Sunday, October 16, 2011

Organized Christmas....It's Not A Sugarplum Dream!

Okay. I know there are some women out there that are totally organized. They have lists posted on their kitchen wall (or iPad), their kids are always well-dressed and well-behaved, and their homes look like Better Homes and Gardens just did a photo shoot. That's not me!

I do TRY to be that totally organized woman, but (like most Mom's I know), life happens. However, I have discovered this wonderful website that has helped me stay "on-track" during the holidays for the last 2 years. It is "Organized Christmas", and I've added their button to my blog. The site provides a free 6-week Christmas Countdown that begins Oct. 23, and has FREE printable sheets to help you with everything from cleaning the house and planning your menu, to buying and organizing your gift buying. There are even sheets for homemade gift ideas (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas)! The goal of the plan is to help you complete your holiday preparations by the first week of December so you can relax and enjoy time with your family (and focus on what's really important!). I love the fact you can have the reminders e-mailed to you, and can follow them on Facebook. If you follow my blog, you know I love freebies and can't wait to share my best finds!

In addition to "Organized Christmas", this site is part of the overall "Organized Home" site that has sheets for menu planning, home organization, cutting clutter, and seasonal tune-up tips.  You can find it at: I started my Household Planner last year, and am still "finding my way" with it (the move did not help with our "organization"). But I find that I love having my "go to" notebook even in this era of modern electronics. It's nice to have a planner at your fingertips.

As I posted last time, my Homeschool Planner has been a blessing to us in keeping our school year on track. I believe the "Organized Home" and "Christmas Planner" sites can also help those of you who, like me, are occasionally organizationally challenged.

Take care,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Adjustments

Fun with Pluto on Main Street USA!
Where does the time fly? In the past few months we ordered (and received) our curriculum, put our house on the market, packed up and moved to Tennessee, and took a side trip to Florida for our son's "1st Trip" to Disneyworld! It's been a few months packed full of activities!

Before the packers arrived, I dutifully worked out our first 8 weeks  homeschool schedule. What's that saying about the "best laid schemes of mice and men?" You get the idea...we are a little behind, but not as badly as we might have been if I hadn't pre-planned. Have you haven't tried using a Homeschool Planner?  I definitely recommend trying one. There are several available on-line (both free and for purchase), but this year I purchased "The Old Schoolhouse Planner". I was totally amazed by the amount of information included in the planner, and the way the pages can easily be adapted for families with one or several children. You can learn more about this planner at:

Moving from one state to another, and one home school group to another, has been an adjustment for us. I was a little nervous at first, but the homeschool representative with our local school system was very helpful and the transition was easy. Our new homeschool group is going to be visiting a pumpkin patch next week, so we are excited to participate in that field trip! 

Change can bring growth and new opportunities, and we are looking forward to both in our new home!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ch, Ch, Changes...

I can't believe it has been so long since my last post, and I apologize to those who visit me thru Hip Homeschool Moms! I promise to post more often!! :-)

We've been going through a lot of changes in our household in the past few months. First, my DH has retired from his active duty military career after 20+ years of service. This has been both wonderful and bittersweet for us. Where has the time has gone? As we viewed pictures for his retirement ceremony, we recalled friends and events from assignments past that don't seem so long ago. Of course, time does have a way of speeding by (*sigh*), and this makes me think of the little one sitting beside me as I type.  Like most Mom's, it would be nice to "freeze" moments in time, but spending more time with our children is one of the blessings of home schooling!

This leads me to the next change in our lives -- moving! I've spent much of my spare time the past few weeks cleaning, organizing and packing in preparation for putting our current home on the market and moving back to our home state of Tennessee. This also means moving to a new set of home school requirements. I had a lot of questions answered by attending the local homeschool group's Family Resource Fair this past week, and speaking with some of the group leaders. I am so grateful that home school Mom's are so willing to help one another!

I am currently learning about "umbrella schools" -- a new concept for me.  I am used to annual testing using a nationally standardized test, and turning in the result to our local school superintendent.  Most requirements are similar between the two school systems, but I'm still "learning the ropes" and finalizing my curriculum for 2011-12.

I hope everyone is looking forward to a festive 4th of July with their families!

Take care,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day, FB Party and Art -- Woo Hoo!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone! I just printed out a thematic unit study from for today (which is free this week when you subscribe to their site!). I really like this site because they offer a free downloadable study each week to their subscribers, and the topics are always interesting. This is a good size study for my 1st grader son. It includes a short history of St. Patrick with questions, spelling words, a maze, crossword puzzle, a word search (which he loves!), and a matching game & coloring page. At only 18 pages, it packs a lot in a little package!

I am looking forward to attending the Apologia Facebook Party this evening! I haven't tried their science books yet in our homeschool, but am looking forward to adding them in next year (I've seen the books and am impressed with them). I can't wait to see what information is shared this evening by other homeschool parents and the Apologia team.
My friend, Lexi, of the Pink and Orange Coffee blog ( ) has been inviting me to join her in "Walls of Art Wednesday." This week our homeschool group held a Crafts Fair at the library. For a small fee, each child received 10 tickets which they could redeem for the craft of their choice. My son chose 3 foam/paper plate dinosaurs, a sailing ship, an owl, 2 different dragons, a turtle fan, and 2 more items we'll finish this week at home. I wish I'd remembered to bring a bottle of regular white glue, but I did grab my glue gun and extra glue sticks (which I used while my son "supervised"). I also brought along some extra foam stickers (my son used the letters to put his name on the back of his turtle), and a glue stick which proved totally useless on the foam (once again, really glad I brought the glue gun!).  We'll probably create something "green" today for St Patrick's Day. I know there is a Leprechaun's hat coloring page in the thematic unit study. Maybe we'll make some Leprechaun dust with pistachio pudding while we're at it! (You can find the idea at

Have fun!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Counting My Blessings

This morning I thought of sharing how blessed we were to miss the most severe thunderstorms yesterday evening, or of how my son wanted to turn off all the lights to "keep the lightening from coming inside the house"  -- he doesn't quiet grasp yet that the house is "grounded".  While I was pondering my blog topic, I turned on the morning news...

Like most of you, I was shocked to see the devastation in Japan. My heart aches for all those affected, and the hundreds that surely have been lost in the terrible tsunami that followed the earthquake. I ask that you all join me in praying for the Japanese people, and that we all hug our own children just a little closer today.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yea for Fruits and Veggies

I apologize for not posting lately. After dental surgery (me) and an episode of the stomach flu (my son), I hope to be back on track -- at least as much as possible! LOL

This week started with the inaugural meeting of "Health Nuts", a group organized by a local homeschool Mom to raise awareness of healthy eating, nutrition and food options. Not only are we sharing information and tips with other Moms, but the kids have their own nutrition class. After the first kid's class, my son came home with a calendar and "homework" to track the amount of fruits and veggies he eats daily for the next 2 weeks. He will report back with his calendar at our next meeting. He was so excited and immediately started using his markers to record the fruits and veggies he had eaten for the past 2 days when we got home. He then asked what additional fruits and veggies he could have to add more servings to his calendar! Yippee!! We decided to add a serving of applesauce as a side to his sandwich at lunch, and he helped me blend fruit smoothies with mixed fruit, vanilla Greek yogurt, almond milk and ice cubes to accompany supper last night.

Today I'll focus on adding veggies. I realize I am lucky because my son actually LIKES salad, but it wasn't always this way.  When he was 3 he did not want to eat any veggies except a plain green salad with ranch dressing. Since iceberg lettuce doesn't have very many nutrients, I started substituting green leaf lettuce and slowly mixed in baby spinach leaves. Now that he is older, he is interested in trying new foods. I credit part of this to watching the Food Network, particularly "Worst Cooks In America". He enjoys watching Chef Anne and Chef Robert's creations, and is fascinated by some of the "new" foods and cooking techniques.

Being an avid reader and cookbook lover, I also use books for inspiration. When W was in his "I don't like veggies" phase, I learned about "The Sneaky Chef". She offers lots of terrific and delicious ideas that incorporate fruits and veggies. Some creative ideas include cauliflower in macaroni & cheese, breakfast ice cream (really!), and other "kid friendly" foods fixed with a healthy twist.

Since our nutrition group met at the local library, I also picked up a few kid friendly cookbooks we can use in the kitchen to create meals together. The first 2 books are Mexican cuisine (because most kids love these foods), and the third one is part of the series "Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks".  I selected "Cooking The English Way" by Barbara W. Hill as my first book in the ethnic series because the foods are recognizable and W wanted to try English tea time since seeing it mentioned on a program. I'll post later on making scones, tea and shortbread!

Since today is Fat Tuesday, I think we'll incorporate some okra and tomatoes into gumbo!

Have a terrific day!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homeschool Freebie Sites

A feature I love finding on homeschool blogs are listings of free home school sites. I'm encouraged to find new and different ideas to incorporate into our lessons. This year I decided not to purchase a math book because I found a wonderful free site on-line with math and language arts (spelling, reading comprehension and grammar). The site,, has a wide variety of printable lessons that cover grades 1 to 5. While not all are listed in lesson plan format, the language arts lessons could be used as weekly activities. Math worksheets include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, word problems, graphing, telling time, counting money, fractions and lots more! also has printables for geography, science, social studies and Teacher's helpers (including awards certificates). If you don't mind creating your own lesson plan, this is an excellent resource site for elementary grade worksheets.

Another site that is indispensable is for any planning sheets. She has created so many terrific printables for homeschoolers -- planners, calendars, lists, etc. --  that this site is definitely one to bookmark. You will save so much time in the future by utilizing these forms.

My last "favorite" site for this post is the "Homeschool Freebie of the Day" site (  As the name implies, this changes daily and ranges from downloadable MP3 recordings of stories or old radio shows, out-of-print primers and other educational books, old comics and even current homeschool articles (offered with permission from the author). They are all treasures!  If you are unfamiliar with this site, I recommend visiting them every day for a week. You will be amazed!

There are lots of "freebie" sites to be found just by searching the internet! I also recommend the book "Homeschool Your Child For Free" by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski. I first checked this book out of the library to review, but quickly realized I wanted my own copy as a permanent reference guide. The authors cover topics and sites from preschool through high school graduation. The book list sites that cover educational and life skills as well as school courses and topics.

Whatever your homeschool style, enjoy a wonderful and productive week!