Flourish Book Review

What does it mean to flourish?  Webster’s dictionary says that flourish means: to thrive; to grow well and be healthy; to achieve or be successful; to hold up and show something in a proud way; to be excited about accomplishment; a fancy or dramatic way of doing something; to be influential; to increase and prosper.(source)

Wow, don’t you want to flourish (be healthy and thrive) in your life?  Flourish in your faith and life long walk with God? Flourish In your marriage?  Flourish in your parenting and your homeschool?


I was blessed to receive an encouraging self-help book / life manual called Flourish, Balance For Homeschool Moms written by Mary Jo Tate and published by Apologia Educational Ministries through the TOS Crew to review this summer.

Flourish cover
290 pages
Retails for $15.00

This book is written for homeschool moms, but homeschool dads (perhaps work from home dads) might enjoy it and glean wisdom from it too. It is full of wisdom and helps you learn how to balance and flourish in your life as a homeschool mom, in family life, and flourish running a home business if you have one.



I am so glad you asked, ha ha!  There are 16 chapters full of suggestions that cover just about everything a homeschool mom faces.   Then at the end of each chapter is a section called TAKE ACTION.   This is a question and answer section that helps you focus on the main points discussed in each chapter, and figure out how you will apply the wisdom you gleaned into your own life, and helps you make a plan for positive change.  That is 16 opportunities to write out a plan for positive change!

Then at the back of the book there is a BIG LIST  (appendix A) of recommended resources to help you on your journey. Next is a BIG RESOURCE (appendix B) of helpful forms, charts, and goal planning pages. Some of these forms you will want to use everyday or every week so you will want to keep them handy.  When you buy the book, you can get a link to a downloadable version of the forms to print off and keep in a binder or hang on a bulletin board if you wish.  At the very back of the book, the author lists more about her website and contacting her for one on one coaching if you wish to do so.

Chapters and discussions in the book include:

An Invitation To Flourish – Desire to succeed in your family, in homeschooling, and running a home business
Change Your Mind To Change Your Time – Life management not time management
The Freedom Toolbox – focus, reflect, educate, eliminate, discipline, organize, multitask
Where Did My Time Go? – time logs, assessment, costs of opportunities, schedule, wise choices
Aim High: Setting Goals – brain storm, write them down, share
What Do I Do Next?: Seven Essential Planning Tools – dream, goals, plans for monthly, weekly, daily tasks, to do or not
We Interrupt This Program – perceptions, phone, email, test, balance, boundaries, God is always in control
It’s Time For An Attitude Adjustment – no guilt, no fear, no perfection, no whinning, no resentment, no self pity
Oxygen Mask and Monkey Bread Days -
Training Your Children – responsibility, independence, initiative, service
Making Memories – family traditions, one on one time, explore, enjoy, preserve memories
Managing the Home – housekeeping, attitude, organize, edit, meal plan
All of Life Is Learning – homeschool, expectations, encourage, system for success, beyond academia
Solo Act: Flourshing as a Single Mom – rest in God, strong family identity, unity, balance, self care
Home Business – why, options, outsource and delegation, income, time, marketing, customer care, team, records
Moving Ahead – evaluate success and need for change, make needed changes


What Did I Think?

I would recommend this book for ALL MOMS!  It is “hands on”, and is a self help manual with keys for success.

This would be a great book to read at anytime, to save your sanity and get organized, but especially a good read over the summer (or any break) when planning for your upcoming homeschool year.  Knowledge you will glean, and the hands on practice in goal setting, organizing, journaling, menu planning and more is invaluable.

Do yourself a favor and get this book.  This book will help you avoid a ton of mistakes that will potentially drain your time and energy and cause you to burn out.  You can avoid burnout if you have the knowledge of how to plan and how to FLOURISH in your hands from the start.  This book would also make a great gift to give away to friends and family too. This book would make a great study for a mom’s group too.

The basics to set up a flourishing life boils down to the process.  This book will help you through the process of putting God first, establishing strong family relationships, creating acheivable goals, evaluating priorities, setting and maintaining boundaries, taking opportunities, wise use of resources, and managing your time to be the best you can be.

I definitely want to flourish in every area of my life! I don’t want to burn out, and miss out on living a life filled with joy and purpose.  What about you?  Are you ready to flourish?

Mary Jo Tate


Mary Jo Tate is an author, speaker, business owner, and homeschool mom of 4 boys.  She understands the challenges homeschool moms face.  She has learned to flourish in her own life and has a lot of wisdom to share.  You can follow Mary Jo Tate on her social media links to keep up with all the latest news and updates:

Blog: http://www.flourishathome.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlourishAtHome
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryjotate

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Back At The Starting Line, But On My Way!

I’m on my way to a new me!  But boy oh boy it is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I started this journey to a healthier me in December 2012.  I joined the YMCA in Asheville NC and started a Walk and Talk Wednesday program to inspire other moms.  I made good progress for 6 months until we moved across the states to Indiana at the end of May 2013.  By December 2013 I was right back where I started.

Fat and Frustrated!!!

Have you been there?  Do you know what I mean?

After feeling sorry for myself for a while, and not completely sure I could get it turned around, I decided to try a method of eating I had heard about from a friend on the TOS crew.  She had done a combination of Trim Healthy Mama and Lowcarb eating and she was able to reach her fitness goal last year, while meanwhile I went backwards and found myself back at the starting line.

I’m a firm believer in true healthy foods, and if any diet starts spouting off dietary nonsense then I am going to run the other way.  I spent countless hours reading and re-reading the Trim Healthy Mama book which is a combination of a recipe book, a science text, and a faith based self help book.  It all made sense!  Over and over on their Facebook page REAL women had posted their successes too.  I really connected when I read the testimony of a mom with a lot of kids who had followed the program and successfully lost a 100 lbs and reached her goals.  Wow!

I started Trim Healthy Mama February 1, 2014.  I started at 249 lbs (ouch that hurts to admit publically), and weighed in at 230 lbs today, July 18, 2014.  Yeah me!!!   This winter I was at my true breaking point with my weight and so discouraged as this is the most I have ever weighed in my life.  I weighed less when pregnant 8 times (we have 6 children and 2 in heaven).   My weight just seemed to climb and climb this past winter even though I was eating healthy.  I could not seem to get it to stop climbing.

Also though I am loosing weight slowly, I have stalled in my weight loss several times over the past few months while following the Trim Healthy Mama program.  I will loose here and there and then stall for a week or two and nothing changes.  Sometimes I gain weight too and it is easy to get discouraged and want to quit.   The yo-yoing up and down can be very discouraging.  I had a vindictive 5 lbs I kept gaining and loosing for weeks on end in April and May.  I definitely see that stress has a big impact on weight gain.  I was stressed because of family finances, and my husband was out of work for more months than he had work over the past year.  He finally got a new job in mid April, but money was so tight and the stress of finances once again was unreal.   At the beginning of July, I was sad to see those 5lbs come back and my weight hovered once again at 235.  It is crazy how I can gain or loose 5lbs almost overnight.  I’ve done enough research to know it is water weight and it is affected by hormone changes and also stress plays a big role.

I felt I needed something more, since I keep having these stalls.  Over the past 17 years I have followed a Weston A Price method of traditional foods which helped me over come infertility.  And for the past  two years, I had added in a Paleo approach.  I had read about a Keto / Lowcarb  approach, but did not implement it at the time.  Finally I am understanding how these methods can compliment each other and benefit me.   Again, the science all makes sense.    I have read a lot about how a lowcarb menu plan can help the body to burn fat for fuel, so that is what I am aiming for.

So after finally getting my brain to understand how this all works, I finally started the 90 Day Healthy Choices Lowcarb Challenge on July 16th at 235lbs and I am at 230lbs today.  I wish I was starting at 229 instead of 235, and I am very frustrated that those pounds I worked so hard to loose found a way to come back this past week.  But I am more determined than ever to be successful on this lowcarb challenge and see if I can bust through some of these difficult hurdles.  So far on Trim Healthy Mama I have an average loss of about  0.8lbs per week or 3.16 lbs per month.   But I want to try to improve this to 2.5lbs a week or 10lbs a month by going on this 90 Day Challenge.

Day three of the challenge is DONE!  Yeah!!!

I am making healthy choices, eating low carb meals with a strategy.   It is definitely a challenge to mix and match the right combos to keep my carb intake low.  I am making healthy choices, and getting great nutrition, and my overall sugar intake is low.  However, I am still above the amount of carbs I want to be at to meet the goal of this lowcarb challenge.  My goal for carbs is to stay below 20 net carbs a day or 5% of my calories, protein 25%, and fats 70% but still incorporate the Trim Healthy Mama approach.  It will take me a little time to get into a good routine so that I can learn to alternate between the lower carb meals, and no carb meals to reach these goals.   I am a work in progress.

So how did I do the first 3 days?

Day 1 Net Carbs = 57

Day 2 Net Carbs = 52

Day 3 Net Carbs = 21

Note:  These net carb totals above include sugar alcohols from Erythritol sweetener and Xylitol sweetener and need to be subtracted off yet and should not have been included in the total.  For some reason the software totals them into the net carbs but it should subtract them as they do not count because the body can’t digest them and they pass on through and have no impact on blood sugar.

It has become very obvious why pre-planning food combinations for meals and snacks individually but also for the whole day to be sure I get in all the nutrients is so critical to achieve my health goals.  I’m back at the starting line, and I have a lot more work to do.  But I am on my way!



Are you working on any fitness goals?  Please leave a comment and tell us about it.  Thank you.


90 Day “Healthy Choices” Low Carb Challenge

Are you tired of guessing if you are getting enough nutrients each day?  Are you tired of trying to figure out how to loose weight?  Are you tired of feeling like you are starving when you try to keep that New Years Resolution to go on a diet to loose weight?  I can tell you with certainty that I am tired of listening to false dietary advice from folks who really don’t know what they are doing, and tired of failing at getting fit and trim.  Instead of guessing, I want real answers.  I want to know the science of how it works, why it works, and how to repeat it with success.  Don’t try to sell me a pill, or some fancy weight loss program that costs hundreds of dollars!  I want the real change and it should be free because it should be about understanding some facts rather than buying products that may or may not work.

Next week I will be joining up with the 90 Day “Healthy Choices” Low Carb Challenge.  The upcoming challenge runs from July 16, 2014 through October 13th, 2014.

The goal of the challenge is to help you get healthy by making wise food choices, and eat around 20 NET Carbs a day.  The majority of your nutrients should come from healthy fats, healthy proteins, and low carb / high fiber vegetables and low carb / high fiber fruits.  The goal of a low carb meal plan is to maintain an over all low glycemic index, maintain ketosis, and help the body use fat as its main fuel instead of glucose.

All sugars in their various forms, and all starches, and even proteins are broken down into glucose in the body.  You might be asking “What is glucose?  What is glycemic, or low glycemic?”  Glucose is the form of sugar the body uses for fuel, and it breaks down all other sources of sugar into this chemical structure for use.  Glycemic ratio is a method of computing how fast foods are broken down into glucose.  It measures the impact breaking down carbs such as sugars and starches has on the blood stream.  The higher the glycemic load on the body, the higher the glucose in the bloodstream and the harder the liver and pancreas has to work to regulate blood sugar.  High glycemic load results in high blood sugar and eventually leads to diseases like Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes II, etc, and also feeds various fungus and cancers.  But a low carb lifestyle that maintains a low glycemic load on the body, and tends to support ultimate health and longevity.

I have always studied nutrition since my highschool days.  In college I spent countless hours studying dietary information.  I also allowed a dietary student to follow my food journals to help them and myself learn.  After college I became a medical social worker and observed first hand the impact of food and medications on mood and behavior as well as weight loss or gain and overall quality of life in my clients.  When I was in my late 20′s I learned about a better way of food preparation based on traditional diets of our ancestors instead of highly processed foods.  I joined the Weston A Price Foundation as a student and lover of learning and kept up with all the latest research about the health impact of various foods and how foods should be prepared to maximize their nutritional value.  Following the WAPF methods of food prep and eating traditional foods helped me overcome infertility and restored my reproductive health.  I finally had my first child at age 30 and now have a total of six living children and two in heaven.  During this time, I also opened a healthy foods store to sell natural traditional foods and supplements to my local community.  We eventually closed the store when I was 38 years old, to take a job opportunity for my husband in another state.  But I will never forget all the lives that were forever impacted for the better including my own.  I give all the glory to God, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn about real nutrient dense food.

Fast forward and I am now 44 years old.   With my last child born two years ago, I had an emergency C-section that seems to have caused some damage to my metabolism and immune system.  My body did not recover as fast as I had expected it to from the trauma of emergency surgery and the effects of anesthesia.  I also gained weight after the surgery and I could not seem to maintain my weight.  So last year I began a new journey of learning about the endocrine system (mainly the thyroid and adrenal glands) and how to heal.

Over the past year I have learned a lot about using carbs and fats as fuel for the body and how to separate them in various meal plans so the body only has to uses one fuel source provided instead of having to use one and store one when they are both provided at the same time.  Last spring I dug right in and learned about The Fast Metabolism Diet.  This book provided an introduction to manipulating meals and causing healing of the thyroid with nutrition.  FMD helped me loose 18lbs by eating 5 meals / snacks a day, starting within the first 30 minutes of waking.  They also encouraged mild exercise every other day and have a helpful Facebook group for support.  Then this past winter I dug in and read a huge book and learned about another method of food combining and fuel switching called Trim Healthy Mama.  I finally tried it out in February and by April I had lost 14lbs following this method.  I really liked THM because it allowed dairy (cream, cheese, butter, etc.) and because it is Christian based and it supports the whole person, not just menu planning, and there is tons of support through a forum and various online Facebook groups.

Both programs, FMD and THM control the kind of fuel being used by the body and give the body a rest between eating a different fuel source.  The FMD switches fuel sources every two to three days.  So it has two days of moderate carbs and protein, two days of no carbs (or very little) and  lean protein, and three days of moderate carbs, protein sources that contain higher fat, and healthy plant-based fats.  The THM switches fuel sources as often as every other meal.  Both programs space meals and snacks three hours apart and with both you eat about 5 times a day.  Both programs are seeing wonderful successes and I have learned a lot about how to meal plan and when to switch fuel sources.

I am wanting to take my nutritional goals a step further, as I am learning about auto immune reactions to foods, and I want to eliminate most legumes (eat only occasionally or not at all), and eliminate most grains (though I would still enjoy some soaked or sprouted gluten-free low carb grains), and bring the over all carb counts from plant foods down in the meals.  This is very exciting as I learn more about the body and how various foods and nutrients impact the body differently.

I have been creating some recipes, and doing meal planning before starting the challenge.  On my trial run, I tried to reach a goal of 20 or less net carbs (total carbs – fiber carbs = net carbs) on a few different days over the past few weeks to see if I could actually eat this way.  It is one thing to read about it.  It is a whole different thing to actually try to live it 24/7.  Most of the time, by the end of the day, my overall total carbs were between 35 to 90, and my net carbs (carb count after subtracting fiber) were usually between 19 carbs and 30 carbs with a few days over 40.  So I am feeling hopeful that with a few more tweaks, and learning how to actually keep up with keeping track of net carbs while still getting all the macro and micro nutrients, I will be able to do this.  It boils down to a learning curve and following through with a plan.

On this challenge, I plan to make lots of low carb meals and snacks, many from my own original creations with dietary knowledge I have gained from learning different methods.  I think my recipes will combine ideas from Trim Healthy Mama, Weston A Price Foundation, The Fast Metabolism Diet, Keto, Paleo, Glutenfree, and Sugarfree  variations.  I plan to track not only my carbs, but understand the various nutrients in the meals I eat and what nutrients are in excess and what nutrients are lacking and need increased for a more balanced nutritional approach.

I am personally at a point in my life where guessing about my health and nutrition is not a healthy option for me.  Don’t just tell me this or that is healthy.  I want to understand the macros and micros of what I am eating and know with confidence that I am doing the right thing for my body.  I have been tracking the nutrients on each recipe I create and also on the menu for the whole day.  The results have been eye-opening.  I can see what days I need more protein, or more thiamine, or B12 for example.  This mix of research and recipes should be a fun exploration, delicious I hope, and a very interesting learning journey as I track my changes over a 90 day period.

I hope you will check back for my progress updates.

If you would like to join the 90 Day Low Carb Challenge, check out the information over at Traveling Lowcarb and register with your email for updates and encouragement.  It’s free!

Be blessed!

Moving Beyond The Page Curriculum Review

Did you know that the first robot was invented in 1921? Did you know first knitting machine was invented in 1589, and the first golf balls were invented in 1400? Or did you know that the first computer game was invented in 1962, and the first artificial heart and liver was invented in 2001, or that the first DVD’s were invented in 1995? Can you believe the world-wide web was invented in 1990, or the iPhone was invented in 2007? I was really surprised to learn the actual dates of many inventions of everyday things we take for granted. They are so much a part of our everyday lives that we kind of forget the bigger picture that some where in time, someone invented them. That is some of the cool stuff my son is learning in his Moving Beyond The Page Language Arts and Science curriculum.

Moving Beyond The Page Logo

With Moving Beyond The Page you can order a complete age range curriculum for the whole year (ten Language Arts, ten Science, and ten Social Studies), or for a semester (five courses each in LA, Science, and Social Studies), or individual courses.


Individual courses are made up of about 10 to 12 lessons and a final project, and each individual course takes about three to four weeks to complete if you work on them three or four days a week.

Semester and Lesson

Though the word “curriculum” is used, Moving Beyond The Page has a unique approach to education. They use RESEARCH-based educational STRATEGIES to CONNECT various subjects together through a common theme using literature, like a unit study approach, and connect information with real life, hands on, experience.

In my opinion, the cross curricular unit study approach is a wonderful method of learning, teaching, and retaining information.  I think every family can benefit from this method, because it makes these connections between information and real life, and helps a person be well rounded in their understanding.  It is not just a bunch of knowledge to be remembered, it is knowledge that manifests into real experience.

How Will Using Moving Beyond The Page Benefit Your Homeschool?

    • Help your child see connections in life.  Woven in the unit study approach are connections that your student will make between subjects of science and engineering, social and cultural studies, history, geography, language arts, and more.
    • The goal of this approach to education is to turn each child into a problem solver, an innovator, and challenge them through activities that involve critical and creative thinking.
    • The curriculum encourages real-world applications. It uses project-based instruction, and empowers each child in a way that meets his or her needs.
    • It supports various different learning styles, ages, and different skill levels.
    • It bridges and closes the gaps in each students learning as they meet and exceed state and national standards at each learning level.

We were sent 2 INDIVIDUAL COURSES from Moving Beyond The Page:

Science Package:Technological Design for ages 11-13 and retails for $31.94  This course contains a physical spiral bound consumable workbook, and a softcover textbook.  There are online options for the consumable workbook too, be sure you have a high-speed internet, Adobe reader software, and a printer if choosing the online version. Check the web site for pricing options:

Technological Design    Leonardo Da Vinci

This course covers:

  • What Is Technology?
  • Technological Innovator
  • Meaningful Technological Designs
  • Necessity vs. Luxury
  • Necessity Is the Mother of Invention
  • Da Vinci’s Inventions
  • Contemporary Design Approaches
  • Engineering
  • Modeling an Idea
  • Final Project: Final Exam and Model Bridge

Language Arts Package: Einstein Adds A New Dimension for ages 12-14 and retails for $39.98  This course contains an online printable workbook, and a large physical hardback cover textbook.  Be sure you have a high-speed internet, Adobe reader software, and a printer if choosing the online version. There is also a spiral bound softcover physical workbook option too, check out the web site for pricing options.

Einstein Workbook    Einstein Adds A New Dimension

This course covers the life of a famous scientist, Albert Einstein, and his contributions to science and the world through a Language Arts curriculum.  In this course, the student covers:

  • Expository Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • The Curies’ Discoveries
  • Process Writing
  • Envisioning Fission
  • Cause and Effect Writing
  • Relativity
  • Comparison and Contrast Writing
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Problem and Solution Writing
  • Citing Sources
  • Final Project: Research Paper
  • Engineering
  • Modeling an Idea
  • Final Project: Final Exam and Model Bridge


How We Used This Curriculum

These courses are one part of a larger package of curriculum and are expected to take a student three to four weeks to complete.  The suggested syllabus has the student working in each subject area about an hour a day.

Einstein Adds A New Dimension

I found the Einstein Adds A New Dimension curriculum to be so fascinating!  The text-book is a 465 page full color textbook jam-packed with information and photos.  It is a learning buffet!  I have never seen a text-book quite like it before, except in college.  It is like Science 101 in college, and takes you on a journey of how science came to be, how it has changed, what is theory, what is proven, and how Albert Einstein had a significant role in science and our understanding of everything.  I can easily see this text being used in a science 101 course.



My son was so interested in the textbook, he hardly ever sat it down.  Every time I turned around he was deep into the reading.  The workbook created by Moving Beyond The Page to correlate with the text, takes an informational text about science and scientists, and gives it a whole new twist in looking at it from a Language Arts perspective and learing hands on about writing, research, science, and engineering.  It challenges you to see the difference in theory and fact, and how to build a convincing argument in favor or against different scientific research.  This course receives a high score from my 13 year old!

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My son loved the Technological Design course and learning about inventions made by Leonardo Da Vinci.


He is fascinated with science and design.  He wants to learn how things work and then build on that  knowledge to go even further.  He is a true engineer at heart.


He found it fascinating that Leonardo Da Vinci was passionate about a wide variety of things including arts, theater and plays, engineering, inventions, practical jokes with family and friends, and so much more.


He made masks out of milk jugs.  He changed things a little bit from the manual to fit the supplies we had on hand and also his interests.  His sister also asked him to make a mask for her so he enlisted the help of his brother and they made a special butterfly mask per the colors she requested. He planed to turn his mask into a black cat.  He went outside and drew several cat faces using our kittens as his model and they all looked great.  He cut out his mask from a milk jug and then covered it in black paper and completed the eyes and ears, but got stumped at one point on making the mouth and decided to turn it into a Knight’s face mask instead.


Both the Textbook and Workbook are hands on manuals filled with projects to do.  There are so many different projects to choose from your child will always look forward to their studies.


I think my son’s favorite chapter about Leonardo Da Vinci Inventions was Leonardo’s War Inventions.  He took old ideas and tweaked them.  He problem solved.  He figured out a way to save lives on the “home team” and cause more devastation to the opposing team by reducing the human risk of injury, and making many weapons automated, or mechanized, or robotic if you will.   Leonardo “re-invented” many weapons of war.  He is most famous for the Trebuchet (automated catapult), the Armored Tank, a portable Safety Bridge, and his version of a Cannon.  The final project in the curriculum is to design and build a model bridge out of craft sticks that can support 5 lbs and this represents a full size bridge that can be positioned over a ravine for safe crossing and make a presentation about it describing the technological process involved. He has not made it to the end of the curriculum yet, but I am sure he will as excited as his is about each project he makes.

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He plans to build the Trebuchet project from the book later this week.  He built a Trebuchet from a pre-designed kit two years ago and loved playing with it and shooting clay balls all around the house.  For his birthday he bought a Leonardo De Vinci Catapult kit and decided to pare it up with this curriculum.  My son had a blast building this from the kit and likes it even better than the Trebuchet kit he built-in the past, because it is made from good quality wood and is large and sturdy.  Here is a picture of him with his Leonardo Da Vinci Catapult project.  He sanded each piece smooth before cutting to length, assembling, gluing pegs (wooden nails), etc. the various parts together.  This project has more power and shoots a lot further than his previous Trebuchet and he loves it!


I definitely recommend Moving Beyond The Page curriculum.  There are tons of cross curricular subjects and they are all fascinating and hands on.  I am putting the whole year curriculum on my homeschool wish list!  I hope you will check them out and see how they can meet the needs of your family and homeschool.

You can follow all the latest news and updates on media links for Moving Beyond The Page.


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Happy 4th Of July!

Greetings! & BLESSINGS!


I hope you all have a wonderful July 4th Holiday with family and friends!  I am thankful today for my freedoms and liberty.


My family is enjoying a fun day at home together celebrating the 4th and the start of a three day weekend with daddy.  We have played games, tossed the ball, rode bikes and scooters,


watched two movies on TV (the older boys watched an Indiana Jones movie, and the whole family watched RED2 with Bruce Willis who plays a retired special agent and is on a mission to protect the USA and the world from weapons of mass destruction, and it was hilarious!  We saw RED last year and it was just as funny), played on the computer, and swam in the pool today.


I have enjoyed walking around the yard and getting a few pictures of the flowers that are blooming today.

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Flowers are like daytime fireworks.  Wouldn’t you agree?

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They explode with such beautiful colors.

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I wish they bloomed more than just a week or two, I wish I could enjoy them everyday all year long.  I love flowers!

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We hoped for clear skies, and very few mosquitos (please God), because we planned to let off a few fireworks, let the kids use sparklers, and watch other people’s fireworks that go really high in the night sky.


If the sky is clear we can see fireworks far off that are lit off by neighboring towns and not too distant neighbors.  This adds to our enjoyment of the holiday!

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With so many young children in our family, we chose not to try to go out to town in the dark to watch fireworks, because it can be so busy with lots and lots of people.  It’s not the best scenario for younger kids, who already afraid of the big bangs, and explosions of fireworks.


So to keep our sanity and help the younger kids not be afraid, we just planned an evening at home.  Perhaps we can join in on something bigger next year, but for this year we are content to enjoy our time together at home.



We built a bon fire, and enjoyed roasting marshmallows and making smores.  Thank you God for answering my prayer for no mosquitos and for clear skies.  It was so clear, we could count the stars.  The stars are like a nightime fireworks show in the sky every night, courtesy of our creator.   It was a beautiful summer night. The stars are so beautiful and watching them was the perfect way to end a wonderful day.

Happy 4th of July!


How did your July 4th holiday turn out?


Have you heard of P&G?  P&G stands for Proctor and Gamble.  There is a good chance you (as well as your parents and grandparents too) have heard of the many products P&G produces, because they have been in business making household products for over 175 years.  They have been a household name for generations. They keep evolving to help each new generation with relevant products and tips on simple steps to take to help maximize life and create comfortable safe homes and enhanced living.  P&G has a great family orriented website set up to help you make the most of everyday living called P&Geveryday.  

P&Geveryday is your “go to place” to find out “how to” on so many topics! P&Geveryday is committed to making everyday just a little easier and aims to inspire, support, and empower you to reach your full potential everyday.

While looking through their web site I found articles on How To Set Up Your Laundry Room, How To Make Lemonade, How To Store and Dispose of Batteries, Ironing 101, How To Grill, and so much more.   They have lots of delicious recipes, food photos, and tips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too.  

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(photo of P&Geveryday web site dinner ideas)

The P&Geveryday web site is divided up into sections based on Family Life, Food, Health and Wellbeing, Home and Garden, Beauty, and Our Brands. Under each section are wonderful articles with tips to help you make the most of your everyday life.

So for example, with eight people in our home (two adults and six kids), we have a lot of birthdays to celebrate.  I found lots of great articles on family party ideas that I can’t wait to implement for birthdays and holidays too.  Some of my favorite ideas I found articles and helpful tips about include celebrating Christmas, hosting a Harvest Party, Memorial Day Party, New Years Eve Party, Themed Birthday Parties, and more.

We all love to snack in the evening, RIGHT?  You may have realized that some snacks can keep you awake and make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.  But did you know that there are healthy bedtime snack choices you can make that actually promote sleep?  Check out this short list of 10 Bedtime Snacks to Help You Sleep.  You’ll be sleeping better in no time!

They also have a section on family fun activities that are great ideas to for the whole family.  Some of my favorite tips for family activities they suggest include Camping, Things to do on Summer Nights, Summer Boredom Busters, Creating a Family Game Day, Create a Movie Club, Family Friendly Outdoor Activities, and more.

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Through all these great family activity ideas, we were inspired to visit a town close by, have a picnic, and explore it’s parks, history, and natural beauty with river front and forest with our kids. The whole family had a wonderful experience and we made memories we will share for a lifetime.

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P&Geveryday is also your “go to place” to find printable coupons on Proctor and Gamble products.  They have so many different products for different areas of your life, you will surely find coupons and tips that will make buying and using their products really helpful.


(photo of P&Geveryday web site list of Brands)

Check out what P&Geveryday has to offer you.  You will discover resourceful ideas, inspriational tips, recipes, support, beauty, healthy, product reviews, coupons, samples, and new products that make everyday enjoyable.  Be sure to follow them on their P&Geveryday Facebook page too for all the latest news and updates.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Veritas Press: Self Paced History Review

This school year we focussed on a lot of reading skills, spelling, math, science, computer tech, geography, health and physical fitness, animal husbandry skills (chickens, rabbits, cat and kittens, dogs), biblical study, and life skills.  The kids did really well and they have all progressed in their skills by leaps and bounds.  I am really proud of them. However, two areas we did not spend a lot of time in this year was history and grammar, and I am hoping to work on these subjects more through the summer and fall.  I was thrilled six weeks ago to find out our family was selected through the The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for a Veritas Press Self-Paced History course through Veritas Press.  We were sent the Veritas Press Self Paced History: New Testiment, Greece and Rome and also a set of New Testiment, Greece and Rome Flashcards.  This history curriculum is just what our homeschool needed.



Veritas Press Self Paced History Courses are designed for kids in 2nd through 6th grades.  They could also be used by older students as a review.  Each online course costs $199 for the first student, and $99 for each additional student in the same family.


Self-paced history courses to choose from include five specific time periods:

               Old Testament and Ancient Egypt
               New Testament, Greece and Rome 
               Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation
               Explorers to 1815
               1815 to Present

Be sure to check out FREE samples of each course.

Each on-line self paced course requires a computer with high speed interenet, and a set of flashcards specific to the course.   Flashcards are available for purchase on the web site and range in price.  The New Testiment, Greece and Rome Flashcards we used cost $19.95.   There are also optional Literature books you can aquire to enhance the course.  You can buy them either individually, or as a kit from the web site, or find them at your local library, or online.


Once you have purchased the course, the student will be given one year online access to the course materials on the date you choose to begin the course, and the flash cards and Literature books will be mailed to you if you also purchase them.   
These Veritas Press Self Paced History courses are unique because each course includes 160 interactive class lessons and cover 32 specific events in time learned in a classical or chronological way.  So for each self paced history course you take, it is the equivelent of sitting through 160 classes.
How We Used This In Our Homeschool


We were asked to review  Veritas Press Self-paced History New Testiment, Greece and Rome  and a set of New Testiment, Greece and Rome Flash Cards. We had a few of the listed Literature Readers on hand to get started.  I also found a few Literature Readers online.


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Setting up for class is easy.  After setting up your parent account, next you set up your student account, and then select the course or courses you want to register for, select the date you plan to begin, and then proceed to check out.  Once your course date begins, your student can log in and get started.  You will have access to the self paced program for 1 year from the date you selected for the course to begin, so it will be plenty of time for your student to complete.


I must confess that I had a hard time choosing which of my kids to use this program with. Several are in the suggested age range.  The older son needs it as a review, and the next two sons both need to learn the history course too and both are audio visual learners who would most benefit from how this material is taught.  It was a really hard decision for me make.  We are using the program with my oldest son, but I can clearly see how our whole family would benefit from this class.
He is able to work independantly on the course each day.  He logs in, watches the online videos and slide (like a power point present) for each lesson and completes the interactive questions and games.  After every five lessons there is a quiz or test.  I can log in at anytime and monitor his progress.  He will be given a year end grade at the end of the program which will include an average of all his scores.  He watches videos, answers questions, reads flash cards, plays games, and completes quizzes and this is a great way to learn history.
Why is this course different from others and fun?  The interactive course is a combination of educational videos and slides, history and geography, silly songs to help you memorize historical facts, interactive online quizzes, and interactive games to see what your students learned from the course.  The videos are fun, even silly at times, and packed with information.  My son is always saying “Mom, did you know…” about what he is learning and lets me know he really enjoys it.

These self paced history courses are like having a history tutor at your finger tips walking you through a specific time in history through the computer.  You get so much helpful information in a fun presentation for about $1.24 a lesson. WOW!  I know $199 seems like a lot of money, but when you put it into perspective of $1.24 a lesson, it makes it seem very affordable for this kind of resource.  I am so amazed how technology can be used in a helpful way like this.  I used to tutor various subjects on a college campus through a tutoring program.  If those students only had access to resources like this, many college students would have a better grasp on their materials and do so much better in their course work too.


All five self paced history courses are going on my wish list for the fall.  I want to find the funds in our budget to order more of these classes and the recommended literature reader kits for all of my students.  I love the way this course includes geography, history, cultural studies, biblical studies and more in an interactive all in one class.  I can’t believe what a good fit this program is for our homeschool, and a fun way to learn history.  This program is absolutely WONDERFUL!!!


You can follow Veritas Press on their media links for all the latest news and updates.


Click to read Crew Reviews


Be sure to check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about various products from Veritas Press.  They have a wide variety of courses to meet your homeschool needs.


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