Vintage Homeschool Moms

Ultimate Holiday Checklist Advice

Holiday Checklist Advice and Homeschooling | Are you ready for the holidays? Here is holiday checklist advice from two homeschool veterans, Felice Gerwitz and Janice Campbell. Both have homeschooled during the holidays for many years and have much to share with you! | #podcast #homeschoolingpodcast #holidaychecklistUltimate Holiday Checklist Advice & Homeschooling Episode 379 with Janice Campbell

Are you ready for the holidays? Here is holiday checklist advice from two homeschool veterans, Felice Gerwitz and Janice Campbell. Both have homeschooled during the holidays for many years and have much to share with you!

Thanks to our sponsor – A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood!

Visit my special guest’s website! Get to know Janice Campbell:

Literature resources

About Janice Campbell and her husband Donald homeschooled their four sons from preschool into early college using a lifestyle of learning approach influenced by Charlotte Mason and classical education. A lifelong reader and learner, Janice has been sharing her joy in homeschooling at conferences since the 1990s. She is the author of the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12, Transcripts Made Easy, and other resources, and she writes for various homeschooling magazines, as well as online at,, and

Holiday Checklist Advice & Homeschooling

Here is a blog post on Holiday Checklist Countdown

  • My business tagline has been “Making time for things that matter” from the very beginning.
  • Homeschooling and caregiving made me aware of the value of time.
  • My grandmother’s influence: weekly routines, lists, twice-yearly home plan, etc.
  • Tried all the planners  . . . at least once.
  • Tried to be my grandmother . . . but not for long.
  • Lifelong planning plus four boys turned me into a planning realist.
  • Created my own forms which have become my Peaceful Planning System.
  • The newest item is the oldest and longest used — the weekly planner, a printable, customizable, quarterly planner.
  • Flexibility, the big picture, knowing what matters, and just do the next thing.
  • It all comes back to making time for things that matter and Charlotte Mason’s point that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.”

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10 Holiday Planning Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember the theme for the various holidays are similar:

Thanksgiving is gratitude and thanking God for all things.

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

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

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

What needs planning?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Best Kept Holiday Prep Secrets

best kept holiday prep secretsLet’s Talk About The Best Kept Holiday Prep Secrets

with Felice Gerwitz

The holidays are around the corner, and ready or not it is time to learn about the best kept holiday prep secrets. We are celebrating all the time – whether it is the biggies like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter – or the other big events like birthday celebrations, anniversary, baby showers and other parties! Are you ready? In the many of preparing large family gatherings and parties, I’ve had quite a bit of practice. I’ve learned many shortcuts that make party planning fun! If you have a few things on hand your parties will always be spectacular. From food to decorations – and the best news? It won’t break the bank.

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Show Notes: Holiday prep secrets.

  1. Make a list (mine tend to be general – if you are detailed go for it!
  2. Prepare things way ahead of time. Ideal items: casseroles, prep items like onion, onions and peppers, soups, stews, lasagna, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.
  3. Buy in bulk – crackers, appetizers (salsa, hummus, etc.)
  4. Extra gifts to have on hand (bless people twice with this holiday prep secret)
  5. Bake extra – two cakes and freeze one, make smaller cakes to gift, extra cookie dough and more.
  6. Fresh fruit and nuts for decorations
  7. Use “broken” ornaments upside down in a glass bowl
  8. Kid decorations – make it special
  9. Music – get that playlist ready.
  10. Wrap gifts as you buy them.

More great episodes

Keeping Sane for the  Holidays

Fun Holiday Tips

Holiday Planning

Teaching Kids To Be Thankful Everyday

TEACHING KIDS TO BE THANKFUL | Many times in an attempt to shelter our children or prevent them from some of the hardships we experienced. #Homeschool #homeschooling #podcast #thankfulnesssTeaching Kids To Be Thankful Everyday

Episode 230

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


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

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

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

Visit to learn more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modeling thankfulness is wonderful, especially with Bible lessons.

Bible Stories that teach thankfulness –

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers – Luke 17:12-19 

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


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

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

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

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


Praising God is a weapon against the evil one.

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

Additional Scriptures:

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


Hope and Thanksgiving

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.

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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.


Stress Free Holiday Tips with Kendra and Fletch

stress free holiday tips with Kendra and FletchSpecial Guests! Stress-Free Holiday Tips with Kendra & Fletch

You are in for a treat! Special guests who are joining Felice are Kendra and Fletch – show hosts of the HomeschoolingIRL 

On this episode we get real about the holidays, about that “crazy” Uncle Larry, getting the relatives out and into their cars without falling and how to create a family focus that is more than on pumpkin pies and more on what the Lord’s coming means to us. See the show notes below but listen in for all the details, if you want to learn about some of the secrets, those hidden ones on how Kendra and Fletch boycott Black Friday and have a stress-free holiday!

If you’ve enjoyed this episode please subscribe!

You can visit our shows on iTunes – mine Vintage Homeschool Mom and Kendra and Fletch – HomeschoolingIRL and follow and rate them! We thank you so much for listening.

Find out more about Kendra and Fletch here! 

Homeschooling IRL – Website

Kendra Fletcher –

Andy Fletcher –

Show Notes: Stress Free Holiday Tips with Kendra and Fletch: 

  1. The meaning of chillaxing
  2. Pressure on holiday prep
  3. Traditional vs. untraditional celebrations
  4. Movie and Advent instead of Black Friday
  5. Everyone brings a side
  6. Ideas if you travel somewhere else for Thanksgiving or Christmas
  7. Do a big meal another time
  8. Alternatives to traditional gift giving
  9. Free advice from Fletch to husbands that will win you many points!

Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

thanksgiving kids crafts | Thanksgiving kids crafts are so much fun! I love crafts – especial holiday crafts like Thanksgiving crafts for kids. #Homeschool #homeschooling #podcast #craftsThanksgiving Kids Crafts

Episode 235

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

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

Ideas for Thanksgiving crafts for kids:

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

Websites to check out:

Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids

Turkey Napkin Folding

Extra thankful gift tags with printable

Pumpkin bread with free printable

Gratitude Pumpkin Craft

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

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

Visit to learn more.

Holiday Planning and Bake Ahead

Holiday Planning Bake Ahead | Holiday planning and bake ahead ideas are on the forefront of my mind the minute the calendar turns to November. | #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #homeschoolLet’s Talk About Holiday Planning: Bake Ahead!

with your host Felice Gerwitz

Holiday planning and bake ahead ideas are at the forefront of my mind the minute the calendar turns to November. I currently have sweet potato casserole, lasagna, and sauce in the freezer. However, it makes the holiday so much easier to enjoy.

Let’s get going and plan ahead with baking. So, what is your menu? When will you begin? Will you prepare side dishes ahead? Listen to this audio as Felice shares her baking tips with you! Felice typically hosts between 15-35+ people for the holidays and enjoys the day… and you can too. Whether you have your immediate family or extended family and friends make this year stress free with these easy menu ideas as well as prep tips to serve delicious food that is easy on the budget, kid-friendly and easy to prepare ahead.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Create a menu
  2. Figure out the number of people you are hosting.
  3. Who are the guests?
  4. Kid-friendly meals
  5. Kid-Friendly crafts

SHOW NOTES Holiday Planning Bake Ahead:

Great Shows about the Holiday Planning:

Getting Along with Extended Family

Celebrating the Holidays

Christmas Party

Unplug the Christmas Machine

How to Raise a Pagan Family in a Christian Home



Healthy Holiday Snacks

healthy holiday snacks | Healthy holiday snacks don't necessarily taste well. And since when does healthy and snacks go together?Healthy Holiday Snacks

Episode 234

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


Show Notes: Healthy Holiday Snacks

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

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

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

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

Leah recommended this yummy and healthy dish: Roasted veggies

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

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

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

We love things like

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy Snack Websites: 

Great recipes to try –


Loaded Nachos

Zucchini Sticks 

Appetizers – Turkey Meatballs

Zucchini Carpaccio

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Spicy Garlic Edamame

Pumpkin pie dip

Avacado and Crab Dip

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

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

Visit to learn more.

Last Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

Last Minute DIY Entertainment Tips | In this episode, I share my favorite last minute DIY entertainment tips with you. The best thing? #Homeschool #homeschooling #podcast #diyentertainmentLast Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

Episode 238

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

Show Notes: Last Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

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

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