Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Picking the right homeschool curriculum

As a new homeschool Mom, I put a ton of time into picking the correct curriculum.  Is it fun enough?  Is it educational enough?  Does it share God's love enough?  Is it organized enough for me?  Can I teach both kids similar things at the same time?  Oh boy, oh boy!  There are SO many options.

I cannot tell you the number of different curriculums I've researched.  I was so overwhelmed and really just sat down and prayed that I would pick the right one for my kids and myself.  The answer to my prayer really shocked me...  It doesn't matter!  

As long as I like the layout, it really doesn't matter which one I pick.  My kids will get a quality education either way.  I am the one to make it fun.  I am the one to share God's love.  I am the one to the answer to all of my questions.

So... when picking a curriculum, don't stress!  Pick something that has the same values as you do.  Pick something that is organized the way you like, then stick with it.  I finally settled on My Father's World.  I have a few good friends that use MFW, I like the values, and I also enjoy the organization.

Here we are, jumping in feet first.  I couldn't be more excited to start this year with a Kindergartner and First Grader!  I am sure it will be fun and challenging, but I am really looking forward to it!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

100 Percent Pure

When it comes to soaps, lotions, cosmetics, and hair products, it is always difficult to find something that works great, smells great, AND is natural without toxic chemicals.  After some research, I found 100% Pure.  I love their reasoning for being chemical free and wanted to share it with you:

“As much as 60% of topical skin-care products are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream,” Says Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D. an lowa-based physician, “They should be consumed with the same prudence that we use to choose our breakfast cereal.” – April 2006 issue of Women's Health Magazine. There are many toxic chemicals in cosmetic products that have been clinically proven to cause cancer, tumors, irritation and many different skin disorders. 100% products are truly 100% Pure-no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins."

After going through their entire website, I wanted everything!!!  My favorite products are their kid's body cream, glossing shampoo, and  glossing conditioner.  Our hair is so silky and shiny after using their shampoo and conditioners.  I love knowing I am not putting harmful toxins into their bodies.

This winter has been awfully cold and our skin is taking a beating.  Bean's cheeks have been so chapped.  He hates when I have to put lotion on his face.  The only lotion he will take with a smile is 100% Pure's Yummy Ice Cream Body Cream.  He gets so excited and shouts, "Ice Cream!  Ice Cream!".  It really nourishes and moisturizes his poor little face too.  I am a huge believer in their products and will continue using them for years to come!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A better popcorn

Just like any family, we love snuggling together on the sofa and watching a movie together.  One of our favorite parts of family movie night is POPCORN!  There are many ways to get delicious popcorn.  We've started popping our corn in our new stainless steel popcorn popper from Cook N Home with a little coconut oil.  It is amazing.  The freshness, the coconut oil hint, and the healthiness of it makes it such a fun treat.

Our family tries to never use the microwave, so a stove top popper was a great choice for us.  There are 2 major kinds of poppers - stainless steel and aluminum.  Aluminum is cheaper and lighter, but it can leach into the popcorn and then ingested in our bodies.  Stainless steel is the way to go, not only is is healthier and easier to clean, it is more sturdy, and looks much nicer.

We sprinkle our freshly popped popcorn with some Himalayan salt and enjoy a yummy treat!  We've also experimented with maple syrup added to the corn before it pops and it makes kind of a kettle/caramel corn.  It is amazing!  What is your favorite homemade popcorn recipe?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Water Kefir

We love enjoying a fresh fizzy drink occasionally, but many carbonated beverages are filled with chemicals and toxins.  Water kefir is great and healthy alternative to soda.  It is ultra carbonated and filled with probiotics.  It has a very mild taste that blends well with almost any flavoring.  I was sent this kit from Yemoos, and the entire process couldn't have been easier.  We enjoyed flavoring our kefir with organic raspberries and mint leaves.  It is so delicious and refreshing, I have already started our third batch!

What is water kefir?

Water kefir grains create a zesty and delicious carbonated lacto-fermented beverage containing trillions of beneficial probiotics within each cup you drink. Water kefir contains upwards of 40 different strains of health-promoting bacteria and yeast. It is thought to have originated in Mexico, originally fermented with the juice of the Prickly Pear Cactus. Water Kefir grains are also know as Tibicos, Tibi, Sugar Kefir Grains, Graines Vivantes, Japanese Water Crystals and California Bees. Water kefir, like milk kefir, consists of bacteria and yeast existing in a complex symbiotic relationship. The benefits of water kefir are very similar to those of milk kefir, making it a perfect alternative for those who wish to avoid dairy, or just want another tasty addition to their pro-biotic menu!

Water kefir is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It is even suitable for some diabetics due to the low GL. It has long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Genuine kefir is different than the overpriced kefir you can buy in the stores, which is usually a simulated drink to mimic the flavor and is not produced by the traditional method, thus lacking the quality and health benefits of true traditional kefir.

Want to purchase this kit?  Go here and use coupon code: BLOGREADER10OFF for 10% off your purchase!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Magnesium Gummies.

Who doesn't like gummies?  I am always trying to find fun and creative ways to keep my children healthy and these magnesium gummies are are so easy to make!  Magnesium is so important in our bodies and most people are deficient in magnesium.  To read more about the benefits of magnesium any why it's so important for us look here.  

My ingredients:
  • 3T grass fed gelatin (I use this)
  • 5T natural magnesium supplement (I use this)
  • Silicone mold (I got mine on sale at Michaels for less than a dollar)
  • 1T raw honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of water

In a large glass bowl add 3/4 c of cold water.  Very slowly add the magnesium powder (it will fizz so do this slowly as you want as little foam as possible).  

In a small saucepan add the water/magnesium mixture and before turning the heat on add the gelatin and allow it to bloom into wrinkles for 2-3 minutes. If there are any bits of white powder sitting on top of the wrinkles, whisk them in while the mixture is still cold.

Turn the burner on low/medium and it will start to As your mixture heats up, it will begin to liquify. Once it does, add in honey and salt to dissolve. Avoid whisking it too much, or it’ll start to foam up just like it did when you added the magnesium powder. If it does, that’s okay, just let the foam sit for a few minutes and it’ll calm down.

Pour everything into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout and fill up the silicone molds.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Peal the gummies out of the silicone and enjoy (not too many as magnesium as a laxative effect).  

Store the remaining in the refrigerator, they should last months if properly stored.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


My biggest goal in homeschooling isn't to have the smartest, most wonderful at xyz, or even honor roll grades.  My biggest goal in homeschooling is to give them complete control of their future.  I want my children to love what they do.  I want to open up a creative side of my children that most don't even know exists.  When I say I homeschool my children right now, honestly, we might have a worksheet here or there but most of our day consists of reading books, singing songs, and playing.

Play is a HUGE part of our day.  Creating, destroying, building, imagining, roll playing are all ways we "do school".  Yes, the kids will learn important skills just like most children in school, but my biggest goal for our children is to ENJOY "school" in ways they understand.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

thirty-one zip top tote GIVEAWAY

Thirty-One Gifts is the perfect place to find amazing gifts, purses and bags for home or on the go. They are focused on empowering women and helping develop community. Thirty-One has over 120,000 consultants and over 2,000 employees. They are a major company that carries pieces with so many options!

Without question my favorite feature of Thirty-One Gifts is their selection. They carry such a wide variety of pieces and I love that they offer each of their pieces in a variety of patterns and designs.

I recently received Thirty-One's new zip top tote to review and giveaway!  It is such a versatile tote that comes in many different patterns and colors.  It is a great tool to organize just about anything you can think of.  I love using mine for all of my essential oils, coconut oil tub, and protein powders.  It is so nice to have my "go-to" items all in one convenient tote.  I would love to get another to keep all my homeschooling supplies neatly organized.  

Thirty-One Gifts has an online store but the best way to purchase Thirty-One products is through a consultant. Your consultant is your resource for product information and also lets you know when there are deals and discounts available. Brittney is my consultant. On her Facebook page she keeps you up to date on sales, specials and promotions.

Now to the best part... Brittney is graciously giving away this zip top utility tote in swiss dot to one lucky reader.  Please complete this rafflecopter for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 10, 2014

Omlet Qute

We had been talking often about getting Tink and Bean a "classroom" pet for their homeschool room.  I did a lot of research and we decided to get gerbils.  I was disappointed though when looking for cages.  They were all very small, wildly colorful, and not very toddler-proof.  Then I stumbled on the Omlet Qute.   Tink received "the best present ever" (her words) for her 5th birthday.  Omlet very graciously sent us their amazing Qute hamster/gerbil cage to review.  We couldn't wait to get it set up.  I think I was a little more excited about the cage than I was about the actual gerbils. 

This cage is more like a piece of furniture.  It is sturdy, attractive, and very easy to clean.  As a first time rodent owner, I was very skeptical on how "easy" this was to keep up.  I have been very pleasantly surprised.  Not only can I trust that the kids aren't going to break it because of how sturdy it is, I also don't have to worry about our dogs getting into it.  Del has shown a little too much interest in the gerbils, but the cage is wonderful for viewing without letting Del get too close.  

Once a week, Tink and I empty the big clear bin while Marshmallow and Rosemary (Tink named them) are happily confined at the top of the cage.  After emptying the bin, we simply rinse it out, dry it off, and add fresh bedding.  It is really simple.  

Every morning Tink feeds Rosemary and Marshmallow all by herself.  During school time, Tink loves to sit at her desk right next to the cage and watch them play.  Every evening Tink takes the bin out of the bottom and  lets the gerbils run across her hands. Having the Qute makes taking care of our classroom pets very enjoyable.  I honestly have nothing negative to say about it. It looks great, our gerbils are very happy, and we love how stylish it is.

You can find out more and purchase a Qute as well as other great animal cages from the Omlet website here.

Thank you to Omlet for sending the Qute cage as a complementary gift for the purposes of this review. The comments and opinions are honest and genuine.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Have you ever had sprouts?  Our family loves them!  They are tiny little microgreens filled with enzymes (over 100 times more than other uncooked fruits and vegetables), protein, fiber, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.  We have always wanted to sprout our own seeds but I always thought it was going to be a messy process.  Little did I know it was so simple (and clean!).

We received a starter sprouting kit from Moonlight Micro-Farms.  The process took about a week and was so simple.  The instructions that came with the seeds were very easy to follow.  Bean and Tink loved watching the sprouts grow every day.  It was so simple I allowed them to take care of the sprouts!  Tink would rinse them every day and Bean would turn it upside down.  It was such a neat project for the kids.  Not only did they enjoy growing their own sprouts, they loved eating them!

Out entire weeks worth of sprouts lasted a whopping 5 minutes with the kids.  I love how excited they are about starting the process all over again.

Here are a few ways you can eat sprouts:

  • On Sandwiches
  • On Salads
  • On Tacos
  • On Pizzas
  • Completely by itself (Bean and Tink love this one... the sprouts are actually fun to eat!)
Want to sprout yourself?  Use code: CRUNCHY10  to receive 10% off your order at Moonlight Micro-Farms!  

Monday, February 3, 2014


Oh how we love Kombucha over here!  Tink and Bean are obsessed with it and I love how wonderful it is for our bodies.  Kombucha is filled with digestive enzymes, probiotocs, and boosts the immune system.  It tastes wonderful, has a great fizz, and is a great healthy alternative to soda.

Our family has been enjoying Kombucha for years, but I have never tried making it myself... until now.  The owners of The Kombucha Shop were so gracious to send me a starter kit.  This kit is amazing, it includes every single thing you need to brew your own Kombucha.  I was more than excited to get started.

The step by step instructions in The Kombucha Shop's toolkit made it fool proof.  Tink enjoyed helping me every step of the way.  She hesitated when it was time to put the scoby into the jar, but when I told her it would help make the Kombucha, she was more than willing to help.

I think the hardest part for everyone was waiting for the tea to ferment.  Every morning I would get asked, "Mom!  Is it Kombucha day???".  Once it was time for bottling the kids had the most fun.  I let them pick which fruits to flavor their Kombucha with.  Bean picked blueberries and lemon, while Tink picked mixed berries.

It was torture all over again when we had to wait 2-3 more days while it fermented for the second time.  On Saturday we were able to place it in the refrigerator.  That night we enjoyed the fruits of our labor (it really wasn't hard!!).  We all loved our homemade Kombucha.  We actually have already started the process again, and I am really excited to flavor it many different ways this time.  I would say, Bean's blueberries and lemon was my favorite!

The Kombucha Shop has kindly provided my readers with a coupon code for 10% off their shop:  SAVEIN2014

You will not be disappointed with the quality of their products or the amazing customer service!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Morning goods

I've always made sure my kids get lots of fruits and vegetables every day, but is it really enough?  Are they getting all the nutrition they need?  Our morning routine keeps me more at ease about their diets.  Although this is not a "cure all" or a substitution for fruits and vegetables, it is a really nice way to ensure they are getting their daily vitamins and minerals.

We've been using these 3 products since Tink was little.

  • Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood (Berry)
  • Garden of Life RAW Kids Probiotics
  • Nordic Naturals Berry Flavored Cod Liver Oil

We mix all 3 of the above into a super yummy (Tink's words) morning juice.  The probiotics are the best I've found for kids.  It really aids in digestion and keeping their immune systems strong.  The cod liver oil is wonderful, it helps their brain development, skin, hair, oh so many wonderful things.  The kids love it, I love that they're getting what they need, and their immune systems are working wonderfully.  

I recently got these amazing Mason Jar cups with stainless steel straws for their morning juice, and I couldn't love them more!  The kids love them!  I am so happy they aren't drinking out of plastic and the straws are amazing.  Not only are they reusable but they aren't full of chemicals like plastic straws are.  They are at a great price, and the quality cannot be beat!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Extra snuggles

I never pass up an opportunity to snuggle with the kids.  Bean woke up a little upset last night and wanted to sleep next to us.  As tired as I am - knowing I am going to have a squirmy toddler an inch from my face all night, I happily carried him into our bed.  Not because I want to coddle him, but because I want to cuddle him.  He's not going to want to crawl in bed with us for too much longer.  I am taking the opportunities when they come so I can have no regrets.  Hearing him talk in his sleep just like Daddy, feeling his warm little body next to mine, and seeing his cute little lips pucker while he sleeps - I would hate to miss this.  I am soaking up every ounce of their little-ness.  Some people don't understand, but that doesn't matter, right?  All that matters is Bean knows he is loved, he knows he is cherished, and he knows without a doubt - Daddy and Mommy will always be there for him... even when he's "too old".

Friday, January 24, 2014

Healthy Birthday Cake

It was Tink's 5th birthday on Wednesday!  I cannot believe how wonderful she is turning out.  She is a passionate, outgoing, caring, and hilarious person.  We love to celebrate birthdays, but we hate how everything is so geared towards sugar.  I've made this cake multiple times before and it is a family favorite.  Everything but the whipping cream is Paleo, and I am sure you could substitute it with coconut cream if you wanted.  This is not only delicious, but I don't feel guilty about letting my kids enjoy their birthday.  I originally got the recipe here.  Do you have a healthy cake recipe?  Please share!!!


Chocolate torte

6 eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pasture butter, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
Chocolate ganache

1 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
2 heaping tablespoons palm shortening.
1 cup chopped pecans
Whipped heavy cream and flaked coconut frosting

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


Chocolate Torte

Preheat oven to bake at 350.
In a large mixing bow, combine eggs, maple syrup, pasture butter, and vanilla. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
Add coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda to the bowl, and continue to blend until batter is smooth.
Lightly grease a spring-form cake pan with butter, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
Pour batter into the pan, and smooth the top with a spatula (this is a thick batter, so you will have to work with it slightly.)
Bake chocolate cake for 30-35 minutes, and remove from oven to cool.
Chocolate Ganache

Melt chocolate chips on low heat, stirring often.
When chocolate is completely melted, add in the palm shortening, and stir until all is combined.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Whipped Cream Frosting

Whip heavy cream in a kitchen mixer until stiff and fluffy.
Fold in the coconut flakes.
Final Cake Assembly

Once the cake has cooled, remove from pan and place on a platter.
Slowly pour the cooled ganache over the cake.
Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Place the cake in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to harden the ganache, while you make the whipped frosting.
Remove cake from fridge, and top with the whipped frosting.
Garnish with a drizzle of left over ganache if desired.
Keep refrigerated until served.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Foaming Soap

I have a super easy homemade foaming soap recipe.  It smells great, benefits our bodies, and actually works!

You'll need:

  • Empty/clean foaming pump container
  • Water
  • Thieves Oil
  • Castle Soap (We like Dr. Bronners)
I fill the container with water about 2.5" from the top.  I added about 2-3 tablespoons of castle soap then 5 drops of Thieves oil.  You're done!  Now you have not only an inexpensive natural soap, but adding Thieves oil makes it antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pomegranate Benefits

We purchased a small and very hard pomegranate over 2 weeks ago, it is finally ripe enough to eat so I decided to show you a simple way to enjoy a nutritious little snack. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants, they are also a source of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. One pomegranate supplies one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate and one-third of your daily vitamin C.  This little superfood is full of nutrition!

You'll need:

  • Pomegranate
  • Knife
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Bowl
Score the pomegranate all the way around the middle with the knife.  Grip each side and use your fingers to rip it apart.  You'll now have the top half in one hand, and the bottom half in the other hand.  Take one side with the seeds pointed down into a bowl and hit the top side of your pomegranate - this is kind of fun for getting frustration out!  Hit, hit, hit until all your seeds are out - it's seriously that easy!  Repeat with side 2, and you now have a bowl full of yummy pomegranate seeds.  The kids loved eating as many seeds as they could right out of the bowl.  I know many people use them on salads, on cereal, or in smoothies.  How do you use a pomegranate?