This Month's Featured Resources...


ChristmasHistory BundleChristmas Latin Latin Calendar

Tuesday, December 29

Give Myself to You (Train)

 What will it do for your health?
  • Being altruistic can lower your blood pressure…it lowers stress and increases gratitude.
  • Being charitable could help your heart.  Happiness helps protect your heart.  Moving around (physical exercise) while giving back is even better.
  • Giving back could help you live longer.  You’ll be more satisfied, too.
  • Practicing gratitude will help you sleep better.  Well-rested people are happier people.
  • Generosity and gratitude can reduce your stress…and we all know that less stress is better.

What will it do for you as a person?

  • Volunteering can relieve the sense of social isolation and help you fill empty hours in the day.
  • Everyone, rich or poor, takes from society, and volunteering is one way to show a sense of appreciation.
  • Volunteering is an excellent way to explore your likes and dislikes, or to practice a hobby.
  • Volunteering can offer a new perspective—seeing people who are worse off than you are, yet still hanging in there, can help you see your life in a whole new light.
  • When you volunteer, you realize just how much you are truly needed. Meeting people who need your help is a strong incentive to continue—people are depending on you. And unlike your job at home, the recipients are usually appreciative!
  • Helping others makes you feel good about yourself, because you’re doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves.

Take it to the Next Level

Tuesday, December 22

Nothing Can Stop Me Now (Mark Holman)

Holistic health refers to maintenance of the entire health of the person (all physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual systems) rather than just one aspect of health.  It is well known that emotional factors, dietary factors, stress, and physical activity influence health.

Every illness has an underlying cause, often an aspect of the lifestyle, diet, or habits of the individual. A holistic practitioner looks for, finds and removes the underlying cause of a disease with non-invasive treatments, which minimize the risks of harmful side effects.

It makes good sense to me that energy and health care dollars should be put into preventing disease, so that less money will be required for treating disease.


Tips for Preventative Health
  • Eat wisely for proper nutrition, energy, and optimal intestinal and overall health
  • Get adequate sleep, following a regular sleep/wake cycle that works best for you.
  • Exercise daily, preferably outside in the sun
  • Practice exercise, meditation, prayer, and if necessary, stress avoidance.
  • Do not use tobacco, alcohol, or other mood altering substances
  • Brush and floss regularly.
  • Minimize exposure to, or if possible, avoid environmental toxins in food, water, and air
  • Take measures to play and laugh regularly, and to feel happy, grateful, and positive about your life and your self
  • Help others and practice the “Golden Rule”

Take it to the Next Level

Learn more about preventative health at these sites :


Monday, December 21

Latin Vocabulary Bundle

As part of a classical curriculum, we began teaching our children Latin from an early age.  Latin is the foundation of many world languages, including our own English.  For us, it seemed a natural progression from phonics to Latin, and the results are already beginning to show themselves in our children's vocabulary and word discovery...

Reasons to Teach Latin
  • English Vocabulary  About 60% of English words derive from Latin, and more than 90% of multi-syllabic English words have a Latin root!  All of that "scientific mumbo jumbo" is either Latin or Greek.  Learn it and empower yourself and your children!
  • Foreign Language    If you want to learn or teach Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese or any of the Romance languages, a Latin background will be immensely helpful.  The vocabulary and grammatical structures all derive from Latin.
  • Test Scores    Not my favorite topic, but a background in Latin has been proven to increase verbal, analytic, and problem solving scores.
  • There are many more reasons, but these three alone are enough for us!!  What's your reason for choosing Latin (or another language)?

To help the children have a more visual understanding of their Latin vocabulary, we created these flash card sets for daily use words.  Each set can be used as flash cards, or as a memory game (match the word to the picture).  We also use a daily calendar, to practice days / months / seasons / weather words.  You'd be surprised at how much more they will retain from this hands-on use!!!

Check out our new Latin bundle, which includes a daily calendar and vocabulary flash cards for nine different sets of daily use words!

  • Months / Days
  • Weather / Seasons
  • Body Parts / Senses
  • Colors
  • Numbers
  • Animals
  • Food
  • Family
  • Holidays


Felix Nativitas!!

This year the Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses and Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset.

Wednesday, December 16

Baking Memories

One of our favorite things to do each year is bake up a multitude of treats to hand out to friends and family around town.  The kids are learning life skills, all while having immense amounts of fun destroying our kitchen!!!  Which then brings us to the 'cleaning' life skill...


Christmas cookies are always first on the list.  We bake several different kinds, and put a couple of each into every box we give out.  Some of the kids' favorites to make are :


They also came up with the Chocolate Peppermint Krispies, which are quick and easy to make...and an often-requested treat from the recipients!



Finally, as a family tradition, when the temperatures are consistently below-freezing, we make our Cinnamon Hot Candy.  This one requires more adult supervision.


While you've got the oven turned on, and the ingredients pulled out, why not whip up a batch of cinnamon applesauce ornaments.  They'll make your tree smell cinnamon-y delicious for days!




Heather, from Raising Memories,  has two more fantastic tutorials on making Play-doh Cookies and Holly Wreath Trees.  She's even more creative than we are!

And while you're baking up all this magic, why not have a crockpot of hot apple cider going in the background?  It'll bring a heavenly scent to the whole house, and some healthy yumminess to end your day!
Have a girls' night out baking party with our six favorites, featured here in the Happy Holiday Baking Party!

What's your favorite holiday treat to bake up with the kids?

Tuesday, December 15

Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran Duran)

We are knee-deep into ‘holiday overeating’ season.  It’s almost patriotic to overeat at these festivities…but it’s definitely not healthy.  So let’s look at the situation realistically, and try to manage the meals this year!

Most of us have to travel for the holidays, leaving us at the mercy of fast-food restaurants.  Some meals appearing “average” in size can add up to a whole day’s worth of calories.  A large order of french fries can contain as many as 1,000 calories.  Add a hamburger and an extra-large soda, and you’re getting more than 2,000 calories in one sitting.  And thus, the spiral has begun….

Real-World Strategies for Holiday Feasting…
  • Use a smaller plate.  Skip the platter, and serve your meals on smaller plates.  Your plate will look full, but you'll be eating less.
  • Slow down and skip second helpings.  Eat one reasonable serving and don't immediately go back for seconds.  Wait at least twenty minutes.  Give yourself time to digest and serve yourself more food if you are still hungry. 
  • Drink a glass of water before you eat.  Water takes up space and is calorie-free.
  • Start with the fruits and veggies.  Many of us don't eat enough vegetables anyway, so take this opportunity to eat the healthier options first.  You may find that you have less room to overindulge in high-calorie foods.
  • Skip the dips and dressings, especially the creamy ones, or opt for a lower calorie version if available.
  • Try small amounts of multiple foods rather than taking two or three servings of any one food.  (I like doing this because my portions are smaller and I get to taste more dishes.)
  • Limit your alcohol intake.  I love a cup of holiday cheer as much as the next person, but I do not love the empty calories.  If you do have more than one alcoholic drink, make a point to drink a full glass of water between drinks. It will slow you down, fill you up, and help keep you from getting dehydrated.
  • Stick to your exercise routine during the holidays or start one.  It drives my family nuts, but a morning run is crucial during holiday visits….both for the exercise and for the ‘alone time’ in a madhouse environment!
  • Don't beat yourself up if you slip.  Tomorrow is a new day, and you will have another opportunity to do better and feel good about making healthy choices.

Take it to the Next Level :  Learn to Visualize Serving Sizes

Sunday, December 13

Freezer Cooking 101 : December

Who wants to slave away in the kitchen during the holiday season??  Who even has the time?!  With the make-ahead burritos, you'll have lunch or dinner on (very) short notice, and the peppermint patties are a fantastic option for that last minute gift.  Just add a cute box and a bow!





Burritos (makes 48)
  • 8 cans organic refried black beans                 
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 16 oz shredded cheese                                     
  • 48 tortillas
  • 16 oz salsa


  1. Mix beans, salsa & seasoning.  
  2. Spread onto tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.  
  3. Roll up.  Either place in plastic bags or wrap in tin foil.
  4. Reheat : Microwave at 50% for 2-3 minutes.
Momma’s Peppermint Patties  (makes 30…a 3 day supply)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp half & half
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract


  1. Mix everything together until it’s creamy.  
  2. Chill in the freezer until it’s firm enough to roll, and then form into 1” balls. 
  3. Flatten on a lined baking sheet and re-chill (the colder the better).
  4. Melt 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips in double boiler.  
  5. Dip each patty completely, then re-place on lined baking sheet and chill until firm.  
  6. Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, December 11

Last-Minute Road-Schooling Gift Ideas!

 Road-schooling means limited space for carrying everyday items, and we are all about maximizing that space!  If you've got a road-schooling family on your Christmas list this year, or if you're just thinking about hitting the road yourself, here are some of our top picks for a road-schooler's wishlist...

Education

  • Audiobooks - Like "Under Drake's Flag," these are perfect for keeping the family happy on long travel days, and are educational as well.  You'll find most of the classics, currently popular books, and everything in between on audiobook....and what a way to bring history to life!  Only the size of a cd case, these provide hours, even days, of entertainment.
  • CD carrying case - A handy dandy place to keep all of your audiobooks in one spot!
  • DVD sets - Like "The Peabody & Sherman Collection," or "Schoolhouse Rock," also provide hours of educational entertainment on those long travel days.
  • Portable DVD player - Be sure to get a headphone splitter so that your kids can share the fun!
  • Kindle - Books upon books can really eat up your available space.  I'm all for a hard copy, and running my fingers along the pages - there's something about the smell of a real book that is just calming.  But there's nothing calming about trying to fit two months worth of books into your packing space.  With an e-reader, you can download books (often for free from your local library) as needed, and they all fit into one tiny space!
  • Digital Camera - We document our field trips, both for homeschooling purposes and for memory scrapbooks.  A good digital camera is a must for all traveling families!
  • Lego City Camper - A little fun goes a long way!  We all know that building toys stimulate our kids' creativity...this one gives them a way to play 'house,' too.

Fitness

  • Adjustable Jump Rope - This takes up little to no space, and provides a great cardio boost.  After driving all day, your body wants to move a bit.  Just twenty minutes of jumping rope can get you there...and an empty space (outdoor?) is all you need.  We like the adjustable feature because the entire family can use one rope.  Get two, and have a competition!
  • Free Weight 52 Stack - One deck of playing cards will give your body more of a workout than it ever imagined!  These cards are designed to target every muscle in your body.  Shuffle the deck and see how much you can complete.  Coupled with your jump rope, you'll have a cardio and strength training workout wherever you roam!  The only downside here is that you'll need to pack those free weights.
  • RFID Pouch - We love to walk around the city, but who wants to carry a huge purse all day?  This travel wallet has room for money, cards, keys, pends, and a small notebook (or smartphone), all with room to spare!  It fits discreetly under your clothing, and is designed to thwart theft.

Health

  • Yogi Flex Microfiber Towel - This oversized, but compact, towel is super absorbent!  It takes up less space than a shirt and dries very quickly.  Perfect for RV life, they are easy to wash and small enough that each family member can pack their own!
  • Sleep Kit - A good night's sleep is the body's first defense to staying healthy...and with this sleep kit, you'll block out all of the distractions around you.  It also comes with a tiny, but handy, carrying case!
  • No-Tie Shoelaces - We weren't sure where to categorize these, but they have revolutionized our days.  Having young children, or children with special needs, presents it's own set of challenges...both at home and on the road.  With these no-tie shoelaces, both of our children are now capable of fully dressing themselves each day.  They take up no space, but provide a terrific confidence boost!
  • Stainless Multi-Tool - Emergencies happen...you might as well be prepared.  This multi-tool has the knife, axe, hammer, lever, and several other functions.  It folds up neatly, and is durable, but affordable.
  • Goldenseal Root - Foul-tasting, yes.  But it works wonders!  Take a dropper-full at the onset of illness, and it will go away quickly.  Even the kids are believers.  We all make the most horrible faces...but when kids are coming to you, and asking for the nasty stuff because they have a terrible cold, then you know it must work quickly!!  This little bottle is worth it's weight in gold.

So that's it - these are out top picks for road-schooling gifts.  What would you add to this list?  Which one does your family need for upcoming travels?  
Enjoy your journey!

Thursday, December 10

Mrs. Santa Claus (Nat King Cole)

We've got some wonderful prizes lined up for our readers this Christmas....fourteen of them!!!  Take a moment to read about and visit with our sponsors, and then enter the giveaways.   Good luck, and Merry Christmas!


Prizes provided by :

Soman Chainani, Author - Soman has generously donated several copies of the third book in his School for Good and Evil trilogy, and we will be giving the winners copies of our SGE unit study for middle and high schoolers.  (US only)




The Pencil Grip, Inc. - These guys are donating a six-pack of Kwik Stix...the best tempera paints we've used!  If you have an artist, this is the perfect gift - just uncap the stick and 'paint,' and they dry in only 60 seconds!  They're very bright, and don't make a mess...no newspapers or smock required!  Check them out at FB!  (US only)




Cook With 5 Kids - Sara blogs about family life, raising children, and anything cooking!  She is donating a Light-Up Laser Building Set for one lucky winner!  (US only)








Being Fibro Mom - Brandi blogs about cibromyalgia and chronic pain, and tells you how to cope with those crazy kid days, unexpected flare ups, and emotional days.  She is graciously donating a $25 gift card for one winner.  (Worldwide)








Feeling Fluffy - Mick and company have created these amazing wool dryer balls that are made of 100% natural organic wool.  They make clothes incredibly soft, and there is no static.  This is an easy way to switch out chemicals for a natural option for your family!  (US only)






The Holy Mess - Sara blogs about faith, fitness, and family.  She's a real wife, and a super real mom, and she's donating two of her best-selling kits, the Hope Toolbox & the Fitness Bundle, for one lucky mom!



To round out the bunch, we are also giving away several of the best-selling and newest products from our Educents store!  These include the Latin bundle, History bundle, and Home Ec bundle (TST & Kitchen Fixes).  (Worldwide)  And everyone that enters will receive a special goody in their inbox!





Finally, we will be giving away a 'road trip bundle' to one lucky reader (US only)  This mystery bundle will include books, audiobooks, and some extra special goodies!   (ARV : $100+)




There will be at least five local winners!!!