Monday, March 30, 2015

The Quest for the Cures... A DocuSeries on Cancer

Life has been a little stressful, and I haven't had time to post like I would have liked. However, I wanted to be sure to share this quickly for those that might need it.

 Image result for the quest for the cures

There is an interesting Docu Series on Cancer showing for free right now. I have not watched these all yet. In fact, I am just now watching the first episode, but it might be interesting for some of you out there.

The link to the first episode can be found here. Each episode airs for about 24 hours or so and then the next one is available. And you can find out more here as well.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Worry, Stress and His Word

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.- Corrie Ten Boom

It seems that life has thrown me some recent curve balls, like it often does. And I will be the first to admit that I worry and stress way too much. And then I came across this quote that said something about worrying being the sin that Christians commit the most. Which got me thinking about how I really do need to be putting my trust in God. I am really really really far from perfect, and I have a tough time trusting and not worrying. And it is quite possibly the silliest thing I could do. Yes, life has been hard. Yes, sometimes times are difficult. And yes, sometimes things do not end the way I planned or without heartbreak, but I have always made it through and I will make it through this too.

Knowing that so many others are stressed and worrying, I wanted to share some of the versus that are helping me to keep going.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:34

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Psalm 55:22

Monday, March 23, 2015

A few more giveaways

I am not sure why it is I like giveaways so much. A lot of times I see giveaways for useless stuff that I don't really need. But then there are those that have exactly what I am looking for and the price could not be better. When you are on a budget, winning the tools you need for free could not be a better way to build that real food kitchen of your dreams.

So here are more giveaways I thought you might enjoy:

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Take it or Leave It: The Opinions of One has some great stainless steel measuring spoons up for grabs. You have 9 more days to enter.

Or at that same site, there are some really cool chalk markers here or here for labeling and decorating projects. (I love a pretty label!)

Foodstirs is having a spring break giveaway. They are giving away a little sous chef kit and some other cool kitchen items for the little one in the house. I love this idea for my learning cooks!

Score a $50 Whole Foods Giftcard over at Mother Would Know (6 days left to enter).

Over at Leite's Culinaria, you can enter to win a 5 quart Fermentation Crock!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kicking It - Ninja Multiplication Fact Fun


Do you have a little one that loves ninjas or karate, or just getting up and moving while doing math?
I found this idea over at Elementary School Garden and I just love it! (I think it was actually created by Apple for the Teacher.) It shares such a cool way to get students/children moving and excited about learning their math facts. And I love that it isn't your average flash card type of practice. You could easily change this up to make it work for other skills if you are not working on multiplication facts and you could even change it up to work for homeschooling. I am going to recreate an activity similar for my middle child and his addition and subtraction facts. He can use family members as partners to get the whole family in on the excitement.

You can read all about it here. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

More Real Food Giveaways

Preserving by the Pint Cookbook
Here are some of the giveaways that caught my eye this week. I hope that you enjoy some of them too! Be sure to let me know if you win. :)

  • Leite's Kitchen is giving away Preserving by the Pint. This one is surely on my lists as summer and harvest time gets closer and closer.
  • For the crafty or quilters out there, there is a great link up that is forever being updated. I love crafts, and have just begun to get into the quilting. Check out the link for hundreds of giveaways.
  •  Go on over to Chew Out Loud to put in an entry for a $100 gift card. (I am receiving an entry for sharing this post. If you have a blog, you can do the same. Just be sure to enter the url for your entry!)
  • Hop on over to Granny's Giveaways to enter for a full set of Le Creuset dinnerware. This on ends on March 31st. 
  • The Baking Beauties are giving away a kitchen scale. There is one more day to enter! 
  • Enter to win a month of fresh produce from Farmbox Direct over at Hello Natural.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Building Number Sense: Moving in Math (Part 1)

            Photo Credit
My son hates to do worksheets. He. Hates. Worksheets. He is six and he was in a public school last year, but we moved and now we are trying out homeschooling. Last year was a lot of socializing,  projects and fun in PreK. Now we are in Kindergarten and he just wants to play, he doesn't want to do work.

So it has been a tough road of mixing in play to learn and then also your standard "put this on paper so I can prove you can do it" kind of stuff. I personally think that there are lots of ways to assess one's knowledge, but we are building a portfolio of what he has learned and including some typical worksheet type things to show he can solve math problems that align with the Kindergarten and First grade curriculum.

My son learns best when he doesn't realize we are doing school work and he is MOVING. So here are some ways to get in math while moving that have worked in our house.

Number Squats: We use this movement to build number sense by skip counting. When you first start, count by 1s. Down is 1, up is 2, down is 3 , up is 4, etc. Then as the child becomes better with counting to 20 or 30, you start whispering the 1, 3, 5, 7,... and saying the 2, 4, 6, 8... louder. Then you even move to "saying the odds in your head" and only saying the evens out loud. Before you know it, the child will be skip counting by 2s.

Leaping Lily Pads: To skip count by other numbers, print out a fun shape, like lily pads, and have the child leap like a frog from number to number. If just starting out from skip counting by 2s, you can try counting by 5s or 10s. If you want to work on adding or subtracting, you could also change this up to include the skills in a number of different ways. One way would be to ask something like 1 + 3 and the child hops over to the 4 and then ask another question and the child hops to the next one and so forth.

Twister: Working on name shapes or properties of shapes? You could draw shapes like circles, rectangles, triangles, squares, etc. or even 3D shapes like spheres, cylinders, pyramids, prisms, etc. on paper. Then tape these to the circles of the twister game. You can play by using the spinner to tell you what hand or foot to use, but also either call out the name of the shape or characteristics of the shape.

Water Balloon Math: This idea from No Time for Flashcards is genius as the warmer weather arrives. I don't think you would have to have hula hoops for each one, and you could even get out of printing the numbers by just writing them with sidewalk chalk on a driveway, side walk or patio. You could also make this suitable for older kids by using fractions, decimals or even integers!

Hopscotch: This is an old favorite and it shows how math really is every where! Take this up a notch with fractions as shown on this lovely blog.

Fire Hose: This idea is perfect for all the little firemen and firewomen out there. I know my boys would love it. Basically, you can work on anything for this activity. You could just write numbers in chalk on a fence, sidewalk, driveway or patio and then give them adding or subtracting problems. They find the answer and "put out the fire." You could also write the question and give them and answer. Ask them to find the question that would have that answer. You could use this for site words too. Check out more here.

Be sure to check back next week for part 2 of the series: Building Number Sense.

What are your favorite ways of getting kids up and moving while learning math?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reminder: Paleo Sale and Buck Book Giveaway

Reminder: Here is a really sweet giveaway I wanted to share with you over at Buck Books. Did you see it? They are giving away a Kindle, a $200 Amazon gift card and a bunch of cool Paleo stuff!

To enter this giveaway you do have to subscribe to the newsletter. But there are worse things in life... right? You might want to check out Buck Books while you are there. (It started today!!!!) You will be able to get Paleo books for somewhere between $0.99  and $2.99. Many of them look great, but I also have an obsession with cookbooks and all things delicious!

The Shamrock Shake


                          Photo Credit

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I have to admit that just a few years ago, I used to drink Shamrock Shakes. I wouldn't eat anything else in fear of getting really really really sick from the fast food.... which used to happen if I ever did eat it as a kid, but once a year I would go get a green shake. And it sounds like I am not alone in this. I read that others did this as well all over the place. So here are some resources to help you remake a much healthier, and probably tastier version of the green goody!

Click on the link to be brought to the recipes. Many are very similar, but might have a slight change in the ingredients or amounts.  (Tip: to get it greener, just try adding more spinach!)

                       * Hungry-Girl                                         * Detoxinista
                       * Hello Natural                                       * The Spunky Coconut
                       * Chocolate Covered Kate                      * An Edible Mosaic
                       * The Nourishing Gourmet                     * Heather Dane
                       * Fat & Happy                                        * Cook Eat Paleo

Now the hard part is deciding which recipe to try. It will be 86 degrees here and I think this green deliciousness is exactly what will be needed to cool off and enjoy some greens!

Monday, March 16, 2015

More Sight Word Love

 Alphabet Stamp Set-, , hi-res


Do you practice Sight Words with your loves during your day? There are lots of really fun ways to practice. Here are some of the things that my 6 year old and I do:

* Write as many sight words on the chalk board as possible. I call them out and he finds and erases. If you don't have a large chalkboard, a white board would do the same. Or you can even write them on a piece of paper and take a yellow marker and tell your love to "butter up" each word.

*  I gave my love a red piece of construction paper and some off-white yarn. He pretends he is writing sight words with spaghetti.

* We have alphabet stamps. He writes the words and stamps the words. (The set pictured is what we have and they are on sale at Joann's for $9.99 right now! This is NOT an affiliate link.)

* I placed a bit of paint in a ziploc baggy and he uses his finger to write the words on the outside. It looks and feels cool to him. I was nervous that the paint would come out and also taped the top of the bag. (Similar idea here)

*Parking lot! On card stock, I drew a parking lot. In each space I wrote a sight word. Then he drives matchbox cars to the words as I call them out. He LOVES this one. And we have several different parking lots with different words. Sometimes we connect to make a bigger parking lot and sometimes we just use one at a time.

* Magic Sight Word. My little guy also loves this one. We write sight words with white crayon on a piece of paper and paint over it. It makes the sight word show up really cool.

* Roll a sight word. Here we pick 6 sight words to practice. Each number on a regular die corresponds to one of the words. He tosses the die and writes the word for the number he lands on. So if 3 was "with" every time he rolled a 3 he would write "with" in a printout. I have him color them too and make it a bar graph and we talk about which bar is shortest, tallest and which word won.
 (If anyone would like my roll a sight word print out - let me know and I will email it to you.)

* My son suddenly started asking for word searches. It helps him practice spelling the words right and knowing which are capital and which are lower case. And it is fun to find things. You can get some pre-made sight words here.

*We haven't done this one yet, but it would be great for any little love that likes to move and feel like he/she is playing a game. Looks like you write the words on paper plates, hang them up and toss a tennis ball or something else at the words as you call them out.

How do you make it fun to practice sight words? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Amazon Giveaways

 Totally Awesome Amazon Giveaway - March 2015

Hey ya'll! You might just want to throw your name in the hat for this giveaway over at Skinny Fitalicious. I am not part of this giveaway, but it looks like a bunch of bloggers have teamed up to offer quite the prize. There are a ton of ways to enter. And remember, you can't win if you don't enter!

Life in a House of Testosterone is also giving away a $100 Amazon gift card! Enter by 3/20.

And here is another great Amazon Giveaway for $100. (Just be warned, this is a jewelry site with some jewelry that would not be appropriate for everyone. The giveaway is for $100 to buy any jewelry you wanted off of Amazon, but I don't see why you could not use it for whatever you wanted.)

Sunshine and Flipflops is giving away 7 different Visa gift cards for a total of $1000. (Yes, I realize this isn't Amazon, but it ends on 3/20 and wanted to let you know about this too!)

These are great ways to get some of your real food needs to free. I won a $100 gift card in January and used it to order some vitamins, essential oils and some homeschooling stuff that we needed. And all it took was my email address in an entry form!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Glass Jar Giveaways

I have a small obsession with glass jars. I think that they are practical and there is something so beautiful about glass. I have been known to check out second hand shops in search of old glass jars. And sometimes I have bought a couple... And yes, they are all being used now. And in fact, I can think of even more things I would like to put in jars. We even use mason jars as cups in my house and mason jars hold out toothbrushes, I have mason jars full of homemade vanilla extract....oh I could go on.

So when I have a few minutes, I like to look for giveaways related to anything with glass jars or canning/preserving. Here are a few that I have found.

Herb and Botanicals Homestead is giving away a set of the most beautiful purple Mason Jars. I am just in love with these. Go enter now and then check back on March 25th to see if you have won.

Head on over to a Girl Worth Saving to win a Mighty Nest Giveaway worth $125 of glass food storage containers.

There are two days left to enter for the new Ball Blue Book. Check it out at Fillmore Containers.

This one might not be for glass jars, but these Neat Glasses sound really cool.

Or you can visit the Experimental Homesteader to enter for other types of containers and a $100 Amazon Gift card.

(Some have expired and I deleted. I will add more as I find them!)

Uses for Leftover Lemon Peels

Lemon Squeezer, Lemon Juice, Citrus

It is about 80 degrees here in southern Georgia. This is my first time out of the north for the winter. I desperately miss the snow, but this warm weather is kind of fun. The kids woke up, felt the beautiful air and requested lemonade. So the two youngest got a quick lesson in how to make a delicious homemade lemonade and they got to practice using measuring cups to measure things out. I will purposely use a smaller measuring cup than needed so that the kids have to mathematically reason about how to get the amount they need. It is a great secret math lesson in disguise!

 Now, I looked at the pile of lemons left over and wondered what the heck to do with it all... Sure seems like a waste to throw these out. So, we began our mission to find ways of reusing everything we have left.

Here are some of our finds:

A natural air freshener
You can add the peels to water, cloves and cinnamon. Then simmer on the stove to hide any *burnt* smells or anything else nasty going on in your kitchen... not that I ever multitask too much and burn dinner, night after night after night...
You could also just throw the peels in your fireplace if you have one to get a nice aroma as well.

Make your own lemon zest
I hope I am using the right name for this here. But basically, you grate the lemons. Then let it dry. Place it in a jar and have it to use later for flavoring different dishes.

Lemon Vinegar All-Purpose Cleaner
Fill up a big jar with the leftovers, cover it with vinegar and seal it up tight. After a few weeks (2 or 3), you can take out the peels and add water. Some say a 50/50 mix is the way to go.

Lemon Pepper Seasoning
You could make a tasty seasoning. Find out more at one of my favorite places to read recipes: Simply Scratch. (She has an amazing blueberry muffin recipe as well.)

Bug Deterrent
Ants, roaches, fleas, oh my! You can place peels in different areas of your home to keep them away. Try placing them near doors, window sills, or even the hidden corners. This should keep them from wanting to come any closer. (This might work outside for stray cats too!)

Coffee Pots and Cups
I want to try this one for my hubby's coffee pot. Supposedly you can place lemon peels, ice and salt in a container with coffee stains, swish it around, dump it out and the stains will wipe away.

Natural Shiner
Do you have any stainless steel, chrome or copper? Using a lemon peel and some sea salt, you should be able to scrub off anything that is keeping it looking dull.

Help with Motion Sickness
I get motion sickness really bad, but I am not sure I could do this. Some say if you suck on a lemon slice you will stop being nauseous.

Natural Dish Detergent
I love this idea. I make my own detergent for the dish washer and one of the ingredients is citric acid. So it only makes sense that lemons could help do the job. You can add lemon rinds to the dish water to help get rid of grease and help the dishes to sparkle.

Make Your Own Vitamin C Powder
Oh. my. gosh. I love this idea. Check it out here. (While you are there, check out the other great ideas, like getting rid of soap scum, whitening teeth, seed starters or even candied lemon peels... so many great ideas!)

Be sure to check out some of the links in this post, because there are even more ideas from all of these fabulous people on more ways to use those lemony leftovers.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Homeschool Pi Day Activities

Image result for pi day 

Yes, you guessed it. I am a math geek! I love math. And any reason to celebrate math is good to me. So this Saturday happens to be 3.14.15 or Pi Day!

Do you remember this from school? Pi is the ratio of the circumference of the circle to the diameter of the circle. And the cool thing is that this ratio  is the same for all circles.

Pi is an irrational number which means it cannot be written as a fraction and that when written as a decimal it will just go on and on and on and on... without repeating. The actual digits are 3.14159265359...
Image result for pi
So what can you do to celebrate this beautiful holiday of mathematical deliciousness?

1. You could have your kids find circular objects, measure the circumference and measure the diameter. Then divide. After a few objects they should notice that all of their answers are near 3.14. And you can discuss how human error might get in the way of getting exactly the same answer.

2. Make a Pi chain with colored pieces of construction paper. Assign a color to each digit (i.e. 0 - red, 1 - green, 2 - blue, etc.) Then use the chain to practice memorizing the digits of pi. On Sunday you could have a competition to see who has memorized the most digits.
(You could also do this as a bracelet with pipe cleaners and beads. Math bling!)

3. Like music? There are several pi songs out there. Check out some here, here, here, and here. Or make up your own music!

4. Check out the history of pi or some funky stuff about pi at Joy of Pi.

5. Make a pi day piece of art or t-shirt that shows off what you know.

6. Find out how pi is used in other types of math (calculus, trigonometry, or even other geometry applications.

7. Make a pie or cake  and decorate it with pi info that you learned. Then, of course, eat it!

Image result for pi day

Do you celebrate pi day? What activities make your celebration fun?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Another Blue Apron Giveaway

Image result for blue apron 

I have seen more of the Blue Apron Giveaways popping up. And they are just so cool. I was left to venture out as a grown up without any real cooking lessons. Everything I know how to cook is from reading recipes and trying things on my own (and maybe even a few youtube videos here and there). And learning it on your own is tough. There have been so many mistakes and bad dinners through the years.

That is why I think Blue Apron is pretty cool. Although I am not hosting the giveaway, I did  want to share with you some places where you could enter. There is one place I just found that you might want to check out.

Check out Peanut Butter Fingers for a chance to enter. But hurry, you don't have much time. The winner is going to be chosen on Friday!

I will post more of these giveaways as they come up!

Update: Just found another Blue Apron giveaway here. Ends around 3/22.

Keeping Mosquitoes Away!

Image result for mosquitoes

It is officially mosquito thirty here in southern Georgia. I tried to get some fresh air last night and do some work outside, but instead I became dinner! Since I am not from Georgia and am not used to having to fight off mosquitoes for much longer parts of the year, I started doing some hunting to see what I could try.

Here are the actionable steps you can take to have a few less mosquitoes nibbling on you:

           * The first thing I did was walked around the property to find any standing water and see if I could get rid of it so that mosquitoes won't have a breeding ground.
          * Had the hubby clear out the gutters.... we used to do this every year in New York as well and it always helped with the bugs!
          * I have heard that spraying listerine on or near you can help. (I used Listerine to get rid of lice once when my daughter brought it home. There aren't the greatest ingredients in there, but it is better than other choices). However, I am wondering if it is the minty smell. I am going to try a minty essential oil and see if I can get the same results.
          * Keep your vitamin C levels up. There are some people reporting that by keeping high level of vitamin C in their system they were able to keep mosquitoes away. There are so many other reasons to take Vitamin C, that it wouldn't hurt. Just make sure to take the real stuff... there are a lot of fake vitamin Cs out there. But that is a topic for another day.
          * Eating more garlic is also said to keep them away. I eat a ton of garlic though... and they still chomp on me. So I am not sure if that works or maybe I am just not getting enough!
          * You could make your own repellent using witch hazel, oils and other essential oils. Here is another great recipe from Katie at Wellness Mama.
          * You could even make your own citronella candles.

If you do happen to get bit, or your little ones, I highly recommend placing vinegar on the bite. We pour just a little bit on a cloth or napkin and hold in on the skin where the mosquito dinner feast occurred. It helps take itch out!

Photo Credit