review – Growing Healthy Homes


We’ve made several changes in our home over the past year in our quest for a healthier lifestyle: whole grains, unrefined sugar, organic when we can afford it, trying to cut out high fructose corn syrup. I was so excited to receive a copy of Nutrition 101: Choose Life. It not only teaches what changes you should make, but WHY you should make them. I strongly believe that God created specific foods and nutrients to strengthen and heal our bodies. This book is an amazing look into His awesome design.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a Biblically based curriculum for the entire family. It is a huge 448 page book, with over 100 of those pages in the form of an information-rich appendix. It is co-authored by homeschool mother Debra Raybern, N.D., M.H., C.N.C., I.C.A.; homeschool mother and researcher Sera Johnson, B.MU; mother and writer/editor Laura Hopkins, B.S.; and mother, grandmother and former Home Economics teacher Karen Hopkins, B.S.

The curriculum is broken up into these six units:

  1. The Brain and Nervous System
  2. Digestion and Elimination
  3. Respiration and Olfactory
  4. Muscular and Skeletal Systems
  5. Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
  6. Endocrine System and Emotions.

Each unit has discussion questions, hands-on activities and power recipes to make together. Some of the material is a little over the heads of my gang, so I pick and choose the info to study.  I am reading through all of it myself, and I will be using it again in a few years as a more in-depth high school study.

You can view a sample of this book HERE. I strongly urge you to take a minute to read the introduction and take a look at what is included in the huge appendix.

Nutrition_10 CDROM_cover

The Nitty Gritty:

  • the CD-Rom is $79.99
  • the book is $99.95
  • the CD-ROM/book combo is $129.99

Things I like:

  • Lessons are taught from the viewpoint that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
  • There is something for most ages (starting in early elementary, in my opinion).
  • There is so much information provided in these lessons. I am using this for our science curriculum this year. I pull whatever is age appropriate from the lesson and add in my own things like notebook pages or goodies I find on the internet.
  • The appendix is full of wonderful things to help me in my quest to provide the best nutrition for my family.

Value: I will be honest… I thought the price of this curriculum was really high when I first saw it. Now that I’ve had a chance to read through and use it, I think it is worth every penny! I reviewed the e-book and printed off only what I needed to teach the lessons. I think the ideal, if you can afford it, is to purchase the book combo. You would have the physical book to read and the e-book to print off resources and activities.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Growing Healthy Homes!

what’s your decorating style?


The HomeGoods StyleScope is a fun little quiz to determine your decorating style. After the quiz, you can enter for a $5000 shopping spree!

My results were very accurate. It’s not really how my house looks now, but definitely the look (and feel) I am working towards.

you are a Bohemian Casual

You are interested in creating a place where people feel relaxed. You have a variety of interests and influences and so appreciate different styles, cultures, and objects. Your home is cozy, with comfy chairs, throw pillows and places to set a drink or a book. But it also feels creative and visually intriguing, because you have an artist’s eye that allows you to find objects that appeal to you in a unique and personal way—whether from your travels or from a local shop. This gives your home a feeling of being laid-back, and maybe even a bit quirky with its mix of pieces—some of which are classic, some handmade, some ethnic, and some just rich in meaning to you.

You value comfort. Your home is a warm and open friendly place, and you feel happiest when everyone is cared for and relaxed in your space. Elements like pillows, throws, overstuffed furniture, and good lighting set the mood. You may also enjoy layering different fabrics or mixing patterns to create a cozy effect.

What were your results?

review – Studypod


My opinion of the Studypod book holder before it arrived: What a neat little gadget! Maybe we will use it to display a seasonal book on the coffee table.

My opinion of Studypod after using it for a few weeks: How did I ever teach without this??? I use it Every.Single.Day. I like it so much that this is going to be my standard high school graduation gift from now on.


We are studying explorers in history right now. I put my book in the Studypod so that I can read and still easily write on the whiteboard. I then put the map we are creating on top of the book and sit it in the middle of the table. All of the kids are able to see it at the same time and work on their maps. I get to avoid the chaos I would hear if I were to put it flat on the table: “Your head is in the way, I can’t see it! Your elbow is poking me! She wrinkled my paper!”

You can watch a video of the Studypod in action:


Studypods come in black, blue or pink. Bookpods are the same thing, but marketed for general use, and come in black, gray and beige.

The Nitty Gritty:

One is $19.95; buy 2 or more & get them for $16.95 each. My readers can get a $5 dicount by using this code: TOSBLOG5


Things I like:

  • It fits any size book, large or small
  • It folds up to the size of a book so you can throw it in a bag & go
  • It holds the book at a comfortable reading angle, similar to a laptop.
  • There is a mesh pocket inside to store study supplies
  • It is a great servant to me and makes my job easier

Value: The Studypod is obviously not a homeschooling essential, but use it for a week and I think you will wonder how you ever taught without it! Definitely worth the money!

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about the Studypod!

wfmw – mega list of birthday party ideas


I’ve got birthdays on the brain today – we have 4 birthdays in the next six weeks!! I thought I would  share all of the great birthday party planning sites I have bookmarked.

Here are our 4 party themes:

  • Princess for Sassyfrass
  • 1st Birthday for Sweetpea (waaaaaah!!)
  • Monster Bash for Little Prince
  • American Girl for Dancerella

Do you have any favorites to add to the list?

Birthday Party Roundup @ One Pretty Thing

Coolest Birthday Cakes

Coolest Kid Birthday Party Ideas

Birthday Ideas @ My Insanity

Kara’s Party Ideas

Birthday Cake Roundup @ life as mom

Birthday Parties @ Tip Junkie

Creative Parties and Showers

Setting the Mood

Betty Crocker How-To Cake Videos

Birthday Party Ideas

Once Upon A Party

Party Planning Mom

One Charming Party

Hostess with the Mostess

Run on over to We Are That Family for tons of great tips!

the library list

Some of the books we are enjoying this week:


King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains

Thimbleberries Autumn Accents (Thimbleberries Classic Country)

Organizing Your Craft Space

Growing Artists: Teaching Art To Young Children

Nature’s Art Box: From t-shirts to twig baskets, 65 cool projects for crafty kids to make with natural materials you can find anywhere

Fox Makes Friends

Pumpkin Baby

Bitsy’s Harvest Party (Carlson, Melody)

on again, off again, jiggity jig

Last night I was whining at telling Hubby that I can’t wait until Saturday because I am soooo tired. School is going great but everything else is just piling up. I just need a day with nothing to do but clean my house. Blah blah blah. This is the conversation that followed:

H: You need to have the girls do more work on their own to free up some time.

Me: They do at least half of their work on their own. BUT I TEACH 5 KIDS!!! While they are working on their own I am feeding a baby and doing Phonics or Reading or 1st Grade Math or teaching the ABCs.

H: Well you should have thought about that before you had all those kids.

Me: It’s probably a good thing that I had no idea what I was getting into!

(FYI: we speak fluent Sarcasm in our house)

Jenny over at Life is Not a Cereal may have the solution to my woes. She does a 3 weeks on/ 1 week off schedule to regroup & organize. I am going to start taking the last week of the month off from our regular school schedule & see how it works.

Here are some ideas I have for our week off:

  • deep clean the house
  • catch up on laundry
  • write out a menu for the month
  • plan out the next month’s school activities
  • make a list of library books we will need
  • make those seasonal/holiday crafts that we never have time to do
  • the big kids will work on a project, probably for history
  • plan any Bible classes I will be teaching
  • work on review posts

I am setting up my version of Dawn’s amazing File Crate System, which I think will go along perfectly with my new plan.

And for the cherry on top, yesterday I found a new planner that made my heart skip a beat. I think it was created just for me!! (the holiday themed pages! the lists! It’s so beautiful!) I am going to sell some curriculum that I don’t need so that it can come home and live with me and be my friend!

What do you do to keep your sanity while homeschooling?

Pillsbury simply…™ cookies giveaway


Wouldn’t you like the convenience of a refrigerated cookie dough but the wholesome ingredients found in homemade cookies?

That’s exactly what you get with new         Pillsbury simply…™ cookies. They are made with recognizable ingredients like flour, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and have zero grams trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives.

We got to taste test these yummy cookies courtesy of MyBlogSpark. We chose the chocolate chip, but they also come in peanut butter. They are large and remind me of those expensive cookies you buy at the mall. My big gang inhaled them in seconds! I try to stay away from high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, so I gladly let them gobble these up.

MyBlogSpark would like to give one of you a Pillsbury simply…™ Refrigerated Cookies Prize Pack that includes a cookie jar, a canvas grocery tote and coupon for your own package of cookie dough.

Entering is almost as simple as Pillsbury simply…™ cookies:

  • Just leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of cookie.
  • Make sure I have a way to contact you by email or a blog.
  • Giveaway ends Saturday, September 19th extended to Wed. September23rd

MyBlogSpark is also providing my readers with a $1.25 coupon here. (Firefox users click here.)

pillsbury cookies-2-Small

Comments are closed. The winner will be announced Thursday!

a is for apple


A is for Apple in our little schoolhouse this week.


Apple Accordion Doll

Cut & Glue Letter A

Apple Number Match

Apple Lacing Card

Apple Tree Math

Apples & Bananas Song

Johhny Appleseed Craft

or Johnny Appleseed Art

Johnny Appleseed Day Research Activity

and Crossword Puzzle for the older girls

I think we will finish up the week by making these Harvest Apple Squares

More Apple Resources

The Virtual Vine

Pratt’s Educational Resources

Kinder Printables

Books We Are Reading

How Do Apples Grow?

The Apple Pie That Papa Baked
Johnny Appleseed

The True Tale of Johnny Appleseed