Holiday Games

holiday games | The best holiday games to play with the kids | #podcast #homeschool #homeschool podcastHoliday Games and Fun — Just in time for the Holidays! Episode 309

Fun games? Yes, please. How about holiday games? It’s that time of the year! The holidays are around the corner and it is best to think about keeping the kids occupied at busy family events. Here are some suggestions, more on this episode as well. Have fun with your family this holiday season.

Thanks to our sponsor Heirloom Audios – check out this wonderful interview here.

Holiday Games with little prep:

Would you rather game:

Materials: a sheet of paper divide it in half.

Procedure:  Make a list of things to compare. Write “Would you rather” at the top of the page on the left-hand side. Divide the paper in half. This is an example: Eat a pumpkin pie  or eat without a fork

 Conversation Starters

You can use plain paper and tweak the suggestions below depending on the event or holiday.

Materials:  Index cards or Popsicle sticks (place them in a decorated mason jar)

Procedure: Write a series of questions such as these:

  1. Who are your thankful for?
  2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
  3. Look at the person to your right and say something helpful or thoughtful.
  4. What happened on the first Thanksgiving?
  5. What are some of the foods that the Pilgrims ate?
  6. What was the Indian’s contribution?
  7. Name one food you would not make if you were in charge of Thanksgiving dinner?
  8. Can you name five things that begin with the letter “T” that has to do with Thanksgiving?
  9. What Thanksgiving food takes the longest to make?
  10. Can any of the foods you eat on Thanksgiving Day be made without an oven?
  11. How did the Pilgrims make their meal without an oven?
  12. Name all the desserts you can think of that are served on Thanksgiving Day?
  13. Name a Scripture verse (or look up) that has to do with being thankful.
  14. What prayer do you say before you eat?
  15. Close your eyes and name all the foods you smell.
  16. What is a food that is frozen that is sometimes eaten at Thanksgiving?
  17. Name all the orange things in the room.
  18. Name all the orange foods that are edible.
  19. What sound does a turkey make?
  20. List all foods you want to eat today.

(You can add more ideas to this list.)


Clothes pin turkey tag.

Material: clothespins, paint, markers or crayons. Google eyes or peClothespinkers. Orange construction paper. Glue (hot glue).

Procedure: You will need 3 clothespins for each person. Color (use marker or crayons) or paint the top of a clothespin different colors. Use google eyes (or draw eyes with black or blue sharpy). Use orange construction paper and cut it into triangles. Glue the beak in front of the eyes.

To play the game:

Each person takes the clothespins and pins them on their clothes. Anywhere they want (but they can’t be in a pocket). Someone says go and each person has to grab a clothespin off of someone’s clothes without losing one of theirs. The person who has at least one clothespin left wins.

Thanksgiving/ Christmas or Anytime Holiday Party Games:

These need a bit more prep and following are suggestions on how to up the pace!

For the Kids and Family Events

 Timed Games: Timing helps to speed things up and adds excitement to any party! You can practice some of these ahead of time with the children. Place the children into teams to keep the individual competition down.

Teams: Play in teams. It helps to keep the frustration down when kids lose. If you play in teams. Use a marker board or paper to keep score!

 Bingo Thanksgiving Style: Use M & M’s for makers

Make cards with the following graphics. Two of each to match. You can make cards differently with a square that says thankful in the middle. Use graphics such as Pilgrim Girl, and boy, Corn, Pumpkin, Turkey, Pie, Pilgrim Hat, Mayflower, etc.

Pictionary – Thanksgiving style!

Use a mason jar with a ribbon on edge. Paint large or regular popsicle sticks. Use a sharpie to write a “Thanksgiving” type of word — such as turkey, eat, fall leaves, pie, etc. Use a pad of paper and have the children take turns drawing a picture and allowing others to guess the correct answer. The person who guesses goes next and draws a popsicle stick.

 Pin the tail on the Turkey / or Christmas tree, etc. (Depending on the Holiday.)

Pin the tail on the turkey! Use construction paper to make “feathers” and have the children create their own turkey decoration. You can use sliding glass doors and tape or non-stick fasteners.

Puzzle Race:

Use Thanksgiving-related pictures (or other holiday pictures ) and cut them out like a puzzle. Place the pieces of one puzzle at a time on a tabletop, get out your cell phone stopwatch or use a stopwatch and give each child one minute to put it together. Work in teams.

 Candy Color Sort Game:

Use 25 candies such as M & M’s or Skittles. Place two piles of 25 with two children facing off. Give each child a spoon. Ask them to sort the candy into piles using only a spoon. Older child variation: Place the spoon in your mouth and sort the candy. The winner is the one who sorts the candy into colors first.

Relay Races:

There are many variations of this game. Use plastic cones to mark the zone and lanes if possible. You can use a ball of the same size (you need at least two). For example, a baseball and place it between your knees. Wait until some shouts, “Go!” and race with the ball. If you drop the ball pick it up and place it between your knees and keep going.


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Biblical Geology

Biblical Creation | Special Guest Patrick Nurre of Northwest Treasures - handout | #podcast #creationpodcast @creationBiblical Creation – Episode 8

Today our special guest, Patrick Nurre discusses Biblical Creation. Patrick is the owner of Northwest Traditions with his wife, Vicki and has a wealth of information to share with us!

Here is the handout in an easy to download format. Below are the show notes as well. What is Biblical Geology show notes

I. Geology – “The Study of the earth.”
a. Made of two parts
i. Earth’s physical chemistry – observation and testing (Earth Science), what can be observed, tested, and repeated
ii. Earth’s origins – how Earth came to be (Earth History), involves history, philosophy, and consensus
1. History – deals with one-time, unique events supported by documentation/eyewitnesses
2. Philosophy – deals with biased interpretations of evidence
3. Consensus – deals with opinions of a select group regardless of facts.
II. Secular geology combines these two (science and history) into one academic course, “Earth History.” Secular geology cannot answer questions of:
a. How and where did the earth originate?
b. How old is the earth?
c. Where did all the rocks come from?
d. Where did I come from?

III. Worldview
a. Not religion vs. science, but worldview vs. worldview
b. Secular view – uniformitarianism
i. Earth is billions of years old
ii. Earth developed and originated naturalistically
iii. Only chemicals/ elements exist
iv. God is irrelevant
c. Biblical view – supernaturalism
i. Earth is thousands of years old
ii. Earth originated by the word of God, from nothing
iii. Man is made in the image of God
iv. Nothing exists apart from God
IV. The Enlightenment (1700-1800’s)
a. Rejected the Flood
b. Rejected the Bible as history
c. Regarded the Genesis Creation story as a myth
d. Rejected miracles, the Resurrection
e. Questioned the deity of Christ
f. Rejected the idea of revelation: the Scriptures are not the inspired word of God

V. Scriptural Worldview
a. Scriptures are a record of history
b. Scriptures can be divided into five main periods
i. The Creation – God spoke it into existence in six days
ii. The Pre-flood world – the earth was corrupted because of sin

iii. The Flood – God destroyed the earth in a year-long Flood
iv. The Post-flood world – the period immediately following the Flood, to the present
v. The Future, including eternity – New Heavens and New Earth
vi. First four periods are about 6000 years, based on historical genealogies and chronologies

c. What happened during this time
i. Creation (six days) – Elements, energy, water, sea creatures, birds, dinosaurs, man created
ii. Pre-Flood world – 1.656 years of unbridled sin and corruption brought on by man’s rebellion
iii. The Flood – One year of geological upheaval that produced volcanoes and mountains
iv. The Post-Flood World – 4500 years of the effects of the Flood, including extinction, climate change, an ice event, and more volcanism
d. The Flood
i. Historical event that left geological evidence
ii. Global event that left global geological effects
iii. The most significant geological event in Earth history
e. Biblical geology is using the Scriptural, historical account to interpret the evidence

VI. Implications of Biblical Geology
a. All of Earth’s visible land formations are a result of the Flood
b. All of the fossils are a result of the Flood and the aftermath
c. Most of the extinction in the fossil record, including dinosaurs, is a result of the Flood
d. All the earth’s present-day mountains, earthquakes, volcanoes and natural disasters were the result of the global flood and its consequences
e. The Flood is responsible for the formation of an ice event that sculpted mountains all over the world
f. All of earth’s geological processes have been affected by the Flood, including radioactivity and radiometric dating
VII. Two frameworks to explain our world
a. The Biblical framework explains what we see in our world in light of our framework: the Scriptures, including the Flood
b. The secular framework uses uniformitarianism as their framework, which excludes any influence that is supernatural
VIII. We must become as familiar with our framework as secularists are with theirs.

5 Ways To Prevent Writing Meltdowns

Prevent Writing Meltdowns | Kim Kautzer of Write Shop gives 5 Ways To Stop Writing Meltdowns. #podcast #homeschool #writeshop #writingmeltdowns5 Ways To Prevent Writing Meltdowns Episode 308

Do you need 5 ways to prevent writing meltdown? This podcast provides helpful tips. Your children may not be enthusiastic about writing, but the goal of this podcast is to allow them to appreciate and understand the writing process. Kim explains why so many children don’t like to write—and why the act of writing is the cause of many tears. She also shares five practical ways to prevent writing meltdowns, and offers advice on teaching your kids to write well.

What Causes Writing Meltdowns?

  1. Unclear directions where kids don’t know what the assignment as asking of them or how long their composition has to be
  2. Writer’s block where kids feel “stuck” or can’t think of ideas
  3. Physical act of writing  where the ideas in their head can’t make it to the paper because of perfectionism, learning challenges, physical challenges, immaturity, or lack of skills
  4. Trying too do much in one sitting or feeling like they’ll never be finished
  5. Boredom

In this podcast, Kim tells stories and suggests ways to prevent writing meltdowns. You’ll learn how simple things such as: being clear about lesson expectations, tailoring topics to children’s interests, using graphic organizers, and acting as your child’s scribe can help them turn the corner.

Kim explains that writing is a process, not a one-time event. Kids like to think they just have to write something once, and then they’re done. In truth, writing is made up of a bunch of steps. The writing process can be made manageable when broken into writing chunks.

Brainstorming, for example, is one “chunk.” This is the time to come up with ideas, plan, and organize thoughts before writing. The first draft—or as WriteShop calls it—a “sloppy copy” is another chunk. Self-editing is the next step, when students learn to use a checklist to proofread and make simple revisions. Ultimately, each step points to the final draft. Spreading these steps over several days (even several weeks with younger children) makes each day’s assignment doable, not overwhelming.

Today’s meltdowns don’t mean your students will always struggle with writing. You may not be able to see it now, but time is your ally! And in time, your children can become successful writers.

Top 5 Reasons to include Literature Study in your Homeschool

After teaching literature and writing in many settings for many years, I have concluded there are five important reasons to include literature study in your homeschool for your middle and high school students. #homeschool #curriculumAfter teaching literature and writing in many settings for many years, I have concluded there are five important reasons to include literature study in your homeschool for your middle and high school students. Some benefits are academic while others are more in the personal and character development realm. But, I feel that all of them contribute to a student’s understanding of themselves, their world, and their individual viewpoints. I have them listed here in no particular order because everyone will have their own priorities as to which is most important.

Practice Analyzing World Views

Literature is usually written in the worldview of the author. Occasionally, an author writes a literary piece in a different worldview from his own based on the narrator of the story or to present a different worldview for the reader’s examination and analysis.

You can usually divide worldviews into two categories, Christian and Secular/Humanist. The middle and high school years are the optimum time to have discussions about worldview and your family’s own views. From there, you can have valuable discussions centered around topics that your children encounter when reading different pieces of literature.

For example, dystopian book series have become popular recently and are an excellent opportunity to discuss the events and characters that are included in these stories. As a Christian family you will want to take advantage of the natural discussions about good vs. evil, absolute vs. relative morals, and your family’s beliefs that will arise as you read some of these books.

Older novels are also prime material for practice for your children to apply their worldview filters when reading and deciding where they stand on the issues presented in the story. Examples of these kinds of novels would be Frankenstein, 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Parents will want to make sure to read these books beforehand to decide if the book is a good fit for your family and prepare themselves for a discussion.

Develop and Practice Higher Order Thinking Skills

Literature study is also a great opportunity to help your children develop and practice using higher order thinking skills. Analyzing the worldview of a novel or story is just one level or kind of thinking skill. There is a list of others from comprehension and knowledge when recalling facts and details about a story to comprehending what an author is trying to say to the reader.

Moving up the hierarchy of skills, your children can practice applying what they know from their own experiences to what they are reading in a story and compare and contrast what they are reading to their own experiences or to events in the story. From here, as they get older and have more practice in analyzing literature, they can begin to have those worldview discussions about specific moral issues in the story and debate the side of their worldview against the author’s point of view or debate both sides of an issue.

The development and the practice of these higher order thinking skills are necessary to children’s development of their own beliefs and the ability to articulate and argue those beliefs. It assists them in “knowing who they are and what they believe”, an important characteristic in self-identity and confidence. This was an important foundation in our homeschool pursuit and mission in my family. It’s paid off very well.

Practicing Empathy and Understanding Motivation of Others

There have been scientific studies that have shown that when children read and discuss the characters and events of a fictional story, they develop empathetic skills and understanding of the actions and motivations of others.

Reading a fictional story presents the reader with an opportunity to follow a character through different kinds of circumstances and watch how those circumstances affect the character and his feelings and subsequent actions. Readers develop empathy for that character as they get to know the character and are then also affected by what happens to that character. Having discussions about the characters and their feelings about certain events helps children to sort through their thoughts and own feelings.

Analyzing characters in stories and what is motivating them to act certain ways or have specific personality characteristics assists children in examining the motives of others through the practice they receive from this kind of literary analysis. This understanding can be transferred when trying to understand other people in their own daily interactions.

Literature is a Reflection of History and Society

Throughout history the spoken and written word has kept record of historical events and views held by a society during different time periods. When reading literary pieces, readers can learn about the time period in which the author lived or is writing about, as well as common viewpoints and practices of society at that time. Even a piece of fiction is a reflection of history and society of that literary time period and is of valuable consideration to understand where a society has been and where they are in the present and how they got there.

Literature from all over the world reflects societal, religious, and philosophical beliefs to shed light and an understanding on that part of the world. Sometimes, a pendulum movement can be seen from one literary time period to another in what a society believes is important at the time.

For example, literary time periods from the Puritan to the Modern times reflect a swing from a Christian worldview to a Humanist viewpoint and back again several times when looking at the topics and expressions of the authors in their written pieces. These viewpoints were affected a lot of times by what was happening in history and society around them as the authors were writing these stories.

Literature can be an Influence on History and Society

As literature can be a reflection of history and society, the opposite is true as well. Authors have used the spoken and written word to influence the events of history and the beliefs of a society.

Studying speeches and novels written by people of varying time periods will demonstrate the power of the spoken and written word when expressed effectively and the importance of those words and their connection to key historical events and societal views of the time.

Supposedly, when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he commented, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” This shows the influence a book such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin can have on the course of history and society and belief systems of a time period.

Even a pamphlet with the title “Common Sense” influenced history and the outcome of where we are today.

Studying literature does not have to be a mysterious and muddled discussion of symbols and hidden meanings that an author buried in a novel for us to decipher or a long list of comprehension questions.

Studying literature can be an interactive exercise and discussion in discovering ourselves, who we are and what we believe in, using the literary piece as a spring and jumping off point and vehicle for the discussion.

Literary Cafe PodcastKatie Glennon has a monthly podcast, Literary Cafe Podcast, where she discusses all things Language Arts for all ages with practical ideas, tips, and suggested resources to help you in teaching Language Arts in your homeschool. You can also find her at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage and a Facebook Group, Homeschool Language Arts Corner, where she expands on what she shares in her podcasts. With 30+ years in education and having graduated two sons, she hopes to share ideas with you that allow you to better enjoy your homeschool journey!


10 Holiday Planning Tips

Holiday Planning | Holiday planning help is right here! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast 10 Holiday Planning Tips – Episode 307

Holiday planning help is right here! In this episode, we will discuss some ways to help you to plan ahead and keep that overwhelmed feeling away! I am happy to share with you some tips for making it work no matter what your day looks like.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. Media Angels membership site with great self-paced lessons and classes for your kids while you plan for the holidays.

Please share this episode with a friend and like the VintageHomeschoolMoms podcast on iTunes.

First things first, let’s talk. Do you have something hot or cold to drink? Are you sitting down? This is really important and I want your attention on this one. The most important thing about the holidays is not what the house looks like, what you are serving or who is coming over to the house (or where you are going.) The most important thing is to focus on the sentiment behind the day. If you ask a child what is their favorite things I guarantee it isn’t the house you live in, the car you drive or what you ate on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas or Easter. I bet it is the time you spent together and the fun they had doing things together with family members.

If you’ve lost a loved one as many of us have, the holidays can bring back painful memories, but we must praise God that we had our loved ones as long as we did — even if it was for a short time. The experience of knowing someone and the impact on our lives will change us forever and this memory alone should encourage us to forge good and strong alliances with our children.

Remember the theme for the various holidays are similar:

Thanksgiving is gratitude and thanking God for all things.

Christmas is for giving the way our Lord was given to us by God the Father. We celebrate by the awe of the Nativity and give to others.

Easter is for the grace given to us by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessing this is for our life as a Christian.

All three major holidays reflect the theme of gratitude, thanksgiving, awe, grace, and ultimately joy! Doing things for others will increase this feeling of joy — and by serving we receive so much more!

What needs planning?

  1. Homeschooling – still need to school right?
  2. Baking/Cooking—sure if you plan on cooking
  3. Shopping – budgeting
  4. Decorating house?
  5. Clothing—church service? Or family party.

Of course, there are many subdivisions in each of these points. So, what I’d like to share is ideas for different age children dealing with your homeschooling.

  1. Don’t change your schedule for the first two weeks of Nov. but consider adding topics dealing with the holiday – whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
  2. If you have little children, replace their fun time activities with crafts and things you can use with decorations.
  3. For older teens, they will more than likely school up to Thanksgiving week, although I always took off the week of Thanksgiving. Kids could catch up with their work, or finish us their assignments or help!

Okay, here we go! 10 Holiday Planning tips that won’t break the bank and will get a jump on whatever season you are approaching.

  1. The list. What does your list look like? If you have our planners try the 4-Square approach. That is my go-to for a one-page list of everything that needs to get done. Each month I give away a planner to our subscribers at the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. These planners are so helpful! I break a sheet of paper into 4 grids (2 across and 2 down) with the headings of faith, kids, school and household. For the holidays you may add a planner that says the specific goals you want to achieve. My headings for Thanksgiving look like this: Faith, Menu, Buy/Make ahead, That Day
  2. Next is to plan on doing things incrementally. As homeschool moms, you can’t do everything at once. Your plans need to be realistic. Make a list, and circle things you might get done today – the rest leave for another day! Organize your time and start early. If you haven’t don’t worry — I working on another podcast with last minute holiday tips! If you can bake a casserole, let’s say mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, au gratin or scalloped potatoes, that freezes very well. Make ahead rolls or cookie mix. Pull it out of the freezer the day before and thaw in the refrigerator. For roll,s you may want to take them out of plastic bags and allow them to thaw at room temperature.
  3. Keep decorating cost down by making it yourself. I used cheap plastic shower curtain rings and wrapped them with ribbon. A craft the kids helped me with and glued the end down. These were our napkin rings. If you have cloth, great. If not paper works well. They can do this while you read to them.
  4. Four weeks before if possible Who is coming? Figure out your guest list so you can plan. OR if you are going to someone’s house what are your bringing?
  5. Three weeks before planning your menu if you are hosting a meal. I’ve had Thanksgiving at my home for the last 15 years or so, with a big crowd. This year it is immediate family only. Only 15 counting grandkids. I will use one big table with added smaller tables attached and have a buffet. My meal is the same each year, a small ham, lasagna, and a small turkey with plenty of sides, fruit tray, cheese, and cracker tray. My family loves appetizers and one of the only times they have them is on the holidays. These I buy frozen or make my own. Spinach dip, mini-hotdogs, mini-pizza bites, and a baked cheese (recipes in November planner!)
  6. Two weeks before shop for your ingredients, look for sales and buy ahead whenever you can.
  7. One week before (or sooner) prepare the baked casseroles and the items you can easily freeze and thaw. For example, my lasagna is already made and waiting in the freezer! You can keep lasagna for six weeks although ours never lasts that long.
  8. Room arrangement. Do you need to bring extra chairs (or have guests bring them or tables?) Do you need to move back the couch or other furniture? Decide how you will set your table. Are you fancy or simple? I have tablecloths I purchased after the holiday and keep that year after year for events. I like fresh flowers my one big splurge but I can keep the cost under $20 easily with foliage from outdoors and baby’s breath. I love that stuff! I also reuse glass flower containers. This year since I’m not going fancy I’ll use mason jars with festive ribbon.
  9.  One day ahead. When will you begin your bigger roasts? I’ve cooked the ham the day ahead and it has been fabulous heated up. I wrap it tight and place it in a warm oven so it doesn’t dry out. Prepare your turkey the day before. Did you brine it? Or do you need to prep it for baking? I do it ahead of time and place it in the baking dish so all I have to do is put it in the oven. This year I may add stuffing to the turkey since it is way smaller than years past. I also chop or get any dips or cheese ready. My husband loves this job because he eats as he does it. So nice to have the cheese in little cubes and ready to toss on a tray.
  10. The day of the event. Smile, pray to the Lord that all goes well and dig in! Get the kids to help with setting the tables or arranging things, putting out crackers, etc. Put the turkey in at the right time to allow it to rest about 30 minutes or more before carving and serving. Be sure to pull out your casseroles and leave them on the counter. Cold lasagna will take two times as long to bake as cool lasagna!

Enjoy your holidays, it’s all about the friends and family — remember that. The food is an added blessing and we must be thankful in all we do. Be sure to look at our free planners available each month with your subscription to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. Please share this epsiosde with a friend!


Replay: Raise Competent Teens

raise competent teensRaise Competent Teens – Podcast 36

by Jean Burk

Do you know how to raise competent teens? In this podcast Jean explains how to “capture,” and teach our children “competence,” and how to turn this into competence for our teens? Teaching and encouraging your children to succeed is the topic in this series of podcasts!

Next podcasts in this series:


Jean is the award-winning author of college prep genius – the no-brainer way to get free college. She is a FOX News contributor as well as making many other appearances on television and radio networks on the topic of the SAT.


Find More information about Jean’s award winning program here…


Graphics Credit: Copyright All Rights reserved, © shmeljov

Stress Free Cooking Tips

Best Tips For Great Stress Free Cooking and Meals | Do you need some great tips to save money and time? | #podcast #homeschool #homeschoolpodcast #cookingtipsBest Tips For Great Stress Free Cooking and Meals: Episode: 306

Are you ready to cut down on your planning and cooking time with the best tips for great meals? I have a great insider’s secret to share with you, and you’ll love it! And, as a bonus, I’ve added some great tips for seasonal cooking and this will save you money.

As we celebrate our 5th Birthday of the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network please join we as we thank our wonderful sponsors!

And, please visit all the amazing Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network podcasters they are the ones who tirelessly work hard at creating innovative shows just for you –in order to encourage you in your homeschool journey.

Okay, meal planning – you ready? Well, when I plan my meals one of the things I look at is repurposing the food or using one item to make several. In this way, you cook once and use that main item for many dishes. I will give you some examples but first, let’s think together about the types of meals you eat.

  1. List the meals your family enjoys the most.
  2. What meals do you make that can be frozen?
  3. Are there any meals you can batch cook?
  4. What items taste better fresh rather than as leftovers
  5. Look at this list with an eye for crossover items, for example, ground beef or chicken.

When I look at meal planning I do ask for input from my family and take note even if the list contains favorites such as grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and mac and cheese. These are okay as fillers and must be made that day unless you used packaged or frozen mac and cheese!

Here is a short list of our family favorite meals in order:

  1. Italian:
    1. Chicken Cutlets and Spaghetti (homemade sauce)
    2. Spaghetti and meatballs
    3. Pizza, Calzones
    4. Lasagna
    5. Baked Ziti
    6. Feticuni Alfredo and grilled chicken
  1. Grilled:
    1. Hamburgers and hotdogs with mac and cheese and baked beans
    2. BBQ – Ribs and chicken wings
    3. Grilled BBQ chicken
    4. Steak
  2. American:
    1. Chicken pot pie with biscuits and a salad
    2. Pulled pork with cole slaw and beans
    3. Chicken tenders
    4. Roasts
  3. Mexican meals:
    1. Grilled chicken with fajita seasoning, tortilla shells, guacamole, shredded cheese and rice, and black beans
    2. Chicken enchiladas
    3. Tacos with chicken or ground beef
  4. Soups and More:
    1. Chicken Soup
    2. French Onion Soup
    3. Chili

Your list may or may not look like mine. Some of the missing elements are fish and pot roast. While classics in many families mine has never enjoyed pot roast. I love fish and often I’ll eat baked fish while the family eats fish sticks. As this isn’t a favorite meal I didn’t add it to the list. If I could get good fish locally, I’d probably eat it daily!

As you can see there are many meals with the following cooking tips that can be made and frozen or that are crossover–for example:

Cooking Tip #1 Ground Beef:

If I buy ground beef in bulk, I can make quite a few dishes at one time for various meals. For example, ground beef for tacos, chili, and lasagna – freeze it unseasoned and label the amount. Make meatballs, they freeze well. Form hamburgers and freeze with layers of wax paper. Put the food in freezer bags. Be sure to date.

Cooking Tip #2 Chicken:

Another is chicken. I can cook two chickens in the InstaPot. I can use this chicken for pot pies, for soup, for chicken salad, for chicken tacos, BBQ chicken (although my family prefers grilled chicken for this meal).

Cooking Tip #3 Grilling:

Grilling chicken for Mexican food, enchiladas, tacos, barbeque chicken, sandwiches.

Cooking Tip #4 Freeze meals:

Tomato sauce: I make this in big batches. I freeze some and use the others to make meals like casseroles.

Cooking Tip #5 Casseroles:

Lasagna and Baked Ziti freeze well. These can be made ahead of time and pulled out the day before – you can defrost in the refrigerator. Enchiladas also freeze well. I freeze the individual enchiladas and don’t pour the sauce over it until I heat them up to eat.

Cooking Tip #6 additional meals

  1. Stuffed Baked Potatoes with potato toppings such as ground beef, cheese, veggies, chopped ham
  2. Salad Bar: Recreate toppings from your favorite restaurants
  3. Rotisserie chicken: use leftovers for yummy chicken salad
  4. Breakfast for dinner – a family favorite.
  5. One pot or one skillet meals. Add a salad. You can do this with stir-fry or stew.

Cooking Tip #7 Seasonal Meals

Pumpkin: We enjoy wonderful seasonal favorites all year long. For example, I bake several cooking pumpkins and scoop out the pulp for pumpkin bread, muffins, pumpkin pie or pumpkin bars.

Apples: I buy apples in bulk and peel them, toss with about 1/4 cup sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon and freeze flat. These make great additions to pancakes, muffins and of course pie.

Strawberries: Again, buy them in bulk. If they are not organic (and even if they are) be sure to wash them in white vinegar and water, rinse and pat dry before you freeze. These make wonderful smoothies and you can mash them with some sugar for strawberry shortcake. Yum!

Seasonal fruits and veggies: Be creative. Is zucchini on sale? Or onions? You can buy in bulk and sauté lightly (zucchini) – don’t overcook. This is a great side dish. Onions – I’ve sautéed these and use them when I make a sauce or other dishes. It is such a short cut! Less mess.

Currently, I’m on an elimination diet, no sugars, no dairy, no gluten, no preservatives restricted carbs and limited fruits (right now the focus is berries). I’ve learned to make so many things that are tasty and am considering incorporating a good portion of what I am eating into my daily diet.

So, if you are on a restricted diet – let’s say no to gluten or dairy you can do still cook for the family with an eye on what you can and can’t eat. You can use the baked chicken and season, use the pulled chicken for stir fry veggies, and eat a burger with a bed of lettuce instead of bread. So yummy!

Please share your great meal ideas with us and ways you save time and money.

More cooking tips here.

One of my favorite


Flourish At Home – Making Memories

Making Memories 3

Ironically, when your family is together almost all the time, it can be challenging to pull away from the demands of homeschooling to just enjoy being together and have fun as a family. But taking a break is good for parents and children alike. In this episode, I’ll share some of my favorite ways to make special family memories, including building family traditions, spending one-on-one time with each child, exploring the world, and enjoying the journey as well as the destination.

I’d love to hear from you. What special family traditions do you enjoy?

Joyful Balance for Busy Moms

Are you exhausted? Overloaded? Teetering on the brink of burnout? Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or homeschooling mom, it’s easy to be paralyzed by an overwhelming to-do list. False guilt only adds to the burden.

Mary Jo Tate—an international editor, book coach, and veteran homeschooling mom of four boys—wants to help you find peace in the space between the ideal and reality so you can stop struggling and start flourishing. Learn how to:

· Stop the juggling act and find a balance you can live with
· Minimize interruptions while being sensitive to real needs
· Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family
· Value and protect your time to do what matters most
· Establish a pace you can maintain for the marathon of life

Visit the show page for replays here

How to Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Day from Bright Ideas Press

Back in the “olden days”, memorization was a big part of school. They memorized poems, essays, books, and documents. I always think about Little Town on the Prairie and how Laura was called on to recite American History by memory from Christopher Columbus through the presidency of John Quincy Adams. Somewhere along the way it was decided that memorizing was unnecessary and some thought it was even harmful to children’s creativity. But children especially have a huge capacity for memorization and memorize things all of the time. Memorizing is a great was for children to increase their vocabulary and learn different language patterns, helping them to become better readers and writers.

One thing the children and I love to do is memorize poetry. I know what you are thinking, that you do not have time to add poetry memorization to your already busy school day. But this is something we only spend around 10 minutes a day on and it is our favorite part of the day. Poetry is fun to read, easy to memorize, and often uses wonderful vocabulary and imagery. Children and adults of all ages and work on memorizing poetry together. You can add poetry easily into your homeschool day.

How to Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Day with Bright Ideas Press - and a fun giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #poetry

Each morning after our Bible lesson, it is poetry time. We have a book of poetry that has a variety of poems by different authors and poems of varying lengths. The first day we are starting a new poem, I read the title, name of the author, and the entire poem. Then I read each line and the children read it after me. The next day we start memorizing sections of the poem a little at a time. If for instance a poem has three stanzas, I will read the entire poem first, then just read the first stanza a line at a time and have the children repeat each line after me. The next day I read the entire poem again, do the first stanza altogether and we work on the second stanza by me reading and them repeating the lines after me. After we are done with our new poem for the day, we recite a few poems we have already memorized altogether.

I have been amazed at how easily the children have memorized the poems. They can do them much faster than I can! It has also amazed me how much they enjoy reciting the poems. There have been some days that I have been running behind in the morning and have thought that I would skip it that day but they always ask to do poems. We have spent some time looking up information on some of the authors and they have even tried their hand at writing a few poems themselves. I have noticed too that the more we have memorized, the easier it has become and the children have been able to memorize longer Bible verses and entire passages in Scripture as well.

Take 10 minutes a day and add some poetry memorization to your homeschool. You will be glad you did!

Ready to add poetry to your homeschool day? Grab the newest, updated product in the Bright Ideas Press store …. Young Scholar’s Guide to Poetry.



Enter for a Chance to Win a A Young Scholar’s Guide to Poetry from Bright Ideas Press

The authors of this curriculum walk incrementally with young writers through the process of composing their own poetry and encourage their individual creativity.  Includes 32 weekly lessons covering biographies of famous poets and explanations of key poetic devices, easy-to-use timeline and maps, poet info-cards and game directions, poetic device cards, poetry puzzle cards, student reviews, answer keys, coloring pages, poetry reading and resource list, and more.  Click here to enter for a chance to win!

Homeschooling Moms are busy!  Bright Ideas Press gets that. And that’s why they promise to publish Christian-oriented curriculum that will fit into your hectic lives, curriculum that is both affordable and easy-to-use with children of different ages at the same time. Curriculum that busy Moms love! The team at Bright Ideas Press prays that their products and resources will not only simplify lives but also inspire, encourage, and enable parents to effectively educate their children.


How to Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Day with Bright Ideas Press - and a fun giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #poetry

Top 5 Homeschooling Mistakes to Avoid from Luma Learn

Hi friends, Tina here from Luma Learn. Like you, I’m a homeschooling mama myself. I was recently reminiscing about my personal homeschool journey and thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made while homeschooling my children. Having 7 little blessings from almost 17 years old down to 4 years old, I’ve definitely made my fair share of mistakes! Although I’ve made lots, I’m going to share with you 5 of the biggest homeschooling mistakes I’ve made. If there’s one thing we homeschooling mamas do well, it’s relate to other people’s feeling of failure!

Top 5 Homeschooling Mistakes to Avoid from Luma Learn - plus a great giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #mistakes


Feeling Like I Had To Do Everything in One Year

Can anyone relate? It certainly is a blessing that homeschooling has grown so much that we now have lots and lots of opportunities available to us that weren’t there previously. But, Moms, sometimes too many opportunities can be a curse. Ever have a year where you felt as though you spent the majority of your days in the car? I’ve felt like that and often longed for more regular days (as I would call them) where we weren’t obligated to go anywhere and the children could simply get their school work done that they needed to.

I realized over many years that the “ultimate” wasn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. I wrote a blog post on this exact subject and thought it might help you consider some things about time management for this school year…and beyond!


Allowing Education to Become an Idol

Oh man, this one was a doozy! Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why am I doing this again?”

I’m sure many of us are familiar with Deuteronomy 6:6-7 which tells us to diligently teach “these words” to our children when we sit in our houses and walk by the way and lie down and rise. Hmm…that’s an awful long time…as in, the ENTIRE day!

What exactly is it that we’re supposed to teach our children? God wants us to teach them His word. Our primary goal should be to instill upright living in our children, but oftentimes, academic goals begin to trump our spiritual goals.

I’ve definitely been guilty of this one! In fact, Zuli and I had a conversation on the Luma Lounge about this. The Luma Lounge is our new avenue to encourage homeschool moms. It’s just 2 homeschool moms chatting about mom issues that affect all of us. Have a watch


Searching and Searching for the Perfect Curriculum

In the past, I have spent countless hours scouring websites, attending homeschool conventions, and perusing various curriculums. I’ve spent way more money than I should have, and to top it all off, I still felt as though I didn’t have the right curriculum!

I was nervous, upset, and frustrated. I felt as though others knew things that I didn’t. Have you felt like that? Well I’m here to tell you that you should not worry! Take courage and read this blog post from Luma Learn’s Zuli Paulus-Rosenow.



I Tried to Teach Everyone the Same

Do you feel like you’re beating your head against a wall trying to teach one of your children? Perhaps you’re not considering their learning style. Many of us have multiple children, and if there’s one thing we know rather well, it’s that each child is different!

Well not only is each child different, but oftentimes their learning styles are completely different as well. In my homeschooling journey, I had heard of the three learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic), but I never fully understood it all until I experienced it.

Zuli and I chatted about this in another Luma Lounge episode recently. Have a watch



I Tried To Do It All On My Own

Years ago I realized that I was striving to be wonder woman, both in my home and in my homeschooling. I realized that my pride prevented me from utilizing great resources that were out there because I thought I could do something better myself.

It hit me one day that if we truly believe that God has gifted every individual with unique talents, then why not utilize other people in our children’s education? Our children actually gain wonderful insights when learning from others who are passionate about their area of expertise. So whether that’s a co-op, online class, or local organization, make sure to glean from other’s talents!

I truly hope that by reading my personal struggles you’ve been encouraged to continue on your own challenging journey. We all make mistakes; homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. We can do this, Moms! We’re in it together, and there’s always other moms out there who know exactly how we feel.



Enter for a Chance to Win a Research Writing Course from Luma Learn!

Luma Learn is giving away a Research Writing Class in honor of our 5th Birthday!  In this course students will learn how to conduct academic research and organize it into a well-written paper on the topic of their choice. We will take it step by step, from creating outlines to how to properly reference sources. Students will be taught how to use Google Scholar and read academic journals. They will receive consistent feedback on how to improve the quality of their writing as well as how to incorporate their own critiques and analysis of the research into their paper. The goal of this class is to prepare students for the research university courses will require them to complete. Although there are no prerequisites for this course, students will be expected to have some familiarity with basic English writing skills which I will help them further develop.  Enter here!


Hi!  I’m Tina Piper, CEO of Luma Learn and Homeschooling Mom. Luma Learn was birthed because we saw a desire for something that wasn’t available to homeschooling families, a convenient, one-stop marketplace for online homeschool classes.  We didn’t want to enroll in a school, and we wanted to have options in the courses we chose for our own children.  That’s why you’ll find that not all classes on Luma Learn are semester-long classes.  Most are, yes, but there are also lots that are shorter courses which become a great supplement to some of our already planned out yearly curriculum. 


For teachers, we wanted them to feel supported in their teaching, empowered with technical support, and encouraged to grow their own online teaching business. With Luma Learn, teachers can offer their courses for whatever price they choose, which means that not only do we have some of the lowest prices around, but teachers earn more of their chosen course price than they do elsewhere!  Incredibly, there are even some free courses on the marketplace. By the way, if you know someone who’d be interested in offering their courses through Luma Learn, please encourage them to watch this fun video.  They can always find out more information about offering online homeschool courses on the Luma Learn marketplace here.

Last but not least, we want Luma Learn to be a hub of encouragement for homeschooling moms.  We all need support, and it’s so good to just hear that encouraging word to press on, keep going, don’t give up!  We’d love to have you follow us on social media as well as subscribe to our list so that we can support you on this journey.



Top 5 Homeschooling Mistakes to Avoid from Luma Learn - plus a great giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #mistakes