Quarantine Fun Ideas

Quarantine Fun Ideas | Are you ready for some quarantine fun ideas? I'm sure you are because by now you have probably tired of staying home because of the virus. | #homeschoolblogpost #homeschoolblog #quarantinefunideasforkids #funideasforkids #homeschoolideas #homeschool #homeschoolingkids #homeschooltips #funideasathome #funideaswithkidsQuarantine Fun Ideas For Kids

By: Samantha Anne Moss

Are you ready for some quarantine fun ideas? I’m sure you are because by now you have probably tired of staying home because of the virus. Unfortunately in a lot of places you aren’t allowed to have a gathering of more than ten people, (that is our family, eight kids and two adults) and many places are closed including our Church! This has been a devastating time for all of us, both as a family, as a community, and as a country. We all need to be strong together and not panic. When we go to the store we need to be considerate and kind. We should always thank the cashiers and all the people who work there, but I am sure at this time they are under even more pressure. 

How can we be considerate of others? That is a question we should ask ourselves daily. While I  am not brave and unafraid, being considerate is important. In truth, this is an uncertain time. I’m sure we are all scared! But that is another topic for another day. 

Today I will present five ideas that might make Covid19 less scary and allow you to have more fun while at home. Here are my top suggestions:

  1. Playing cards and/or board games is always a good pastime and stretches your mind. (Which should make your parents happy.) As a family we love playing Uno, Monopoly Deal, Manchola, Chinese Checkers, Risk and (my sister’s all-time favorite game) Chess.
  2. Putting on a play or having a talent show are good options and are fairly easy and extremely fun. Your parents will enjoy the entertainment.
  3. Playing games outside is very healthy and super fun. For example, staging races with your siblings, practice sports such as soccer, and even throwing and catching, the possibilities are endless.
  4. Scavenger hunts are challenging and the best part is that you can do it in so many different ways. One way to play is to search for specific objects in a specific amount of time. You can run around your house (if you are allowed to run indoors) and in five minutes try to find a series of objects. For example, a green shirt, pink pants, a circular object such as a DVD, a roll of tape, a big book, a blue pillowcase, etc. The ideas are limited to your imagination.
  5. A movie night is a great way to be together and have a good time. At the end of the movie, you can act out a character or a scene and have the rest of your family try to guess who you are and what you are doing. You can also discuss how you can make the ending better. Sometimes movies do not end the way you expect.

As I was writing this I began having trouble thinking of ideas to write, that is why I would like to thank my Mom, (Christina) and my older sister Emma, (who always wants to play Chess with me and always wins!) for helping me think of some fun ideas. I enjoyed writing this and I hope you have many ideas of things to do while in quarantine! 

About the author: 

Another article from the author here.

Samantha Anne Moss is a twelve-year-old homeschooler who lives in southwest Florida with her family. She enjoys reading, photography, and playing the piano. Samantha is the second oldest in a family of eight children.

Copyright 2020 – All Rights Reserved Samantha Anne Moss

Unexpected Homeschooling FREE Resources and Encouragement

Unexpected homeschooling? Yes, many find themselves in this situation. What a time we are living in right now. My kids and I were just talking about how this moment will go down in our history books. I can see them telling their grandchildren stories about “social distancing,” and the “virus.” It almost doesn’t seem real at times and can be overwhelming and scary to all of us.

Unexpected Homeschooling | Unexpected homeschooling encouragement and free resources to help you as a homeschool family. | #homeschool #unexpectedhomeschooling #homeschoolresources #discountsforhomeschoolers

Unexpected Homeschooling:

Many families are facing financial difficulties. Other families are being moved to work at home, and everyone in America is homeschooling! Our schedules are out of sorts, extracurricular activities are postponed and we can’t even meet together for weekly worship. People are watching the news and the endless updates and sometimes it feels overwhelming. We understand and feel that everyone needs to be encouraged.

Our podcast hosts have been busy creating some amazing resources for those suddenly thrown into homeschooling. They are offering lots of freebies and coupon codes, as well as tons of encouragement, especially with homeschool conferences being canceled. Check out this great list from our Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Show Hosts and please share it with your friends who have found themselves unexpectedly homeschooling.

Encouragement and FREE Resources from The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and Media Angels:

Media Angels Membership Website: two great discounts!

Felice Gerwitz has over 100+ resources on this membership website. Highlights are all of the Media Angels Publications in electronic format, including five books noted in Cathy Duffy’s 100 and 101 Top Homeschool Picks. Felice is the owner of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and hosts Vintage Homeschool Moms – and created a podcast to remind us to “Be Not Afraid,” here.

The Creation Bundle with great audios and classes  for 50% off: CREATION50

And the Premium Membership Bundle with great Ultimate Homeschool Expo audios for 30% off
PREMIUM30 FOR 30% OFF OF Premium Bundle:

Making Biblical Family Life Practical:

Hosted by Hal and Melanie Young from Raising Real Men – when you sign up for their email list through this link:  Make Getting Stuck at Home a Good Thing – you will receive 5 great practical workshops to help during the time at home, 50% off downloadable character-building audiobooks and 30% off the CD version, plus $10 off the Craftsman Crate, a perfect way to keep teens busy!

The Homeschool Highschool Podcast:

Hosted by 7 Sisters Homeschool has lots of encouragement for you:

How to manage *Temporary Homeschooling* a high schooler.

Schools Closed? How to have fun while schooling at home.

43 Things to Do to Homeschool during the Pandemic

The Homeschool Sanity Show:

Hosted by Melanie Wilson our resident psychologist, has a timely podcast on the state we are in right now:

How to Trust God With the World

Melanie is also the author of  Grammar Galaxy, a complete elementary language arts curriculum that kids beg to do. It requires one text per family and one Mission Manual (workbook) per student. No teacher manual is required. She is offering 10% off now.

Homeopathy for Mommies:

Sue Meyer, ND, CCH  has free homeopathy printables in her VIP section to help keep families healthy. You can sign up for those free resources HERE.

The Family Renewal Podcast:

Israel and Brook Wayne are offering a free download of The History of the Homeschooling Movement.

More Media Angels Resources:

Media Angels is offering the How to Homeschool Blueprint . Each week you can join live for free with Felice and her friends who are experts in the homeschool community. Now is the time for you to ask your questions within the group. This is perfect to address your specific home and parenting needs. We will welcome everyone with open arms during our one-hour sessions each week (4 weeks) for a short teaching plus time to ask your questions. You will also receive the How to Homeschool Blueprint book when you register.

Homeschool Webinar | Ask Your Questions Online.

 

Finish Well Radio:

Meredith Curtis has an encouraging blog post for homeschooling:

Start Your Homeschool Adventure with Confidence and Joy

They also have a free cheat sheet for homeschoolers and free reading list for Middle School and High school on their website Powerline Productions.

Homeschooling With Technology

Hosted by Meryl van der Merwe from Funda Funda Academy. Right now they are offering:

All regularly priced teaching resources and web-based unit studies are 50% off with code COVID19 until life returns to normal.

 

Hosted by Felice and Northwest Rock and Fossil. They are offering 15% off all kits and books (excluding seconds) using code SPRING2020 at checkout.
They have also continued their sale on their Vimeo classes, up to 70% off HERE.

 

Soft Skills 101 – Life Skills For A Digital Age:

Lisa and Dr. David Nehring are the hosts from True North Homeschool Academy. They have an encouraging blog post for this time:

Coping During a Crisis

They are also offering a 4 day workshop on Life Skills: Finding Balance for only $19 (starts on Tuesday)- it’s part of their year long class on Life Skills, beginning in the fall.

 

More FREE Resources from our Network:

If you are wanting to be in the loop on our newest content, sign up for our ezine. Each week we send out links to the new podcasts and encouragement for homeschooling. You will also receive a FREE Character Trait Planner and Family Study each week. There will be a new character trait theme each month. You will enjoy these easy open and go studies that require no planning on your part! You can sign up for the email newsletter HERE.

 

Why Homeschooling Rocks

Why Homeschooling Rocks

By: Samantha Anne Moss

Homeschooling | To other people, this kind of thing might seem distracting, but if you homeschool or are currently homeschooling you’ll understand what I’m talking about. | #podcast #homeschooling #homeschoolblog #whyhomeschool #homeschoolkidsI’ve been homeschooled all my life and for me and my siblings sitting at a desk the whole day is not a necessity. Right now, I’m writing this article on our computer in the den, my little brother Mike is standing outside the sliding glass door giving me puppy-dog eyes that say “come play with me”. My sister is literally three feet away from me playing the piano. To other people, this kind of thing might seem distracting, but if you homeschool or are currently homeschooling you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

My family goes to daily Mass every day we can. Most kids that go to school, (even the students at Catholic Schools) don’t always have the chance to go to Mass every day. At lunchtime, we often listen to a podcast and eat leftovers, sandwiches and whatever we aren’t going to have for diner. My younger brothers and sister finish their school usually before lunch. My older sister, Emma, get done around 2 to 3 PM. I can’t imagine having to do the same thing every day, wake up early, go to school, come home just to do homework. Sure there are some perks to going to school, you get to see your friends every day and get away from all your siblings unless you’re a twin then you’re sunk. But seriously, it must be nice to have a quiet place to work…then again sitting in a classroom full of kids is probably noisier and less fun than my house! When I want a quiet place to study I go to my room.

I love being homeschooled because I can watch and play with my little siblings and have more time to read as my mom says “My fun books”. I also like having the opportunity to see my friends, and finish subjects early, it’s March and I have already finished my history textbook. I feel like I have a big advantage when it comes to the specific curriculum that my mom uses. My mom is able to choose math, science, history, writing, and all the other subjects I do. I love not having to worry about whether my science and history fit with our beliefs. One of my favorite things to do is go to co-op. I get to hang out with my friends, and this year learn about art and composers. 

So where am I going with all this? Am I trying to brag about how much better I am than kids that go to school? Of course not, I just think it’s important that I try to explain how amazing it is to be part of a big family and be homeschooled. When I meet someone for the first time they usually ask me what school I go to, I answer with “I’m homeschooled”.  I typically get one of two reactions, either they give me a “what-the-heck-look” or a bright smile and a “That’s so cool I wish I was homeschooled too”. I can’t lie and say that I don’t sometimes get bored and wonder what it would be like to go to school, but at the end of the day, I love homeschooling!           

To see another article by Samantha Moss visit here.

About the author:

Samantha Anne Moss is a twelve-year-old homeschooler who lives in southwest Florida with her family. She enjoys reading, photography, and playing the piano. Samantha is the second oldest in a family of eight children.

Copyright 2020 – All Rights Reserved Samantha Anne Moss

                   

FREE Character Counts Forgiveness Character Planner

Are you enjoying our character planners? My children have been looking forward to the new one each month. We use it in addition to our morning Bible time in our homeschool. These studies are great to do together as a family.

forgiveness character planner text overlay with forgive notebook image.

The character trait for this month’s planner is the trait of Forgiveness:

This four week long open and go character study planner will have your family studying Forgiveness vs. Unforgiveness. Forgiveness is not something we feel, it is a choice. It is something that can take a lot of practice. It may come easily to some children, and much harder for others. Forgiveness is a very important trait to teach our children, and imperative to a happy, healthy family.

When you are home with your children everyday, and the siblings are together 24/7, fights are bound to happen. It’s how your children handle the aftermath that is so important. Some children are quick to hug and kiss and say I’m sorry as soon as they know they have done wrong, or forgive when they have been wronged. Others, may be more easily offended and have a hard time shaking off something that has been done to them.

This month’s planner will help you plan out a 4 week study on choosing forgiveness. It will help you teach your kids how to practice forgiveness and how to ask for it correctly with lots of practical applications. My favorite part of these planners is that all the planning is done for you. It really is open and go, with lots of room for personalization!

Check out what is inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide of Forgiveness vs. Unforgiveness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Journaling Pages
  • Activity Sheets on the Character Trait
  • Printable Forgiveness Quotes and Verses
  • Forgiveness Blueprint
  • Family Goals
  • Certificate of Completion

These planners are not dated, so they can be used at any time. If you don’t have time to work on them each month, you can save them for later! These would be great to pull out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be addressed or focused on.

Directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner will be sent to you each week in our weekly ezine. The planner access information will be located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

 

FREE Character Counts Decisiveness Character Planner

We hope you are enjoying the brand new Character Counts planners Felice has created as a bonus freebie for our subscribers. These are great to work on as a family in family Bible study time, or in the mornings during homeschool morning time.

superhero kid and parent with text overlay Character counts decisiveness character planner.

The character trait for this month’s planner is the trait of Decisiveness:

This four week open and go character study planner will have your family studying Decisiveness vs. Indecision and Confusion. Decisiveness is the ability to make a good decision based upon sound knowledge. It also includes making decisions with clarity and conviction. Children and even adults can struggle with making decisions and figuring out solutions to problems. Sometimes there is only one right answer, and other times there are many different options to choose from! It can be overwhelming and hard to decide what to do. This is an important life skill to teach our children and it can begin at a very young age, like choosing what color cup they want to drink out of.

This planner will help you and your children to practice being decisive and to learn how to make wise decisions. You can practice this by role-playing with your children and by creating a decision making road map together. This planner is wonderful because it is an open and go planner. All the hard work of planning what to teach is already done for you. It is a planner on how to teach the character trait, and a character study. It includes many worksheets for you and your children to work on together.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide of Decisiveness vs. Indecision and Confusion
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Journaling Pages
  • Activity Sheets on the Character Trait
  • Decision Making Blue Prints
  • Family Goals
  • Certificate of Completion

Directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner will be sent to you in our weekly ezine. The planner access information will be located at the bottom of each email.

If you are not signed up as a subscriber yet, you can do that HERE. You will receive a new Character Counts Planner in your inbox every month!

 

6 Random Tips for the Organizationally Challenged

The Organizing Challenge

Organized Homeschool mom plans her day with a plannerI don’t know whether some kind of momentum builds from taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, or if we’re eager to start a new year on the right foot, or if we just start getting antsy being cooped up inside, or a combination of all three catalysts, but January seems to be the time of the year when we all start thinking about organizing, scheduling, and just generally getting our lives in order!

If you’re like me, you’ve been binge cleaning (whether or not you see much in the way of tangible evidence) and looking around your house for ways you can stash the clutter a little better…a desk here, an Ikea cube unit there, a shelf or two over here.

In my little tribe on Facebook, many moms share a similar struggle to me: getting organized and following through on plans. I can’t say I have all the answers or have conquered this struggle yet, but I have learned to manage my “disability” over the years and have discovered some tricks and ideas that have worked for me. So I want to share those with you!

  1. Ask God First
  2. Install (and use!) the ToDoist App
  3. Find a Homeschooling Planner That Fits Your Style
  4. Get Rid of the Broken Shoelaces
  5. Handle Mail and e-mail Immediately
  6. Keep a Gift Bin

Ask God First

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 16:9: “A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” It’s a reminder that, while planning is good, it’s really God who directs each day. So, doesn’t it make sense to just go ahead and consult Him first?

I usually try to pray through my to-do list every day while I’m still in bed. I also pay attention to what God puts on my heart first thing in the morning. Often, even before I’m fully awake, I will hear the Lord speak to me about things I need to do that day.

Install and Use the ToDoist App

Once upon a time, I tried a daily to-do list. I would write it out in the morning, get to about half the items that day, then keep it for the next day and add more. It ended up a big, long, never-ending scribbly mess! Then I tried transferring to a new paper each day. Do you know what it’s like to write out every single item that I didn’t complete on a new sheet? Depressing, that’s what! I didn’t need to slowly and painfully write out my failures each day.

But, the alternative was not good. With no list, I forgot about so many important things I needed to do! (It’s not cool when you forget to pay bills, for example.) Then I finally found the ToDoist app on my phone – there is a desktop version that syncs with the phone app too so we can stay organized everywhere! I love it because I can move things around from day to day instead of looking at scribbles and feeling frustrated by all I didn’t get to. Somehow the neatness of it is helpful to me…and the ease of moving things. Try it and see if it works for you!

Find a Homeschooling Planner that Fits Your Style

In case it’s not horribly obvious, I am a Type B person. I hate planners and planning in general, and I’ve never found one that I was in love with. So, naturally, I just created my own! The Lifeschooling Vision Planner is designed for extremely flexible people like me…but it’s also adaptable to those who require a little more structure. I love it! During the month of January, it’s included in a full kit of lifeschooling resources for an amazing introductory price!

Another great planner is the Beyond Blessed Planner by Ana Willis. This planner has it all! If you want to organize your entire life on paper, this one is for you. Includes sections for homeschool mission, annual goals, monthly goals, monthly spending tracker, meal planner, pantry inventory, food journal, water intake, and so much more! It truly is all-encompassing. And the best part is it’s filled with Scripture from cover to cover.

If you just need a basic, down-to-earth daily planner for the budget-conscious, check out the Best Homeschool Life Planner by Christine Zell. It will give you just enough guidance to not become yet another burden to keep up with. It includes an attendance record, monthly and weekly page spreads that include reading and field trip logs, and customizable bullet pages.

Whatever your style and personality, do some research and find what works for you. If it doesn’t work, don’t force it! Move on until you find the right fit. It’s important to find something to help direct you through each homeschool day.

Get Rid of the Broken Shoelaces

I am the classic, “But I might be able to use that someday” girl! Over the years, I have learned that it is burdensome to hang onto everything because it’s a reminder of all the projects and ideas that I can never find time to get to. If you’ve owned it for a few years, it’s time to get real with yourself. You probably won’t ever use it. Plus, maybe you can pass it on and bless someone who can!

My friend Barbara is great at this! My youngest son even picked up on it and talks about how Mrs. M. is always getting rid of stuff! Once when she came over to help us organize and purge, I “reasoned” with her that I could use some of these things and that I didn’t want to waste them and end up needing them someday. “Well,” she said, “I love to bless others with things I’m not currently using. I just always pray that God will bring that type of item back to me later if I end up needing it, and so often He has done that.” Her response really helped change my thinking in this area! Sometimes hanging on to things is a lack of trust for God to provide in His timing.

Handle Mail and e-mail Immediately

Okay, confession time. I don’t do this…at least, not with my e-mail. But I think it might be time! I currently have over 50,000 e-mails sitting in my inbox. (Ridiculous!!) I was very inspired the other day when my mother-in-law told me that the high executive she used to work for at a large national bank (I believe he was #3) left at the end of each day with an empty inbox. How freeing! He went through e-mails right away, handled them, and then deleted them. Sounds like a New Year’s goal for me!

I am much better with my paper mail, however. It comes in and I immediately put it all where it belongs. I’ve stopped trying to read every catalog and sales ad. If I don’t have time and it doesn’t pertain to my life right now, it goes right in the garbage. Gone are my early married days of piles of mail all over the house!

Keep a Gift Bin

I stole this idea from my mom who always kept a stash of children’s birthday gifts at the top of her closet when we were young. If we got invited to a birthday, we just “shopped” that bin and never had to worry about rushing at the last minute.

I do this now and it’s very helpful to me since I am so disorganized by nature! Not only does it save me at the last minute when I realize Sunday morning after breakfast that there’s a church baby shower, but it also saves me money since I can pick up items on sale at any time. (Or even re-gift unwanted birthday or Christmas gifts…shhhhhhh!)

Start Somewhere – Even if it’s Not Perfect

Even if you feel you have so far to go with scheduling and organizing your life, I think the important thing is just to start somewhere and find a rhythm. Once you get one little area consistent, you can move on to bigger goals.

I often think of the verse, “Despise not the day of small things.” Sometimes we have to just start somewhere, even if it’s not perfect. I’ve spent years trying to get my act together, so if you struggle as I do, I feel your pain! 😆 Celebrate the little successes and don’t beat yourself up for being imperfect.

Remember, God made you who you are for a reason. Just because organizing isn’t your strength doesn’t mean you can’t still be a successful homemaker and homeschooling mom. God sees your efforts and He does not reward us based on performance. He sees your heart and He meets you where you are and fills in the gaps. Aren’t you glad? I sure am!

 

About the Author: Danielle Papageorgiou has been homeschooling, or “lifeschooling,” for 18 years (she counts birth as day 1!) and runs a blog, LifeAsALifeschooler.com. She has a passion for helping other homeschoolers learn how to homeschool in a way that does not compete with family life, but actually enhances it…homeschooling done in a spirit of freedom, not legalism. She believes that each family is unique and God has placed in each child special gifts and desires that He wants to use. The verse that guides the Papageorgious in their pursuit of lifeschooling is Matthew 6:33, “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and ALL these things will be added to you.” (Emphasis mine). Danielle has been married to her amazing husband, Jon, for 20 years and they have three talented and fun children, Konur (18), Elleina (15), and Korban (8).

Brand New Character Counts Planner: Awareness

We have some exciting things in store for our loyal listeners in this new decade. If you have been signed up as a subscriber with us, you may have noticed something brand new and different this month. Felice has created a new bonus subscriber freebie on character traits. There will be a new character trait theme each month and we are so excited to use these in our homeschool!

Why did we choose the theme of Character to focus on this year?

Well, character qualities are more than just a list of desirable attributes we want our children to have.  Good character opens the doors to good jobs, and the motivation to work hard and to do well. It is not easy to be consistent, however it is so worth it. Good character can be encouraged, practiced and demonstrated on a regular basis in your home. The best part of this character planner is that you can all build stronger character together as a family. It is said that character is caught not taught so there is a big responsibility as parents to demonstrate the character traits we want our children to copy. We all know how our children can very easily imitate our bad behaviors. So, we want to change that and have them imitate good behaviors from now on. That’s the entire goal of this new planner.

Why I am excited to use this new study:

I am personally excited about using this new planner because it will help give me a certain focus for our homeschool each month. Having a specific theme to work on for an entire month will help to solidify that character trait. If I don’t have a plan in place then I usually am not able to complete the extras that I want to do. Especially in a new year, I always have so many ideas of things I want to work on with my kids. One of those has been wanting to do character studies and extra Bible studies with my girls. It’s hard for me to be consistent with this. I know what I want to do, I just don’t know how to implement them successfully.

If the studies aren’t planned out I usually fail to complete them. What I love about this new planner is that all the hard work is done for you. It is literally open and go. It’s a planner for teaching the character trait but all the planning is done for you! So this is planner and a family character study all in one. All you have to do is print it out, read the encouraging introduction and get started. It is so easy and I can’t wait to incorporate it into our daily morning time and family devotions.

Each month we will providing a new Character Counts planner with a new theme to work on for that month. This month’s planner is all about the character quality of Awareness.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide of Awareness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Journaling Pages
  • Activity Sheets on the Character Trait
  • Family Goals
  • Certificate of Completion

Make sure to keep an eye out on our weekly ezine, where you will get directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner. The planner access information will be located at the bottom of each email.

If you are not signed up as a subscriber yet, you can do that HERE. You will receive a new Character Counts Planner in your inbox each month!

FREE Change Your Mindset Simplify and Plan January Family Planner

It only seems like it was yesterday, that we were wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. We were discussing all our plans for the holidays that we would spend with family and friends. I was sharing our favorite Christmas Eve recipes and family traditions, and now here we are in a brand new decade! It is now the year 2020 and we want to wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

A new year always brings about much reflection and thought. This year is special though as we have entered a whole new decade. It just seems so very big. For many of us, it doesn’t just have us reflecting on the past year, it has us reflecting on the past TEN years! This can bring about many thoughts and memories, good and bad. Reflection is a good thing. It can help us to focus on our priorities. What do we want to change and improve in our lives and in our families? What goals and plans do we want for our family?

Simplify and Plan

Sometimes planning can be overwhelming and feel like an insurmountable task. Especially when you are looking at a blank calendar with 12 months ahead of you! Yet, it doesn’t have to be like that. One way to look at accomplishing our goals and dreams is by having a plan in place. It doesn’t have to be a grand, elaborate plan with tons of steps. It can be simple and it starts by thinking through what you need to do. You need to think about how to simplify your thought process. It is a complete change of mindset.

If you know Felice well, you know that she is very successful and works in an organized chaos. She will be the first to admit it in her podcasts.  Many of the best creatives work like this! She created this planner for you to use this entire year and it is completely free to our subscribers. It has been the key to her family success and we hope it will bless you as well. This planner is chock full of great tips and advice from a busy working mama of many and is a life-line to those that live in an organized chaos! Everything that you can think of, that you would need help with in this new year has been covered in this packet.

This planner is almost 100 pages! It covers so many things and will take you step-by- step through changing your mindset and simplifying in the new year. You will go through how to:

1. Take one step at a time.
2. Deal with the present moment and don’t stress the future.
3. Realize your limitations. You can not say, “yes” to everything.
4. Stream line.
5. Detach.

This is by far our largest planner yet! Included in this month’s printable pack is:

  • Encouragement and steps on how to change your mindset
  • Family Motto and Goal Worksheet
  • New Year Mindset Worksheet
  • Time Saving Questionnaire
  • Time Saving Tips and Time Saving Plan
  • Goals Worksheet
  • 4 Square Planner
  • Monthly School Planning
  • Quarterly School Planning
  • Academic Records and Printables
  • Household Planning and Organization Forms
  • Health and Wellness Sheets
  • Cleaning and Chore Charts
  • Meal Planning and Grocery Lists
  • Journal Pages
  • Reading and Book Report Lists
  • Scripture Copywork
  • High School Planner
  • Transcript Printables
  • Planner for Kids
  • And so much more!

 

You can receive this printable pack and a new freebie bonus Character Counts Character pack each month by clicking HERE to sign up now!

 

Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition

I love finding out the different ways that families celebrate with their Christmas traditions. Some of them are very unique and fun, with something random and obscure that was just passed down as a family tradition. Others may be more traditional, like attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and opening one present.

Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition with recipe card! #holidaytraditions #familydinner #soupandsalad #homeforlearningblog #uhpn

There are also different cultural ways that families celebrate that may differ from one culture to the next. I have some friends whose family have a mix of different cultures throughout. They all get together for a formal Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. They eat very late, and then they open all of their presents at midnight. Christmas Day is then spent with family and children playing with their toys. If you don’t have to get up early the next day then staying up so late wouldn’t be a problem! This was always such a fascinating idea to me.

Since I love hearing so much about other families and their traditions I thought it would be fun to share our very own Christmas Eve tradition:

This tradition started 5 years ago. We used to gather up the family and drive to the other side of town for family dinner. We then ended up at another family member’s church for a late night Christmas Eve service. This was always so exhausting with small children, and we really wanted to attend our own home church. Somehow, I was able to entice my in laws to attend our church and have dinner at our house instead.

I have an amazing soup recipe that I have tweaked over the years that my father in law always requests that I make. It is a labor of love, so I don’t make it often. I offered to host Christmas Eve dinner at our house with the promise of Tortellini soup, and a new tradition was instantly born!

Our Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition:

I love making soup, because you can simmer it on the stove all afternoon, turn it off and it’s still going to be hot an hour later. You can even keep it warm in a crockpot, but I like to make mine in a large stock pot. For our Christmas Eve tradition, we attend the early Christmas Eve service at our church. This is usually around 5pm. That give us the afternoon to clean the house, to get it all ready for Christmas and to prep our soup and salad.

The reason this soup is a labor of love is because there is so much chopping involved. This soup has lots of herbs and veggies, and chopping it all up can take awhile. It is totally worth it though! If you love Italian food, and hearty wholesome soups, this is the soup for you. The entire family loves it, even small children! Once the soup has simmered for awhile, the last step is to add the tortelilnis. Since we plan on eating when we get home from our church service I leave this step out until we get home. Our service is short so we are home within an hour and the soup is still hot. If you plan on eating after church and will be gone awhile I recommend putting your soup in a crockpot.

My in-laws will meet us at church, and when service is over we come back to our house for dinner. I love the compliments when they walk in the door because the house smells absolutely amazing! I turn the soup back on and add the tortellinis for the final step. We usually snack on some cheese and crackers while the soup finishes up. This soup is very hot so I like to give it some time to cool off before we eat it. We go ahead and ladle it into bowls so it has some time to cool. While it is cooling down we go ahead and make our salads. I like to make a very light salad with fresh lettuce from our garden, cucumbers, tomatoes, freshly grated parmesan cheese and Olive Garden Italian Dressing. Once we are done with our salads the soup is ready to go!

After dinner there is very little clean up as we only have one pot, and bowls and salad plates. It is super easy and makes for a relaxed and simple evening. When dinner is over we read a Christmas story together, and the grandparents hand out gifts. This is such a cozy, sweet and simple tradition we look forward to each year.

I have included my recipe for you below. You can save the image and print it out for your own recipe book. This has been tweaked over the years to make it large family friendly and is a double batch recipe. You can half this if you need to, but it does freeze very well. This will easily feed 10 people with about a quart, maybe more for leftovers. My father in law happily brings some home with him every single time.

 

 

 

It’s Not Too Late To Send Christmas Cards

It’s Not Too Late – Send Digital Christmas Cards

A group of colorful christmas cards laid out on a table.The holidays are a season to spend time with family and friends. But there will inevitably be people you don’t get to spend time with. This provides a perfect opportunity for you to encourage your children to create digital Christmas cards. A card is always a great way to let others know that you are thinking of them at Christmas. Online cards can be sent at any time during the holidays so it is never too late to add someone to your digital Christmas card list!  

Life Skills

Not only are your homeschoolers using their creativity online to make the digital cards, but they are practicing what they have learned. They are also learning about new tools and life skills. When children and teens make digital holiday cards they will use the following valuable skills:

  • Writing: a holiday card needs at least a short message on it. This gives your children the opportunity to practice writing using good grammar and correct spelling.
  • Creativity: the act of creating the digital card will allow them to express their own personalities and make something unique.
  • Techie skills: using online tools to create digital holiday cards is a great way to help your children hone their computer skills. 

Types of Digital Cards

There are at least three types of digital cards they can create: e-cards, printed cards that they design online and interactive digital cards.

E-cards

There are many online websites that offer the ability to create and send e-cards for free. Typically there will be a limited choice of the type of card and the graphics for the card. But you do still have input in the final product and your children should be able to add their own message. 

This type of card can be created by younger children with some help from an older sibling or a parent. Even if children can’t write, they can dictate their message. Websites like Smilebox even allow you to add some fun music!

The website at Hallmark ecards has lots of cute animated cards to choose from. You can add your own message and select a font and style for the message to be written in.

Printed Cards Designed Online

Everyone enjoys getting snail mail – and your children might want to create a card that can be displayed on a mantlepiece. If they aren’t talented enough to hand draw their cards, being able to create digital cards will be a big help. Tools like Canva and Adobe Spark make designing cards easy, even for those with little artistic ability. 

You don’t need to pay to use the basic versions of these tools, and your children will really be able to be very creative in what they produce. Your only cost will be printing the card and mailing it.

Interactive Digital Cards

Challenge your children to take their holiday cards to a whole new level by coding them as an interactive card! The easiest programming language to do this with is Scratch. You can learn more about the Scratch programming language in episode 37 of the Homeschooling with Technology podcast. 

It is really easy for children and teens to learn, but if they need a little help, consider enrolling them in FundaFunda Academy’s Scratch Christmas Coding contest. Not only will they learn the basics of Scratch for just $5, but they will also be eligible to win a gift card. And of course, they will gain the knowledge of how to create a very cool interactive card that will wow family and friends. You can find all the details of the contest HERE.

Practical and Fun

As you can see, online and digital cards can be done quickly and sent out right away so it really is never too late to send them. Plus, creating digital holiday cards is simple enough for children of all ages! This project gives them an opportunity to use and learn valuable skills.  And of course, the recipients will feel loved and remembered when they receive them. So put the kids in charge of the holiday cards this year and check that task off your to-do list, mom! 

Scattered colorful christmas cards and a digital image overlay with title Go digital-its-not-too-late-to-send-christmas-cards