it. Now here is the good news, every dollar you spend on their homeschool program is rolled over to go toward their college education! WOW!  That makes it a really good deal!

The second program I heard about was for Pensacola Christian College .  This is already an affordable college  in Florida. With the program if you attend for all 4 years you get the 4th year for free. Also, if you use the ABEKA DVD program, any money  you have used toward the DVD program for grades 9-12 will be put toward your child’s college education. They also have various scholarships and programs to earn money toward paying off your school bill.

So, as you plan ahead for your children, keep your eyes and ears for options on getting the most bang for your buck!

Here’s to a fabulous homeschool year!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What About Wednesday.

Hello Friends...

Creative Learners is taking a bit of a hiatus.... It is homeschool convention season..... and I will be working a couple of homeschool conventions.... and will return very soon.. watch this space......



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Graphics Toolbox Tuesdays: Project Kits

Are you a novice when it comes to the world of Graphic Design?  With Graphics Toolbox, Great Software Tools brings you a professional quality graphic design program and Projects Kits that help you get started in the world of Graphics Design!

In order, to help teachers and homeschool parents create valuable projects with their students, we are continuing to develop downloadable curriculum project kits that can benefit a variety of subjects and age levels.

The kits include the step-by-step instructions and all the files you need to create these dynamic and educational projects.

These ideas should be the starting point for you. Once you create these projects your own creative juices will begin flowing and you can apply your Graphics-Toolbox skills to enhance your existing curriculum programs. Have fun!

In addition, once you have completed these kits, you will have become very familiar with the tools that Graphics Toolbox offers, and will be able to use these kits as they were intended, as a starting point. Our desire is that these kits will spark ideas for future projects.

Colonial America - $29

This valuable project can be created as shown or it can be divided into more than one project. Within a classroom, students at different learning levels can work on the same project, but do 1, 2 or all 3 components, depending on their capabilities.

They will naturally choose different colors for the map and keys and therefore all their projects will look different and display their individual creativity. All students will feel proud of the final outcome.

Combining Graphics-Toolbox with this great hands-on visual-learning kit will color their interest for Social Studies and ensure they learn more about Colonial America in the process!

Once this project teaches you to work with maps, keys and time lines in Graphics-Toolbox, use your new skills to enhance other Social Studies curriculum material.



Exploring Favorite Artists - $39

The Exploring Famous Artist project kit can be used by teachers of all subjects. The approach here is to give the students the skills they need to report on their research in several valuable media forms.

After using the files and templates we provide to learn the steps for this project, an English teacher could have her students follow the same steps for their research on authors or a character in a novel. For social studies it could be used for explorers or presidents. Music teachers could assign composers or influential musicians and so forth. Download the project and see how Graphics-Toolbox software and this kit can enhance your lesson plans and prepare students to present their knowledge in valued formats.

Included are the files, templates and finished samples of a poster, PowerPoint presentation, tri-fold brochure and trading cards about Claude Monet. Download this kit and have fun learning!


This is My Book! - $29

This is My Book! was developed to encourage creativity and stimulate research on your favorite subject – You! It is a fun, informative project for children, but also a wonderful project for adults. Different ages can approach it with different levels of detail. The project is intended to inspire reflection on your life and you can choose to use all of the pages or only the ones that are meaningful to you. Consider creating one as a gift for someone special! We hope that it will be a starting point and that you will continue the book as far into the future as you would like. Life is a work in progress; we hope this book will be too!
The kit is available as a downloadable zipped file. The kit includes:
1. The complete book in 2 formats:

a. Each of the individual pages in PCX format, which can be opened in Graphics-Toolbox, where photos, graphics, borders and text can be added creatively.b. PDF form for users that want to print out the book then color and glue photos and images by hand.

2. Complete step-by-step instructions showing examples of completed pages.


If you have questions please contact me at

Please visit our website for more information, and to download your 30 day free trial of Graphics Toolbox! ( this is a full featured edition)



Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Southern Young Living Mondays: Peppermint

Do you find yourself having trouble staying alert? Do you have digestive issues? Or chronic or periodic headaches?

Let me introduce you to Young Living's Peppermint Essential Oil and all it can do for you!

As homeschoolers, we can utilize peppermint’s ability to  improve concentration and mental accuracy.

Place two drops on the tongue to improve concentration,  alertness, memory and focus. You can even rub some on the bottoms of your feet to help you stay alert!

Peppermint is anti-infectious, antibacterial, antifungal, is also a pain reliever, expectorant and anti-inflammatory for the intestinal and urinary tract.

It has been used with success for digestive problems, fever, heartburn, headaches, respiratory infections toothaches and much more.

Add to herbal tea to aid digestion. Rub on stomach when queazy. Can be added to hot water or massaged on stomach to support normal digestion.

Applied to the bottom of feet or on temples for headaches. and it is wonderful for soothing sore muscles.

Spray on plants to deter aphids and you can add it to some water and spray it to kill ants, or if you know where the ants are coming from, simply put a drop on a cotton ball and place, and they will not return!

Peppermint is one of my go to oils. I personally use it for headaches, on a simi-regular headaches. My once daily migraines are now happening less than once  a week, perhaps 2 or 3 times a month. However, they do not progress into migraines, because peppermint zaps it before it has the chance!

I also use it on my wrist pulse points for heartburn and indigestion. I also use it right on my stomach if we have a bit of a queasy stomach.

My athletic children, often use peppermint for their sore muscles after playing sports. It relieves the pain almost instantly! Young Living Peppermint Oil is something you will want to have in your arsenal!

For more information, please visit my website.




DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is solely for educational purposes.  It is not meant to diagnose, treat or mitigate any health condition.  As always you should consult the health professional of your choice for specific health information. The author, products mentioned or Young Living is not responsible for its mis-use.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nearly Freebie Friday!

I cannot tell you how many times that I hear from people who are contemplating homeschooling, or even newer homeschoolers who are now struggling with the decision of needing to put their children back in school or to continue homeschooling.. that homeschooling is just too expensive, and that they would never be able to afford it.

Now, I am not talking about a family where, mom was working and not quit her job and they are trying to figure out how to do it. That will take some adjusting, but still can be done. However, I am talking about people who are already home, and are just speaking about the cost of curriculum.  I am here to tell you, I have never had an abundance of income to spend on curriculum. Which means, I am always looking for the best value for my educational dollar!

Anyone can afford to homeschool. As you have already seen in the last couple of weeks, there are an abundance of free resources. Today we are going to look at a nearly free resource!

And that is....  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Homeschool Dollar Store! Have you visited them today? or ever? It is simply amazing what you can walk away with. As of this posting, there are 252 items in the $1 store. Which means you have lots to choose from.

Now I would like to stress, that these are not priced at $1 because they are inferior products. They are high quality products that have been  available in the regular Schoolhouse Store at regular pricing. The fine people at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine just so happen to put them on special periodically to help homeschoolers!

For instance, 2 of the products I purchased, are no longer available at $1, they are now back at regular price. So these prices are for a limited time. If you see a title you like.. get it!

I recently spent $9 and here is what I received..

Wanna Be a Missionary - $1  You can see a sample of this E-book here.  Including the table of contents. If you have not checked out the Wannabe series, you will be pleasantly surprised.  While it does say that these unit studies are geared for ages 4-10, let me tell you the whole family really can benefit from these, even teenagers. I was expecting a very juvenile look at the professions they cover, and that is not the case. These books are very in depth!

The Curiosity Files™- MRSA - $1  You can see a sample of this ebook here.  This series is another amazing one!  They say that this unit study is good for ages 8 -13.. but again, I think older kids would enjoy this, especially, because the topics are usually out of the ordinary.  By youngest daughter had the lights go on as far as  reading go while reading a Curiosity Files Unit Study.  She has known how to read for sometime. However, she hates it. She fusses and fidgets through reading. however, while reading one of the Curiosity Files, she began reading unusual words, and that was fun! And now she is enjoying reading far more!  You just never know what will turn that spark on. She also has not decided she LOVES science!

In the Belly of a Whale - Jonah's Lesson in Obedience - $1 If you have a child in early elementary school, this is an awesome Unit Study! Tons of hands on activities! You are not going to want to miss out on this one!

Learning on the Go - $1  This book is great if you find yourself in the car for any amount of time and you need to entertain your children. I would say elementary to early middle school activities. My high schoolers play some of these games too, but they probably would never admit to it!

Homonyms- A Unit Study for Spellers - $1 You can see a sample of this e-book here.   This book is primarily a resource of Homonyms, however at the back of the book there are some neat activities the help them come alive, and concrete what your children have learned.

Say What? Workshop - $1  You can view a sample here.  Tamara Chilver coaches parents on how to implement communication strategies that nurture learning. Tamara has received extensive training on communication tools for children and shares these effective techniqueswith parents in a practical format. This mini workshop is sure to helpstrengthen the family bond while making learning easier.

Language Land - $1  his challenging game of grammar skills teaches the meaning of nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, and prepositions.  This often-avoided subject takes on a whole new life when presented in a fun and exciting game as players race to the finish.  Your children are sure to grasp a better understanding of the difference between the parts of speech when engaged in this exciting, educational E-game. Grades 3-7.  Fun game!!!!

WannaBe™-When I Grow Up I Want to Be an Artist - You can see a sample here.  $1 ( currently $8.95)  This is from the same series as the Missionary book at the top of the list. However, this one is no longer available for $1, now it is available for the regular price. Still a great value, but I am thankful I only paid $1

2011 Journal Writing Prompts Vertical Calendars - $1 ( currently $8.95)  You can see a sample here. Looking for creative writing ideas? Want to include journal writing into your daily routine? Struggling with a bit of writer’s block? In this ebook you will find thought-provoking ideas, inspiration, and just plain fun writing prompts.  This is the other item that is back at it's regular price, and it really is a gem....


Please take some time to see what is available. I am sure there are some gems that will help you stretch your educational dollars!

Be well and God Bless!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Creating Thirst Thursdays

As I mentioned in the inaugural post of Creating Thirst Thursdays,  as a homeschool mother, I know that I often place a great deal of pressure on myself, and on my children. I often feel that we have to academically exceed our peers. That the children's behavior must always be exemplary, and that we as a family must not have any stresses or issues. Because the world is looking at us,  as homeschoolers, and if we have any problems, many people on the outside, will attribute them to homeschooling. That is a great deal of pressure for a family, let alone a child to be under.

The truth of the matter is that we are a regular family with regular issues, and we would have these regular issues whether our children were enrolled in school, or homeschooled.  However, I may know that in my head, I at times succumb  to the pressures.. which means I have high expectations of my children.  And when that happens, you ( I ) can be a parent that is so busy correcting, teaching, guiding, molding, that you (we)  are not taking the time to actually enjoy your child. Often times, our children, will begin to feel like that they cannot do anything right, because we are always wanting to guide them. It's like that saying , "You cannot see the forest for the trees."  We can sometimes get so involved that we cannot see all the good things that our kids are doing.

When was the last time you complimented your child, and meant it?

This week, your assignment is to spend time just 'hanging out' with your child/ren. Playing games, out in the park, swimming, engaging in something. No fixing, no correcting.. spend time talking to your child about what is important to THEM. The goal here is nurture deeper conversation with your child. If this is new for you and your child, this may take some time. Don't give up, just keep at it. Keep your defenses down, and allow them to talk to you, without worry of repercussions.

Next, take this same idea to the next level. Not only, are you not going to fix them, you are going to concentrate on all the things that you are proud of. What have they accomplished lately? What is it about them, that makes you proud? Tell them! Make these times a routine. By doing that, your child will begin to drop their walls, they will trust you, feel safe to be who God created them to be, not who YOU think they should be. I will be praying for all of you. I pray that something here will help you and your child connect in a more meaningful way. I would love to hear about it.. leave me some comments! God Bless you and your family.

What About Wednesdays:Our Homeschool Story

We are about to begin our 12th year of homeschooling. I can't believe it! We are about to graduate our first 2 graduates in May/June of 2012. How did we get here?

Well, it all began with our oldest who has several special needs.  He has autism and epilepsy. When we first began to notice issues, we spoke with our neurologists on how to tackle the speech issues we were seeing, and they recommended the local school district.

At that time, our son was 3 years old. We did contact the school district and had a battery of tests administered and came up with many answers to the questions we had about our son.  We enrolled him in the early intervention classes, and then into Kindergarten (twice) and First Grade. During this time, he started a diet to help control his epilepsy ( The Ketogenic Diet) which was very stringent, and required a one on one aide. So, for 4 of the years he was in the school system he had a one on one aide.  These aides actually served dual purposes, they helped our son, but they also helped inside the classroom. The classroom teachers were always thankful for the help of the aide, especially since they usually had more than our child that had special needs.

Most of the time that my son ( and younger two sons) were in the school, we had a great experience. We were blessed by wonderful teachers and aides. However, it was becoming  abundantly clear that my son had specific needs, and there were very specific ways to meet those needs. And the school district heads, more specifically the head of Special Education, refused to approve those treatments.  The law states that each child, no matter their needs, are to receive Free and Appropriate Education ( FAPE), however, what I learned during this process is that what I believe to be FAPE and what the school district believes to be FAPE are two very different things. And if they say no, then my child gets the short end of the stick so to speak.

Now, I know that I could have fought tooth and nail, and I very well may have won, however, what we decided to do was to throw the energy I would have thrown into a long and costly legal battle, into educating my children. This was an easy decision for us to make, for several reasons.

First, we worked diligently with our children at home, and we were seeing tremendous progress with the what we were implementing.  I had taken a class during that last year the kids were in school, called Brain Gym. We implemented all that I had learned, and the growth we were seeing was amazing.  Also, 'homework' time took him hours, so we knew that we would be able to put forth the effort to help him. (and our other children)

Second, at this time, my husband was taking college courses, and seeing the product of the Public School System, and it was a scary sight!

Putting all of this together we embarked on our homeschool journey. Our first couple of years, we began with a Charter School. A Charter School is a school that has a charter with a local school district, or district from a neighboring county. These schools are publicly funded. However, there is more freedom than a traditional brick and mortar school. We lasted with them for about 3 years. However, we found that we did not need their services any longer. We found that the amount of  'paperwork' (red tape) that was required was not conducive with our learning styles, and took too much time away form actual learning.

And that is when we had set out on our own!  We have been filing our own affidavit with the state of California every year since then.  When you file your own affidavit you are declaring your home a private school ( this is one of the legal options of homeschooling in the state of California).

We have, all in all, loved our homeschooling journey and path. Our family has been very active with homeschool supports groups since our very early days of our homeschool journey. Something I would highly recommend for anyone looking into homeschooling.  Now that my children are in high school, I think that homeschool support groups are just as important. Teens need to feel like they are a part of a community. For us, that is our homeschool group and our church family. We are very active in both of these arenas.

Now comes the interesting part! We are doing something this year that I never thought that we would be doing, and that is signing up with what is called a PSP ( Private School Satellite Program), yet another option of legally homeschooling in California.  I have never wanted to do this in the past. I have often felt like I do not need to pay someone for something that I can do, which is keep records. Because, with these programs, you the parent are still responsible for purchasing all of your own curriculum, you are doing all of the teaching.  You are even doing all the grading, so I never saw the purpose. Until now!  Now, I have high schoolers, who want to play sports. That is the one thing that I cannot offer them. They are very athletic, and the church leagues, while they are fun, they simply are not challenging. So,  now I am finding myself taking a new path I did not expect to find myself on.  Even now as I type up this post, I am sitting a coffee shop, using their free air conditioning ( and wi-fi) as I wait for my daughter who is at her volleyball practice... in the heat of summer...  oh how my life is changing.

I am looking forward to see what these next several years will bring as we wrap up our homeschooling. In the next 3 years I will have 4 of my children graduated, and I will only have my youngest left.... I can sense the season changing around our home!

While, I would have never thought I would have homeschooled m kids, when I was first having them, I have loved our journey together! It has been a great joy to have the opportunity to have such a hands on role in their life. It has been filled with joy, tears, frustration and laughter! But all in all... we did it together!

One thing helped us get through the rough days.. well actually, even the not so rough days too is; Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. While I may have never thought I would be homeschooling. The Lord knew! And He gave me the heart to homeschool and He enabled me to do so! And for that I am so grateful!

I give God all the glory! Anything that we have accomplished as a family, it was with His power and enabling!

Happy (Homeschooling) Trails!


PS.. I know, this is an unbelievably long post.... sorry... but I must admit it was great to write it all down in one place!

PPS.... I included photos from our homeschool journey.. just to document all the fun we had!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Graphics Toolbox Tuesdays: Photo Editing

We have all taken the photos that we wish were just a little better. That happened last week for me.

My kids went to camp, and we took our Annual picture in the front yard. We were running late, so we really did not have time for a 'do over' picture.  The kids looked fabulous, but just as I snapped, I noticed that our neighbors family walked behind the kids, and ultimately ended up in the shot.  Here is the photo below.....


Now the photo isn't horrible, I just wish we did not have background people. However, with Graphics Toolbox, I don't have to just live with that picture.... I can take those people out!

And that is exactly what I did!


With a few simple steps.. I was able to wash those background people right out of the picture!  By using the cloning tool, I was able to extend the bushes that are behind the walking people. As well as the street and curb.

While I was at it, I thought I would touch up the grass. I took a shadow on both the bottom right and left hand corners.  And along the left hand side, I also touched up a dead patch of grass ( near my daughters elbow). So now it looks like a lovely green lawn!

So after just a few moments, I now have the photo I wanted! showcasing, my wonderful children!

Our family has enjoyed using Graphics Toolbox for so many different types of projects. From educational, to crafting, to photo editing.. and much more! Keeping checking in here, for more projects, small and large..

Visit our website to see all the awesome hobby applications that are available!

Here you can see another one of our short videos showcasing some of the features you will have at your fingertips with Graphics Toolbox.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Southern Young Living Mondays: Citrus Oils

For the month of July Young Living has a special that is featuring their Citrus Oils line.

Free Citrus Oils!

Place a single order of 180 PV* or more from July 1–31 and receive a free 15-ml bottle of grapefruit,lemon, orange, and tangerine—a retail value of $66.12!

Celebrate the warm weather with four of Young Living’s most aromatic and versatile essential oils. The invigorating scents, refreshing flavors, and dietary benefits of citrus oils make them must-have products this summer season!

Grapefruitlemonorange, and tangerine each have a unique aroma and energize the mind and body. Diffuse frequently throughout your home or at work and notice how good you feel throughout the day.

Citrus oils also taste great when used in summer recipes. Replace flavored waters—which often contain sugar or artificial sweeteners—with this healthy alternative. Fill your stainless-steel water bottle with 5–10 drops of any citrus oil or a combination of these oils, add a teaspoon of Blue Agave, shake, and enjoy!

If shorts or swimwear are in your summer plans, know that citrus oils promote the breakdown of cholesterol and fats in the blood. These oils are often used in conjunction with diet and exercise programs to assist in weight management.**

Listen to this month's product education audio!

All of these citrus oils are high in d-limonene, which is clinically proven to combat cancer and protect the liver.  As we consume d-limonene it builds up in our fatty tissues, making it especially beneficial in reducing the risk of cancer in the breast and liver.
Orange - A couple of drops each morning in a one-ounce shot of NingXia Red.  Remarkably anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumoral based on it’s high 85%-96% limonene chemistry, orange oil has combated tumor growth in over 50 clinical studies. (SOURCE: Essential Oils for Physical Health & Well-Being by Linda L. Smith)

Lemon - Diffused in the air, this is a great way to refresh your home and kill airborne microbials.  Besides Thieves and Purification, lemon is my go-to oil for daily diffusing.  It's especially good to diffuse while sleeping to get rid of a cough.

Grapefruit - After shampooing my hair and towel drying it, I like to massage grapefruit oil into my scalp.  Its revitalizing and makes my scalp feel really clean.  I do this while my hair is damp otherwise it can appear greasy.

Tangerine - Another favorite for adding to NR, I also drink this in my water or wear it as a perfume.  A 1995 Mie University study found that citrus fragrances boosted immunity, induced relaxation and reduced depression.

As Debra Raybern states in Gentle Babies, citrus oils can be photosensitive, meaning don't coat your skin in them and go into direct sunlight for an hour.  However, like all Young Living essential oils, they are perfectly safe to use topically.

For more information on Young Living Essential Oils please visit my website!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is solely for educational purposes.  It is not meant to diagnose, treat or mitigate any health condition.  As always you should consult the health professional of your choice for specific health information. The author, products mentioned or Young Living is not responsible for its mis-use.