Category Archives: homeschooling

Life Without Plastic Back To School Essentials

Where has the summer gone? It’s so hard to believe that many kids will be headed back to school soon. I know we’ve been plugging along with our schooling here… slowly but surely we are getting through our On The Banks Of Plum Creek Academic Adventure as we’ve had some unexpected chaos come up this summer… more about that soon.

Many kids will be needed packed lunches for one reason or another and as you know we did the Plastic Free Challenge last month and we did really well with even though I didn’t get to post a lot about it. Just because July is over it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop using so many one time use plastics. I remember the lunch packing days with the plastic sandwich bags and all but over at Life Without Plastic they have all kinds of plastic-free alternatives for lunches. Why not check them out and see if you find anything that interests you? Change starts with one thing at a time and I know in our house I have been slowly replacing plastic items with more durable glass and/or metal items.

Heres a few of the items they have available on the site:

  • Container Back to School New Everyday Container: The perfect sandwich and lunch container. It fits neatly in a backpack, is made of 18-8 food grade 304 stainless steel and is completely airtight. It is the perfect size for a sandwich and a side salad, a sandwich, and chips, a large salad… you name it.
  • Lunch BagWool Insulated Natural Lunch Bag – Olive Trim: (also available in orange trim) This bag has been loved by our customers for years now. The bag and lining are 100% unbleached certified organic cotton and the insulation is 100% wool. This one has an olive trim that is hand-dyed with all-natural, non-toxic vegetable dye.
  • Stainless Steel Airtight Watertight Food Storage Container – 8cm: The perfect size for yogurt, dips, a little snack of fruit, you name it. Lid & container made of 18-10 food grade 316 stainless steel. Safe for you and safe for the environment.
  • Stainless Steel Airtight Watertight Food Storage Container – 14 cm: For little meals, salads, bigger snacks, this container is our go-to size. It is made of a high-quality 18-10 food grade 316 stainless steel. Airtight and perfect for school.
  • SPORK  Stainless Steel Foldable Spork: Its size and convenient organic cotton carrying case make it the ideal school lunch accessory. Our Spork (Spoon + Fork) is made of 18-8 food grade 304 stainless steel; pouch made of certified organic cotton and printed with all-natural, non-toxic vegetable-based inks.
  • PPC Reusable Thermal Insulated Bottle PPC Reusable Thermal Insulated Bottle:  The bottle is double-walled with a lid that is vacuum-sealed to prevent leaks and keep your beverage exactly the temperature you want it. It keeps drinks chilled up to 24 hours and warm for up to 12 hours. The best part about this bottle is that it is safe; its 100% BPA-free and phthalate-free making it healthy for your day-to-day use.

They have a ton of great products so why don’t you head on over to the site and check them out… you may still have enough time to order a few items before school starts back too and your family can be a leader in the Plastic-Free movement!

Want some more plastic-free/zero waste ideas? Check out my Zero Waste Ideas Pinterest Board for some great ideas on ways to go plastic-free!


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission. You can find a full list of our affiliate links HERE.

 –Thank you

Cozi Family Organizer + 2019 Back to School Planner!

You guys have been read about how much I love our online Cozi Calendar. It helps to keep this crazy Momma from losing her everloving mind! (Well, for the most part it does.) I love that I can access it from anywhere and I can add users to it so EVERYONE can access it for doctor’s appointments, outings, and Mr. Awesome’s favorite thing – dinner plans.

It’s so easy to signup and set up that anyone can do it. They have been adding lots of great new features to make it even simpler as well. They have a ton of checklists and such that you can access to help keep your chaotic life organized… if it can help us, it can help anyone! Check out this new Back-to-School Planner!

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Now FREE with Cozi – the snazzy 2019 Back-to-School Planner. Cozi is the free and easy-to-use family organizing app that keeps everyone in sync. Get the free app and make this the most organized school year ever! #promo

If you are using your computer then try this link:

Create a free Cozi account and you’ll also get the 2019 Back to School Planner!


**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission. You can find a full list of our affiliate links HERE.

 –Thank you

Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game

Just in case you haven’t read about the Wildcraft game or the Learning Herbs books in any of my previous posts I’m going to share this with you now. My kids have absolutely been loving the Herb Studies we’ve incorporated into our Kirby’s Kids Academic Adventures. Recently I came across the Herb Fairies book series that they are enjoying as well. When I purchased the book series Amazon had recommended this game, Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game, as others had also purchased it. I did buy the game and my kids love it!

Continue reading Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game

Kick The Summer Blues With Some Learning Adventures

Are your kids complaining that they are bored yet? Well, mine pretty much know better than to tell me they are bored because Momma will find lots for them to do like cleaning out the van or the stinky trash can… lol. We have some fun things also like working on our Kirby’s Kids Academic Adventures.

My kids also love doing unit studies as they love learning. Whether they are asking about the stripes on tigers or how a robot works I can usually find a unit study for over at UnitStudy.com. Right now they have a few special going on that you might want to check out for your kiddos or grandkids to help keep their brains from turning to mush over the summer vacation.

What are some things your kids have been interested in learning about this summer?


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!Summer-Sensations-Cover-1_compact

Celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day

Did you know it’s National Sugar Cookie Day? I didn’t until just a few minutes ago. I’m not sure if it made our July Holidays list but I do know my kids love helping out in the kitchen and we have so many great memories from making cookies and such.

The folks over at UnitStudy.com are having a FLASH SALE on their Crunchy Cookies unit study… it’s just $5.oo for today only! So hurry and grab this deal so you can get started making some great memories with your kids and grandkids today! While you are over there check out some of the other great deals they have as well.

In case you don’t want to grab that deal you can check out our cookie recipes HERE.


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!

Emergency Preparedness: Water Purification with Berkey

As many of you know we have entered Hurricane Season where we live. (The season officially began on June 1, 2019, and will end on November 30, 2019.) Hurricanes and other natural disasters can wreak havoc all around us and cause many serious issues so it is important to always be prepared.

One of the most important things you need in the event of a natural disaster is clean drinking water. Boy, do I know how fast water flies off the shelves and how hard it is to get if you wait until the last minute. (The last time that happened we had no choice but to wait to the last minute as we had no transportation at the time.) I try my best to stay stocked up but in this little house, there is only so much water we can hide under beds and such.

We have been washing out milk jugs and filling them with water. These have been placed in the bottom of a big chest freezer we have out in a shed. If an emergency hits they will help to keep the freezer cold and can provide us with water for drinking and cooking so I feel pretty comfortable that we would be okay if we had a power outage of a few days but more than 4 or 5 days would be pushing it.

We do have a generator that we can, and have, hooked up to run the water pump but you never know when something like that will fail or if we were to run out of fuel it may be hard to get out to get more for a time as the roads around us are frequently flooded after major storms. We needed a better plan, or at least I thought we did.

Use Code KIRBY5 for a 5% discount on your order TODAY!

I have been looking at the Berkey Water Systems for quite a while now and really began to take an interest in them again recently. After debating and thinking about it I finally decided to go ahead and take the plunge… yes, they can be a bit expensive but they do have some great ways to save money with the Berkey Filter Scratch & Dent Sale which I had planned to take advantage of and may take advantage of in the future as I can see that these would make wonderful gifts too!

However recently we have been having some water issues here. We have hard water and we have a system for that but the system has been malfunctioning. The water has a slight smell and taste which they have assured us is nothing bad… they aren’t the ones drinking it though. It also has an orange color to it that has been discoloring EVERYTHING from the toilet bowl to the water bottles. YUCK! It made me sick just to look at it.

After waiting patiently for the system to begin functioning properly again, which it is working better but doesn’t quite seem to be at 100% yet, I decided ENOUGH was ENOUGH. I can’t let my family drink this water any longer! I mean the investment in the system is for our health and well being. The cost when compared to the smaller units you can buy for your faucet will be an even better value in the long run. (I believe the estimate the cost to be less than $0.02 a gallon! Now that’s a great value!)

Well, I still wanted to check out the facts and make sure that this was what we really needed. After checking out all the information they have on the website and reading about the different purification reports they have listed on the filter pages I was convinced that this would be the best thing for us.

Click here to learn about why the Berkey Water Filters are so good!

They have a variety of sizes and I believe we have the largest size available (the Crown Berkey) as I know we go through a lot of water. The way this filtered water tastes makes me think I need to invest in some more black filters too so it can be ready faster as we are sure to be drinking even more water from now on! It is a very noticeable difference in both the look and taste of the water. The more filters the faster we can have purified water. Yes, there is a difference between filtered and purified water and boy does it show!

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Not to mention that you can use it to clean virtually any kind of water. I’ve read reviews about people using stream water, pond water, etc. I know they do have suggestions for treating this kind of water before filtering just to be safe so you would probably want to check that out beforehand. This is really good to know though as things can get quite desperate in emergency situations.  Berkey filters can remove 200+ contaminants from water and they have the certified lab results to prove it too!

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They also have several bundles right now that can help you to save even more money! Not only do they have systems for your drinking water but they have a shower filter that is getting rave reviews! They are currently sold out but you can have your name added to the list to be notified when they are back in stock. I did this and I can’t wait to be able to order mine!

They shipped our order super fast too and it was so easy to set up. I had the system set up in less than 20 minutes! Yep, it was that fast. Getting the first batch of water run through the system did take a bit longer though but this morning we had clean, fresh water to drink. The kids were happy that it was clear and I am happy knowing that it is so much healthier for everyone! I really can’t wait to start making some of my Trim Healthy Mama drinks with this!

Don’t forget to use Code

KIRBY5 for a 5% discount on your order TODAY!

Here’s a few pics of our system as it arrived and was set up. I was so excited to see it out on the porch when we came home from a dance I stayed up after midnight to set it up!


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy-weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission. This means that we can keep bringing you great recipes, ideas, and tips for FREE! Click HERE for a full disclaimer.

 –Thank you!

Super Busy Start To The Summer

Oh my goodness, the past few weeks have been so super busy… but then again it seems that we are always so super busy anymore which is something I definitely want to work on because this Momma is exhausted! Anyway, hopefully, we will see the rewards of some of the projects we’ve been on and will be able to share them here soon.

The past couple of weeks we have been doing some major cleaning and organizing around here. I started in the storage shed where I bought a couple of big shelves from Sam’s Club when they had a special going on for Memorial Day.

 

 

The kids wanted to make bunk beds out of the shelves and I’ve seen some Pinterest ideas where they have used them as such but I needed them for organization. They did go together fairly easily which was a good thing. I put both shelves together one morning and then worked on the shed for a couple of days. Here is a rather embarrassing picture of the shed before:

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As you can see, it was nearly impossible to find anything without moving a ton of junk beforehand.

And after:

 

I can find my square dance outfits easily and the kids love having space where they can play with some of the neat homeschool resources they haven’t seen before. I do need to sort through a lot of stuff and donate a bit but I am so happy that I finally have all of my homeschool stuff in one place! Really, you just don’t know how happy that makes this Momma! Continue reading Super Busy Start To The Summer

Meet Our New Berkey!

Oh my gosh! I was so excited last night when we got home from the dance. I had a couple of big boxes sitting on my recently cleaned off porch… another story for another day as we’ve been doing a lot of changes around here and may have even more to come.

Ya’ll know that we’ve really been trying to make some healthier choices around here and one of those is to drink more water. Now we did drink our fair share but I know that I need to increase my water intake a bit because water is so vital to being healthy and I want to set a good example for my kiddos. I just had a harder time with it for a couple of reason.

Our water is hard water and even with the water system, it has had a kind of smell and taste. Well, to me it does. There are a few people who don’t seem to notice it at all but I grew up on spring water from the mountains and this water is not spring water! On top of the smell and taste, it has had a bit of an orangey color to it… GROSS! TRIPLE GROSS!

Related image Continue reading Meet Our New Berkey!

Are you unknowingly supporting a zombie factory?

Alarming research shows that screens are shrinking our brains. Using one for just two hours per day can have an impact on brain function.

With children averaging 7 hours/day of screen use and checking their phone 85 times/day… they’re addicted.

“Digital dementia” is a viral epidemic destroying our children’s brains. If your child suffers from brain fog, poor concentration is hunched over a device or spends more than two hours/day on their screens, then you must join me for Digital Dementia Summit!

Krista Burns wants to help you raise healthy, thriving children in the digital age. She has teamed up with the world’s most renowned brain and health experts to bring you cutting-edge information about preventing digital dementia in your family. Continue reading Are you unknowingly supporting a zombie factory?

Badgers, Butterflies, and Sourdough Bread

It seems that every week is a crazy week around here lately and I know that part of that is probably my fault for trying to squeeze so much into my days. It’s definitely a juggling act around here with the kids, homeschooling, square dancing, blogging and the list of things that need to be done to keep up house and I then I add in things like trying to revamp some of our favorite recipes to make them healthier, working a couple of part-time jobs from home to earn a little extra income and trying to start up my own notary business. Yeah, no wonders things are so crazy right? Not to mention I’ve signed up for a multitude of online classes like the Positive Parenting Solutions which has really helped out when I remember to use the tips and tools I’ve been learning about.

Sigh… parenting is hard. When you add the special challenges of raising two special needs children (ODD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and a few others) to the mix it can be even harder on some days. It may be because I am making some progress with our class that I am seeing a little bit more rebellion or ‘testing of the waters’ but whatever the reason it has been quite the challenge here lately. It is enough on some days to make a Momma wanna through up her hands in defeat but I know that God is here and He is going to help us all get through this.

The kids have had a blast with this week with our newest Academic Adventure using the Little House on the Prairie book series. We’ve learned about dugout homes, even a whole town that lives underground in Australia, and some other interesting facts about the strange animal that Laura encountered on one of her adventures.

They’ve also learned some important lessons about obeying rules and right now I have a couple of little girls who have lost some privileges and are under constant supervision similar to what Laura experienced at the beginning of our On the Banks of Plum Creek Week 1 Lesson Plans.

The boys also enjoyed learning with Ziggy as they started their All About Reading Level Pre-reading lessons. They also enjoyed reading  The Very Hungry Caterpillar which I thought was a good book to go along with our lessons this week.

 

Another book they are really enjoying is Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature which are reading through as part of our science lessons. It is full of facts and illustrations that they love. The jacket also unfolds to make a huge poster for them to look at. The next best part of their science lessons was looking at bugs with their Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars(pictured above)

We haven’t finished all of this week’s lessons as this week has been a bit busy and it was hard for some people to get back on the school routine. We still have a few like skills lessons which include our new Herb Fairies books and some dog training lessons from Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. These might not be things you’d normally expect to find in your school lessons but the kids asked for them so I have included them to keep them interested in learning. Plus we can all benefit from these lessons and I find them pretty enjoying myself.

The best part of our homeschool experience this week is at the bottom of the post so you can keep reading or scroll through to find out what it was.

Getting back the week we’ve had, we had an amazing day at the zoo last weekend followed by a birthday party at my sister’s house. The kids had a lot of fun and a bit too much sugar that day. We had to deal with the after effects for a few days afterward. No fun!

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On Monday we had our usual square dance and then back home. Tuesday I decided to make a grocery run with my favorite Walmart Grocery Pickup service. Mr. Awesome had announced that he was starting a new diet after I had already made up my grocery list so that meant we needed to run into the store for a couple of last minute items. I already had the menu planned out as well so I just decided to tweak a few of the recipes to make them a little more diet-friendly and healthier for everyone. Be on the lookout for some upcoming recipes that we have been trying out.

I remembered that I had bought a couple of Trim Healthy Mama books (Trim Healthy Mama Plan and Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook) before so I dug them out and started skimming over them a bit. I also bought the last book, Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table, as I kept finding references to some recipes that weren’t available in the original book. There are several recipes that I want to try and I have been adding some things like collagen, acv, psyllium husk flakes, sunflower lecithin, nutritional yeast to some of my recipes for a little extra health benefit.

I know we can’t undo all these years of unhealthy eating in a day but we can make one change at a time to become a little healthier every day. I also know that my kids will be learning how to eat healthier and hopefully, they will pass some of these habits down to their kids. I’ve added some healthier options to our breakfast menus like omelets with mushrooms and a side of sauteed spinach. While Mr. Awesome passed on the spinach at breakfast I did manage to sneak in some greens and A TON of veggies at dinner time. That’s not potatoes on that plate but you wouldn’t know it if I hadn’t told you.

I’ve also done a lot of food prep so that we would have some healthier choices when we needed a quick meal or snack. We made a few boiled eggs and our own bagged salads for the week. I made one bag special for Mr. Awesome as he said he wasn’t ‘Popeye’  and he didn’t want spinach in his salad.

We cut all the lettuces, a mixture of iceberg and romaine, into bite-size pieces. Then we washed everything and spun it dry in the salad spinner. (You want to make sure it is as dry as possible before bagging it.) We layered a couple of big baggies with a paper towel and carefully placed our lettuce and spinach inside. Then we squeezed out all the air and sealed them. They have been in the fridge all week and still look pretty. (You will also want to change out the paper towel frequently.) The kids really enjoyed practicing some of the kitchen skills they’ve learned and it seems to make them more interested in trying out new things when they are involved in the process.

I also decided to try my hand at making some sourdough bread again. My first starter died when I neglected it a few months ago when I was sick. I wasn’t really feeling like attempting my own so I ordered some San Francisco Sourdough Starter from Amazon. It was quite easy to get the activation started by using the instructions provided. We’ve named our starter ‘Fran’ and she seems to be doing well. We’ve got some dough rising right now so maybe we’ll have a bit of sourdough bread to go with dinner tonight.

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The kids are really excited about our new ‘sourdough baby’ and they keep checking up on her to make sure she isn’t hungry … lol. They even wanted to try out a new recipe for muffins using some of the leftover sponge we had from the bread dough. Here’s a couple of pictures of the batter and the finished product:

This recipe still needs a little bit of tweaking but I did manage to use some whole wheat flour with these muffins and I snuck some greens in there as well! The kids said they liked them but personally, I think they need a little something more before I want to share the recipe.

I was also excited to get my Grove order this week as I ordered several items I’ve never tried before. I did get the room spray for FREE and I love that it comes in a reusable glass bottle. You can even order the concentrated sprays to refill it. 

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The body wash smells amazing and the brushes have helped out a lot with some of the cleaning we’ve been doing around the house. I bought the washing machine cleaner to help get rid of the mildew on the refrigerator seals … yuck. It has helped somewhat but it may need to be used several times to get rid of it completely. I may cave and get some bleach to get rid of it because I just really hate seeing it.

And now for the best part of our week! We had gotten the Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden with 2 Live Cups of Caterpillars & Feeding Kit at Easter and the kids have really enjoyed watching their little caterpillars grow up. I don’t know if you can see in the first picture but they were small enough to fit on my pinky nail but boy did they grow quickly.

The kids have been excited to observe the whole process but they were also very excited to let them go. This was easier said than done as a couple of them didn’t want to leave their little home. A couple of them have been spotted hanging out near the pond so we still get to see them just not as often as we did before. The kids are begging to this again.

Well, I guess I better finish up here as the boys are begging me to ‘let the dough out of the bowl’ so they can work with it. They already have some plans for bread and jelly when it gets finished!

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We just want to wish everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day and we hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

Remember that sometimes motherhood, or even parenthood, is not the way we had it pictured that it would be and we can get overwhelmed and stressed but it is so much more rewarding than we could ever hope that it would have been!

Here’s a picture of our finished bread:

**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!

 

Cover image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

How much time do your kids spend on the screen each day?

Overall 1.8 billion people own smartphones and use their devices on a daily basis. Some studies estimate that an average person checks their screen 150 times a day.

And, data shows that nearly 70% of 11 to 12-year-old kids use a mobile phone; 90 percent by the age of 14 (Williams, 2016).

Developmental patterns due to technology utilization have drastically changed, and society is suffering from the epidemic of postural decline for it. To offset the ill health effects of sensory mismatch associated with digital dementia, it is of utmost importance to understand the brain-based presentation of these patients.

That’s why I invite you to join me at The Digital Dementia Summit!

Continue reading How much time do your kids spend on the screen each day?

On The Banks Of Plum Creek Adventure Weekly Guide Links

Click Here for On The Banks Of Plum Creek Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links Only.

How we use these lesson plans:

Our school week is usually completed in 4 days. We use a Loop Schedule where we work for a designated amount of time on each subject before moving on to the next. After their work is completed for the day the kids are allowed to have independent studies were they can study whatever their little hearts desired.

Our 5th day is an optional day that we use to complete unfinished work or for other activities as we choose.


Please click HERE for a list of resources that we have purchased from Amazon and other suppliers.

Click on the links below for the series you would like to view/use. I will update these links as we get them finished.

Tip: If you want to go to a certain week/chapter or topic simply push the ‘ctrl’ and the ‘F’ button down together and a small bar will pop up. Type in the week number or chapter number you want and it will take you to it.


1. On the Banks of Plum Creek Week 1 Lesson Plans

Continue reading On The Banks Of Plum Creek Adventure Weekly Guide Links