Saturday, December 15, 2012

CHRISTmas Traditions! Keeping Christ in the Holidays...

Is this what Christmas is all about?

Do you ever find yourself feeling rushed, stressed or even empty during the holidays? I know I have many times in the 13 years my husband and I have been married. Rushing from one families house to another and stressing about what presents to get whom and the commercialism of the holiday season is not what it is all about. It took us a few years to realize what we were allowing into our family were not traditions we wanted. We learned that we needed to make some changes, compromising by rotating holidays with family and lowering expectations about gift giving. We also wanted to make the Christmas season about Jesus (the true reason for the season). God gave us the greatest gift of all in Jesus Christ, His son, and we want to honor Him. Although Saint Nicholas is a historical figure (Read more on that HERE), he is not the meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. Here is a list of some of our family traditions during the holidays. Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know your traditions and what special things you and your family do during the holidays.

(This year was the most stress-free, low-key Christmas seasons we have ever had...I really liked it! Next year we hope to incorporate the Jesse Tree and I would LOVE to get The Christmas Angel, too!)

1. Christmas decorating-We start our Christmas season by decorating the house. We put up a Christmas tree, Christmas village, nativity scenes, & even mistletoe! (artificial)

2. Advent- My aunt made my family an advent calendar; the same one we had growing up! It is made out of cork covered with felt & my aunt found miniature ornaments/jewelry to hang on the tree.  The kids love putting the ornaments on the tree. They take turns every year putting the star on the tree.

 *-What God Wants for Christmas: We LOVED doing this together as a family!

Publisher's Description-
From the creators of Resurrection Eggs Unwrap the true meaning and wonder of Christmas with each gift box in this interactive, kid-friendly nativity. Build a family tradition with every reading of the poetic Christmas story written by Barbara Rainey. Included is a read-with-me guide to share Christ with listening children. The book's captivating illustrations, the six presents each containing a sturdy, hand-painted character in the story, and the pop-up stable scene will take children on the journey to Bethlehem's first Christmas. The surprise ending in box #7 peeks inside the heart of God. Children will enjoy listening to the beautifully produced dramatic audio presentation of the book's story on CD.

Click HERE
* A Storytime Advent Calendar: This is a yearly tradition for our family. We wrap Christmas books and number each one for each day in December, then on that day we open that numbered book and read it before bedtime. This blog is where I got the idea, however, I just wrap the books in regular Christmas wrapping paper and then write the number on the package with a sharpie.

3. Christmas movies- Watching Christmas movies in December is a tradition in our house. While my husband's favorite is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", I like the classic movies such as "White Christmas", "Holiday Inn" and some new favorites like "Christmas Lodge" and "Christmas Angel".

4. Christmas Lights & Caroling- We always make time to drive around and look at Christmas light displays. We have a "Christmas Tree Lane" close by and drive through that every year. Then we look online or find out from friends about new displays in the area and try to go to those too. We all love seeing the creativity put into the Christmas displays.
Caroling is also something our family loves to do. We surprise friends or family & show up at their homes caroling. Or we will go to a retirement home and sing for the elderly. Music brings such joy to people. I created a PDF of Christmas Carols for our church's Christmas program this year (we were roving carolers). As a gift to you all, I am giving you a free copy of it! Merry Christmas! Click on the words below to download:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving - becomes "Thanksliving"!

I have been reading a book called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voscamp given to me by a dear friend. I won't give too much away for those that have not read it yet, but it is such a wonderful book. Ann paints a beautiful picture with her poetic words of her journey to finding joy in the midst of suffering. Someone dares her to make a list of 1000 things she is thankful for and she accepts the challenge and so her book is born. It has inspired me to look at the things I have been blessed with instead of focusing on what I don't have or wish I had.
I am so blessed to have my faith that gives me hope of an eternal future. I am so blessed by my husband and all of my children. I am so blessed to have the worlds most amazing, incredible, giving, loving friends in the whole wide world! I am blessed to always have had a roof over my head, food in my tummy and clothes on my back. And so much more!

All of these gifts I have been given have ignited a passion in me to give back. I got my family involved and I will admit they all were reluctant at first but while they were doing each of the activities I saw something wonderful happen! They were smiling and having a great time, and they said they were actually more blessed to bless others! Wow! Is this the same family that grumbled just a few hours ago?

 This is a picture of my girls at Feed My Starving Children. An organization that sends dried packaged food to hungry children all over the world. This day was SO much fun! They play fun music and the time goes by SO fast! This organization is so organized too! They have little groups of assembly lines so that the packaging is very efficient. We were able to pack enough food to feed 105 children for a year that day! My girls did the weighing and they rocked! They went quickly but carefully following all the instructions and not once did they complain that they were tired! I want to sign up for 2 shifts next year:) Shhh, don't tell my family ;) lol

 We also did Operation Christmas Child. This organization sends shoebox sized packages to children around the world who will not receive anything for Christmas. I just LOVE this idea. Christmas is my favorite time of year. Everything about it excites me, but most of all because it reminds me of the greatest gift of all that was given, Jesus. So to share His love, we decided to fill up a box for a boy (in honor of Nathan). So the girls used their keys that they earned from church to buy a few things for the box and we went to the dollar tree for the rest. It was so special to see my family coming together to find special things for this little boy. With the toys the girls bought, things we had at home in our treasure bag and dollar tree items we ended up with enough to fill 2 boxes! So we decided to fill one for a girl also.

One of the ladies I had met that worked for OCC told me about when she went to deliver these gifts to an orphanage in Russia and the children were so happy because they all had their own toothbrush. About 20 kids were having to all share one toothbrush! I told my husband,"That is just not right! That is just not sanitary! They each need their own toothbrush." So the toothbrushes were the first things to go in the box:)

 This was what we put in the girls box: Webkinz, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hair ponies, bar of soap, stationary set, bouncy ball, bandaids, sucker and a card from us that said Merry Christmas.

This is what we put in the boys box: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, socks, soap, bandaids, hotwheels car, flying airplane, bouncy ball, plastic drinking cup and a card from us with our family picture wishing him a Merry Christmas.

We also sang Christmas carols for the children at Shriners Hospital, and sang carols as we rang the Salvation army bell.

The Manifesto of Joyful Parenting by, Ann Voskamp


1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals -- because children's hearts feed on touch. I'll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible --- the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!
Ann Voskamp @

Bean & Black Quinoa Salad

Thank you to my friend L for introducing this to me!  I was a little hesitant at first with the black quinoa, but I like to try new things, so I gave it a shot. This is so yummy! I modified her recipe a little, this is how I made it:

1 cup of dried lentils
1 cup of dried black beans
1 cup of dried garbanzo beans

Put all dried beans in a crockpot. Fill with water & cook on high for about 3 hours. You can also do this the night before.

1/2 of chopped red onion
1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/3 cup of grapeseed oil
salt & pepper to taste
Wisk together & pour over cooked beans & veggies. Set in fridge so that flavors absorb together.

Meanwhile cook 1 cup of black quinoa with 1 1/2 cups of water uncovered until all liquid absorbs. Serve bean salad on top of cooked quinoa with tortilla chips-so healthy & so yummy!

Power Foods Recipe- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

On a family night out to B & N I found this amazing cookbook with whole food recipes. I was not able to get it that day, but just about every single recipe in this cookbook I wanted to try, so I saved & came back to get it later.
I have really been passionate about finding healthy whole food recipes. If it is gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or raw I am very interested in trying it. Although, it does need to still taste good ;)
My hubby & I do our grocery shopping bi-weekly, so I used this cookbook to meal plan for 2 weeks & I feel healthier already!

This is one of the things I made with this cookbook:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This was my first time roasting my own peppers. It is super easy & you don't have to worry about preservatives or any other added ingredients. I adjusted this recipe a little.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3 red bell peppers
2 cups of garbanzo beans (I used the dried ones & then cooked them with water in my crockpot for 3 hours)
whole wheat pita, toasted
1 garlic clove
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grapeseed oil, plus more for drizzling
salt & pepper to taste

Wash peppers & place them in a rimmed pan & drizzle oil over top. Place in a 400 degree oven & roast until blackened all over. Turning when needed. Take out of the oven &
transfer peppers to a bowl with a lid & let sit & steam for 15 min. Using paper towel, rub off skins, & then remove stems, seeds & ribs.

Place peppers in food processor. Add beans, garlic, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, paprika, cumin. Blend. Stir in salt & pepper.
Serve with toasted whole wheat pita or carrot sticks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Avonlea Academy Website!

Hi Friends,
I have created a website for my children to navigated safe and educational resources online and I wanted to share it with YOU! I have had a hard time feeling comfortable letting my children roam the internet on their own and have installed safe browsers, but I really wanted one place they could go to and find all of the websites they would need. Since there wasn't something like that out there, I decided to create it myself! I hope it is a beneficial resource for you as well. Also, if you have any suggestions or resources you would like to see on my blog, just use the "Contact Me" tab on the Avonlea Academy website and let me know! :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wholesome Family Movie List!

Hi Friends!
Quite a few people have been asking me for a list of Wholesome Family Movies, so here it is! I am separating the ones you can find on Netflix. Most of the movies are faith-based, & some just are safe & wholesome (no bad language, extreme violence, or nudity...etc). Netflix does change the movies they offer, so make sure to check on the Netflix website for updates.
Disclaimer: Some of the movies listed may be subject to maturity level. It is recommended that you view the movies before showing them to your kids. 

My List of Family Friendly Shows/Movies on Netflix for Instant Streaming:
  • The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry
  • God of Wonders
  • Creatures that Defy Evolution
  • Brother White
  • The Lost and Found Family
  • The Ballad of Lucy Whipple
  • My Six Loves
  • The Shakiest Gun in the West
  • Being Elmo
  • How It's Made
  • Andy Griffith
  • What Would Jesus Do II: The Woodcarver
  • The Adventures of Ociee Nash
  • Veggie Tales
  • The Borrowers
  • The Incredible Mr. Limpet
  • Father Knows Best
  • Leave it to Beaver
  • Eyewitness to Jesus
  • The Case for Christ
  • Hello Dolly!
  • Sarah's Choice
  • Seven Days in Utopia
  • Liberty's Kids
  • Courage Mountain
  • What If...
  • Flipper
  • The Cosby Show
  • Secretariat
  • Oliver!
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Billion Dollar Hobo
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  • The Happiest Millionaire
  • Herbie (The old ones)
  • Dolphin Tale
  • Schoolhouse Rock!
  • Akeelah and the Bee
  • Flicka
  • The King and I (older version)
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Adventures in Odyssey
  • 19 Kids and Counting
  • Little House on the Prairie

My Favorite Family Movies (Not listed on Netflix):

  • Time Changer
  • Courageous
  • Fireproof
  • No Greater Love
  • Anne of Green Gables (all 3)
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • Narnia
  • Meet Me in St. Louis
  • Torchlighters
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • Dr. Doolittle (Old version w/Rex Harrison)
  • Facing the Giants
  • Flywheel
  • The Blind Side
  • Secrets of Jonathan Sperry
  • Monumental
  • To Save a Life
  • Miss Potter
  • Felicity: An American Girl
  • The Treasure Seekers
  • The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Temple Grandin
  • WWJD II: The Woodcarver
  • Remember the Titans
  • The First of May
  • Samantha: An American Girl
  • Kit: An American Girl

Do you have any that are not listed here?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm Back! AND Olympic FREEBIES!

Hi friends,
Well, it has been awhile since my last post. These last few months have been busy for me trying out my side-business, Pampered Chef. I had a fun time & earned lots of FREE products for my kitchen! Yay! After a lot of prayer & consideration, my husband & I agree that my focus needs to be on this crucial time in my kid's lives. I am first & foremost a wife, mother & teacher. So I will be back to sharing tips on here with all of you! Yay! So glad to be back! :)

Here are the Olympic FREEBIES! Enjoy friends!

Olympic Ring Printing with Pool Noodle

12 Olympic party games & food ideas

15 Festive Olympic Projects

Olympic Olive Leaf Craft

Olympic Ring Pretzels

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Pampered Chef!

Hi Friends,
I wanted to share with you the reason I have not had a chance to blog lately. I just became a Pampered Chef Consultant! I am very thankful for the opportunity to work for a great company, get some great products & maybe even earn a little extra income. :) I am trying to earn my incentives for my first 30 days & I have until March 30th to get all of my orders in-I know soon, right? It is easy to get discouraged & take things personally, BUT I am trying to keep my spirit thinking positively & trusting that God will provide. If anything, I am just excited to have these amazing products in my home! I just got my kit yesterday & it was so much fun opening it with my kids. They were so excited too & didn't even wait for me to open some of the boxes. We have spent all day cooking in the kitchen together & trying out all of our new products. This business is giving us the opportunity to spend more time together!

Check out the website link below & place your orders today! When your total reaches $60, you get a FREE product! :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Amazon Store!

I have created this Amazon Store so that you can browse and purchase products that I recommend or would like! :) To browse without leaving this site, just click page numbers 1-5 below the pictures. To be taken directly to click on the logo on the bottom right hand corner.
Happy Shopping! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Health Tip of the Week- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

 The only vinegar that can and SHOULD be consumed daily.

  • Helps clear acne when taken orally and applied topically. If applied topically you dilute it with water, dab it on a breakout and rinse after 15 minutes. If you have any questions about this or would like me to explain it further you can email me.
  • Promotes digestion. A blocked digestive tract can lead to all kinds of skin problems. It is also a natural cure for constipation.
  • Super high in minerals and potassium which can help slow down the aging of your skin.
  • Helps reduce sinus infections and sore throats. Whenever we have a cold coming on our family gargles with this stuff.
  • Encourages the growth of healthy bacteria within your body.
  • Can help ease menstrual cramps.
  • It has been used for centuries as a natural weight loss remedy.
I have had UTI's (Urinary Tract Infections) since I was a kid. The doctors had me on anti-biotics everyday as a preventative but it was of course killing my immune system. I looked up some natural ways to treat it online and started pouring about 1/2 cup of ACV in a bathtub with really warm water about once a week, and for about two years now, have not got an infection since! It really does work!

Found the info for this post HERE

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Awesome Sermon Featuring Pastor Lance Hahn-"A Better Way"

This was such a wonderful message that totally hit home for me, especially the parts about fairness. I have asked so many of those questions such as, "Why does God allow certain things to happen? It's not fair..." Pastor Lance explains this so well & what I appreciate is how he breaks down the Bible, which can be difficult to understand, and makes it very accessible to everyone.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today the world celebrates the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss. For over 60 years, the books written by Theodor (“Ted”) Seuss Geisel have and continue to thrill young readers. In his lifetime, Seuss wrote over 40 entertaining, whimsical books for children which are not only fun, but open the doors to a child's imagination.

Here are some Dr. Seuss resources to celebrate his birthday:






FREE LORAX APP for iPhone or iPad


Speak for the trees, for they have no tongues, with the Official Lorax App! Hold the phone up to your mouth, and talk. The Lorax’s mouth and moustache will move along with your voice.

 The kids had fun with this free app! :)

Sneak Peak of "There's No Place Like Space"

The Sneetches


Thursday, March 1, 2012

DIY Projects- Pinterest inspired t-shirt craft tutorials!

T-Shirt Necklace:

I saw this idea on a blog a long time ago and ever since I have wanted to try it out. It is great for when you want to add some color to your outfit but still be casual. It's just as cute as a scarf but less trouble and less hot.

How to make the t-shirt necklace: Take a plain colored t-shirt and lay it flat. Then cut off the bottom seam.

Found this image HERE

Next, cut one-inch strips down the width of the shirt. When opened up they will be circles.
Found this image HERE
Then, take each circular strip and stretch and roll between your fingers.

Found this image HERE

Then take one of the circular strips and cut one side to create a long string. Then take the string & tie a bow around your necklace. Voila! Super-easy!

Here is how mine turned out!

Car (Back Rub) Shirt:

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so cute! I decided to make this shirt for my husband for Christmas & have the kiddos give it to him. He LOVED it!

Found this image HERE

Start with a plain white t-shirt and fabric markers. Using this picture as a guide, draw a map of your families town. Make sure to put a piece of cardboard or something in between the shirts layers so that it doesn't bleed through.

Here is how mine turned out
Don't forget to add the kids & the toy cars!
Fun and relaxing!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Faux Crab Cakes" with Tuna & Quinoa & Pear salad

Tuna & Quinoa "Faux Crab" Cakes

Here is what my mixture looked like when I was done mixing everything in.

  • 1/3 cup prechopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1 1/3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided (we used a brand called Ian's)
  • 2 cans of tuna in water, drained 
  • 1 cup of red quinoa, steamed in rice cooker 
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped


  1. 1. Combine first 6 ingredients. Add 1/3 cup panko and tuna; toss gently. Add whole cup of cooked quinoa to the mixture & stir. Divide tuna mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Place remaining panko in a shallow dish. Gently dredge patties in panko.
  2. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil to pan. Add 4 tuna cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and tuna cakes.
Serve warm with homemade seafood sauce and a salad.

This was a yummy dinner, cheap & healthy!

Homemade 1000 Island Dressing:

1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 cup of organic ketchup
1/4 cup sweet pickles diced
1 teaspoon of agave nectar
a dash of red cayenne pepper

Pear Salad recipe:

Arugula & spinach (or any greens)
1-2 pears, sliced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup of toasted walnuts
salt & pepper to taste

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried these recipes and how they turned out.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stewardship & Tithing message featuring Pastor Lance Hahn!

This ties in to the Money-tip-Monday series I have been doing based on Biblical finances. I was going to share with you what the Bible says about tithing, but after listening to our pastor's sermon, I thought he did a much better job explaining it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homeschool Helps-American Revolution Lapbook Resources & Printables!

The American Revolution

We have been studying about the American Revolution in our homeschool, and I thought I would share some of our resources with you! :)

Our Revolutionary War Lapbook:

We used mostly Homeschool in the Woods' Time Travelers: American Revolution on CD-ROM to make our lapbook.

026598: American Revolution: Time Travelers on CD-ROM American Revolution: Time Travelers on CD-ROM
By Homeschool In The Woods

The American Revolution is filled with well-known stories and heroes. Experience it to the fullest with Homeschool in the Woods' "The American Revolution" CD-ROM. Make a haversack or a booklet with this fun, hands-on approach to learning. 25 Lessons may be spread over 5-10 weeks, and include creative writing, colonial recipes, factfile cards, a file folder game, science experiments, notebook timeline, notebooking activities and more. Text and project overview pages keep lessons on track, while masters, photos and drawings make for easy lesson planning. Teacher helps, keys, resource list and "guide at a glance" included. Grades 3-8; 1 CD-ROM.

Here are some lapbook freebies that I found as well. They both have free printables!

Notebooking Nook

Homeschool Share

We have also been watching these videos on Netflix & we are almost finished with them. They have been a great learning tool for all of us. They have made the events and people involved in the Revolutionary War understandable. I highly recommend watching this with your kids!

Product Description-
Caught on opposite sides of the revolution, Benjamin Franklin and his teenage reporters, American colonist James and young Englishwoman Sarah, confront the real, physical dangers of war. As the conflict rages, James and Sarah are compelled to choose between their friendship and their countries, their understanding of good and evil, and the moral dilemmas inherent in war. All the while trying to look after the mischievous Henri, an immigrant French boy whose comical escapades constantly lead them into trouble, as the three bear witness to the highs and lows of the American Revolution.

Starring news legend Walter Cronkite as Benjamin Franklin and including guest starring roles by award-winning actors and real-life historical figures like Dustin Hoffman, Annette Benning, Michael Douglas, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Liam Neeson and many more! The complete Emmy and Humanitas Award-nominated Liberty's Kids is finally available on DVD in one six-disc collectors set!

Here is a slideshow I put together of other children's educational products involving the American Revolution. Click on the picture for more information about it.

Happy Homeschooling! :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's For Dinner? - Shredded Chicken Salad & Whole Wheat Quesadillas

Shredded Chicken Salad & Whole Wheat Quesadillas

I found this recipe through Pinterest & modified it a little. This is the blog that it was originally from & where I got the picture from too. It was gone before I had the chance to take out my camera, that is how yummy it was! Ours looked a lot more green since we added arugula, but this gives you an idea of what it looked like.

2 chicken breasts, boiled & shredded
2 limes, freshly squeezed
1/2 tbsp. cumin
salt to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained
1 bag of arugula lettuce
1 chopped avocado

Toss in a bowl & serve cold with whole wheat quesadillas and homemade salsa! :)  

We made homemade salsa/pico de gallo to go with this. Again, this is so delicious that it was gone before I could snap a picture, so I pulled this off of the internet. But it looks a lot like ours. :)
Here is our recipe for our Homemade Salsa:

4-6 fresh tomatoes depending on how red you like it :) (quartered to fit into the food processor)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (I like cilantro but if you don't, you can add less or omit)
1/4 red onion (quartered to fit into the food processor)
4-6 cloves of garlic (I really like garlic so you can modify this to your liking)
1 green jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed
1/2 lime freshly squeezed
salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor & pulse until desired consistency. Serve cold with tortilla chips.

Buen Provecho!

Family Fun Night-Friday!

Hi ya'll,
Now that I have fixed the design of my blog, I can focus on more important things. Like Family Fun Night! Yay! If you have read my earlier posts, you know that hubs & I are trying to be faithful in keeping Fridays as "Date Night". Now, that can mean just the two of us or all of us as a family. My husband did the honor of picking a date idea out of our "Can O' Dates" bucket & (after scratching a couple of the ideas we didn't think would work this time around) wound up picking "Karaoke Night"! Whew! Luckily we already had this small karaoke machine. It hooks right up to the T.V. so that you can read the words on a big screen.

So we all grabbed a microphone & tried our best. Though we had some laughter, tears, & off-key singing, it turned out to be a fun & FREE way to have entertainment for the evening and the best part was we were all in it (suffering- HA!) together. Gotta love those times.

We also had an awesome Mexican-style dinner!
I wasn't able to take a picture because it was so yummy, it was already gone before I had the chance to take my camera out! I will post the recipe above in a separate post.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blog ReDesign

Hi Friends,
I am in the process of working on a blog redesign. I will start posting again when the new blog design is finished! Thank you for your patience. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homeschool-FREE President's Day Crafts & Activities!

President's Day Finger Puppets

What you'll need:

  • Blue and black construction paper
  • Cellophane tape
  • Lincoln-head penny
  • Washington-head quarter
  • Scissors

How to make it:

  1. Cut two three-inch squares, one from each of the construction sheet colors.
  2. Roll each square into a tube that will slip over your finger. Secure the roll with cellophane tape. Note: By using tape instead of glue, the coins won’t be harmed.
  3. To make the Lincoln puppet, tape the penny to the black paper tube at roughly an inch below the top.
  4. Cut a thin rectangle from the black paper for the hat brim. Tape the brim along the top of the head.
  5. To make the Washington puppet, tape the quarter to the top of the blue paper tube.
  6. Cut a one-and-half-inch square from the blue paper for the hat.
  7. Fold the square in half, corner to corner, making a triangle.
  8. Cut a slit out of the center fold of the square to make an opening. Once again fold the square in half, this time folding the opposite corner to corner, making a triangle.
  9. Slip the hat over the top of the tube finger puppet.
  10. Tape both halves of the triangle together.


  • Dress them up by adding details to the puppets using collage materials. You might want to add a gold sequin medallion to Washington's hat, for example, and some white doily paper to the chin for a lace collar. For Lincoln, try adding a shirt collar made from white paper, and some buttons.

Pretzel Log Cabin

What you'll need:

  • Small empty milk carton
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Chocolate frosting or peanut butter
  • 1 Rolo or other tubular shaped candy
  • 1 square cracker
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue or tape

How to make it:

  1. Cut the top flap of the milk carton off and tape or hot glue it closed to form the roof.
  2. Spread chocolate frosting or peanut butter on one side of milk carton then cover with pretzels. Repeat this step all over the milk carton until log cabin is complete. You may need to break the tips off of some of the pretzels to make then fit up the sides.
  3. Break a square cracker in half, then break one of the halves in half. Spread some frosting or peanut butter on the back of the first half. “Glue” it to the front of the cabin as the door. Repeat this step with a smaller broken piece for the window.
  4. Spread some frosting or peanut butter to the bottom of Rolo and stick to the roof.


  • You can make this a larger project using any box and large pretzel logs. 
  • This is an edible craft project, just be sure you check for allergies, especially if using peanut butter as your glue. 
  • Ask children to save their milk carton from their school lunch and wash them out thoroughly before using.

Download this FREE at the link below:

President's Day Barrister Wig

This is a tutorial on how to make a judge's or barrister's wig. This costs less than $5 and takes about 3 hours to make.

Get a cheap fiber Christmas tree skirt ($2.00 after Christmas sale), like the blanket of snow you might put under your Christmas village. It is the same rolled polyfill batting that is sold in fabric stores. Use a ballcap for the base (after you remove the bill) and mold the batting around it.

Make a seam down the middle for a part. Gather the back together then add a "ponytail" made from two flat pieces hot-glued together. Then tie it with a black grosgrain ribbon.

For the side rolls, take long strips of batting (approx. 5" wide) and roll them up like pastries, sewing them shut with a running stitch. Leave a little flap so you can sew one roll to the next. Remove the wig from the ballcap base and try it on periodically to make sure it fits and looks right.

Then make the "bangs". They are supposed to look like a "crewcut" in the front...not easy to do with fiber batting. Cut 3-4 lengths of batting 2" wide, clip the top side of each row and glue them, one below the other across the forehead area, then "fluff" them out.

Take a black sharpie and draw in some "grey" hairs to outline the various parts, especially the bangs and the swirled-up end of the rolls. Without the black outline, the whole thing will look like a bright white towel sitting on a head!

 Found this tutorial HERE