Category Archives: special needs

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

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!

Show Your American Pride With SA Co.

The 4th of July may have passed but we can show our American Pride any time of the year! Mr. Awesome and I have been working outside a lot lately. So much in fact that we both have been sunburned on the top of sunburn even though we’ve tried to be careful. I even sunburned my scalp and forehead with a bandana on!

sa hat

He had seen a hat that he really liked and finally found it on Amazon. This will help keep him shaded while we are outside working. I may need to go ahead and get me one as well as I know that we will be spending a lot more time outside in the near future because we have a lot of work to get done…  I’m hoping to share what we’ve been up to really soon but for now, it’s a secret!

With all the news surrounding Nike and the American Flag issue, I thought this might be a good way for some of us to show our pride while keeping cool this summer. This hat was one of many available through the SA Company. Be sure to check out their site to see all of the cool products they have available. Also, make sure you check out the Promo Codes tab for special deals and savings!


**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!

 

Plastic Free July Challenge

I read about this Plastic-Free Challenge earlier this week but haven’t had a chance to post about it until now… If you’ve been following the blog you’ll know that I’ve mentioned that we’ve been extraordinarily busy this past couple of months and hopefully we’ll be able to share what we’ve been up to sometime later this month… it’s really exciting!

Back to the post though… part of my New Year’s goal was to start using less plastic and disposable items in our house. I know we probably won’t be a zero waste household anytime soon but I know that we can have really cut back on single-use plastic items in our home.

Just the other day I realized that our plastic storage containers have been disappearing. Where have they gone? Well, that’s a question that may never be answered but I do know that I really need to replace them. I’ve been looking at a few Plastic-Free options on Amazon and Walmart but haven’t decided what to get yet but I will need to find something soon.

I know that some things will not be replaced soon like our favorite lunch boxes but I have found some replacements for some time in the future. I have also been looking for non-plastic/non-glass replacements to the kids’ water bottles that they use at home. We do try our best to use reusable shopping bags when we go for groceries. I’ve even been suggesting that they need to add an option for using your own bags to the Walmart Grocery Pickup service but I don’t know if that will happen anytime soon.

Here are a few ideas of things we’ve replaced recently:

I know that there are some items that might hard to replace but there are new solutions coming out every day. Making these changes one at a time will make a difference and you may find that it saves you money as well!

Join the Plastic Free Challenge Today!

So many places around us are putting bans on plastics as well so this is something that everyone really needs to adjust to. It’s crazy to see the numbers on the plastic pollution crisis and our family wants to do our part to help out with this. With the Plastic Free Challenge, you can choose where you will be going plastic free, what you choose to refuse, and how long you choose to go plastic free.

This week I got an email from Life Without Plastic about their Plastic-Free Tooth Tabs which can replace those plastic toothpaste tubes and are packaged in a paper box. They also talked about their new Plastic-Free Lunch Boxes which were funded on Kickstarter. They also have a wide variety of Plastic-Free Containers for packing those delicious lunches in.

Take the Plastic Free July Challenge with www.goingzerowaste.com

Take the Plastic Free July Challenge with www.goingzerowaste.com

Here are a few more interesting articles I’ve found about this topic:

 

It’s not too late to join the Plastic Free Challenge Today!


**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 Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Celebrate National Anti-Boredom Month with help from Samko & Miko!

Did you know that July is National Anti-Boredom Month?

I didn’t know this until a few days ago as I saw it mentioned in an article as I was skimming through my facebook at a super fast rate. Then I was reminded of it again yesterday when going through my numerous emails…  the number of emails I get is crazy!

I can see why this would be a great month for finding ways to beat boredom as I’m sure there are a lot of parents hearing those famous words “I’m so bored…. there’s nothing to do!”. My eyes seem to do an automatic eye roll when I hear it from my kiddos. There’s always something you can do, right?

Here’s a couple of articles with some great Anti-Boredom suggestions for you to check out:

Also, don’t forget to check out the great variety of toys and games that are available at Samko & Miko Toys:

 

National Geographic 8x21 Compact Roof-Prism BinocularsUltimate BoomerangDisney pixar Cars 5 Pieces Gardening Set

Discovery HD Camera

You can also check out my post, July Holidays, for more fun and unusual holiday ideas to celebrate. This post hasn’t been updated so a couple of the dates may be a little different for this year.


 

**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 Pexels from Pixabay

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!

2019 Meal Plans

These are some of our most recent meal plans after converting some of our favorite recipes to be healthier with inspiration from Trim Healthy Mama. I find it easier to plan out my meals so I can make fewer trips to the grocery store. I always hate it when it’s almost dinner time and I have no idea what I should make. A little planning goes a long way to help me keep my sanity… well what’s left of it that is.

I also find it easier to go ahead and plan a day or time to prep some of the items ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute. I will boil eggs, cook chicken and ground beef, prep veggies and all ahead of time so that when it comes time to make dinner it seems to go so much easier.

When I have time I also try to make a couple of extra batches of our favorites so I can put some in the freezer for emergency or quick meals. I’ll try to include some tips and tricks along with the menu plans to make your life a little easier too.

Meal Plan: May 26 – June 1, 2019

Do you have a wanderer?

I know I just recently posted about a bad dream I had but yet again I have another topic that we really don’t want to think about. Just recently a story made the news in our area about a young child who had wandered out and the result was a tragedy.

The babysitter had fallen asleep and the little one wandered out the door without her knowing. In our area we have a lot of retention ponds as we have a lot of wet areas and when it rains the extra water needs somewhere to go. Many of these ponds are fenced in but there are many that are not.

This little guy somehow managed to find his way to a pond that wasn’t fenced in and he fell in. No one knew he was missing until it was too late. A family has lost something that can never be replaced and a whole community is grieving.

The news has countless stories of children who have wandered away from home. Sometimes they are searching for days before they find them. Other times they never find them at all and the searches are called off. For every happy ending, it seems that there are a few with tragic endings.

I know how hard it is when you have young ones. They love to explore and they love to be outside. Even older children love these things too but generally, they have been taught some safety rules. Then you some of the special needs children, like one of mine, who are drawn to the water. They will do anything to get to the water and all they can think about is how much it is to play in the water. It can be very challenging to help them overcome their urges. Continue reading Do you have a wanderer?