Teaching Kids To Be Thankful Everyday

TEACHING KIDS TO BE THANKFULTeaching Kids To Be Thankful Everyday

Episode 230

Many times in an attempt to shelter our children or prevent them from some of the hardships we experienced as children our children may become spoiled and have an entitlement mentality. In this episode, we discuss ways to encourage children to become thankful, not just in the big things, but every day.


Thanks to our sponsor Sony Pictures and Affirms Films and The Star Movie — the Christmas story definitely brings home the reason for the season and the importance of teaching our children to be grateful for all that God has done for us – sending us His son, to free us.

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.

Our children are sponges, aren’t they? They absorb the good and the bad. We want to teach our children that it is better to give than receive – to be thankful in all things – but it does not come naturally.

  1. How do we expect gratitude IF we don’t model it for our children?
  2. Teaching an attitude of gratitude begins when they are very small.
  3. How is fun this? Learning through doing – working alongside us…
  4. Practice – we practice our math facts, practice our manners, why not practice what to say to be grateful?
    1. Thank you for ——
    2. I appreciate the time you spent….
  5. Saying I’m thank-you in the little as well as the big things

Friends, manners begin at home – being thankful is a taught skill. No one expects someone profusely thankful – that can become annoying and make us think the person is insecure or not genuine in the thanks –

It also breeds extremes – there are families that stop giving gifts at birthdays or Christmas because they feel like opening gifts becomes a feeding frenzie of opening gifts and leaving a feeling of letdown or kids who are unappreciative. I have mixed emotions about this one – and since this is my podcast, I can share with you my take on this idea.

Friends, teaching children gratitude does not have to be extreme – and all or nothing. My love language is giving, it gives me a sense of doing something, for the glory of God and also how we are to proceed moving forward in God’s will. Depriving children of a Christmas tree because of pagan roots or gift giving, because they may become selfish, is an extreme. Having the children make gifts for each other, putting a budget on gift giving or making giving coincide with giving to the poor are all things that go much further in fostering good will –with your children and those around us.

Our children are only with us for a short time. I’ve been blessed with two families within one family – what I mean is my husband and I married in 1979 and had two children – one in 1980 and one in 1982, then we had a gap of 14 years until our next “family” came – in 1995, 1998, and 2000… I had the blessings of raising children when I was very young, and when I was an “older” mom. I can say what I’ve learned is what is translated into these podcasts.

Extremes don’t work and breed children who either become more extreme… or, the other end of the spectrum.

And having the experience of parenting for 37 years has shown me that homeschooling is a blessing because having my children with me 24/7 allows me to see when something is going horribly wrong when a child is extremely unthankful –in keeping with the topic of this podcast.

Gift giving is something we treasure as a family, without losing sight of the occasion.

In our family we make a production of gift giving, however, we wait until everyone is seated, we allow the child to open the gift – and rise immediately to thank the person who gifted it – either with a hug and/or a sincere thank-you.

We also thank God the ultimate giver of all gifts whether they are ones in our character or our abilities. And, also for those who provide for us.

Modeling thankfulness is wonderful, especially with Bible lessons.

Bible Stories that teach thankfulness –

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers – Luke 17:12-19 

Only one returned and thanked God, and he was a “stranger” an “outsider” a Samaritan. This is a lesson for our children that shows not only did the Lord notice that only one came, but he was healed (inside) and outwardly. This can be a great discussion you can have with your children.


Routines are important for children – so real-life applications:

  1. Praying before every meal – thanking God for the food as well as those who prepared it and earned the money to buy it!
  2. Morning prayers. Praising God before it happens – thanking Him for the day, the beautiful sky, the weather, the rain, etc. Teaching children to praise God in all things.
  3. Dinner praises. What are you most thankful for that day?
  4. Evening prayers: Praising God for the day.
  5. Keep a Praise Journal – I divided my prayer journal years ago into praises FIRST then, prayer requests at the back.
  6. Don’t give your children too many choices – sometimes choices encourage our children to be unhappy with what they get! Try it.
  7. Teach your children to be thankful each day by giving (see previous podcast #228 – teaching children to be giving) Not just a Thanksgiving and Christmas but all year long.
  8. Attitude is a choice – it is the way we look at life (share about Jeff here)

What do you do when your child will not be thankful after repeated reminders?

  1. If they forget, having them write a thank-you note (or copying the words – even if tracing) thank-you on a piece of paper can be a good reminder.
  2. Be an example to your child. They are sponges – they will copy you.
  3. Set boundaries. If you see that your children are becoming ungrateful, pray for the root cause – and then set boundaries. Keep gifts at a minimum, no choices until attitude becomes better. Crime fits the offense and is age appropriate. Kids don’t remember something not immediate.
  4. Challenge children to purchase gifts for others. I did this with my children, and recently with my grandchildren. I took the older ones shopping for the one-year-old. It was eye-opening.
  5. Give children responsibilities – I think large families this is easier than small, but volunteering to care for a neighbor’s toddler, or volunteering in the church nursery will teach a child the importance of thankfulness very quickly!
  6. Give gifts such as museum or nature center memberships, or kids cooking club – HERE
  7. Keep TV at a minimum – watching too many commercials specifically geared to children will give the children an “I want that” mentality. Same with infomercials for adults!


Praising God is a weapon against the evil one.

Gratitude can become a habit – it is an attitude of life. Look at David in the Psalms as he goes through hardships and triumphs he continues to praise God.

Additional Scriptures:

  1. Psalm: 107:1 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
  2. Psalm: 100:1-5 – “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!…”
  3. Psalm: 9:1 – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”


Show Time With Kids

showtimeShow Time! Movie time with kids…

Episode 229

Movies are so much fun, they are a form of adventure, escape and experience we might otherwise not have in life – in this podcast we’ll discuss encourage creativity in your children and making movie time special.


Kids love to put on shows, puppet show or even made up plays. I know my two oldest put on more puppet shows than any other kids I know! They loved it. They had a captive audience, mom, and dad – as well as extended family.

Many kids love to watch movies, and the nice thing about watching them at home is you preview the movies before your kids see them, or at least fast-forward scenes you may not want them to view. I’ll share some fun ways to make movie night special with your family.

We will discuss both in this podcast.

I’d like to thank our sponsor, Sony Pictures –Sony Animation along with Affirms Films brings the Christmas story to life through the eyes of the animals in The Star Movie.

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.

Today it is difficult to watch movies or approve of movies that we as parents feel are acceptable to US and our children. Years ago my husband decided when we had young teens – around 13-15 that if a movie was not acceptable for them, we wouldn’t watch it – he felt it was garbage in and garbage out, let’s face it, some of the images and graphics in graphics whether online or in motion pictures makes a permanent impression in our minds.

In looking at lists of favorite movies I have to say on one list of the top 20 or top 50 I had to go to about #12 on one list and #8 on another before I found one I agreed upon.

Movies reflect a taste of what we like, whether it is romance, adventure, or action. So, how do we cultivate creativity with our children and make movie night fun?

I don’t get the toy and game magazines any longer, I guess the demographics in my family have caught up to the junk-mail people and they realize I no longer have little ones to buy for (well I do – grandkids – but you know what I mean!)

I saw so many great things to buy, especially if it was a catalog that had “throwback” toys – wooden puzzles, etc. However, the one thing that always caught my eye, and my pocketbook was anything that sparked creative play. I could do an entire podcast on creative play, it comes from my background in pre-school education. Young children learn so much through play, but so do older children.

Encouraging creativity in your children through play acting can also teach them practical skills in reading, writing and even math (timing).

I purchased several things for my children that they kept for many, many years. One of them was a tri-fold, stand-up puppet theatre set. It had a marker board on the outside where they could put the time of the show and the name, beforehand, they’d sell “tickets,” write the screenplay and act it out. In later years, they used it more for a set – they would create backgrounds of whatever play they were staging. It was super fun, and in big families, you always have a built-in audience.

Never letting anything pass without some type of documentation – I’m such a homeschool mom, I’d videotape these occurrences and document it for school! After all, writing a screenplay with parts should count, right? It was a great experience for the children.

What if your children are not creative? How do you spark creativity in your kids?

  1. Encouragement
  2. Take your children to plays. There are lower budget dinner theatres with pricing for kids or look for a matinee time.
  3. Give them story starters… for example, “One day, as I walked out in the yard I was surprised to see…” They can be as easy or complex as age appropriate.
  4. Have dress up clothes handy.
  5. Have the children attend a “speech” class – toastmasters when they are older.
  6. Give them time! Time to think!
  7. Count it for school. Acting and theatre can be part of your school curriculum. The children can use this as part of their creative writing, research skills, composition, acting, art for backgrounds, costume making, etc.
  8. Sign up for a local theatre try out.

When my kids were young teens we purchased a conversion van with a TV – and VCR my kids were delighted. Not only were the chairs super comfy they came with stereo headphones. We took many day trips and longer vacations in that van and my kids loved it! The one thing I insisted upon were good wholesome kids movies.

Now, I’ll share some of my favorites with you, however, you may not consider any of these on your most watched list: We loved  the Swiss Family Robinson, Snowball Express, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Sound of Music, and many more.

Look for the podcast of my TOP recommended movies – coming soon.

You can stream on websites such as Pureflix – here.

Use caution while looking at these site recommendations. Many good ones, but others we won’t watch.

Movies various sites (many I did not agree with)

Movies to watch with kids – use caution

More Recommended Movies – Use Caution

50 Kids Movies – Use Caution

Sensory friendly films for autistic kids






Spiritual Retreat Alone

spiritual retreat for momsSpiritual Retreat Alone with Meredith Curtis and Felice Gerwitz


As a young mom, Meredith yearned for a spiritual retreat alone, just her and God. When another mother offered to trade off days of babysitting so they could each spend the time running errands, Meredith decided to use that time to devise a retreat with the Lord. Learn how this turned into a precious time of spiritual growth and helped her mentor her family and friends. Meredith discusses the how-to’s in this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms

The Star Promotion here –

Show Notes: Spiritual Retreat Alone

  1. How does this work? Especially with babies?
  2. Traded time with a friend to babysit
  3. Using your time wisely – what does this look like?
  4. Spent time (instead of grocery shopping without the kids) to have quiet time with the Lord
  5. Three hours two times a month
    1. Sat at a secluded spot and read the Bible
    2. Worship and walked around and prayed
    3. Sang to the Lord – so refreshing
  6. Poured heart out to the Lord – in need
  7. Once the little ones grew up… and were no longer nursing…
    1. Drove somewhere to pray alone
    2. Wanted to get away with the Lord
    3. Spent a night alone in a hotel
      1. One time took a keyboard to worship and write music
      2. Brought books to read
  • Did some writing
  1. Spend time in Bible reading
  1. Making time to refresh your soul
    1. Family retreats
    2. Festival of booths (was camping!)
    3. Even when you are home and praying there are interruptions
    4. Nature, walk around water – sooths my soul
    5. Especially important for young moms
      1. Cleaning is temporary
      2. Time with the Lord is filling, and still with you.
  • Something precious of time with the Lord
    • You can’t find that by getting your house clean.

Teaching Kids To Give

teaching kids to giveTeaching Kids to Give – Episode 228

Giving –

We want kids that are giving and loving. We want kids that are helpful. We want well-rounded kids, and we want to give our kids everything but we don’t want to spoil them – how is there a balance? We don’t want our children to have a sense of entitlement. How do we combat this? One way is by teaching our children to give.

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.

Giving doesn’t always come naturally. For some it does, but for others, it must be taught. Knowing your child’s love languages is helpful but normally a child’s love language is not developed until later. Here is a podcast I did on love languages: (HERE)

With all of the disasters that have happened recently, it is a springboard to talking to children about giving to others less fortunate. Giving makes us feel good – it is a fact, and what a beautiful thing!

Teach the firstfruits principle by having kids donate their shiniest coins or the money at the top of the allowance pile. Discuss the widows’ mite – she gave all she had – she gave the best, not from her extras – great example.

  1. If we expect our kids to give we must be examples. Often we are exhausted with all that happens in our daily lives, but explaining that being a mom and dad is by definition, self-giving.
  2. Every day examples are the best. How can you best give? Making the bed for a sibling – for parents, etc. Start small. The goal is for giving to be second nature.
  3. Giving as a lifestyle – we want our children to be good stewards but also to be


Goal? Giving is not just at Christmas Time:

Some great resources –

Tykoon: https://www.tykoon.com/

Ways to give – make your own list with your children.

  1. Giving clothes
  2. Gently used toys
  3. Helping neighbors
  4. Birthday gifts for others
  5. If you give your child an allowance, teach them the three/four part saving system – one for saving, one for spending and one for donating (4th is one for investing) – encourage your child to think about what they’d like to do with the money. “Poor box” at church, local food bank, etc.
  6. Christmas | Bringing stuff to families
  7. Helping elderly
  8. Give as a family by sponsoring a child, supporting missionaries
  9. Responding to a news story. Even if kids aren’t giving money, they can write letters or make something for the individual(s) in need. (Be sure to share any pictures, letters or thank you notes you receive with your children.)
  10. Let kids cook with you when you’re preparing a meal for a sick friend or cookies for an elderly neighbor.

Scriptures on Giving:

  •  (I Corinthians 16:2) – On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made
  • (Luke 21:1-4) –As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
  • (II Corinthians 9:6-7) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • (Matthew 6:19-21) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • (Luke 6:38) “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God also made some bold promises concerning rewards for His good and faithful servants if they would first trust Him to care for them (Malachi 3:10, Deuteronomy 15:10).



Happy 4th Birthday

happy 4th birthdayHappy 4th Birthday to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

Usually, a birthday is celebrated with cake and cookies, or something sweet, right? Well, our “happy” 4th birthday is no different, however, the “sweetness” comes from a special giveaway – a cash prize. To sign up for your chances visit the giveaway here.

Happy 4th birthday to US and YOU get a present!

Please enjoy this podcast as I recall the beginning idea of a podcast network and take you through each of the current podcasts – with new shows weekly, bi-monthly or once a month. In this episode, I explain what you will hear when you tune in.

Do you have a special topic you’d like to hear? We are an email away. Each of podcasters works hard to bring you fresh shows with topics you will enjoy.

I’m excited to be celebrating our 4th birthday with you with thousands of shows available for you to listen to – or search on the front page of this website for a topic you’d like to find. More than likely our podcasters have already created the show, just for you!

If you have any questions – please contact me at felice (at) mediaangels.com – I am happy to help.

If you are coming to the party a bit late, don’t worry. You will never miss the fun. At the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, we have bonus and giveaways weekly for our special email subscribers. In order to get on the list, visit this page to subscribe.

And if you enjoy social media we are on Facebook.com/UltimateHomeschoolRadioNetwork, TwitterPinterest, Instagram, and Google+

Art of Kids Cooking

art of kids cookingThe Art of Kids Cooking

Raddish Kids Creator – Meet Chef Samantha Barnes with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #225

Did you know cooking is an art? Did you know the art of kids cooking can be successful? Today, many people order food kits to prepare meals at home, now kids can learn to cook like a professional. How? With an amazing kit that comes right to your doorstep. Raddish Kids Creator, Samantha Barnes is our special guest and shares how she created this amazing kit for kids. Learn how parents can guide their children with easy to prepare meals at home, each month. The interactive sets include specialty items to cook with as well as laminated cards and step-by-step meals with wonderful illustrations.


Thanks to our sponsor, Raddish Kids!

Check out this info pack: Raddish One Page

Show Notes: Raddish Kids Creator – Meet Chef Samantha Barnes 

    1. Samantha began as a teacher and soon realized her students loved cooking. She is the founder of Kitchen Kid and is a Culinary Coach. Samantha has merged her two passions – teaching and cooking. Soon she began Raddish Kids with the idea to send recipes home for parents to incorporate with their own children.
    2. Homeschoolers love to incorporate “school” in creative ways … I love the concept of cooking with kids – share with us your goals for cooking: (Check out the website and the list “what will your Rad-Kid gain from cooking with you?” https://www.raddishkids.com/pages/cooking-with-kids
    3. Getting kids to eat healthily I think is one of the most difficult parenting challenges – Samantha shares her suggestions including cooking with children. Be sure to leave enough time to cook so you are not rushed. Children love eating things they create.
    4. Raddish kids include recipes for kids with allergies or dietary restrictions on their website

      Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

      We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Raddish – a cooking club and curriculum, specially designed FOR KIDS by chefs and educators! Raddish is perfect for homeschooling families! Teach thematic cooking lessons that incorporate math, science, nutrition, geography, and culture. With Raddish, the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn! Use coupon code PODCAST at checkout for $15 off a 6 or 12 month membership. Visit RaddishKids.com/Homeschool to learn more and to download a free lesson.
      Check out this info pack: Raddish One Page
Don’t forget to visit the website and enter the special money off coupon code – this offer is not available elsewhere and we are so blessed to offer this to our listeners just in time for the holidays!


Happy Fourth Birthday

Happy Fourth Birthday to The Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

with Felice Gerwitz

Happy fourth birthday to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network! As we are celebrating we have a fun week of activities planned for our listeners. Who are the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network podcasters? They are homeschool parents, just like you – some are still homeschooling others are “graduated” homeschool parents with grown-up children. All of us love homeschooling and coming alongside you each week.

Fourth Birthday Giveaway:

In this year’s birthday celebration, we are giving away $500 to one blessed homeschool family. Go here to enter the contest.  There are some contest requirements so be sure to share with a friend, and please follow this blog post as well.

The way to never miss out on any of our upcoming giveaways is to be a subscriber to our email list. In this way, the information comes to your inbox.  Go here to enter the contest – and once again, if you missed it – be sure to subscribe to our eZine for future giveaways!

About our shows:

College Prep Genius with Jean Burk – everything test taking, what you need to know about college entrance exams as well as SAT and ACT prep. Twice monthly.

Vintage Homeschool Moms – (me!) Felice Gerwitz – everything I wish I had known before and while homeschooling. I began in 1986 and will end in 2018. I have five children and seven grandchildren and I’ve seen it all! It is my turn to be your mentor. Weekly shows.

Brain Coach Tips with Jan Bedell – everything brain training and more. Special needs, learning struggles and gifted. Dr. Jan Bedell has a program to fit your needs and struggles. Her show airs weekly.

Making Biblical Family Life Practical with Hal and Melanie Young – focuses on bringing the practices of the Biblical family into the home in a real and practical way. Hal and Melanie make it fun. They share the antics of their large family, mostly boys and the lessons they’ve learned along the way with southern humor!

Dollars & Sense Show with Carol Topp, CPA –   lots of archived shows for teens, starting a business, saving money and more. Now the show has been revamped to include advice for homeschool leaders and will be called the HomeschoolCPA podcast.

Finish Well Radio with Meredith Curtis and the Finish Well Team – for teenagers and young adults, with a firm dose of hope, love, and grace. One time per month but many archived shows are available.

FPEA Podcast with Suzanne Nunn – Florida Parent Educators Association shares everything Florida and hosts a large conference each year. Join them for a weekly podcast.

The Homeschool Highschool Podcast with Vicki and Sabring two of the seven sisters. If you don’t know what I mean, you have to listen to one of their podcasts. These ladies are a powerhouse on homeschooling during the high school years.

Family Renewal with Israel and Brook Wayne, two homeschool graduates who are now married with a large family of their own, carrying on the homeschool legacy and impacting their family and yours with a Christian focus, and ways to renew your family inside out.

Mommy Jammies Night with Gina Glen is a one time per month jammies party for moms. This is a live event throughout 2017 so be sure to stop by and like-minded moms from around the world at 9:00 pm eastern. Topics to encourage ALL moms.

Mr. D. Math Podcast with Dennis DiNoia – Dennis serves up high school math like you’ve never seen before as well as timely topics on high school.

The Homeschool Sanity Show with Pyschologist and homeschool Mom, Dr. Melanie Wilson – weekly show that deals with homeschool issues moms face and ways to stay sane.

The Roadschool Moms Show with Kimberly Travaglino and Mary Beth Goff – two families who sold it all – and headed on the road, bringing their families along for the fun. Weekly show airs live at 9:00 pm eastern. You won’t want to miss the fun!

Momfessions with the Real Kathy Lee – weekly shows that explain none of us are perfect and ways to keep on doing what we can for ourselves as well as our families.

Homeopathy for Mommies with Sue Myers – weekly shows that deal with topics of health, wellness and natural remedies such as oils and homeopathics that help your families stay Healthy!

Victory Over Adversity with Heather Laurie – twice-monthly shows dealing with handling illness within your family and ways to conquer this by praising God in all things. Heather shares her story and great advice.

Talking Mom 2 Mom with Richele and Lindsay two moms on either end of the homeschooling spectrum. They bring savvy advice to homeschool moms and have plenty of shows in the archives.

HomeschoolingIRL with Kendra and Andy Fletcher – a witty look at big families, homeschooling, and subjects most people don’t want to discuss. Always truthful and always funny. Many shows in the archives over three and a half years on this network.

How can you help?

These podcasts are absolutely free! From time to time we have sponsors on our network and on our podcasts – a great way to say thank-you for our free podcasts is the following:

  1. Visit our sponsor pages -even if you are not in the market to buy – visit the page and let them know where you heard about their product. Tell them the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sent you!
  2. Share our podcasts with your friends. Let others know, via social media – facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, etc.
  3. Listen to our podcasts by downloading them on your computer, listening online, or on your phone – on any podcast app.
  4. Give us a star rating. Stars on iTunes, GooglePlay, or Stitcher – we’d appreciate it!

Tell us what you want to hear!

We hope to continue to add more shows – and there are hundreds in the archives. To search for a show topic go to the front page and search in the search bar! Also, what are we missing? Is there a show or a podcast you’d like to hear? We’ve tried through the years to add topics and shows YOU the listener would like to hear.

15 Healthy Recipe Substitutions

15 healthy recipe substitutions15 Healthy Recipe Substitutions & Alternatives

Episode 226

When I started to look at my favorite recipes I was shocked to see that most of them contained “bad-for-you” items.  I found 15 Healthy Recipe Substitutions after I began looking and testing alternative substitutes. I had two goals and one was health and the second is that it would make my recipes taste the same if not better. In this episode, I explore some of these substitutes with an explanation of what works and why some choices are better than others.

Show Notes: 15 Healthy Recipe Substitutions and Alternatives

  1. Coconut Oil in place of shortening
    • Here are some great food conversions you can try with your recipes. The first and the greatest is coconut oil – I found a wonderful oil that is flavor free and you can substitute it for anything that calls for shortening. It really imparts no flavor and gives cookies that chewy texture we love! Discount if you sign up for the ezine: Wilderness – Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil here.
    • unsweetened organic applesauce instead of oil in recipes, you can substitute (1:1 ratio of sugar)
  2. Egg substitute:
    • Flaxseed – ground and you add water. 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (grind it fresh –don’t use the ground variety) and add 2.5 tablespoons of water. You can use this for pancakes, muffins or some baked goods – doesn’t bind as well as eggs.
    • Chia seeds. Add 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds with 1 cup of water – let it sit for 15 minutes
  3. Unbleached white, organic flour with flax seed (whole not ground).
    • Whole wheat flour milled at home with organic wheat
  4. Dark leafy greens instead of lettuce (or mix it in – have the kids do this and it looks pretty!)
  5. Zucchini for pasta – this may be a hard sell for your kids, but I love it! (spaghetti squash for pasta – not my favorite but some people love this!)
  6. Corn tortillas instead of flour for gluten-free diets – but look for non-GMO and organic
  7. Quinoa instead of couscous – or even oatmeal – but that is a hard sell for some –I love quinoa and kale – it is yummy
  8. Lettuce wraps – my kids love them. We make chicken Caesar wraps on tortilla shells or romaine lettuce leaves – yum!
  9. Ground chickpeas – makes hummus – who knew! If you add some fresh crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste even your pickiest eaters – and you can use fresh veggies to dip into the hummus instead of chips.
  10. Sugar substitutes:
    • Stevia for sugar. It is way sweeter than sugar so a little bit goes a long way, and there is an aftertaste – so use it sparingly. You can use liquid stevia – not cheap!
    • Vanilla extract: cut the sugar in half and add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. You can use this in pancakes, muffins, cookies. You may need to play with the exact ration depending on your recipe.
    • Unsweetened organic applesauce instead of sugar. You can substitute (1:1 ratio of sugar) the applesauce, but cut the liquid in your recipe down by ¼ a cup
  11. Plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Works great in all recipes and even dips and baked potatoes. My kids never noticed.
  12. Potatoes:
    • Sweet potatoes instead of baked potatoes or fries
    • Kale chips – wash, lightly toss with olive oil, salt, pepper paprika (chili powder – if you want a kick) and bake in the oven. Watch it – burns easily.
  13. Sliced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce on pizza – it is delicious! My kids love it on focaccia bread.
  14. Grate cauliflower instead of rice – delicious with black beans
  15. Greek yogurt instead of mayo add a splash of lemon juice – also there is avocado mayo that is yummy




FAFSA 12 Best kept secrets

FAFSA 12 Best kept secretsFAFSA – 12 Best Kept Secrets Application Tips with Jean Burk

Episode 62

Here are the FAFSA 12 Best Kept Secrets. Did you know that 80-90% of families make mistakes on the FAFSA that cost them tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money? This information is timely before October 1 – so please listen and share this show with your friends with college-bound students.

Visit our sponsor – College Prep Genius and Jean Burks award-winning curriculum for SAT prep.


Show Notes: FAFSA 12 Best Kept Secrets

Did you know that many times students do not complete the FAFSA application completely? You must complete the FAFSA all the way through. It is an application for low-interest student loans and grants. If you don’t complete it you can lose out on thousands of dollars.

You can do this ahead of time to be prepared on filling out the FAFSA application. Pre-work – download the PDF from the website. http://www.FAFSA.ed.gov

FAFSA 12 Best Kept Secrets:

  1. Scams: Be aware of scam copies – A company purchased this website àcom they will charge you for the FAFSA – it is a FREE application. http://www.FAFSA.ed.gov
  2. ID: Get you FAFSA ID ahead of time. You get a username and a password. If you are considered a dependent student, you need your separate ID. It can take a few weeks to get your ID. There can be a backlog at the last minute. Do not share your ID with others. This information you are putting on your FAFSA is sensitive information. Store it in Lastpass.com (you can get a free account) or a paid account is $20 per year and it keeps you ID safe.
  3. Date October 1 on your senior year. Many states will run out of money early. You can put in ten colleges when you are filling out your FAFSA. You use your prior-prior taxes or two years before you apply for the loan. You need pull that out and bring out the information. If you have had a decrease in income from 2015 to now – that can be adjusted as well – addendum needs to be filled out with each college.
  4. Deadlines: To maximize your scholarship opportunities fill it out by October 1 – Each school and state will set their deadlines. October 1 is the FIRST day you can apply – deadlines are months later, but why wait?
  5. Which ID? Do not use your ID (parents) when you start our your FAFSA – they will give you an option to enter the student information. USE the student ID – it will automatically add your personal information.
  6. Knowing the lingo on the FAFSA helps – certain questions that you automatically know, but you may make mistakes –
    1. Legal guardianship – Students will answer yes here. You are not considered a legal guardian of yourself! So the answer is NO
  7. NUMBER: The number of family household members – specific definition. Many students put the wrong number down. It has no bearing on who claims the parents in a divorce situation. How many are in your household – that is in your entire family. Siblings. Read instructions carefully.
    1. The number of family members who are in college and private school. If you are thinking about just your siblings. Don’t forget to include yourself. You are also going to college.
  8. Common Mistakes:
    • If it says You or YOUR – it means the student.
    • Put in your full name as it appears on your social security card – no nicknames. It will bring you delays if you are not accurate.
    • Double check your social security number.’
  9. Income Information: 
    • How much income tax – not your AGI (adjusted gross income) – IRS data retrieval tool that will tell you how to fill it out.
    • Be sure to see if they are asking for your income vs. your parent’s income. Do not get them confused.
  10. Parent section is color coded – you can fill out the parent information. (Even if you live on your own. It still can help you.)
  11. Add More Colleges: Students may only be considering only one or two colleges. You have up to ten schools you can list. Take advantage of this tool and the other colleges cannot see the schools you are sending this to. You can always remove and add more schools.
  12. Sign It! Don’t forget to sign your FAFSA this will cause an incomplete FAFSA. You sign it with your ID number. You can mail a signature page if you want. It is not necessary. You can check the status of your application at any time.


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

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College Preparation

college preparation College Preparation Time

Do you know the deadline dates for college preparation? If you are a college-bound high school student there are many dates you should be aware of – and some right around the corner. If you are a 9th or 10th grader you have some time, but the clock is ticking for you 11th and 12th graders. In a series of podcasts with college-test-taking expert, Jean Burk she shared those dates and important information you should know.

The great thing is being homeschooled. I gave my kids study-hall credit and allowed them time each day to prep for the SAT. This allowed them to do timed practice tests, study areas where they had weaknesses and truthfully, it helped tremendously.

College Preparation – PSAT and SAT

  1. For 11th grade – this is the year to take the PSAT – why? The PSAT is a test that is used to select National Merit Scholars. This could mean a full ride and free college to many universities. In order to take the PSAT, you must sign up with an area high school (or check your state or local homeschool group) or even the school board in your area. You must do this in advance. But, if you miss this important test there is a little-known secret – listen to podcast 60 here to learn more.
  2. For the 11th grader now is the time to take the SAT in October, November, and December. If you put time into studying, you are ready to take the test. If you take the test at different times, you have to study all over again. You do not have to show anyone your test results until you are ready. (See super score in number 3 below)
  3. For the 12th grader, you can take the SAT  in October, November, and December if you want to increase your score. Most colleges allow for a “super score,” which means that the scores are taken from different sections of the test. So, if you scored better in math in December and better in the reading portion in October you can use those test results as one.

FAFSA – Free Application Federal Student Aid 

I always thought that this meant student loans and it was not a necessary part of the process for college since my children really did not want loans or debt. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Jean in her podcasts – FAFSA Equals Free Money and the FAFSA Top 12 Best Kept Secrets that this is just a small portion of what FAFSA provides.

Why is it important to sign up for FAFSA?

  1. High school students can find grant money they didn’t know they qualified for.
  2. The student fills out the form (first download the PDF so you are prepared) and lists their own assets (not parents)
  3. You give your tax information for two years prior – so when filing date comes around Oct. 1st there is no need to delay.
  4. You can qualify for other available scholarships.

You don’t know unless you try. Right? Didn’t your mother always tell you this? Just be sure to avoid the top mistakes people make when filling out the FAFSA application and you can be one of those families who can be debt free after college!


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