Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life on Fast Forward

Yep, yet again, I have neglected to post any updates for several weeks. Man has it been crazy around here!

First and foremost – I have started a new business venture! A very good friend and fellow homeschool mom and I have started our own online store – Luv2Learn! What's Luv2Learn you ask? You can get all the details here, but the short version is that Luv2Learn is a new online store where you can get lots of great educational resources at rock bottom prices! So far, we only have a few products up for sale, but we are working really hard on writing more and have a lot of great ideas for future resources. We also have a Freebies page on the site, so make sure and check it out!

Obviously, I am really excited about this, it is something we have talked about doing for a while now and finally we decided to just do it and see where it takes us! So this new venture has been taking a lot of my spare time and blogging has gone on the backburner in order to allow me the time to get the site up and running and to co-write new ebooks.

On the home front, this week has been super busy, and it’s not about to slow down! My baby boy is turning 2 already!! We are having his party this Saturday. The best part of these plans is that my Mom and Grandma are coming up from Oklahoma for a visit!! They will be in late Friday evening and I am so glad they will be here for the party. They are gonna stay and visit for 5 nights before they head further north to visit more family for a few days.

I haven’t seen my Momma since my sister’s wedding last August, so as you can imagine, I am counting the hours til they arrive. I really hate that my Momma lives so far away and I really enjoy the times she gets to come visit.

I’ve also been working on making and implementing a new chore/routine system for the boys, which I finished up Tuesday. Today was our second day using it and so far it’s working great, although our evening routines seem to keep falling apart. I will have to work on that!

Mixed in with all this business, I am having a hard time accepting the fact that my baby is going to be 2! He will officially no longer be a baby, he will be a big boy :( I really am not ready. Why does time pass so quickly, no matter how hard you try to savor each and every moment?

He is getting so BIG! He is wearing 4t shirts and 3t bottoms. He has a vocabulary of at  least 40 words, but probably more. He runs, jumps, and “pretends” and is so much fun to just sit and watch. He has a bit of a temper, but is quick to say sorry or give a hug. He’s all boy and is rough and tough. He knows that a pouty lip is all it takes to melt Mommy’s heart. He tells you he “Lusss Oooo” and sometimes you might even be worthy of a sweet kiss. My favorite thing to hear him say right now is “Noom, noom!”, which in case you weren’t aware, is the sound a car makes. Oh, i could go on forever, but AI will spare you and stop here…

I am making his birthday cake and decorating it (with my Momma’s help) myself. We were going to do a very simple Blue’s Clues pawprint cake, but then I found this…

imageYep, that’s a tractor cake! It’s not gonna be an easy one and I would never dream of attempting it without Mom’s help. When I was 5 she made me an awesome Cabbage Patch Kid cake from the same type of pan. You know a cake is awesome when a 5 year old doesn’t want anyone to cut it! I can’t wait to see how it turns out, and YES!! I will take pictures and share!

So that pretty much wraps up what we’ve been up to as of late. School is still trucking along, albeit at a much slower pace than I would like, but life happens!

Hope you are enjoying your Spring!



Monday, April 12, 2010

Lapbook printables - Leviticus

We are studying the book of Leviticus this week, so I made some minibooks to help with our study. I am sharing them here so that anyone else who might want to use them can download and print them for their kids, enjoy!



Please feel free to share these printables with anyone who might be able to use them!



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Write them on your hearts…


imageI have been really frustrated lately with my children’s behavior. As a result, i have been doing a lot of reading and reflection. Naturally, as a Christian, I read Biblically based parenting books and don’t agree with most secular child-training methods.

You would think my having read so many books, blogs, and articles would result in well behaved, angelic, courteous children. But the fact of the matter is that I am still an imperfect momma in need of God’s grace. I make lots of mistakes, even though most of them are mistakes I know better than to make!

I was reflecting on these thoughts this afternoon, and I decided to start fresh with my kids. I want to wipe out all the super-specific rules, and focus on their hearts and attitudes. If there is one theme common to most Christian parenting books it is this – if you can train a child’s heart, everything else will follow. There are three verses that I am focusing on as my goal:

  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. – Matthew 22:37
  • Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Deuteronomy 5:16
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Why these verses? I believe that through these 3 verses, almost any behavior issue that could come up is covered. Fighting over a toy? Ephesians 4:32! Whining about your chores? Deuteronomy 5:16! Lying? Matthew 22:37 (because someone who loves the Lord with everything they are will strive to do good and stray from evil)! See how that works?

How am I planning on applying these verses to every day life? I haven’t quite got that completely figured out yet. I’m going to have to feel things out and see what works. But I definitely think I’m on the right path!

As always, I welcome any input or suggestions you may have! Hope you have a great week!



Homeschooling Myths & Excuses

Disclaimer: The content below was not written by me. Credit has been given to the original writer.

I just had to share this info with you. May of the things addressed in this article we have all heard before. But the perspective of the author speaks to me so strongly. She hits the nail right on the head! Happy reading!



Ten Myths About Homeschooling and Anti-Homeschooling Excuses

By Shirley Erwee

Prospective homeschool parents have to face fears, doubts and myths that keep them from taking the decision to homeschool their children. This article is an attempt to do some myth-busting, dispel the fears and disqualify the anti-homeschooling excuses that prevent many parents from the awesome experience of homeschooling their families...(yes, not just the kids, the parents get HOME schooled too!)

1. I don't get on with my kids/ My kids have bad attitudes/ My kids won't listen to me.

This, to me, is one of the best reasons to homeschool. Instead of running from discipline issues that need to be tackled, loving parents need to embrace opportunities to teach and train their children to be respectful and obedient. They need to learn to reach their children's hearts, not just apply various methods of behaviour modification and punishment, but actually build heart-to-heart relationships with their children.

Ignoring a problem issue or expecting a teacher to deal with it, does not show love and commitment to children. They will test their boundaries and they need parents to care enough to establish and enforce boundaries. Homeschooling facilitates plenty of opportunities for parent-child relationship-building.

2. I am not well-educated/ I can't teach subjects like Maths and Science

Research has shown that the level of education of homeschooling parents is not a factor determining successful homeschooling. Even parents that dropped out of high school have successfully homeschooled their children all through high school. Parents who did not have a good school career are often able to fill in the 'gaps' in their own education as they progress through various concepts with their children.

Homeschool curricula are designed to be used by parents that are not trained, professionals and for students pursuing self-study. In most cases, clear instructions are given, parent guides and solutions are provided. Some curricula even provide instructional DVD's where a teacher teaches the new concepts for the benefit of both the parent and the student.

As a last resort, homeschoolers can also do what school-going children do if they battle with a subject - they can go for private tuition.

3. I can't afford it.

With all the options and choices of curricula available plus free resources available on the internet, there are no grounds for this excuse. Most homeschooling families survive on one income and still give their children a good quality education.

At the very worst, you can limit yourself to spend the same amount as it would cost to have your children attend school, without the extras like school clothing, lunch money, contributions to fund-raising and other school-related expenses.

Since most of your money will be spent on books and materials which can be re-used with younger siblings, you can get a lot of value for your money.

4. My children just LOVE being with their friends

If your children prefer being with their friends, than with their family, perhaps they have already developed an unhealthy peer dependency. This might not seem to be a problem at preschool or primary school level, but just wait until they hit the teen years!

As an alternative, homeschooling enables children to build good relationships with both their parents and their siblings. When their identities are strongly rooted in their families and they have good family values, then children are better able to develop healthy friendships outside the home.

Homeschooling enables parents to choose the social interactions that their children experience. Parents can keep them from negative peer group pressure or bad influences until the children are old enough to gradually be exposed to them and are mature enough to make good decisions and build good relationships.

Homeschoolers don't just stay at home. They also socialize- just not during school time!
Research has also shown that in general, homeschoolers have better social skills with a wider ranger of age groups than school-going children, whose social interactions are largely limited to their own age group.

5. I don't have the patience

When I first started homeschooling, I read somewhere that you only get patience if you need it!

The same is true of other character qualities that homeschooling parents need such as perseverance, humility, self-sacrifice, compassion, diligence, etc.

It is through homeschooling that our characters are shaped, moulded and matured and we become equipped to do what we are called to do.

6. I am scared of failing.

I often tell my children that, "Courage is doing what we have to do, EVEN WHEN WE FEEL AFRAID."

It's amazing to me how many parents are afraid that they might mess up their children's education, but they seem to have no fear that some teacher might mess up even better!

When you see how many children suffer for various reasons in the school system, it is even more amazing that parents are willing to entrust their precious blessings to total strangers for 6 hours of the day or more!

As a parent, you love your children like no teacher ever will, you have their best interests at heart and you are able to give them a tailor-made education, suited to their individual needs.

Unless you are not committed to successful homeschooling and dealing with the parenting and discipline issues that may crop up, there is no reason why you should not do an equal or better job than a paid professional.

Now, I am not saying that any parent can be a school teacher - no, I think one does need special training to teach a class of 35 plus children that are not your own in a school situation...but I do believe that committed parents can do a good job in homeschooling their own.

7. Will I cope? I am stressed out already.

Many outsiders see homeschooling only as an added responsibility - the burden of the academic training of their children. However, to give it a different perspective, homeschooling is a lifestyle that brings a lot of flexibility to a family's day-to-day life. This might be just the thing to help a stressed out parent cope better with the demands of a family.

Since everyone is together, not rushing out in different directions, life is usually simplified. Children are home and can be trained to help out around the house too.

Sometimes a parent may initially need to stop certain outside activities or commitments, like additional church programs, sports or hobbies. However, this is not always the case and many homeschoolers are equally, if not more involved in their communities than non-homeschooling families.

Sometimes these activities just need to be re-scheduled to accommodate the homeschool lifestyle.

Learning to adapt and put family first is often a good thing. I know of too many people whose children are treated like second-rate citizens for the so-called good of the community, so that parents can find approval from their own peer group for their good deeds and commitments!

8. We have such a nice teacher/school.

There certainly are some very nice teachers and schools with good results and good reputations. However, does the teacher or the school's values match your family values? Will the nice teacher always be the one to teach your child?

Often a school is legally bound to teach a curriculum which may be in conflict with your beliefs. No education is neutral. If you don't know what your children are being taught, perhaps you should find out the underlying belief system.

No matter how nice the teacher or the school, only YOU have an intimate love relationship with your child and ultimately you are responsible for your child's education, whether you delegate that responsibility to a school or not.

9. I need more stimulation/ I can't just stay home / I love my job.

As career-workers, many of us initially find our identity in our job, satisfaction in the approval from our co-workers, boss or simply the pay check at the end of the month.

Choosing to stay home as a wife and mother demands a shift in one's mindset and accepting that at the end of many days and months there is no tangible reward. You come to realize that raising well-educated, confident and secure children is one of the greatest achievements that one can strive towards. For many of us, its obedience to a God-given calling.

Although the stimulation may be of a different kind to that of a job, homeschooling can be very stimulating for parents as it offers you the opportunity to learn and explore topics of interest along with your children. It affords you the time to enjoy educational trips, tours, outings, co-ops, crafts, hobbies, sport and even home-based business opportunities.

(Many homeschooling parents, like me have website-based businesses that earn them a good income and they get to work at their own pace! See links below.)

10. My parents, in-laws, friends, neighbours or church, etc. won't approve.

For some reason, we all like to have the approval of others, especially those whom we respect and with whom we have intimate relationships. However, if you and your spouse are in agreement that homeschooling is best for your children, you need to have the guts to stand up for your convictions.

To many non-homeschoolers, homeschooling is a foreign concept and people don't understand why you are NOT just doing the done thing and sending your children to school.

Sometimes people feel that by your choice to homeschool, you are silently judging their choice of schooling and rating it as second best, so they attack your choice because attack is their best defence.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your children, not your family and peers...and a good answer is to tell others that you feel your choice is best for YOUR family but you realize it may not be the same for other families. You don't even have to explain your reasons!

Many homeschoolers have had to face criticism and skepticism from outsiders, yet in the end, the 'proof has been in the pudding' as they say. Many times, after a few years, others have seen the good fruit of a homeschooling family and they have earned the respect and support which was lacking at first!

Submitted by Shirley Erwee of http://www.shirleys-preschool-activities.comimage

Shirley is a mother of five and has been homeschooling her children for over ten years. She is the author of various homeschooling curricula, from preschool to high school. Her websites offer encouragement to other homeschooling parents. To find out more go to

Article Source:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lots of fun changes!

As I shared in my last post, this is a busy time of year for us. One thing we have really needed is new living room furniture. We used to rent-to-own our living room furniture, but after hubby lost his job last year, we were no longer able to afford the extra expense. So after we returned our living room set, we were left with a hand-me-down recliner. Thankfully, we were given a loveseat by friends, and that is what we have had for over a year now. We purchased a cheap set of end tables from Walmart to get us by. Last year we really wanted to purchase a new couch, but I just couldn’t bear to spend so much on one item. This year, we decided to look around to see if we could find something used in our price range that would meet our needs and cost us under $500. The first store we went to, we found just what we needed. We ended up with a very nice, clean sofa and loveseat set for $375!! They also had a really neat bookcase that I just had to have for $75.

They delivered our things this past Monday and I completely love our new living space. But before I show you what our living room looks like now, let me show you some before and during photos.

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This is our living room before as it has been since we moved here in November. The pain about the way our living/dining room is set up here is that there was no other way to arrange the couch and recliner.

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Ok, the night before we were to get our new stuff, we did some prep. Our entertainment center had to be moved down a few inches to allow room to reposition the dvd shelf in the corner. We also had to get a new whiteboard and have it cut to fit the opposite wall because the bookcase had to go on the wall that previously held the whiteboard.  And of course, we moved the tall bookcase upstairs into the bedroom. It’s not very stable and I wanted it out of the main living area. There were several other small changes that we had to make also. The first picture shows the bookcase I moved to our entry way. We had a small table there with a basket to hold hubby’s things and it tended to be a catch all. So I purchased a few fabric baskets to keep mail, catalogs and other things in and put them on the shelves.

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These pictures were taken Monday afternoon while we were waiting on our delivery to arrive. We moved the loveseat into the boys’ room and the recliner went into Jasmine’s room. Thank goodness we had a good friend who came over and helped hubby move that loveseat upstairs. There is no way I could have helped him without hurting myself in the process.

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I just had to share that first picture. They thought they could sit in the cubbies, but there were a little too big! Aren’t the couches pretty? And I am completely in love with the new bookcase. My fabric bins fit in it perfectly. I still don’t have it totally organized the way I want it. I’m a little OCD about stuff like that. If not for having been so busy all week, it would have been done by now. The best thing about the new furniture is that the entire family now has a comfy place to sit.  The really cool thing about this whole process is that Isaiah and Jazz have both been away all week with family, so Friday when they get home, it will be like a whole new room they have never seen!

We took Drew and Joey to the park today, and I took lots of pictures. I’ll be sure to post tomorrow and share them with you and tell you what Drew and I have been doing for school this week with Isaiah away.



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