Vintage Homeschool Moms

Gifts Under Ten Dollars ~ For Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Gifts Under Ten Dollars For Christmas | Here are some great ideas for gifts under ten dollars. It helps those of us who are on a budget or buying for a crowd. Do you like finding a deal? In this episode, we will discuss purchasing gifts under ten dollars. It isn't as hard as you think | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidays #GiftsUnderTenDollarsForChristmas #GiftsUnderTenDollars #TenDollars #ForChristmasGifts Under Ten Dollars – For Christmas ~ Episode 510

Here are some great ideas for gifts under ten dollars. It helps those of us who are on a budget or buying for a crowd. Do you like finding a deal? In this episode, we will discuss purchasing gifts under ten dollars. It isn’t as hard as you think.

Some years past, I did a podcast on various topics dealing with gift-giving, and some of these qualify for gifts under ten dollars:

Gifts Under Ten Dollars or Less:

It isn’t easy shopping these days, in fact it is depressing! Everything is so expensive, and now multiply that by the number of people you are buying for and it gets downright expensive. I am hosting Christmas for my sister-in-law, her three children, and their families. And that adds up to an additional 13 people to buy for this year! That is on top of my five children and nine grandchildren, plus one son-in-law. It gets expensive, to say the least.

Here is what I do to get the gift-giving budget under control. The first is to pray about what type of gifts I want to give. There are many different ways to say “I love you” and Merry Christmas. Next is to browse some stores. There are discount stores in my area, and taking a turn up and down the aisles gives me ideas. I have to remember that my extended family (well, seven of them) are flying here, so I can’t send back gifts that are going to take up too much luggage room. My son will be flying home, and that gives me pause in purchasing gifts.

So here is what I do after praying. I set alerts for the items I’d like to purchase. One way is to use an app like Honey – you can go to Join Honey here

Here you can set alerts for when a price goes lower. It works on websites as you browse, as well as on sites such as Amazon. It suggests coupons; not all of them work, but some do. It can save you money in the long run. I’ve used it for years.

Gift Under Ten Dollars:

  1. Gift cards. If you visit restaurants frequently, you can look for gift card deals, especially around Christmas. Some offer a free ten-dollar gift card with the purchase of an additional amount. You can use that gift card as a gift.
  2. Gift cards as credit in your credit card offers. If you are like many of us, we use credit cards that we pay off monthly. They often rack up points and that can be used for gift cards. Sometimes it is better to use the money toward your bill, but other times you can cash in those points toward credit cards for meals. You can purchase gift cards to popular restaurants with your points – so, in essence, free.
  3. Prayer journals. I found beautiful leather journals I saw in gift catalogs for $35 and paid less than ten dollars. These are great for giving gifts under ten dollars. I did have to work at getting the gummy labels off, but it was worth the trouble. These, along with a beautiful pen, make a nice gift.
  4. Novelty gifts are often priced at under ten dollars. These can be t-shirts, mugs, pens, or similar types of items. My kids often exchange gifts such as these with extended family.
  5. Mugs with Christian sayings or Bible verses are often under ten dollars. I gift each of the ladies attending the meal with a mug and fresh flowers. I use them as part of the decorations on Christmas Day, and then they take the mug and flowers home. I’ve done this for Thanksgiving and Easter in the past as well.
  6. Mixes such as muffins and cookies in decorative containers. The containers can be purchased for well under five dollars at discount stores, and the mixes are ones we make often. This qualifies for giving gifts under ten dollars.
  7. Homemade food items such as chocolate or vanilla fudge. This is something my daughter makes for our extended family, and they love it over any store-bought gift.
  8.  I make pumpkin bread from fresh pumpkins and give these as gifts. They are well under ten dollars and two cups of pumpkin makes about six to with small loaves.
  9. Art supplies for the children are always fun to receive. These items are found very inexpensively at discount stores and often are of good quality.
  10. Deal Dash – although you need to be careful if you are using this app. I saw it advertised and thought I’d take a look and did win a bid for a high-quality item for under ten dollars. If you can limit your participation to winning bonuses that works, otherwise it can not only take a chunk of your time but also your money.
  11. If you are gifted in some way artistically, you can paint or draw a picture as a gift. I have promised my family paintings, and maybe this year, I will fulfill that promise! My skills are mediocre, but it is the thought that counts.
  12. Vouchers: I loved it when my children gave me vouchers for a task such as washing my car or doing a “bonus” job. That was a heartfelt gift, and I enjoyed it.
  13. Making placemats with old clothing, or hot pads.
  14. Purchasing vintage frames from a thrift store and printing out a Bible verse or saying from Mother Teresa and framing it.
  15. Bibles are often on sale for under ten dollars.
  16. Puzzles are under ten dollars and so much fun.
  17. Board games are great for giving gifts under ten dollars.

My daughter and her family draw names and buy for the person whose name they select. This helps to keep the cost down as well. You can also give the gift of time to each other which does not cost anything. Gift-giving does not have to be stressful, but it often is, and in this way, I hope that some of these ideas are helpful.

Top Ten Movies For Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Top Ten Movies For Christmas | What movies make it to your top ten movies for Christmas? I wonder if our lists are similar. In this podcast, I will share my favorite movies and how I use them to teach deeper truths. As my children say, "Mom can make anything into school! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidays #TopTenMoviesForChristmas #TopTen #MoviesForChristmas #TopTenMoviesTop Ten Movies For Christmas ~ Episode 509

What movies make it to your top ten movies for Christmas? I wonder if our lists are similar. In this podcast, I will share my favorite movies and how I use them to teach deeper truths. As my children say, “Mom can make anything into school!”

Hurry, our offer won’t last. Get our Advent Calendar, with Scripture verses and suggestions for notes from Mom and Dad all 24 days leading up to Christmas.

When you think of movies, you may have a particular type, mainly as Hallmark has monopolized the Christmas movie theme over the years. They have Christmas in July, Christmas countdown, and Christmas movies all day. But my list only contains two Hallmark movies, both oldies. There are different reasons we think of movies as favorites. One of them is while entertaining, they contain an element of truth.

You may enjoy these podcasts:

Christmas Final Touches

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Characterization and acting are other important factors. As my children grew older, our movie list changed. When my first two children were little the staples were limited to It’s a Wonderful Life, the Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman. Only one of those movies now makes it to my top ten.

Christmas Movie Personal Preference

If you asked my kids, they’d add Home Alone to the list. As a mom, I can not watch that movie. All I could focus on was that they left their kid behind. I panicked with the mom frantically trying to get home and irritated with the uncle who wanted to stay and enjoy Paris! My favorite part was the great scene at the end when the mom and son are reunited, and then everyone comes home. Also, Die Hard is not a Christmas movie for all teens and young adults, contrary to making it on many top ten lists!

So, what makes it to my top ten list?

  1. It must have a heartfelt message.
  2. The spirit of Christmas, or the true meaning of Christmas (which, as Christians, we know is Jesus Christ) permeates the film.
  3. Family is essential, if not a central theme.
  4. Giving of self for others.
  5. Entertaining

As I share my top ten movies for Christmas, let me first share ones that did not make the list but are family favorites:

A Boyfriend for Christmas. We enjoy it for entertainment’s sake, but I am not a big fan of Santa Claus as “real” in any form…I know, don’t hate me. But we find it funny, so it is on our top watch list. It also has family as a central focus and good characterization.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas — sappy but funny. The kids see the problems cheaters get into, and the consequences, while funny, are serious for this young man. As the movie progresses, he changes for the better, and the children can see the growth.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer — yes, another Santa movie, but who doesn’t love that the misfit toys get a home? The old movies focused on helping all those less fortunate without turning it into something ugly or politically correct. This movie shows that it can be done in a way we all embrace.


Top Ten Movies For Christmas Countdown:

10. Miracle of 34th Street  – yes, Santa is depicted as “real”, but I love the idea of family here, and the spirit of Christmas, love, and joy (which comes from Christ permeates this film.) I spoke to my children about the parallel of believing and the importance of prayer. The blessing, something the child wished for, is translated into prayers and perseverance.

9. The Christmas Card — okay, bear with me. This was before my son joined the Army, and still, our hearts went out to the soldier who was lost, craved a family, and found his dream come true in a card a random stranger sent. This has a happily-ever-after ending, and my children still quote parts of the movie. Here the emphasis is on the importance of spending time, even for strangers, and the benefits it brings to those in service.

8. The Bells of Saint Mary’s– a black-and-white film about the true meaning of Christmas and accepting God’s will in our lives.

7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is classic CS Lewis and has an underlying theme of good vs. evil and the importance of wisdom and faith.

6. Holiday Inn  – a true old-time classic with singing and dancing. I grew up with a family that loved these movies.

5. White Christmas is another old movie about the strength of friendship and the deeper truth of the meaning of the season, especially as Christmas songs were sung and remain classics today.

4. Christmas Carol — I’m sure most of you have this on your list. The haves and have-nots are classic, but the brokenness and loneliness of many at this time of the year are portrayed well. The important lesson of being joyful even where there does not appear to be a reason for joy is shared well.

3. The Star — this movie was one of our network sponsors when it first came out, and while a cartoon and silly in many instances, this still shows the Holy Family’s trials and the animals’ heroic efforts in saving them. Surely it is a stretch of the Bible narrative, but it is well received by children with many lessons of good vs. evil.

2. The Fourth Wise Man – you may not have heard of this movie, but it is a tear-jerker. This is a fictional account of the magi who didn’t make it with the other three, yet the Lord used him in a mighty and powerful way. It culminates at the time of the crucifixion, yet I still consider this a Christmas movie for the older kids. Watch it first before showing it to younger children, although this movie should be on everyone’s list with the stuff they watch these days. It shows the extreme sacrifice does not go unrewarded.

1. The Nativity is my all-time favorite. So many scenes here bring to light the reality of what the Holy Family must have endured. You see the selflessness of Joseph, the trials of Mary, and the steadfast love of family. My favorite scene is an encounter with a poor shepherd on the way to Nazareth.

Ready to fire up the popcorn? One thing we did recently, thank you, son-in-law, Bill, for telling me about it. We took our extensive DVD collection and ripped them onto a Plex system. We can now stream our movies through our TV.  We place movies we have purchased, and so many DVDs now come with streaming. I’d rather have my collection in one place than use streaming services, and I can organize them on my computer by category.

I pray you have a blessed Christmas, and beginning with this collection and adding your own, I’m sure your focus will remain on the reason for the season! If I didn’t mention a favorite of yours please post your suggestions below.

Last Minute Planning ~ For The Holidays

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Last Minute Planning For The Holidays | Here we go; the holidays are upon us, and now is the time to fine-tune that list and get to the last-minute planning. I have a sure-fire way to keep you on track, and I will share this method with you on today's episode | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidaysLast Minute Planning For The Holidays ~ Episode 508

Here we go; the holidays are upon us, and now is the time to fine-tune that list and get to the last-minute planning. I have a sure-fire way to keep you on track, and I will share this method with you on today’s episode!

Thanks to our 10th birthday celebration sponsors. Check out our Homeschool Matters free eBook here

Catch these great podcast:

Last Minute Thanksgiving Treats

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Thanksgiving Crafts 

Have you looked at the calendar yet? Do not stress out – repeat after me, “I am not stressed!” A quick “Dear Lord, help me!” goes a long way as well. No worries, I’ve got you covered. If you are a long-time subscriber to my ezine or have listened to this podcast over the years, you’ve heard me talk about my 4-Square Planner. I am attaching two forms to this episode in the show notes. So, if you want to print them out, you can.

Last-minute planning takes organization, and it is time to find it fast if that is not your gift. I use a method where I take a sheet of paper and divide it into four equal parts. They are not squares, more like oblong boxes. Then I write faith/ prayer, kids, homeschool, and household.

4-Square Planner – Blank

4 Square Planner – Filled Out Example

Quickly fill out this page, and you will have a thumbnail sketch of what needs to be accomplished this week. As I record this, we are fast approaching Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so on. This planner can be used daily or weekly. Personal use is permissible.

Now, here is the secret to last-minute holiday planning: it is okay to cut corners. I know making your favorite dip, covered strawberries, or that favorite pie is at the top of your list. But, this year, I give you permission to delegate where you can and to buy already prepared if needed. (Mashed potato story on-air.)

But I promised help, so here is what we will do. We’ll make a list using the 4-Square planner idea, then cut where we can.

Felice’s 4-Square Planner List:


  • Pray first thing in the morning
  • Ask the Lord to guide me
  • Pray for discernment.


  • Postpone unnecessary activities
  • Allow time for puzzles or board games
  • Enlist the kid’s help
  • Assign specific chores.


  • Finish assignments
  • Put away school books and supplies
  • Clean up the schoolroom or area

Household Cleaning!

  • Pick up first clear up the clutter

Example of Last-Minute Planning:

If you are down to a few days before the holiday, the one place you can cut back is food. Or, you can assign it to others! This year, my brother offered to make a turkey and stuffing and bring it. Yay! That was super exciting to hear. Someone else is bringing some sides and making the rolls. In years past, I’ve done it all and was exhausted. If I make rolls, I make them ahead and freeze them about three weeks before an event. I try not to do anything last minute, but it has happened to the most organized or planned person.

Household Food

  • Green bean casserole
  • Mashed Potatoes – other
  • Homemade rolls – other
  • Roast (prep ahead)
  • Turkey – other
  • Stuffing – other
  • Sweet potato casserole – other
  • Cheesecake
  • Apple pie
  • Mini-pumpkin pies
  • Dipped strawberries
  • Turkey-shaped cookies – other

Does this help? I hope so! Having a quick list that you can scale back, cross out, or call and delegate makes it easier to manage the last-minute planning. No matter what the holiday or the season, there is always so much to do. I pray you have a blessed event, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even if you are listening to this at Easter time! It is always helpful to lean on a friend. Hope I’ve been here for you.

Hope and Thanksgiving, A Step in Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

hope and thanksgiving | Is there hope when you are devastated or have a loss? There is hope and thanksgiving joy, but it takes a choice. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastLet’s Talk About Hope and Thanksgiving with Felice Gerwitz

Is there hope when you are devastated or have a loss? There is hope and thanksgiving joy, but it takes a choice. Have you felt like things were hopeless? Is there a time when you felt like the Lord was asking you to thank Him and praise Him even when there was no hope? In this episode, Felice shares this time with you – and it took place some time ago. Trusting in the Lord, she stepped out in faith.

Visit our sponsors & Enter the Giveaway

Don’t miss our 10th Birthday celebration happening right now, including a giveaway and special sponsors.

Resources mentioned in this podcast

Media Angels, Inc 

Homeschooling With Proverbs. 

Hope and Thanksgiving

When something horrible happens depression knocks on our door and it never wants to leave. All we can think about is what we don’t have or who isn’t there. If we lose a loved one during the holidays that makes it even worse. We remember the time we had, but often can’t remember the good in our time of grief.

At times when we feel depressed, we are telling ourselves things that make it worse. Our well-meaning friends or relatives may also add to the depression or hurt. There are stages we go through and sometimes we just need to allow time to heal but that does not mean we ever forget.


Homeschooling and The Holidays

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschooling And The Holidays | Yes, it is that time! Homeschooling and the holidays can be a joyous occasion, and with some quick tips, you can truly balance both. In this episode, Felice shares what worked for her family of very different children. And best of all, you can still include those events planned during the holiday season | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #HomeschoolingAndTheHolidaysHomeschooling And The Holidays ~ Episode 507

Yes, it is that time! Homeschooling and the holidays can be a joyous occasion, and with some quick tips, you can truly balance both. In this episode, Felice shares what worked for her family of very different children. And best of all, you can still include those events planned during the holiday season.

Thanks to our birthday sponsors! We have some wonderful sponsors for our 10th Birthday party, and along with that, we have a freebie just for you. If you go to the Media Angels website, you can download our Homeschooling Matters eBook. This book is for new as well as veteran homeschoolers. It has a place to journal your ideas with writing prompts.

Helpful Podcasts for streamlining your homeschooling during the holidays:

Streamline Your Homeschool 

Streamline Your Homeschool Take Two

Best Homeschool Scheduling Advice

Scheduling Your Highschool Year

Thanksgiving Crafts

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Here we go, the most wonderful time of the year. Right? So, what do you do to balance out your homeschooling and your holiday traditions and parties?

Homeschooling and the Holidays – To-Do List:

  1. Pray: The first thing I typically do is pray. I need that peace that surpasses all understanding before I can tackle the day-to-day craziness that the holidays seem to bring. As I record, Thanksgiving is about three weeks away, and Christmas is after that.
  2. Look at my homeschooling schedule. What can I cut out? Or, can you cut back on lessons? I have several podcasts that can help. The best advice is to plan for the holidays when you plan your new school year. (Unit on composers shared on air)
  3. Look at my household schedule. What can I do to make meals simpler yet nutritious, without resorting to box meals or eating out, but free up some time?
  4. Look at my calendar for upcoming events. Are they on my schedule? Did I forget anything?
  5. Add Ons:
    • Crafts
    • Parties
    • Baking
    • Activities

Next, I look at ways to do dual activities. These are the best! They are learning but doing something fun—for example, crafts and reading.

Crafts: I love to decorate my home with fall leaves; living in the south, we don’t get the seasons, so I bring them indoors around September. Decorations are fun, and you can enlist the kids to help. Many times, I did dual activities when they were younger. Practicing cutting skills helps your children to have hand strength. Pasting and making crafts is a good way to improve hand coordination in little ones. Using their efforts in fall decorations is a plus, with bright paper chains that take little effort. I had the children do a simple craft while I read them a book. This is an excellent way to get a literature lesson or go over math facts orally.

Here is a link for Thanksgiving Kids Crafts. You can do this at Christmas time as well, with decorations, ornaments, or even gift-giving. Here is a link to a podcast, Great Gifts Kids Can Make.

Learning Games – again, another way to allow the children to “play” while teaching them skills. I did this as my children were older as well. They loved educational games. This was a purchase I budgeted for each new school year. I would add one or two games.

Baking: This is an excellent skill while teaching the children science (chemical reactions), math (measuring), safety (hot oven, mixer, and using the food processor and other tools safely), fine motor skills (cutting out the dough, rolling the dough into balls, carefully adding ingredients, etc.)

Activities: Such as visiting the nursing home. This teaches the children acts of kindness and helps them to empathize with those in need. Many of these residents have few people, if any, left in their lives to visit. Adopt a grandparent. We did this for some time, and my children enjoyed the visit. We went weekly after church.

If you have older children, do not discount doing fun activities like puzzles or crafts. They may not have the same enthusiasm but it builds up your family and makes memories. I am so blessed that all of my children will be home for Thanksgiving this year, and I did not think that would happen. It is truly a gift. So, enjoy your children! (I know you are told the years go fast — but when you are in the middle of it, it is hard to appreciate what you have!)




Vintage HS Moms – De-Junking & Homeschool Organization

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Are you ready for a fresh start this coming new year? But where do you start, and how do you avoid losing those important documents or treasured mementos along the way? Fear not, for Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis, experienced homeschoolers, are here to share their invaluable insights and tips on how to navigate the maze of dejunking and organizing for a smooth-sailing academic year.

Let’s Talk About DeJunking & Homeschool Organization for the New Year

Are you ready for a fresh start this coming new year? Want to know more about homeschool organization and decluttering?  But where do you start, and how do you avoid losing those important documents or treasured mementos along the way? Fear not, for Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis, experienced homeschoolers, are here to share their invaluable insights and tips on how to navigate the maze of dejunking and organizing for a smooth-sailing academic year.

with Felice Gerwitz & Meredith Curtis 

You will so love this! Felice and Meredith share years of experience in homeschooling and now, they discuss great tips for getting your life organized and not losing those precious treasures or important documents.

➡️Episode Sponsored by the 10th Birthday Celebration Sponsors of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network ✔️ out the $350 giveaway, too!


Felice & Meredith: A Wealth of Experience

As hosts of numerous homeschooling podcasts, authors of insightful books, and mentors to many, Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis bring a wealth of experience to the table. Their journey through the realm of homeschooling has provided them with a deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs that come with the territory.

The Art of Dejunking and Homeschool Organization

Dejunking – a word that might sound a bit daunting, but fear not! Felice and Meredith emphasize the importance of decluttering to create an environment conducive to learning. But how do you begin this process without feeling overwhelmed?

“Start small,” advises Meredith. *”Don’t try to declutter your entire home in a day. Begin with one room or even one corner. Set achievable goals that won’t leave you feeling exhausted or demotivated.”*

The duo also stresses the significance of involving the whole family. Dejunking can be a shared venture, teaching children the value of organization and decluttering while fostering a sense of responsibility.

“Make it a fun activity,”*Felice suggests. “Create challenges or set time limits for decluttering sessions. Encourage kids to find items they no longer use or need, promoting a sense of ownership over their space.”

Organizing: A Key to Success

With a decluttered space comes the need for effective organization. Felice and Meredith understand the importance of preserving important documents and cherished memories.

“Invest in organizational tools,” says Meredith. “Folders, filing systems, or even digital storage can be lifesavers when it comes to keeping track of academic records, certificates, or cherished keepsakes. Labeling and categorizing are your best friends in this journey.”

However, they also stress the significance of finding a balance between sentimentality and practicality.

“While it’s essential to treasure memories,”* Felice shares, *”it’s equally important to be selective about what you keep. Encourage kids to choose their most cherished items, and perhaps consider digitizing some memories to save space.”

The new year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start, and organizing is the cornerstone of success.

Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis offer a treasure trove of tips and guidance to navigate the often-daunting task of dejunking and organizing. Their insights not only ensure a clutter-free environment but also foster a sense of responsibility and organization among the family members.

So, as you gear up for the new year, take a cue from these seasoned homeschooling experts. Start small, involve the whole family, invest in organizational tools, and find the balance between sentimentality and practicality. Here’s to a well-organized, clutter-free, and successful academic year!

More Dejunking and Homeschool Organization Resources

Harvest Your Child’s Strengths

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Harvest Your Child’s Strengths ~ For Any Age ~ Episode 506

Harvesting Your Child's Strengths | Vintage Homeschool Moms on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Harvest time calls to mind many things, but this is a perfect time to work on your child’s strengths and develop them more fully. Each of us has gifts and things we do well. This podcast discusses how you can encourage your children to achieve.

This show is a celebration of our ten-year podcast birthday. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network has undergone some name changes, and we are still here and better than ever, with wonderful presentations for the entire family. Enter the giveaway.

Each child has a strength; some you can easily distinguish, and others may be hard to find. Finding your child’s strengths is our topic today.

I recently listened to a presentation by a speaker who shared that we all have an anointing, a gift from God. When we work in this anointing, we feel empowered at enthusiastic. However, when working outside of our anointing, that blessing and grace from God, we feel tired and down, as if a weight is on our back, and we trudge along having to do whatever “that” is in our life, but not doing it happily.

This happens to all of us, doesn’t it? Think about something you enjoy doing.

Do you enjoy homeschooling? Doing faith-filled activities? Doing crafts with the kids? Do you like to bake? Are you organized? Do you enjoy spending time with your family? Taking the kids outdoors to explore? Are you good at finding unique books or topics to study? Do you make school fun? If your answer is no, no, and no, don’t worry! The idea here is to find something you enjoy and think about the why.

  1. What activity or hobby do you enjoy?
  2. Where did you first learn you had a gift (or anointing) in this area?
  3. Why do you enjoy an activity or hobby?
  4. How often do you do this enjoyable activity?

I believe it is the same with our children. When we work within our talents, gifts, or anointing, it does not seem like work; in fact, we highly enjoy it and are motivated to do it often.

You may enjoy these activities to help you find your child’s strengths.

Building Relationships with Your Children 

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Celebrate Fall Baking

Stress Free Fall Activities

So, how do we harvest their strengths? First, by observing.

  1. What types of activities does your child enjoy? Musical? Academic subjects? Art? Activities such as crafts. Physical activities such as sports?
  2. How does your child exhibit their strengths?

(Coming soon – a freebie we are putting together to help you print off quick checklists.)

I created a list that might be helpful; look at this as a springboard to consider what your child does well. Once you consider their strengths, you can discuss ways to enhance them and perhaps encourage new ones. In fact, you can have them. See the following PDF for your personal use.


  1. Character -honest, responsible, persistent, works hard, gets along with others, reasonable self-control, thinks about others over self, etc.
  2. Communicates – storyteller, communicates thoughts and ideas well, listens, articulates, and is persuasive, etc.
  3. Social – has a way with people, an extrovert, has good friends, is polite, has leadership abilities, works well with others, plays and shares, follows rules, has good relationships, and is well-liked, etc.
  4. Emotionally mature – has good common sense, is a half-full rather than a half-empty person—sees the good in things and others, is able to handle disappointment, is empathetic, has good intuition, etc.
  5. Academic – does well in school, reasons well, has good memory, can multi-task, is focused, likes to read, writes well, enjoys a particular subject, etc.
  6. Logical – can figure things out, good at problem-solving, has an interest in math, science, computers, or engineering, etc.
  7. Hands-On — is good at fixing things, can do puzzles or legos (building) well, strong visually, etc.
  8. Physical or hands-on — good at sports, active, enjoy playing active games, physically strong, has good flexibility and balance, physical endurance, likes to exercise, likes the outdoors, etc.
  9. Fine Motor — good at details, creative and enjoys crafts or building things, good hand-eye coordination, etc.
  10. Empathetic – has a good sense of self, sympathetic to others, has a strong or growing faith, understands and senses when others are hurting, etc.
  11. Musical or Artistic or Creative— Musical: can sing, understands rhythm, can play a musical instrument(s), enjoys practicing; Artistic: is creative, artistic, has good eye-hand coordination, can draw what they see, has an eye for beauty, etc.; Creative: has a good imagination, has great ideas, dramatic and creative, good memory and original, etc.
  12. Technical— computer savvy, good at coding, analytics, good at research, and learning with hands-on and trial and error.
  13. Spiritual — understands there is more than what we see in this world, realizes that faith is an integral part of humanity, knows that God exists, bases their world-view on Judeo-Christian principles, has a good philosophy on life, and is empathetic.
  14. Hobbies – various

When your child exhibits or demonstrates any of these strengths (and I’m sure I’m leaving out many), they are normally energized and focused. Why do they enjoy movie night, but it is a struggle to get them to read a book or do an assignment? We can’t always work within our strengths, but we can recognize them and address those that need work.

My granddaughter is good at crafts; she taught herself to knit and crochet, and she still enjoys this activity as a seventeen-year-old. Yet, I found she had an aptitude for working with her cell phone and on computers. What does knitting have to do with computing? She is organized; knitting is creative but sequential. You get one stitch wrong, and it messes up the entire thing. Similar to computing. I taught her audio editing and graphic design. She already had an aptitude for creativity and technology, so it was an easy fit. Perhaps she has a future in web design or more.

This gives you a quick idea of how to use a child’s strengths, even something they enjoy, and helps them develop it into something more. If your children are little, you can help them develop in more minor ways. Giving them time to explore their interests. Children are often overwhelmed without time to develop their gifts. Be sure to pray and ask the Lord for help in this area; you will be surprised at what you find.

This show is a celebration of our ten-year podcast birthday. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network has undergone some name changes, and we are still here and better than ever, with wonderful presentations for the entire family.

Be sure to enter our special birthday giveaway here, which includes a $250 cash giveaway!

Sponsors of Harvest Your Child’s Strengths

This podcast episode: Reading Eggs

Sponsors of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network’s 10th Birthday Celebration:

Number One Homeschool Podcast Network

Common Sense Press




Celebrate Fall Baking With Kids (replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Celebrate holiday baking this fall with life skills and memories. Celebrate Fall Baking With Kids ~ Episode 479 (Replay)

I love to bake and there is nothing better than celebrating fall baking with the kids. Just thinking about the warm spicy scents of pumpkin, ginger, and more brings back the joys of creating memories with our kids.

Don’t miss our 10th Birthday celebration happening right now, including a giveaway and special sponsors.

Can you smell that cinnamon? Fall is the best time to get your hands dirty and bake up some goodies with the kids. No matter your dietary restrictions, there are plenty of recipes online for all. Baking encourages children to get involved and even children who are typically unenthusiastic when it comes to hands-on activities such as crafts are often engaged when it comes to baking. I believe baking also instills good lifetime skills, such as cooperation and patience. Nothing is fast when it comes to making something without a box mix and when I talk about fall baking I’m suggesting homemade recipes.

Living in southwest Florida, the humidity is a factor in baking. Things go stale quickly if they are not stored in a cool place. If you live in a colder, less humid climate this may not be an issue for you! If so, that is great!

Safety is also important when baking. The kids learned quickly that heat burns! There are plenty of books in the library or bookstores that focus on baking with kids. These books are a good starting point if this is something that is new to you. When I was a younger mom, I had lots more energy and patience. I had a poster board with our most popular recipes written out.  And I used it for beginning reading practice. I also taught the children math and fractions while baking. As homeschool parents, we can use anything and everything at our disposal to teach our children.

Baking teaches so many skills:

  1. Measuring (precise)
  2. Fractions
  3. Reading
  4. Science (chemical reactions)
  5. Safety practices

And, those five are just off the top of my head. I think my favorite memory of baking is that it teaches a life skill. We’ve baked everything from loafs, french, and complex rolls. Of course, our favorites are cookies and candy.

During the fall we love anything with cinnamon and ginger. It is also the time of year that I begin making cookie dough which freezes very well ahead of time for the holiday. Cookies such as ginger and sugar cookies that you roll out and shape are the best to freeze. They can easily be thawed in the refrigerator and baked in small or large batches.

Quick guide for fall baking:

  1. What is it that you’d like to make? Tried and true recipes or something new, such as a gingerbread house or gingerbread men?
  2. When do you have time to bake? Schedule this. (You can use this as “school”, especially for the younger grades or middle school taking “home-ec”)
  3. What is your goal? Do you want to incorporate school-type activities or just have fun making memories?
  4. Make a list of recipes you’d like to tackle.
  5. Buy ingredients or use what you have on hand.

Go over the rules of baking with the children before you get started so that you all have the same expectations.

Kids want to dive in and do everything. Kids also love to touch everything. This can be dangerous when baking. What are your rules? Here are a few, to add to this list:

  1. Washing hands before beginning
  2. Do not taste anything without permission
  3. Safety – heat burns and whirling blades of a mixer should be avoided.
  4. Wait for instruction
  5. Share or divide the jobs. One person measures, another pours, etc.
  6. Take turns. Everyone will get one!
  7. Patience. Baking is fun but it takes time.
  8. Work together and be encouraging
  9. Clean up is for everyone, so being careful cuts down on the mess
  10. Tasting is great once the food cools.

Our all-time favorite recipes are gingerbread, layer cookies (easy and fast), and homemade fudge. My focus when baking is on cookies that last the longest in terms of freshness. I have a wonderful recipe for those yummy sugar cookies, you know the big chewy kind with thick sugar sprinkles on top? However, they go stale in about two days and must be kept in the refrigerator for freshness. Keep that in mind when deciding what you want to bake. In larger households, this may not be an issue. As my daughter with eight children says, there is always someone who likes something we are making and the kids are less discriminating when it comes to freshness than adults.

To Be Creative or Not?

One of my favorite tips when baking is to be creative without changing the recipe too much. In other words, you can be creative with shapes or decorating, but try to stick to the original recipe at least the first time. My mother was a good cook but not a baker because she baked by “eye” similar to her cooking. “By eye” is hit-and-miss. Sometimes her cookies would be great and other times, not! For example, if you are making a strawberry shortcake, you can decide not to add sugar to the strawberries, or to add sugar. If you add sugar to strawberries they must be eaten that day or the next, because the sugar causes the strawberries to shed water which makes that yummy strawberry juice which soaks into the cake. But after a few days, the strawberries taste rubbery.

What will you bake?

So, what will you bake? All Recipes is a website that has some good ideas. They have a list of easy-to-make recipes for kids. There are many other websites as well that you can use to bake with children. I’ve found that kids are happy to just count as you put in the ingredients and I usually have the kids break eggs, or measure flour separately, and I would put in the flour, etc. in the actual mix we used. Eggs are possibly the last skill I have the kids practice! There is something they love about eggs and wanting to break them is high on their list. If you are willing to have a mess, it is a good idea to give them a large bowl so you can fish out the shells. You can then use the eggs in your actual mix. I do this myself as it seems that these days the egg shells are so brittle and it is difficult to crack eggs without shells even for adults.

Baking Ingredients

Pumpkin is also a key ingredient in holiday baking. I buy baking pumpkins in bulk when I can, either from a wholesaler or from the grocery store. Another thing I do, I bake the pumpkins by cutting them in half (my husband or one of my stronger kids takes care of this for me!) I place the pumpkin halves face down in a large baking pan with a small amount of water. Once the pumpkins are soft I can easily scoop out the pulp and usually puree this in a food processor. I then store one cup pumpkin individually so that when I am ready to bake I can pull out a bag and allow it to defrost before using it.

Fruit bread is a great thing to make and is easy. The best thing is you do not need a mixer and the kids enjoy string (most of the time). I make pumpkin, banana, and apple bread. I’ve had zucchini or lemon bread as well. These are great for a quick breakfast and best of all the children enjoy eating what they bake! I found small coated loaf pans online that can be used for baking and you can use them to gift people without worrying about getting the pan back or trying to unmold and wrap your loaf. I used these when sending my college kids care packages and they arrived well through the mail!

As promised from the recording! Here is my tried and true muffin mix for you to enjoy.

Quick Recipe for Muffin Mix:

You can make all types of muffins using this handy mix. You can store this in an airtight container for months!

8 cups of flour, 3 cups of sugar, 3 Tablespoons of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of salt


  • 2 ¾ cup of dry mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips OR blueberries OR cut-up apples (add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)

Directions: In a large bowl or 8-cup mixing bowl place the dry mix, and make a well in the middle. In another bowl melt the butter and add the milk and whisk the egg. Pour this mixture into the dry mix and use a fork to mix until incorporated. Do not overmix. Add your ingredients. You can make plain muffins or spice them up with chocolate chips or fruit. When I make apple muffins I swirl in 4 large tablespoons of apple butter after I add the apples. If you feel like you have overmixed the batter you can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the mix. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean from the center.

Listen to More Fall Themed Podcasts

Streamline Your Homeschool – Take Two

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Streamline Your Homeschool | Today, we are going to discuss how to streamline your homeschool. There is so much to homeschooling because we do it in the home. There is almost no way to thrive as a homeschool parent unless you take time to plan | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #StreamlineYourHomeschoolStreamline Your Homeschool Take 2 ~ Episode 505

Today, we will discuss how to streamline your homeschool – take two! There is so much to homeschooling because we do it in the home. There is almost no way to thrive as a homeschool parent unless you take time to plan.

Media Angels, a company dedicated to bringing you self-paced classes, books, and podcasts, sponsored this show. Visit the Media Angels store here.

Our Streamline Your Homeschool is available on your time~ topics such as streamlining your laundry routine, one-on-one teaching, curriculum buying and planning, virtual field trips, dealing with distractions, and even a bonus, streamlining your work-at-home.

I recently did a podcast with this same topic, but I had SO much more I wanted to say – and here it is in part two.

Streamline Your Homeschool

The key to finding the perfect curriculum is understanding there is NO perfect curriculum.

I’ve made mistakes. When my son was five, I purchased a math curriculum, and he was struggling so much that I decided to buy another one mid-year at someone’s recommendation. That, too, turned into a disaster. The best way to buy a homeschool curriculum is to know what you want. One of the best websites for homeschool curriculum review is

Prayer is essential when deciding what you will teach and what books you’d like to use. All curricula will not work for all kids. One child may love a math program, while another will struggle to get through a lesson. Look at your kids, note what they can or cannot do, and then go from there. We work to remediate weaknesses and build on their strengths.

Parents, knowledge retention will not be great if your kids struggle all day. If your child is struggling academically, get help. This can mean beginning your introduction to education with a hands-on approach. Encourage your kids to learn, especially in the younger years, by setting up their day in small chunks of learning. With younger children, work plan ahead of time to alleviate as much frustration as you can. We will talk about planning a bit later in this presentation.

Streamline Your Thought Process:

  1. Think about each subject you’d like to teach.
  2. Refer to a scope and sequence. This is an overview of what subjects should be taught in specific grades. Still, you will learn in homeschooling that many subjects overlap, especially if you are preparing using a unit study or themed-based curriculum.
  3. Consider activities such as field trips or lessons.

What are your homeschool goals?

  1. Discuss with your spouse.
  2. Pray about what you want to accomplish
  3. Chose a family motto and “test it out” with the kids

Our family motto or saying is part of a Scripture Verse: As For Me and My House, we will serve the Lord…

How will you plan?

Let’s take history, for example:

  1. How will you teach history? Books or theme-based?
  2. What are you teaching? Ancient, World, American?
  3. Are you interested in incorporating faith, relationship, family, and worldview values?

Here are some handouts to Streamline Your Homeschool

Handout: Back To School Planning List

Example of Check Off Lists Example Check Off Lists-2

More lists on Lists For Back To School

Movie Review Lists – Watching Movies Paper—podcast

Four Square Planning:

There are four main parts of any homeschool mom’s life. Faith, Kids, School, and Household. In that order for me! Here are some squares to get you started. I’ll include some blanks for you. You can do a week in review like me, or do this daily. Each month, these priorities may change.

  • God – Pray
  • School
  • Household
  • Errands
  • Field Trips


Yearly Plan

  • Divide out the year
  • Plan holidays, birthdays, and other days off
  • Schedule backwards
  • Notable events – graduations, anniversaries, reunions, etc.
  • Months you will school

Be sure to add dates that you can – block these off

Have a clear idea of how many days you will be schooling – most states require 180, but the hours will vary depending on your condition.


Once you have decided what to do … Remember – if you are finished in 2 or 4 hours – you are done as long as the work is completed. You may need to be creative if you have a state where you must record specific hours.

Plan it and forget it.

  • Schedule school times
  • Time for meals
  • Read Aloud
  • Keep work samples
  • 3-Ring Binders
  • Folders, school supplies

Streamline Your Outings ~ Go out bag—Backpacks

Put in all the things you will need. Pick it up and go. If you have older kids, put a laminated card on the outside, and someone can double-check the bag to ensure nothing was out or replaced.

  • One for field trips
  • One for the park
  • One for church

Friends, I can say so much more, but homeschooling is a journey. It is not a race or a comparison of who did what better. Enjoy your time with your kids.



200th Episode – Best Kept Organization Secrets

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

organization secrets | Welcome to the 200th Vintage Homeschool Mom’s Podcast! Best Kept Organization Secrets with Felice Gerwitz

Welcome to the 200th Vintage Homeschool Mom’s Podcast! Today I host several guests who will stop by to say, “hi” to all of you, my listeners and share some of their organization secrets with you!

I can’t believe I began podcasting on Vintage Homeschool Moms, in October of 2013 and now there are 200 episodes to keep you busy – and hopefully supplied with great resources and information for your homeschool.

A few of my guests are the podcasters from The Highschool Homeschool Podcast, Talking Mom 2 Mom, Mommy Jammies Night, Homeschool Sanity, Making Biblical Family Life Practical, and the Finish Well Podcast.



– Felice Gerwitz welcomes listeners to the 200th episode of the Vintage Homeschool Mom’s Podcast.
– She reflects on her podcasting journey that began in October 2013 and celebrates reaching 200 episodes.
– Felice expresses gratitude to her listeners for their support and mentions the goal of providing valuable homeschooling resources and information.

– Felice Gerwitz hosts several guests on this special episode, each of whom will share their organization secrets.
– The guests include podcasters from various shows, including:
– The Highschool Homeschool Podcast
– Talking Mom 2 Mom
– Mommy Jammies Night
– Homeschool Sanity
– Making Biblical Family Life Practical
– The Finish Well Podcast


– Felice Gerwitz expresses excitement about the insights and organization secrets that will be shared by her guests on this landmark 200th episode.
– She encourages listeners to stay tuned and benefit from the wealth of knowledge that will be presented.