Oak Meadow Curriculum Giveaway

Remember the awesome iPad Giveaway DenSchool had a couple weeks ago? What an amazing organization and now they are partnering with others to giveaway something to help prepare your curriculum for next year!

We have teamed up with DenSchool and Teaching with Cents to bring you this great giveaway from Oak Meadow! Enter today on the Giveaway Tools form below.

One lucky reader will receive a Complete Curriculum Package (of their choice) from Oak Meadow. Imagine that, everything you need for homeschooling your child next year – for FREE!

Complete Curriculum Package Review

Oak Meadow has specialized in homeschooling curriculum for 35 years! They are committed to providing creative, innovative, and child-centered educational materials that can be utilized towards every family’s needs and routine.

We believe that true intelligence arises when children are given opportunities to engage not only their heads, but their hands and hearts as well. Our curriculum includes assignments that ask children to read, write, and think, and also to paint, draw, play music, write poetry, and build things, encouraging balanced and healthy development.

Oak Meadow

Have you begun planning your next homeschooling year and not sure where to start? Stop by DenSchool to read reviews for some of your favorite curriculum packages! There, you will learn all about Oak Meadow and what this great giveaway has to offer you!

Visit DenSchool’s Oak Meadow Reviews

DenSchool has reviewed curriculum packages for Grades 3, 4, and 6 – with an 8th grade review coming in August!

Contest Information:
*This great giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 18+.
*Giveaway ends on July 24th at 11:59 p.m.
*DenSchool Contributors, immediate family members, and group giveaway bloggers are not eligible to enter DenSchool giveaways.

ibotta App

Well this is interesting…. Normally I don’t do these types of apps because I find they are too much extra work for little reward. However, weekend before last another super saver Mom was telling me about a new app called ibotta.

Today during grocery shopping I put it through the paces I bought a movie, drink items, food items, etc… In the app you choose the offers to take advantage of, most even offer more than just one offer. For example I bought a movie, the coupon was for $5.00 – watched a 30 second video, took a quick one click poll and a post on Facebook. Total time less than 2 minutes to complete the offer. After verifying that the Proof of Purchase matched the offer (which you can do through the app), I scanned the receipt and sent in the request. Funds are deposited in a PayPal account.

So easy! What’s even better is you can use coupons on your purchase and it won’t change your ibotta offer. Double the savings.

I thought it was too good to be true, truth is it’s easy as they say!

Earn $10 cash just for trying the free Ibotta app. It’s simple: Ibotta pays you cash for buying your favorite products in over 40 stores. Users have already earned over $1 million. Sign up here! http://ibotta.com/r/BnJEPw


IPad Giveaway from DenSchool


“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

….and you could learn anywhere with a

brand new IPad Mini from DenSchool!


DenSchool makes online schooling easy breezy with FREE lesson plans, Creative Learning in a Pinch (CLIP) and tons of resources to make learning fun, creative and easy to manage.

Record keeping  & Lesson Planning · Online Courses

DenSchool provides free tools, record keeping, lesson planning, downloadable courses and live classes for homeschooling families. Record keeping can be concerning, but you can take control with fast and easy to use online tools which will help with your state’s record keeping requirement.

Summer Classes Start June 17th – (Early Bird Discount!)

This summer DenSchool will be offering self-paced, teacher supported classes. Some of the classes are Accounting, Algebra, Art, Beginner Guitar, Social Studies, English, Science, Journalism, World History….the list goes on and on. Remember these are not just for High School learners. Normally these classes are $59.00, but if you order by June 10th the cost is only $29.00; that’s more than a 50% savings!  These classes offer flexibility; with a 9 week format and learners are free to complete the class at their own pace taking more or less time. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all the courses.


Creative Learning in a Pinch (CLIP)

CLIP classes are free and there are some fun ones to choose from….Remember National Doughnut Day on June 7th? Oh boy we did in this house!  While we enjoyed the doughnuts, it would have been more fun to have a lesson. From Summer Solstice to 4th of July there are lots to choose from.



So what are you waiting for?


Oh the places you’ll go with an IPad Mini and

4 DenSchool Online Classes from DenSchool.com!

Ready to win? Enter here!


Note: This is a sponsored post by DenSchool. Please see a full disclosure on giveaways.



Checking In

Wow what an amazing month this has been! I didn’t even realize I hadn’t written in a while. We have met at TON of new people and are so excited about all the amazing friendships we’ve made. I can not wait to share some of the amazing blogs we’ve read over the last couple of weeks. The stories are so inspirational, the recipes look amazing and the crafts are inspiring.

We participated in an amazing P.E. program through Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) in partnership with Pacific Lutheran University. The program involved student teachers and a visiting professor to PLU/WAVA High School teacher running a 5 week physical education program, twice a week for about an hour and a half each time. The girls learned a bunch of new ways to work out, they loved their student teachers and made some really great new friends. In the end they got the cutest rewards for all their hard work and “sweat”. Hopefully the program will continue and allow the kids to progress through, as they get older, through various stages of new lessons. What a great program!

I got to participate in my first blog hop. That was a fun way to meet new people, and Katherine from Katherines Corner was so patient with me while I got the ins and outs of html code. I just recently started learning, in very limited fashion, how to write and manipulate some of my own html code. Which has opened up a world of doors as far as adding things to Word Press. However, it also at times has added to frustration when I can’t get a code to work, or try to add something and it shows up – but the code shows up to. This blog has been a true learning experience and continual work in process for me. Hopefully I can resolve my most current issue which is, how to add a Instagram widget – so confusing….an yet so challenging. (hopefully there aren’t a bunch of computer engineers sitting around laughing at me right now – 🙂 )

I have been exercising quite a bit in the last couple of years and recently made the goal to start running again. My overall goal is to walk the Golden Gate Bridge on my 40th, but for a closer goal I had hoped to run a 5k in February 2014. Well, that plan has been botched as recently the pain in my knee got pretty intense. After trying about every home remedy I could think of, I gave up and went in for XRays. Apparently I have osteoarthritis and bone spurs in both my knees. (well that would explain the shooting pain – thinking of bone spurs in painful period!). My doctor said it comes from too much sports when I was younger, along with the impact of current exercise, and not enough concentration on building the muscles in the leg to support the impact to the joint. Interesting….so old age is starting to kick my butt. Not for long – I have a 6 week treatment plan which includes some anti-inflammatory meds, yoga, low impact exercise, as well as starting to work on building leg muscles. So, lesson learned – proper strength training is important. In the meantime, I’m also headed to see a physical therapist whom I hope can help me become stronger overall so I don’t have to keep having an argument with my knee every time I want to walk a couple of miles in the sun.

In the meantime as well we have been working on doing a little more revamping to our diet plan at home. I use diet in the sense of food consumption – not being on a diet. The way a person eats is a lifestyle choice, and while ours is a constant evolution – I’ve recently been motivated by not only LaLa’s desire to be a vegetarian, but by my own desire to cut out the crap food (what little was left). I’ve had a lot of fun trying new recipes and chatting with people about food and meal choices. One of our friends Dottie shared this amazing recipe which we tried the other day  – and LOVE IT! We used vegan chocolate chips instead of blueberries (because we’re about blueberry out with smoothies) and it was SO enjoyable! Jump over to her blog and check out the recipes! Thanks Ms. Dottie!!

Almond Pancake Recipe
5 T. Almond Meal (I buy Trader Joe’s) 2 t. Flax meal (I buy Big bag at Costco)
1 T. Sour Cream …
3 T. Water
1 egg
1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. baking powder
Mix all together and cook like regular pancakes. I add blueberries to the mix. this recipe is 1-2 servings. Robby eats the entire batch 4 pancakes

Well, off to the races! Another day of school and finishing up a sewing project tomorrow…pictures to come. Enjoy the day!


Blog Hop Fun!

Happy Thursday!! Today is blog hopping day, so fun! This is my first invitation to the hop and I feel so honored that Katherine from Katherines Corner asked me to join. I can’t wait to meet new people and gain new inspiration for writing. 🙂

I couldn’t decide what my favorite thing was; I thought about cooking, kids, family, friends and all the things I love so much. Then I thought I would post about my travels which has became Zen…. being a Mommy. I am honored to have the privilege to not only write about our personal journeys through our blog, but also learn more about other families as well by writing for Ooh Belly. 🙂   So, I don’t do giveaways, but what I do is write about crazy cooking experiments, fun home school field trips and funny Monday Listicles – and Motherhood is truly my Thursday Favorite thing. 🙂

So hopping is easy-peasy! The rules are below (yes there are just a few!). Enjoy and have fun!!


Its Time For Thursday Favorite Things! Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things and share it with old and new followers. You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Please share the hop with your readers and let Katherine know if you would like to co-host with her.

Remember to leave her a comment if you are a new follower so she can follow you back

Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Here are the rules, yes there are rules. But just a few: Please DO NOT link and run…visit a few of the wonderful blogs that are sharing at the hop.

  • Follow Katherines Corner preferably through Email it’s on her right sidebar (or facebook twitterbloglovin,  etc. they are on her sidebar too) And My Blog too
  • Visit as many blogs in the list as you can, please      leave a comment so they know you stopped by!
  • Share the button or a linklback on      your post. Grab the hop button code from Katherines button page It’s always nice to have the hop button      on your post. It IS NOT mandatory; but a Link back to      Katherines Corner is always appreciated
  • No adult content blogs or links directly to your shops      please
  • Yes you can link giveaways ( they are everyone’s favorite thing) Add your giveaways to the Win It Page at Katherines Corner too!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

To Electronic or Not to Electronic?

Recently I’ve been struggling a bit with the balance of what is the appropriate amount of time to allow kids to use electrical devices and when does it become too much.  For a long time we used it as a reward system. Then there was a week when I was sick and it was a free for all, do as you please, just please let me rest to get better.  What I noticed during that week was zoned out kids. As I look around now having had that realization, I notice more and more kids are zoned out and in their own world instead of moving and partaking in the world around them. The future of electronic gadgets is exciting, but the zoned out part is my fear for our kids if I ever release my Stalin like tendencies on their daily electrical time allotment.

What sparks kids to move these days? Our kids are motivated by trips to the park, swimming at the Y, trips to Mt. Rainer anything that keeps them in continual movement. However, everyday can’t be about trips to faraway places, but it can be about movement.  When I hear those few little words “can I play on electronics” I reroute our kids to go for a walk or a bike ride, read a book or draw. Where is the next Leonardo Da Vinci going to come from if every kid has their head buried in a Tablet or PC? It’s a double edge sword because I realize a lot of amazing things can come from creating and playing on electronic devices, but a lot of trouble can come too.

When you look around the house and every person has their head buried in a phone, computer, tablet or even a television – it’s time to blow a referee whistle and break it up.  We try to eat dinner at the table every night we are all home together, even on the late nights when dinner is at 8:30 pm. The break from everything, the personal connection, laughter and even blissful silence that come at the dinner table can ease a parents concern about whether they are connected with their kids or not.

Setting limits with electronics and encouraging family togetherness is all about setting an expectation for your kids about what they should practice as individuals – self-control and boundaries.
Establishing and maintaining time restrictions allows them to understand rules are made to be followed. Understand that you’re not a bad parent if you allow your kids to play on electronics; some purists may say you are, but it is truly the direction of their future. Providing boundaries and encouraging educational and creative use of apps and programs whenever possible ensures you’re putting in place expectations they can meet.

Make sure always to check in so they don’t check out. Talk instead of text, give them a hug before they walk out the door, no matter how old they are, and don’t allow electronics to keep your family from being connected.



“If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles”—LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN, Family and Politics

Extra Help on a Busy Day

As a busy Mom I have learned that time is the most valuable commodity you have, and there is little to be spared when you have a busy schedule. Whether you work, home school, stay at home, work from home, trying to help your kids with homework – whatever your path is, enough can never be said for using the tools of your home to make your day easier. Sometimes I think we forget about these and end up spending time doing something, which could be done by a machine and give us a few spare precious minutes to be using somewhere else.

Tool Number One:  Crock-pot

Never underestimate the use of a crock-pot. Lots of healthy dishes can be cooked in a crock-pot – it’s not your grandma’s beef stew anymore. This is something you can get up in the morning and in the time it takes to make coffee or tea – you can have dinner in and ready to go. For an extra hand, set out the plates, utensils and napkins next to it so when it’s time for dinner, all you do is dish it out. Just Google Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes and tons of options will show up:  http://busycooks.about.com/od/healthycrockpotrecipes/a/healthycrockpot.htm

Tool Number Two: Dishwasher

I bet everyone uses one, but did you think about the timing for using it? We load ours after dinner and then empty it in the morning. The reason is it allows loading throughout the day. Then I don’t go into the kitchen and feel overwhelmed by having to do dishes – or my house looks a mess with a stack of dishes. Also, have your littles load their dishes throughout the day (you can always adjust the placement later) or have them help unload – it allows them to feel helpful and it gives you a break.

Tool Number Three: Washer and Dryer

Yes don’t laugh, these are tools too. If you have as much laundry as I do, sometimes you forget you left a load in. Put loads in first thing in the morning and even right before you go to bed. Let the machine work while you sleep.  If you can, during the day make sure you have the time buzzer turned on both the washer and the dryer. Let your littles help unload the dryer and throw everything on the bed if they like – kids love this because the clothes are warm and it’s fun to make a big mess of clothes on the bed. Either way, ensure you keep your loads going throughout the day – fold at the end of the day and put everything away – this way you’re still getting the productivity of the machines and not having to stop every hour to fold.

Tool Number Four: Steam Mop

This has saved me a ton of time hauling around a bucket and mop. A steam mop can be purchased for about $50 at your local store. You can use it to scrub your floors during your normal cleaning, but it is also great at spot cleaning. If you don’t have a carpet steamer it also removes stains from carpet.

Tool Number Five: Bread maker

I strongly dislike looking in the cupboard and realizing I need to run to the store to get bread. Having invested in a bread maker is a great way to not only ensure I know what goes into my family’s food, but it keeps me from having to run yet another errand. Set it up to cook at night, so when you wake up you have fresh bread. Make a couple loaves ahead and freeze them. Make sure not to slice them before your freeze them as it breaks down the starch and doesn’t freeze well. Here are a few recipes:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Course/Bread-Recipes/Bread-Machine-Recipes

These tools are all different for each home, but the point is the same. Use the tools you have to make your daily life easier. Let your littles help out, it teaches them the value of your and their time – as well as the responsibilities of being a contributing family member. Then you have extra time to play with your kids, or hang with your partner – or just have a quiet moment to yourself.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  ~Confucius

Home Schooling??!

When we started researching home schooling two years ago I was determined to make better educational choices for our children.  As a parent, you want to provide opportunities for your children you did not have.  After much research and knowing the temperament of our children, we decided homeschooling was our best option.  It provided a challenge, we set our own schedule, and it opened up a world of external learning beyond four walls and a door.

Since we have started home schooling I will say there is, as with many groups, a segregation amongst different reasoning for home schooling.  Some will say you aren’t a “pure” homeschooler if utilizing a state funded program.  Some will say you are not a homeschooler if you do not generate all your lessons from scratch.  Still others will say whatever medium you choose to teach your children with do it.  However, you choose to home school, we are all part of the same community.  We were choosing this lifestyle because it was our educational choice; not because of religion, learning disabilities, gifted children, etc…  It was just a better opportunity to provide a more hands on role in our children’s education.  Becoming part of this community, it was very eye opening to see segregation in a community where external parties put everyone in the same homeschooling category.

As a parent who teaches, one of my greatest joys is watching, our own children express their interest in different subjects.  When we started, it was all about writing, lately it’s been about science and reading, sometimes creative writing.  Neither one of them enjoy math, but they give the same response “we know we have to do it….”  As we have moved forward, I have encouraged creative thinking and exposed the girls to as much material as I could.  When I started the journey, I felt constricted by the curriculum, which was provided.  Moving forward I found often I was adding more materials, as well as finding outside opportunities for learning.  When you start home schooling you will be nervous, but as you learn your children’s abilities and gain self-confidence with being their teacher you will expand your horizons.

I am asked many questions about home schooling, which I welcome.  I wish I could be the spokesperson for it, but I’m still a newbie and not a veteran yet.  Therefore, here are a few things I would tell someone starting out:

  • Ignore the people saying it’s a bad decision to home school, even if they are family.  It will be your greatest battle, and honestly why should you care.  As long as your partner/spouse and you are on the same decision path, that’s all that matters.  When the kids are flourishing, these will be the same individuals who take credit for your work, ideas, and thriving family.
  • Be disciplined, set a schedule and be flexible, but try to stay to about the same amount of time and time of day; this helps kids to understand this is the time we do school.
  • Have a good place to work, but don’t forget home schooling happens anywhere!  Just make sure there are no distractions.  Distractions lead to dancing, laughing, and little schoolwork.  (although laughing and dancing is strongly encourage in our house, just not during school J)

so·cial·ize /ˈsoʊʃəˌlaɪz/ Spelled [soh-shuh-lahyz] verb, -ized, -iz·ing. verb (used with object) :  to associate or mingle sociably with others: to socialize with one’s fellow workers.

so·cial·i·za·tion  Spelled [soh-shuh-luh-zey-shuhn] noun :  a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social  skills appropriate to his or her social  position.

Please don’t expect this to be an issue.  Our kids spend more time socializing with other kids and they for sure have their own identity.  In fact, they are more secure in who they are because of our home life and spend more time out doing great things solo and with their friends.

  • Do develop a community of supporters to ask for help and encouragement when needed.  These people may be new as well, or be veterans; another person’s perspective on a subject may provide answers or help when you’re at a roadblock.  Having a sense of community is an important aspect of home schooling.  Whether that community is in person, on line, local groups, or other families; it helps to understand others and gain insight from parents who have been there done that.
  • Do ignore all those people who look at you as if you are a Saint from another universe because you home school your kids (and when they say “I could never do that” and you want to provide an encouraging notion – just let it go.  If they know they can’t, then they know themselves.)  Let’s face it, it is not easy, but the rewards way out weight the challenges.
  • Have fun and be flexible!  Remember, learning happens everywhere and not on a schedule.  You choose to home school because of freedom.  Do not ask for freedom and then demand learning happen on a schedule.  That’s a bit of a double standard, don’t you think?
  • Know who you are and be steadfast in your personal identity.  People will throw all kinds of personal questions at you once you tell them you home school.  Be open to answering them, curiosity is human nature.  Educating people about your home schooling path may help others dismiss some of those ridiculous notions about home scholars and squelch fears they have about getting started.

You will face adversity and varied opinions because you home school.  You may find a greater compassion and understanding for other groups, which face the same adversity for their personal choices.  Overall, it’s important to know thy self.  That should be the cardinal rule of home schooling.

One of the things I did not count on was all the support, answers, conversation, and open arms many of the homeschooling community members provide.  Bottom line, do what works for your kids, relax, and take it easy, it will all fall into place.  Challenges will be on going with new subjects and new materials, that is just education.  However, on a personal level, after 6 month of home schooling, my nerves are at bay and I am confident in what I am doing, you will be too.  That’s an invaluable lesson.

Good luck!