Links for this Week


Great links in New Jersey, and here for you ….


If mornings are not your cup of tea, here is a great link from Lisa Byrne, guest writing over at Simple Mom, about 11 strategies for a morning routine when you can not wake up before the kids. Some of her tips were very helpful!

Stacey Karen is writing over at Keeper of the Home about 7 ways to add more veggies to meals you’re already cooking. Oh so sneaky and a must try!
I’ve also been following Crystal over at Money Saving Mom’s 4 weeks to fill your Freezer series. She has had some great (and simple) ideas for preparing for every meal in advance. Here is a list of her recipes (look on the right for the freezer-friendly list) so that you can save cooking time, too!
Hope you enjoy!!!


Hope you enjoy!

NCHE: “Read to your Children!” (An Interview with Sarita Holzmann of Sonlight curriculum)

Certainly one of the highlights of today at NCHE was the chance to talk for a few minutes with the founder and president of Sonlight curriculum, Sarita Holzmann.

In all the years that we have been going to conference, this is the first year that she has attended. Interestingly enough, when I mentioned that fact, she answered that this conference is her fourth one …. EVER. I was surprised to hear that. She mentioned that when her kids were younger, she wanted to be home with them. Time since then has been spent on the development and improvement of Sonlight materials. (On a sidenote: This year, Sonlight is introducing a new round of improvements, the first major ones since 1997.)

To begin, I inquired what Sarita is reading these days. She mentioned just starting a book about God and politics, which sounds very timely for this election year. The other book that she mentioned was one called Truth in Transformation (Mangalwadi). As she described it, the book is about an Indian author’s view of Western culture and how we view Truth, all told from a Christian perspective. It sounds like a fascinating read!

My second question was “What do you enjoy about coming to conferences?” She mentioned that getting to meet the families that are homeschooling and using Sonlight is definitely a highlight.

I continued by asking, “What do you wish young homeschoolers knew?” “Read aloud to your kids!” She quickly answered. “Read any style, any material!” Sarita suggested that we read every subject with our children. The second thing that she recommended was to look at alternative views and learn about them. There are some critics of Sonlight who have criticized their use of some books with controversial subjects. Sarita encouraged home educators to take these books and use them as a platform for discussion and instruction for their children on difficult subjects.

I wrapped up our talk with the most difficult question for any reader, “What are some of your favorite books for children?” Between us, we decided to go ahead and limit our span to the elementary years.

Her favorites include:

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (Taylor)

The House at Pooh Corner (Milne)

The Great Turkey Walk (Karr)

Twenty and Ten (Bishop/Joly)

Sarita impressed me as being down to earth and genuinely interested in both the quality books that her company promotes as well as the people who read them. A great combination for any homeschooler!


Click HERE to hear from Sarita herself about the heart behind Sonlight.

If you haven’t had the chance to learn more about Sonlight, I can highly recommend their quality living books. Click HERE for more information.

If you want to read one of my recent posts about reading a Sonlight book together as a family, click HERE.

5 min. Friday: Perspective

I think that I’m coming to the conclusion that perspective is a mirage.

Somehow, in our finite state, we are unable to truly see what is right in front of us. The day to day is so clear and the big picture is something only grasped in hindsight.

I remember the chorus of homeschool Moms telling me as the mother of a preschooler to just “Relax” and “Enjoy” time with my first born. I had no clue what they were talking about. Wasn’t there something that she should be learning? Weren’t we already behind? All of her friends had gone off to preschool and were learning colors and letters and such. I felt like just sitting back and playing all day would be wasting the moment.

Ah, the wonder of perspective now is that I would probably tell a young Mom the same thing now.

What has changed?

I now see how formative the preschool and toddler years are for forging your relationship with your child. How unique is your time to love, and learn to be loved by this new little creature. It is a special time to teach habits and obedience.

Soon enough, life will whisk all of you along and you will wish that you had spent more time …. “Relaxing” and “Enjoying”.

So now, I look ahead to those Moms who are ahead of me again, with pre-teens, and I ask “What is your perspective on the elementary years?”

Because I know that I will need to hear, listen and heed.

Maybe perspective is really a gift received.

If you’re interested in joining in the 5 minute Fridays writing hosted by The Gypsy Mama, click HERE.

free writing, composition, life lessons,

Links for this Week


This week, I thought that I would share some of my new favorite websites that I’m quickly growing to love.

Maybe you will, too!



Sally Clarkson (personally blogging at I Take Joy) has branched out to include 20 other Mom writers in this encouraging Blog about purposeful motherhood. Right now, they are also hosting a book study of Sally’s book The Mission of Motherhood. There is great encouragement in joining with other women who are walking a similar road and remind us where to keep our focus.


Life … Your Way

I haven’t been able to really explore this full website because I keep spending my time in the Printables section. There are so many useful tools to organize your meals, time, shopping, etc. Here’s the direct link to the Printables page.


Way of Life Coaching

About 6 years, I was part of a small group of women that experienced a course called Promised Land Living. PLL learns from your past, sorts out your present and helps you to chart your way to true living … the living that the Lord promised to us as we walk in Him. I’m so excited to see how this ministry is now utilizing some new tools that allow them to open up their coaching to those around the world. You could be part of the next group!


Hope you enjoy!







Links for this Week

Here are some of the gems from the Internet that I have found this week….

We are THAT Family: Fifty Parenting Ideas You won’t Regret (50 great ideas for building your relationship with your kids. This is a post to bookmark, print out, memorize, etc ….)

USAToday: Pastor Rick Warren Born Again to Healthier Living (interesting info on Saddleback’s new healthy lifestyle ministry called The Daniel Plan)

Yahoo! : 15 Ways to Reduce Consumption of Single Use Plastic (Quick and simple ideas for reducing your use of consumer plastic)



If you’re looking for some fun with your kids, Amanda Bennett has her Unit Study on the London Olympics on sale this week, click HERE for more info!

** Please be aware that this is an affiliate link. I can confidently endorse USAB materials.**

(** TIP: Follow Amanda Bennett on Facebook and for FREE she shares some of the links and resources that she uses in her great packages!)

30 Dr.Seuss Quotes that can Change your Life

Just wanted to share this fun take on life, thanks to Dr.Seuss ….

Dr. Seuss Quotes
Thanks to Mamiverse for sharing!

Homeschool Review: Time4Learning Online Curriculum

I’ll confess, I’m a little bit wary about our kids using the Internet. There are lots of fabulous resources out there, but there is also a lot of junk. When the opportunity came along for our family to try Time4Learning, I was willing, but cautious.

Now, that we’ve completed our trial, I’m thrilled with what I’ve seen!

What is Time4Learning?

Time4Learning is a technology-based online educational program that teaches preschool to eighth grade curriculum using a combination of animated lessons, interactive activities and reinforcing worksheets.  (Read more HERE from their FAQs).

Time4Learning includes:

  • Online curriculum for grades Pre-K through 8th
  • More than 1,000 interactive animated lessons
  • Self paced lessons that kids will enjoy working on
  • Math & algebra tutorials & printable worksheets
  • Language arts, phonics & grammar lessons
  • Interactive, project-based reading activities
  • Science (grades 1st – 6th) & social studies (grades 2nd – 7th)
  • Detailed reporting for easy record keeping
  • Extensive lesson plans & teaching tools for parents
  • and much more…

For more information on the specific details of the program, check out their FAQ page .

How much does it cost?

Time4Learning is based on subscription, so click HERE for the most up to date info.

What do I like about Time4Learning?

Material is grade appropriate.

When you register, you select the grade level for each child. You even have the option of selecting different grade levels for each subject. I was thrilled to see them reviewing topics that we had covered earlier in the year in school, as well as some tidbits that we had not covered. Material was covered in a fun, kid-friendly way that might communicate to them in a different way than our traditional setting at the table. For our second grader, there were short quizzes at the end of each lesson that reinforced what was presented.

Time4Learning is not just “play” time.

There have been days when Mom has had a lot going on. I could rest assured that if I put the kids on the computer doing Time4Learning, that they would be learning, not just entertained. This was not lost school time.  I also knew that the program was keeping track of what they were covering and I could easily review, through the parent login, what they had studied and their scores on related quizzes.

Easy navigation makes it highly useable for any age.

I appreciated that the website was simple enough to navigate that my kindergartener could find his way around on his own. Many of the commands are verbal and/or provide visual clues.

Reporting tools help with record keeping and reporting.

As the teacher, I like being able to print out what the children look at and then present that report to the principal (a.k.a. Dad) at the dinner table. This provided time for discussion as a family about what we were learning. As part of my notes, I keep a print out of what they review by the week. Reporting can be pulled on a variety of criteria.

Time is directed and rewarded.

As the administrator, I can set the amount of time that I want the kids to do lessons and then, as a reward, open up the “playground” for them to do games. It is simple to set our learning and free time online. In the playground, there are games and links to other educational websites. Honestly, my kids have yet to want to “play”. They have enjoyed the learning material so much.

The program is extensive.

I was surprised by the depth of what was available to our kids. In the few weeks that we have subscribed, I feel like we have only scratched the surface. This is a great tool to supplement our homeschool, as well as strengthen weak areas for each child.

Here are some of the features that I still need to explore more fully ….

  • Complimentary reading lists (by grade)
  • Spelling lists (by grade)
  • Teacher Helps and Hints
  • Lesson Plan scheduler (allows you to “unlock” material through the year to guide your students)
  • Math Illustrations and Helps
  • Online Parent Forums

When interviewed, here is what our kids had to say:

“I like the water cycle (interactive) and that it’s easy. I think other people would like it. It is fun!” (Kindergartener)

” It’s fabulous! (Language Arts) extensions is really interesting. It has a lot of stuff. It’s fun. I have been learning about goods and services, volcanoes, consumers and producers, time, capacity, and neighborhood helpers. I really like it.”  (2nd grader)

If you are interested in trying out Time4Learning, click HERE.

** As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review. **

Links for this Week

Here are some of the great links that I’ve run across this week on the Internet.

My hope is that in passing them on to you, it will help you find some diamonds amongs all the clutter.

Happy reading!

Travel Review: National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center (Washington, DC)

Have you ever walked up to the Concord? or a space shuttle?

It’s one thing to read about the incredible history flight. It’s quite another to be in the middle of it all!

On our recent trip up the East coast, we were able to spend a few hours at the new Udvar-Hazy Center outside of Washington, DC. The Udvar-Hazy Center is a more recent addition to the Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC. Opening in 2003 , it provided a new venue for the Smithsonian to showcase their vast and unparallelled collection of air and space artifacts. Situated on the outskirts of Washington-Dulles airport, it is an immense facility that traces the history of flight over the past 150 years.

There is a uncontrollable “WOW!”  as you walk in to the main hanger and see all kinds of planes in their true-to-life size, suspended in time all around you. There is nothing like it. All of the pieces are in pristine condition. Even the Enola Gay looked like it had never even been spit on, let alone flown combat missions or dropped an atomic bomb.

You are not able to go inside the planes, but it is amazing to see them in person, from the outside. In the main section, we especially enjoyed seeing the Enola Gay, the P38 lightning, Concord, and the Stealth. In a separate section, they have the space shuttle Enterprise and other space travel artifacts.

Throughout the museum are displays explaining each craft’s use, history, importance, and technology. Computer touch screens are also scattered so that you can see the cockpit view of various planes.

This museum was a definite hit with the adults, but our younger children are not quite at the age to understand the significance of many of the artifacts. It held their attention for a couple of hours, so I’m glad that it was a shorter stop on our vacation.

A few notes to remember if you visit ….

The only charge for the museum is the parking ($15 per vehicle). Parking is free after 4pm, though.

There were quite a few people there on the Saturday that we visited, so be prepared for crowds and teach your children about staying close in the vast open spaces. Our younger children were fine spending about 2 hours there. Those who are especially in to flight will probably want to spend more time.

Ramps and elevators are not always conveniently located, so plan your pathway as you make your way around. Wear comfortable shoes, for sure! Family bathrooms were available, but it is quite a large building, so be prepared to walk.

The only food available (a McDonald’s) follows the same hours as the museum. So when the museum closes, so does the restaurant.

They have a fabulous gift shop with the normal trinkets, but also a great book selection for both children and adults.

We did not have time to visit the observation deck or try out the simulators that were also inside the museum.

Getting there: The Udvar-Hazy Center is on the outskirts of Washington, DC (to the southeast) so, of course, plan on road construction and DC traffic in planning your visit.

For more information ….

National Air And Space Museum

14390 Air And Space Museum Pkwy

Chantilly, VA 20151

(202) 633-1000

Hours: Mon-Sun 10 am – 5:30 pm

National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center

YELP review page for Udvar-Hazy Center

March Update for Good Reads

So many great books, so little time! Here are some of the great samplings I’ve been enjoying ….


Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys (Hal & Melanie Young)

Hal and Melanie Young have lots of experience with boys (especially their own SIX). Their book is practical, humorous, and insightful on the unique parenting challenges one faces.  I found that their wisdom on how to train boys to behave and conduct themselves was especially helpful. This is a great read for Moms who are seeking to train their sons in a Godly but not feminine way.

For another lengthy and helpful review, read Erika from Large Families on Purposes thoughts HERE.

Click HERE to read a free chapter from the Young’s website.


The Muppet Movie

The music alone will win your heart. To hear little voices singing, “I’ve got everything that I need right in front of me!” Yes! Mom needs to chime in and sing along many days and repeat that phrase, too. The new Muppet Movie brings back all of your favorite characters from childhood and introduces them to a new generation. It’s a win/win for parent and child alike.

Currently Reading:

Bringing up Girls (Dr.James Dobson)

If you are interested in learning more about some of the other books and movies that we’ve enjoyed, you can always click on the Good Reads page.

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