Homeschooling Multiple Ages


Homeschooling Multiple Ages! How does a homeschooling parent possibly educate older kids while at the same time juggling preschoolers, toddlers, and babies? Is it even realistic to think we could do a good job while spinning so many homeschool plates?

On this episode of Homeschooling in Real Life, Fletch and Kendra talk about how they’ve managed to homeschool 8 kids, how to structure a day so that schooling actually gets done, and how mom can survive and thrive during the demanding years of homeschooling multiple ages.


:50 Fluff – LOST, Father’s Day, Publishing, Summer Vacation
7:25 Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Part 1
18:16 – Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Part 2
33:35 The show is over. Goodbye!


Recommended Resources:
Three Essential Keys to Homeschooling Multiple Ages
Preschoolers and Peace Website

Betty the Surf Dog – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Rasta The Chocolate Lab – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Previous Episodes Mentioned:
All of them

Music clips used on this episode:


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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 to learn more.


Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

Last Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

Last Minute DIY Entertainment TipsLast Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

Episode 238

In this episode, I share my favorite last minute DIY entertainment tips with you. The best thing? No matter if your kids are young, small or grown these ideas will work for all ages. Add your favorite beverage and you are all set to go…and it won’t break the bank! What is your favorite last-minute DIY entertainment tips? Share them with us.

1. Now is not the time to get creative – we are talking last minute. Use tried and true recipes.
2. Appetizers are a great asset for early comers – things like:
a. cheese cubes
b. crackers
c. bruschetta – sliced baguettes
d. humus/ salsa and pita chips
e. fresh fruits
f. spinach dip
e. salad on a stick – cucumber, green or black olives, yellow/red peppers, cherry tomatoes and cubes of your favorite cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or leave plain.
3. Fresh flowers – cut them short and stick them in small vases – spread around the house.
4. music – holiday channel with yule log on tv or have one of your kids make up a holiday mix and you can play this in the background
5. activities for kids – whether it is an ornament they can stick together, popsicle stick pilgrims, or a scavenger hunt (keep them running and outdoors if possible) – prizes can be glow sticks. I keep these in bulk on hand for when the kids leave and they love them.
6. Candles – always festive even if you don’t light them – one year I found them on sale at Joanne fabrics after bridal season – they are whites, pales yellows – that go with everything. I just add greenery for Christmas – and fall leaves for autumn.
7. Fondue – whether it is cheese for appetizers or chocolate for dessert it is always fun.
8. Make dessert mixes ahead – for example, I make pumpkin pie mix and freeze it – I do use fresh pumpkins, but when I thaw it out it is ready to go – you may need to cut back on the liquids – I always do. I scoop out ice cream ahead in balls and freeze. I make cookie dough ahead and freeze/ refrigerate.
9. Dipped strawberries are a hit. Makes any party festive and it is loved by adults and kids.
10. Disposable plates

Use cloth napkins, to use, again and again, homemade napkin rings – took plastic round shower curtain hoops and covered them with ribbon – etc.

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 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.”


I Love Homeschooling But I’m Totally Burned Out

For the rest of the year, we will be running a “Best of” series of the Homeschooling IRL episodes. Many of these episodes were earlier episodes that you might have missed. Enjoy!

Homeschool BurnoutLet’s be real folks! It’s February and the mid-year homeschooling doldrums can hit any of us. One of our listeners sent us a great email with five questions all about homeschool challenges and wanting to throw in the towel.

As we read through the questions he asked, we decided to combine all of them into one podcast and return  to a popular theme and call this episode, I Love Homeschooling But I’m Totally Burned Out. Don’t be confused. You may think this is an episode for just the homeschool moms, but moms and dads alike are going to relate to the questions and discussions.

As we answered his questions, we also turned our microphones onto other loyal listeners and asked three seasoned homeschool moms how they survive homeschool burnout in their home. These moms did not disappoint! Their answers were terrific and timely as we all approach midyear burnout in our homeschool  classrooms.

Episode Timeline
2:12 – Introduction – The Fluff!
10:30 – Question 1 – Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel and put the kids in public school?
18:33 – Question 2 – Has mom ever been burned out?
24:35 – Question 3 – Has there ever been a disagreement about the direction of your homeschool between mom and dad?
33:28 – Question 4 – What do you do with lazy kids?
37:33 – Question 5 – Has dad ever needed to step in and stop the direction of the family? Academically Socially?

Show Notes:

Guests: Michele White, Kari Clark, and Cheryl Pitt

Intro clip: Wipeout by the Surfaris – We encourage you to purchase this directly from iTunes

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 to learn more.

Teaching Kids True Meaning

Teaching Kids True Meaning of the HolidaysTeaching Kids True Meaning

of the Holidays

Episode 237

Teaching kids the true meaning of the holidays? Why can’t you just let kids be kids? Does everything need a deeper meaning? I believe the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Just because you delve into the real meaning of Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter – it does not diminish the beauty of the event.

People think religion means taking all the fun away – but having faith truthfully add wonder and awe. It takes something that could encourage children to be greedy and turns it into something that brings out the best in people, love, relationships, spending time, generosity, and so much more.

Holiday decorations are all over the place – Thanksgiving is still weeks away and yet Christmas decorations often dot the stores. How do you teach children the true meaning of Christmas when all around them colorful decorations are flashing for their attention?

How are you teaching your kids the true meaning of the holidays? Start with this list and add your owns.

Show Notes: Teaching kids the True Meaning of the Holidays

  1. Be involved but get the children involved
  2. Give to others – angel tree, purchase a gift for others.
  3. Volunteer
  4. Establish Family Traditions such as:
    1. Advent Wreath
    2. Birthday party for Jesus
    3. Nativity/ straw Take an empty manager and record “good deeds” with straw, until Christmas Day when you place baby Jesus in the manger filled with hay.
    4. Midnight Mass
    5. Help set up the decorations; Nativity at Christmas
    6. Read the Christmas account from the Bible
  5. How do you feel about Santa? Each family has to make your own decision. Here are some things to think about. Eventually, your children will learn “Santa” is not real. How you go about telling your child will have a lifelong impact – depending on the sensitivity of your children.
  6. On December 6th St. Nicholas Day is celebrated all over Europe, to honor the “original” Santa Claus. “St. Nick has different traditions and you can select if you want to celebrate any of these. One of my friends who is from Europe has her children place their shoes outside their bedroom door if they have been “good” during the year, “St. Nicholas” comes to leave gifts or treats inside their shoes. Or you can have your children decorate their own “shoe” boxes for St. Nicholas gifts.

Other cultures/ traditions: Teaching kids the true meaning of the holidays

New Year’s Day – Feast of the Epiphany

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights – an 8-day Jewish celebration of Maccabees and the fight of freedom. The dates correspond to the Hebrew calendar so they change every year, but it usually takes place beginning of December. You can explain the 8 candles – or 8 days are not about receiving a gift each day, but how they represent the miracles the Maccabees experienced.  Definitely read the book of Maccabees with your children – it is a wonderful example of God’s faithfulness and love.

Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African heritage and ends with a large feast. Nickell recommends having your children research Kwanzaa’s importance to the African-American culture by finding books and stories, as well as speaking with people who celebrate the holiday. After researching and learning more about the holiday, create a Kwanzaa celebration.


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 to learn more.

Best of HIRL: Transparent Parenting

For the rest of the year, we will be running a “Best of” series of the Homeschooling IRL episodes. Many of these episodes were earlier episodes that you might have missed. Enjoy!

1428878305523How important is it for us to practice transparent parenting with our children? What should you do when your children ask you questions that are just too personal or too painful to answer? If we do practice transparency, will our kids simply follow our example?

In this episode, we sit down with marriage and family therapist, Chris Oneth, to discuss the topic of transparency in our parenting. We answer these questions and many more as we talk through this very difficult topic.

Join us as we discuss the importance of being honest with our kids and share techniques for walking into the difficult conversations. We share with our listeners how the gospel helps us to conquer our fears. We also address the error of parenting from a place of shame and as always we encourage you to celebrate the freedom that comes when we embrace the grace of God.

Join us on this episode as we encourage you to press into your anxiety, to get real in your marriage, and to practice transparency with your children.

Music by Kevin MacLeod (


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 to learn more.

Top 50 Kid Friendly Movies

Top 50 Kid Friendly MoviesTop 50 Kid-Friendly Movies Episode 236

Does the rating have to be “G” to be a kid-friendly movie? In this episode I’ll discuss the way I decide if a movie will make it to our favorite movie list!

Have you ever been upset to view a movie that is recommended by a friend only to have to fast forward sections of the movie or even worse telling the boys to cover their eyes while we frantically search for the FF button? It is the most irritating thing and YES I’ve turned off the TV and popped the movie out of the player or stopped the digital feed if we are streaming the movie. So, today I will attempt to explain what we use to test a movie to see if it makes it to our kid safe list.

When the children were younger I have to say our expectations were not often tested. It was a simpler time, but even in this simple time, know an agenda or two that did not align with our theology or family focus were often pushed.

The very nature of movies or a good story is the need for a protagonist — someone bad. If everyone is good there is not a story. Even in the story of the Nativity there was a bad guy, King Herod. Let’s face it our kids are going to be exposed to bad – so the key is getting your talking points ready and having a good discussion and use this as a learning tool.

On another note – I’m sorry but some of the recommended or good movies with a good moral or Christian theme are just horrible. They either have bad actors or the special effects are lacking or … well you know what I mean. Truly we are spoiled! I remember years ago subscribing to this movie club and they sent us movies every month, and only a few were ones my kids could get all the way through and even less of those are ones they’d watch again. We ended up donating them to the church and even there they gathered dust.

We do need to support good movies but friends, we need to pray for those who create these movies in the hopes that they get better. At least – and I’m sorry to be so critical –get people who can act! I’ve seen some college plays where the actors are better than some of those on the screen.

Yes, we need to support sites that have good Christian content but we also need to expect more from those who create the films. Even movies I liked, like “God’s Not Dead” – I haven’t seen “God’s Not Dead II” while it had a good acting, really the pastor’s role needed to be entirely rewritten. How could he not see after the second attempt to leave town that God had a greater plan for him? We the viewers knew it even the first time… they made the pastor sort of sappy and films seem to do this…while it is a bad priest or a bad pastor it makes the moviegoer think, okay well I’m not watching this one again. Also, the scene where the girl is slapped – yes, it happens but we don’t want to see this in order to be entertained.

Movies are an escape. We want to be entertained, we want to be engaged and we want to walk away with a good feeling – or at least I do. A night of crying out my eyes does not appeal to me! So, when I look at movies those are the points I’m looking for…

So, I have my list of what I am looking for in a movie as well as what my kids are old enough to view. It really depends on your children often we get lazy and allow the youngest to sit and watch movies with the older children – and yes, sometimes it just can’t be avoided which is why kids have nightmares!

How do you select kid-friendly movies for your family?

  1. Rated PG or less – no R
  2. Look for comedies
  3. Adventures or Action
  4. Animals are okay but not my favorite
  5. Kids and sports
  6. Based on classic novels
  7. Good morals and outcome
  8. Great talking points
  9. Life lessons
  10. Feel good

What are your kids ready for?

  1. How grounded are your children?
  2. Do you have kids who are easily swayed?
  3. How sensitive is your child?
    1. Different children have different levels of sensitivity. What one considers scary – a chase scene the other will think of as silly.

What you can do to prepare:

  1. Have you watched the movie first? When in doubt, check it out.
  2. Know where the off button and FF button are on the controller just in case.
  3. Look for movies that are older versions as much as possible.

On the podcast show notes, I’ve included a list of movies we’ve enjoyed through the years as a family – I tried very hard to add movies that are not controversial – although you never know! Some of the recommended movies we own, others we’ve rented and some we’ve watched so many times we had to replace them.

Are they all perfect? No – are there parts I would change – of course. However, if you like to watch movies this list will take you into the teen years without a problem. I didn’t mention movies such as Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, ET or even the Lord of the Rings (which I loved but my kids hated – too scary!) I think it all boils down to preference and taste.

So the following list is on the show notes and they are in alphabetical order, not all movies are appropriate for little kids – for example, I would not show anyone younger than sixth grade God is Not Dead – but then I wouldn’t show anyone younger than 6th grade Star Wars either. So, again personal preference!

Top 50 Kid-Friendly Movies In Alphabetical Order:

  1. 101 Dalmatians
  2. American Girl Movies
  3. Annie
  4. Back to the Future
  5. Bambi
  6. Chronicles of Narnia -All
  7. Cinderella – old Disney animated
  8. Cinderella – musical – Rogers and Hammerstein
  9. Finding Nemo
  10. Free Willy
  11. God’s Not Dead (Haven’t seen God’s Not Dead 2)
  12. Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
  13. Heaven is For Real
  14. Heidi
  15. Home Alone
  16. Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
  17. It’s a Wonderful Life
  18. Karate Kids
  19. Letters to God
  20. Lion King
  21. Little Princess
  22. Little Women
  23. Miracle on 34th Street
  24. My Fair Lady
  25. Nativity, The
  26. Nest Movies – Old Testament
  27. Nest Movies – New Testament
  28. Night at the Museum
  29. Oliver
  30. Pinocchio
  31. Princess Bride
  32. Railway Children
  33. Secondhand Lions
  34. Secretariat
  35. Snow White
  36. Sound of Music
  37. Star Wars – viewer discretion
  38. Swiss Family Robinson
  39. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  40. The Black Stallion
  41. The Incredible Journey
  42. The Karate Kids
  43. The Lego Movie
  44. The Parent Trap
  45. The Red Balloon
  46. The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry
  47. The Storykeepers
  48. The Three Trees
  49. Up
  50. Veggie Tales

Notable Movies:

  1. A Christmas Story
  2. The Ultimate Gift
  3. Miracles from Heaven
  4. The Goonies
  5. The Sandlot




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 to learn more.


I Love Homeschooling But My Kids Are With Me All the Time

HIRL-Episode-30On this episode of the HomeschoolingIRL podcast, Fletch and Kendra begin a new series called, “I Love Homeschooling But…” and discuss the topic of having your kids with you All. The. Time.

We really do love this aspect of homeschooling, and many of us want to spend the best hours of our kids’ days with them. But the reality is, there are days when we feel as if we’re all breathing down each other’s necks, and that can be difficult to navigate with grace.

Joining Fletch and Kendra in the studio is HomeschoolingIRL listener, Angela Hoffman, from After a frustrating day of homeschooling and tweeting with Kendra, we thought it would be real and very current to have her on the episode with us.

Episode Timeline
3:50 Studio discussion part 1.
19:00 Fletch and Kendra spend time with Angela Hoffman
29:42 Studio discussion part 2.
43:27 HIRLers Treasure Chest


For the rest of the year, we will be running a “Best of” series of the Homeschooling IRL episodes. Many of these episodes were earlier episodes that you might have missed. Enjoy!

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 to learn more.

Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

thanksgiving kids craftsThanksgiving Kids Crafts

Episode 235

Thanksgiving kids crafts are so much fun! I love crafts – especial holiday crafts like Thanksgiving crafts for kids. In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, I’ll share some great Thanksgiving crafts that are easy to make. So much fun and so decorative.

Stack up on different colors of foam – it is easy to cut and available at craft stores or online.
Glue is a must, with paint brushes to apply

Ideas for Thanksgiving crafts for kids:

  1. Crafts for fun:
    1. Turkey bag puppets – cut out construction paper shapes – turkey.
    2. Door hangers – cut a hole for the know, put on a turkey head, and feathers (of course). Use thick paper or craft foam.
    3. Turkey table decorations – layer the front (a turkey head), then scallop shapes – then the feathers. Use craft foam.
    4. Turkey shapes out of a pie plate.
    5. I am thankful – use two paper plates, divide one with a marker in six or eight pie shapes (like a pizza). Have the children label each triangle and draw a picture about something they are thankful for…Take the “top” plate and cut only one triangle out. Then, layer each plate on top of each other.
  2. Crafts for decorations
    1. Collect pine cones for a natural arrangement. Glue pinecones to popsicle sticks, and fit into a flower arrangement.
    2. Collect fall leaves – glue onto clear glass jars (or containers). Use glue or a permanent adhesive like Modge Podge – dries clear and hard. Use as gift containers or place flowers or for table decorations.
    3. Use smaller glass containers, glue on leaves, use these on tables with battery powered lights, or flower arrangements.
    4. Give Thanks – or Happy Thanksgiving – use one sheet of paper (use thick paper or watercolor paper). Color background and hand letter or stencil letters to each sheet of paper, then thread with rope – hang on the walls, on the mantle or in bedrooms.
    5. Name tags, with pilgrims
    6. Thyme – make into a wreath and tie with twine, then decorate with ribbon. Place it on each place setting.
    7. Thankful wreath – create a wreath with construction paper shapes of leaves. Have the children label each with a “thankful word.”
    8. Use leaves (construction paper or craft foam) and label each with a thankful word. Glue in the shape of a wreath.
    9. Glass containers with cut out (tissue paper) leaves. Use glue to affix. Place a battery powered candle in each container.
    10. Cut out a pumpkin, fill with floral foam, and use as a vase for flowers.
    11. Use the words Happy Thanksgiving – use one sheet of paper for each letter. Use glue and glitter, or fancy letters.
    12. Pine cones – paint the edges with paint and use for table decorations.
    13. Cut out shapes – turkeys, pilgrims, etc. and string together as a garland.
  3. Crafts for gifts
    1. Fall leave containers
    2. Bracelet – with orange, brown, yellow – “fall” colors – give to guests or have this as a craft for kids.
    3. Trail mix – have the kids fill festive containers they’ve decorated. Use stickers on dollar store plastic containers.
    4. Party favors – decorate an envelope with foam cutouts (turkey, fall leave etc.) and slip in a candy bar or other treats.
    5. Glass container (above) with leaves
    6. Candy corn, or candy with a clear baggie – tie with a ribbon and have the children write a poem, use a scripture verse, etc.
    7. Use a circle sheet of tissue paper, place candy in the middle, and gather in the shape of a pumpkin. Use green tape to make a stem.
    8. Paper cups with a scripture verse on the front or a “thankful” word – fill with candy. Use a popsicle stick to glue a “Thanksgiving character” and place in the cup with candy. (Fill a small planter or vase as well.)
    9. Oranges. Use a knife (or a special utensil) to carve our designs, dot with cloves. Give as gifts. (Does not work well in Florida, it will mold – but great in cold climates.
    10. Turkey coaster. Take a circle of cork and glue to a turkey shape. A great gift.
    11. Use craft foam and cut out a rectangle for a photo. Decorate with Thanksgiving designs, etc. Give as a gift.
  4. Crafts that encourage character
    1. Thankful jar – daily add a card about what you are thankful for that day.
    2. Read a card to the family (randomly draw it out) at dinner
    3. Write one word (or more) and slip under a plate. Each person does this for the members of the family. If you have a larger family, maybe assign numbers (select randomly) or assign.
    4. Placemats – A Thankful scene or things the children are thankful for…you can cover it with clear contact paper to make it last longer.
    5. Thankful tree – use construction paper for the tree trunk. Use this as an ongoing project during the month. Each leaf holds one thing the children are thankful for.  [Listen to this podcast encouraging children to be thankful here.]
    6. Use a tree branch and place it into a vase or a planter. Decorate the branches with cut out leaves with “thankful” words on each leaf.

Websites to check out:

Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids

Turkey Napkin Folding

Extra thankful gift tags with printable

Pumpkin bread with free printable

Gratitude Pumpkin Craft

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 to learn more.

Healthy Holiday Snacks

healthy holiday snacksHealthy Holiday Snacks

Episode 234

Healthy holiday snacks don’t necessarily taste well. And since when does healthy and snacks go together? In this podcast, I’ll share some great suggestions from some of my friends as well! Please share your favorite ideas and recipes with all of us.


Show Notes: Healthy Holiday Snacks

When considering healthy holiday snacks we don’t have to throw out the flavor! Instead look at some of your favorite recipes and make a healthier version.

Look for substitutions such as purred low-fat cottage cheese, or strained Greek yogurt (strain in cheesecloth overnight) instead of using cream cheese. You can substitute low-fat Greek yogurt for sour cream and even the kids won’t notice the difference. So making homemade dips with Greek yogurt is not only yummy, it is better for you.

Let’s face it — snacks even if healthy can pack on the calories so if you are looking for a “skinny” version,  I have some great websites to check out below. Just plan on talking so much you forget to eat or don’t eat much like I do at parties and get-togethers. You’d think I never get out! Seriously, eating healthy will give you an added boost. No sugar crash after indulging in too many sweets.

I spent hours online looking for some good alternative recipes and then decided to do what many of us do when we are stuck – we ask our friends! I asked my friends on Facebook and here are some of their suggestions. Thanks! And a shoutout to my Facebook/ and real life friends that I’ve met for your help! You guys are amazing!

Leah recommended this yummy and healthy dish: Roasted veggies

Vicki Tillman – one of our podcasters on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network (she podcasts here) recommends substituting sugar in this recipe with honey. Great idea Vicki!

Peanut butter balls–Use natural peanut butter, honey, and oats.  mix well and roll into a balls. This is a simple but better than junk food for active kids’ snacks.

Tricia (You rock! These are amazing suggestions–and long time online friend.)

We love things like

  1. artichoke hummus with veggie sticks
  2. hard boiled eggs, grapes, and cheese
  3. white bean dip with gluten-free crackers
  4. cilantro pesto with veggies
  5. rolled oats mixed with peanut butter, a bit of maple syrup and dark chocolate chips rolled into balls and refrigerate until firm
  6. organic popcorn with coconut oil and sea salt
  7. yogurt parfaits (berries & granola)
  8. Veggie Pinwheels
  9. Roasted Chickpeas with seasoning of choice like cinnamon sugar or a savory one like paprika/chili pepper
  10. Homemade salsa & organic corn chips
  11. 5 layer greek dip with pita chips or gluten-free crackers. 🙂

Heather Laurie another podcaster on this network – she podcasts here: Here recommendation was using tzatziki sauce and cucumber chips instead of wheat chips.

Virginia – Homemade salsa is yummy and red. We made apple butter in the crockpot that was delicious. No butter just spices and apples. (Apple butter is one of my favorites on homemade biscuits anytime. Can’t wait to try this one.) [Virgina has evaluated my children each year – at the end of the year to check their progress as homeschoolers! Sadly those days are ending, but thanks so much to Virginia for her help and encouragement. A valued friend!]

Karen — a good friend from my early years of homeschooling when she lived in Florida – wow, some great ideas:

  1. Celery sticks with a festive mixture of cream cheese, chopped nuts, some cherry juice for coloring. You can also chop up some maraschino cherries and mix those in with the cream cheese and nuts. Almond butter on celery.
  2. Make your own pita chips, by buying pita or naan bread, cut into triangles or squares, brush with olive oil then sprinkle with Italian seasonings ( of course!) and freshly grated Parmesan. Or leave without the cheese. Bake in oven to crisp. I make these and they keep well in a sealed tight container. Yummy with soup or for dips.
  3. Homemade hummus and vegetables. So easy to make and you can add various spices or whatever to make it your own.
  4. Baked sliced sweet potatoes, brush with olive oil, shake on cinnamon and sea salt.
  5. Turkey, chicken, tuna, and veggie roll-ups in lettuce.
  6. Yummy macaroons- coconut, egg whites, salt, and sweetener.
  7. Deviled eggs… put a bit of chopped red pepper in for festive color, or use some cayenne pepper if you like it a bit spicy. And substitute plain yogurt and mayo to cut down on some of the fat.
  8. Olives, dill pickles, nuts, for quick picking-food.
  9. Meatballs are a nice option. I bake mine, and you can use some healthy crackers, pats or breading for binding. Apples and almost butter for dipping.

Healthy Snack Websites: 

Great recipes to try –


Loaded Nachos

Zucchini Sticks 

Appetizers – Turkey Meatballs

Zucchini Carpaccio

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Spicy Garlic Edamame

Pumpkin pie dip

Avacado and Crab Dip

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks

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 to learn more.

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