Hosting the Holidays

Hosting the Holidays

Hosting the Holidays – Episode 90


In this episode, we talk about some ideas and tips on how to host the holidays stress free!



  1. Plan your menu

  2. Make a schedule

  3. Plan your table – create a table setting

  4. Don’t forget serving dishes

  5. Make a shopping list

  6. Prepart ahead – make and complete tasks ahead of time if you can.

  7. Keep to your schedule.

And breathe! Relax and Enjoy!

Holidays: Off the Shelf

Holidays: Off the Shelf

Holidays: Off the Shelf! – Episode 89


In this episode, we talk about some books for you and your family to enjoy this holiday season.

Books Mentioned on the Show

  • Dear America: Journey to the New World by Kathryn Lasky

  • Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz

  • Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac

  • Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf

  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh

  • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

  • The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story by Joanne Oppenheim

Online Educational Thanksgiving Activities

Online Educational Thanksgiving Activities

Episode 61: Online Educational Thanksgiving Activities

Here are the online educational Thanksgiving activities mentioned in this episode. Be sure to listen to learn more about each one.

Before you start, spend some time getting to understand what the first Thanksgiving was really like from sources like this one online and the book, Lies my Teacher Told Me.

1. A Virtual Thanksgiving Field Trip

Scholastic has a great website that allows you to take a tour of the Mayflower, cross the ocean on it, and see what life was like then through re-enactments and historical fiction letters.

2.Investigating the First Thanksgiving

Be a detective and investigate the first Thanksgiving in this online Thanksgiving activity. Wampanoag and a colonist
primary sources Read or listen
writing activity

3. Hyperdoc: Why did the Pilgrim and Wampanoag friendship go so wrong?

Hyperdocs lead students through a topic. In this one, they will watch videos, read articles, create a timeline and reflect on what they are learning.

3. Mapping the Thanksgiving Dinner

This is a unique map that shows where your Thanksgiving dinner components are likely to come from!

4. Thanksgiving challenge

Seat the people at this Thanksgiving dinner near things they like – a fun online logic problem.

5. Thanksgiving-themed digital breakouts

To learn more about digital breakouts, listen to episode 14. You can find a variety of free and paid ones on the Teachers Pay Teachers store.

6. Great Thanksgiving Listen

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an easy way for people of all ages to collect oral histories as you gather with friends and family over the holiday. Download the free StoryCorps App and once the interview is done you can upload it to the Library of Congress!

And for some offline Thanksgiving fun, be sure to grab show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy’s Thanksgiving Draw game. If you listen to the episode you will get a coupon code that will allow you to get it free until the end of November 2019.

Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Online Educational Thanksgiving Activities #thanksgiving #podcast #homeschooling

Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

10 Techie Tools I Am Grateful For

10 Techie Tools I am Grateful For

Episode 9: 10 Techie Tools I Am Grateful For

1. Offline maps

I usually use Google maps, select the area and download.

2. Portable Charger

Here’s the one I use: EasyAcc Slim 10000 mAh Power Bank

3. Podcasts

One of my favorites is Planet Money.
If you are listening to this online and don’t know how to get podcasts on your phone, scroll to the bottom of this article to show you what to do.

4. Automatic Pet Feeder

This is the one we have: Petsafe 5 meal Pet Feeder

5. Google Drive

Google Drive is an online filing system. Listen to episodes 2, 3 and 4 for more detail on how to use it to organize your homeschool

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy offers 2 classes that teach about Google Drive and the associated apps.

They have a 4 module Intro to Google Drive web-based unit study on all the Google drive apps as well as a full year (1 credit) Computer Applications class.

6. Scannable App

Scannable is only available for the iPhone but it integrates with Evernote and allows you to easily scan and send documents. You can save them as pdfs or pngs. Adobe Scan is similar but for Android and iOS.

7. Padlet

Padlet is like a virtual version of a corkboard you would find in a classroom to pin children’s work.

8. Zamzar

If you have a file in a format you can no longer read, Zamzar will rescue you. It does conversions from and to most file types in seconds.

9. On-demand video streaming

If you have Netflix, don’t miss Churchill’s Secret Agents: The New Recruits

10. Online Shopping

Our next episode will be “Christmas shopping the techie way” so be sure to tune in for that.

And to say thanks for being a listener, you can go online shopping now in FundaFunda Academy’s store. You can get all their teaching resources (printable games and interactive activities) free until the end of November, with the coupon code I give on the show. Yes! You have to actually listen to get it. You can find the audio below the show notes if you aren’t already listening via a podcast player.

If you found this useful, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

10 Techie Tools I am Grateful For

Reclaim Thanksgiving

Reclaim ThanksgivingReclaim Thanksgiving

Podcast #61

Where did Thanksgiving go? Too often, Thanksgiving gets skipped right over. October 31st – Halloween – November 1st Christmas! Let’s reclaim Thanksgiving and learn about what makes this holiday so special. Take time to enjoy this holiday with your family. Reclaim some of your childhood family traditions. Create some new traditions with your children. Study the story of pilgrims and their journey to America. Don’t miss out on this special time to celebrate family and heritage.

Some Thanksgiving traditions:

Traditional foods.

Of course Thanksgiving today revolves largely around the Thanksgiving Day meal. Traditional foods include turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, lima beans, mashed potatoes, corn and cranberry sauce. Many people serve pie for dessert at the end of the meal. Popular pie flavors are pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, and apple.

The Wishbone.
Some families include breaking the turkey’s wishbone as part of their celebration. The wishbone is found attached to the breast meat in the turkey’s chest. After the meat has been removed and the wishbone has had a chance to become dry and brittle, two people each take one end of the bone, make a wish, and pull. Whoever ends up with the larger part of the bone gets their wish!

After the Meal Traditions

TV – Macy’s Parade, Dog Show

Football, or other outdoor activities

Turkey Trot 5k

Games or puzzles

NAPS!!! Of course, a lot of people enjoy a Thanksgiving nap!

Newspaper sale ads – checking out the Black Friday Sales…


See great ideas for your Thanksgiving and Fall season on our Fall Pinterest Board here

Fall Recipe Board

You can see a little history of the beginnings and evolution of the American Thanksgiving holiday here


Cranberry Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in the Woods

Milly and the Macy’s Parade


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Florida History Bundles Free to Members

Long Distances with Little Ones – MBFLP 216

Long Distances with Little Ones

The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest time of year on America’s highways, and you may be driving long hours with little ones on board. How do you manage this so you all arrive at Grandma’s in good spirits? We hit the road in 2010 with seven children in the van and we’re crisscrossing the country for six months every year. This episode, we’ll share what we’ve learned about covering long distance with little ones!

You’re Not Alone

Last year, AAA estimated 51 million of us would be on the road for Thanksgiving. That’s like the whole population of New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Minnesota on the highway at the same time! It’s hard to guess how many of those millions were riding in booster seats, but you can bet it was a bunch.

There are some practical ways to make this more manageable for everyone: 

Long Distances with Little Ones

Making It Work

    1. Remember kids are kids – you’ve got make allowance for them. When Jacob met his brother Esau on the way back to his home country, Esau urged him to come along – but Jacob reminded him, “the children are weak,” and told him to go ahead, “[and] I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock …, and the children, are able to endure.” (Genesis 33:12-14)
    2. Take it easy on the mileposts. The fact that Dad the Road Warrior can handle 700 miles a day may not be the best plan for Mom and the kids. We were much happier when we slowed down our itinerary.
    3. Be sure that kids who sleep all day will be alert and active when Mom and Dad are ready for bed! We’ve done a few trips overnight or in the wee hours, but it made the parents grumpy the next day – and no child needs that! It’s tempting to pile on the miles while the crew is napping, but you’ll all be happier if you get out and get some exercise during the day. Which leads to our discovery,
    4. We all need regular breaks. On doctor’s advice, we make a brief stop every couple of hours. You’re going to need gas and rest rooms eventually, why not just plan on it? Modern travel plazas aren’t like the seedy truck stops of old – we find they’re usually clean, well-lit, and have large rest rooms. Which reminds us,
    5. “Mandatory Bathroom Stops” make it efficient. We just require everybody to get out and use the rest room, even if they “don’t need to go.” (We found the teenager who insisted he didn’t need to get out was the one who would have an emergency thirty minutes down the road.)
    6. Don’t miss the field trips along the way. We’ve had some great stops at National Parks, state historical sites, or even just picnic areas with a view. Go ahead – you might learn something, and if nothing else, the kids can run around and use up some energy! (Keep a ball or Frisbee handy to encourage some activity). A little research beforehand can highlight neat stuff ahead.
    7. Do like the airlines – distract the passengers with changing activities. You can hand out a snack, then a little while later surprise them with some new crayons or a book, then sing or play a car game, then maybe start a DVD or pop in an audio book (we’ve got some suggestions below!) Older kids might be able to do some schoolwork along the way – but if it’s a short vacation, you might want to just take the days off from book work and let them learn what they can from the travel.

In the old days, an education wasn’t considered complete until the student had experienced some serious travel. Now, it’s so much easier to get around, we tend to rush through it and miss the good stuff along the way. Slow down a bit, let the kids out of their car seats some, and enjoy the journey together!


Looking for some entertaining audiobooks that help build character, too? Check out the growing line of classic stories at, and for a limited time, use the coupon code audioholiday15 to take 15% off! Brought to you by our publisher, Great Waters Press!

HSHSP Ep 86: How to be Thankful-er

This week on HSHSP Ep 86: How to be Thankful-er!

HSHSP Ep 86 How to be Thankful-er!

HSHSP Ep 86: How to be Thankful-er

Gratitude is important, whether it is Thanksgiving time or not.

Max Lucado says in Anxious for Nothing that teenagers’ average levels of anxiety are comparable to the anxiety of people who were in inpatient mental health programs in the 1950s.


  • Social media shows a picture perfect world
  • Social media requires a lot of preparation, presentation and planning if you’re going to escape FOMO

What to do?

We need to learn gratitude! The University of California has studied things that make people feel better. They have found that people who practice written gratitude tend to improve in mood and health.

Imagine that! Scripture has been reminding us to be thankful for thousands of years!

  • Ways to notice the good things in your world
  • Ways to model gratitude for your teens and youngers

Have you read the books of Jon Gordon or John Maxwell. Both are great sources for learning gratitude.

Or remember Sabrina’s favorite quote:

It is much harder to angst and spazz when standing before the throne of God.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for lots of tips on how to be thankful-er.

In the meantime, enjoy a few helpful posts from Vicki’s coaching business and!

The Healing Power of Thankfulness

Simple How-to Guide to Create a Gratitude Journal

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Whole Family


HSHSP Ep 86: How to be Thankful-er

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.

Instant Pot Thanksgiving in 5 Easy Steps

Thanksgiving Dinner in an Instant is on the priority list for Roadschool Moms in Episode #155. The replay is a live recording by the Roadschool Moms team from the road. Kimberly Travaglino, co-founder of Fulltime Familiesbroadcasts from on the road in Mobile, Alabama. Across the country, Mary Beth Goff, the Road Trip Teacher calls in from west central Indiana. The OTR duo are together for the 1st of 6 shows in their annual holiday mini-series. Hit the replay to hear more about planning an easy yet delicious holiday dinner using the Instant Pot and a few other essential RV kitchen must haves.

5 Easy Steps to an Instant Pot Thanksgiving

Space is limited for creating a holiday dinner in the RV kitchen but the menu doesn’t have to be.The only way to serve holiday dinner for a crowd, or even your family, with no stress is to put together the plan as if it were a puzzle. With planning and the right tools, a delicious Thanksgiving menu will come together in 5 easy steps using the Instant Pot and a few other must have items.

  • Plan the menu and organize pre-dinner tasks
  • Prepare any side dishes or desserts in the days before the holiday
  • Ready any ingredients possible ahead of time
  • Set early morning cooking on auto pilot
  • Make the last preparations and serve

Holiday Dinner in an Instant

 The first assessment to a successful holiday dinner includes the number of people to serve and the dinner menu at hand. Write the final menu on anything from a Post-it note to an Excel spreadsheet. Think of this as the four corners to the holiday dinner puzzle.

Next, put together all the background pieces of the puzzle a/k/a the Thanksgiving Feast. Gather together any common ingredients that must be used for recipes. For example, if you need diced celery for the dressing and the apple salad, do that a few days prior to the holiday and place the proper amount for each recipe in separate zip lock bags. Look for any side dishes on the menu that can be prepared ahead of time such as the deviled eggs or sweet potato pudding. Insert Instant Pot Thanksgiving shortcut here:  Pressure cook eggs for 5 minutes, quick release and a cold water bath equals perfect hard-boiled eggs. Likewise, dishes such as green bean casserole can be prepared in advance, baked until almost done, and finished (the last 15 minutes) right before dinner is served. Prepare desserts such as pies and cakes in the days ahead of the meal.

The star of the Thanksgiving table is usually a roasted turkey. Think of this as the final centerpiece to the puzzle of the big picture.  Instant Pot turkey will come out moist and delicious. The best part? Pressure cook the turkey in the early morning hours of the holiday before the day is hectic. Holiday ham Instant Pot style is another win for the main event to the table.

Holiday Dinner in an Insant

Tried and true recipes are the best foundation to building a holiday dinner in an Instant. Further, new recipes must take a test run before the final dinner. Grandma always said “Thanksgiving is not the time to try out the neighbor’s favorite recipe.” In addition, the best menu items from our Instant Pot recipe box include

Turkey Breast

Savory Turkey Dressing

Creamy Pressure Cooked Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Pudding

Other tools of the trade in the RV kitchen for a quick and easy family feast include a sheet pan and a convection oven/microwave. These extra items can cut meal preparation to a minimum when utilizing the Instant Pot for most of the holiday dinner. For more tips on an Instant Pot Thanksgiving, hit the replay on the Roadschool Moms interview with pressure cooking expert Laura Pazzaglia.

More about Roadschool Moms

Looking for a roadmap for your next learning adventure? Scroll through the RSM library on iTunes to find more than 150 podcast replays.

Homeschool enrollment is on the rise. As a result, more and more families are moving into a home on wheels. Further, the Roadschool Moms record this broadcast to present resources that meet the challenges of today’s roadschooler. Kimberly Travaglino, co-founder of Fulltime Families, and Mary Beth Goff, the creator of Road Trip Teacher, team up every week to offer listeners a fresh take on homeschooling while traveling full time across America’s backyard.

Roadschool Moms:  Season 11

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.

Destressing the Holidays

Destress HolidaysDestressing the Holidays

Podcast #37

Join  Florida Parent Educators Association’s (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn for a discussion on making the holiday season more manageable and fun. She offers tips and suggestions on making the most of your holiday season, Thanksgiving-Christmas.

Please join us as we travel along this journey on our podcast adventure. Let’s get connected! Learn more about the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and homeschooling in the beautiful state of Florida.

Please visit to learn more about who we are!


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.

Stress-Free Celebrations


Stress-free celebration


Regardless of the holiday you’re celebrating, there’s always a certain amount of stress to go with it. There’s no magic wand to make that disappear, but some thinking ahead can go a long way. Here’s what Felice has to say …


Is stress-free enough? Every year, I dream of a stress-free celebrations. I’ve created seminars on the topic for my Thanksgiving and Holiday Expo, I’ve drilled down to the things that really bother me during the holiday, and I plan ahead. Throughout the year, I keep an eye out for holiday bargains that won’t break my budget. But I’ve realized that during the holidays, there is going to be some measure of stress that just can’t be avoided. The strategies below keep me sane: enjoy this list from my Stress-Free Seminar.

Which one of these things can you implement in your holiday planning?

  • Plans with Prayer
    • Make a Plan
    • Plan to Break It
    • Cross Out
    • Add To
    • Discuss
  • Adult Privileges
    • Just Say No!
  • Exceptions:
    • Brings you peace and joy
    • You want to do it
    • You are obligated
  • Mommy Time Out
    • Meditations
    • Focus – 60 seconds
    • Praise music
  • Revive Your Soul
    • Music
    • Reading
    • Praying
    • DO the ONE thing
  • Gift Giving  –card wrap
    • Time
    • Creativity
    • Exchange
    • Encouragement
  • Back Up Plan
      • You aren’t in control
      • Take out the List and cross out
      • Enlist help
      • Regroup
    • The Reason for the Season
      • CHRISTmas (or THANKSgiving)
      • Attitude Check
        • Expectations – yours?
        • Expectations – family?
        • Others WORSE off
  • Permission Granted
    • Neck rub
    • Foot soak
    • Hand massage
    • Family snuggles
    • Eat chocolate or cookies!
  • Affirmations
    • You are loved
    • You are a child of God
    • You are special
    • You are unique
    • You are treasured


Regardless of the holiday (or holy day), with a little advanced planning you can make your celebrations more stress-free.

How do you plan to avoid stress during family celebrations? I’d love to hear from you!

Felice Gerwitz is a wife, mother and author who strives to keep stress out of her life — but knows that only with GOD are all things possible! Here is a handout she hopes you enjoy: Vintage Handouts Stress Free Holidays