Friday, September 22, 2017

3 Tips For A Healthy Scalp with Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo

 A Rup Life received product to facilitate this review

 As the weather changes it affects skin. I always start out with drier, tighter skin and have to pull out the big guns for skin care during the fall and winter months. Then my scalp starts to suffer too. Flakes appear. I know it is not something people like to talk about but it happens. I have found a routine that helps ease the impact of that colder air on my hair.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Matthew West All In

A Rup Life received free product to facilitate this post

I didn't grow up in church. At 16 a good friend started taking me to youth group. At that time I had been searching for something I just didn't' know it was Jesus. A year later I asked Jesus to save me and he has transformed my life. Before Christ, I was a daredevil who would try just about anything. I lived hard and fast. My mom died when I was 17 after battling breast cancer for years. I didn't realize at the time how much that shook my world. I was forever seeking approval from other people. Always longing to fit in.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Dance Remixes by Laurie Berkner

 A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post

 Laurie Berkner has released an album that is completely different! The Dance Remixes is basically that. Laurie has taken some of her best songs and revamped them to upbeat dance songs. This album is the kind of thing that makes you get up and MOVE! You won't be able to help yourself. This is the kind of music that you would hear at a club (but completely on a kids level!) I imagine that the older kids who grew up on Berkner will like this album too because it is fresh, reinvented and totally cool!
I was so happy to hear my favorite song - The Cat Came Back - redone. It is so much fun!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mentally Prep for Homeschooling

If you were to look on Pinterest or at any of the Mommy homeschooling blogs you would think that everything is perfect and wonderful every day. That every homeschooling Mom wakes up at sunrise and prepares a healthy, home cooked meal. That she has her lesson plans all set to go. That her kids wake up and spout their latin verbs while brushing their teeth and happily doing their chores. That Mom is dressed to impress, as are her children. That she has an immaculate home. Her youngest would have a day filled with stories and hands on activities. Painting, play dough, and an assortment of Montessori style projects keep that rascal busy.

Well, I'm here to tell you that is a bunch of phony bologna! Most of us are balancing a ton of stuff and just trying to get by. If I'm working on a lesson with the teens it usually means my littlest is playing in the toilet. Dinner is often takeout or grilled cheese because both are easy to get going after a long day. My teens tend to wake before me most days because I'm up all night fighting the littles to sleep.

Don't get me wrong, I love our crazy, chaotic life. It just isn't pinterest worthy. I saw a meme that said something like - I always wanted to be a pinterest Mom, turns out I'm more of an amazon prime mom - this IS ME!

So, when the days are long and the worrying sets in what do I do  to mentally prep for homeschooling? I've learned some things that help me. Trust me I often have to remind myself. Especially at the beginning of the year when getting into a routine can be stressful. When it takes two days to do one days work because the curriculum is so new.

Mentally Prep for Homeschooling

Start with prayer (personal time)

I find that this is the biggest key to our day going smooth. When I start my day off with prayer time (and devotions) my mental state is always considerably better than the times it doesn't happen.

Start the kids with prayer

The days we meet around the table or on the couch and take time to talk about the Lord and pray together tend to start smoother. Maybe it is that attitude adjustment first thing in the morning, I'm not sure but I know it works.

Be prepared to let things go

It is impossible to do it all. There just isn't enough time to do everything. I had to give myself permission not to do everything early on. I prioritize. It helps. I set out each year, week and day with a list of expectations to accomplish but I know that some days it just won't happen. Things come up. Relatives visit, kids get sick, sometimes a lesson is hard and needs extra time. It is okay!

Start with a clean atmosphere

I struggle with this one but it is one area I'm working on. If I start the day with a full sink of dishes it seems to take all morning to get that done. We try to straighten before bedtime so we are waking to a fairly clean house. Now don't get me wrong my idea of clean is not perfect. It usually means the dishes are done, floors are clear and swept and table is clean and wiped. It isn't a whole lot to ask for and every one pitches in.

What do you do to mentally prep for homeschooling each day?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Disney's Elena of Avalor Celebrations to Remember

Now on DVD!

Elena is one of the newest Princesses on the Disney Channel. On her show, Elena of Avalor is learning to navigate her role in the kingdom. This new DVD Celebrations to Remember features 4 holiday episodes. We've really liked watching to learn about holidays we didn't really know about like Carnival. One of the conflicts they work through is how everyone has their own traditions and how to mix it up so that everyone can celebrate happily. I love that! (Makes me think of when two people get married and they have to create their own traditions.) This is a neat addition to our holiday movie collection. Elena is such a sweet character and she has a heart of gold - something I love my children seeing on screen.


  Light the candles, prepare the feasts and share the fun of Celebrations to Remember.

Join Crown Princess Elena, along with her family and friends, as they honor the past, rejoice in the present and greet the future with music, laughter and love. Whether celebrating Navidad, Dia de los Muertos or Carnaval, new and older traditions alike play a part. And even though everyone doesn’t always agree on the best way to get the party started, one thing is perfectly clear: holidays aren’t about what you do; they’re about the special people you spend them with!

The Day Henry Met..? Season 1

 Every day Henry meets something new! I wonder what Henry s going to meet today? Henry is a 4-year-old boy who always wants to learn and find out more. In each episode, Henry has a friendly chat with whatever he meets and discovers something new... Hello, Whale. How do you stay under water for so long? Hello, Car. What makes you go so fast? Hello, Moon. Why do you only come out at night? No matter what Henry meets, they re always delighted to talk, laugh and share their amazing world with him. After finding out so many amazing things about his new friends, Henry lets his imagination run wild and imagines himself... As a knight rescuing the missing sword... As a singer performing in a band... As a deep sea diver swimming along sea creatures... As a fireman rescuing others... As an astronaut flying to the moon... And more!

Monday, September 11, 2017

September Reading for Classical Education

One of our favorite parts of the school day is pulling our books out. I utilize, Amazon and our local library to keep the book bin fresh with holiday and classic books! This is what we are reading for September:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Animal Planet Snakes! & Bugs! Chapter Books

 Chapter books are an important part of reading when kids are little. We have a whole shelf devoted to these types of books. Most are fictional stories which are wonderful but we don't have too many non-fiction. When you have a kid that loves facts and learning all about the world around them that can be challenging. Animal Planet chapter books are perfect because they are focused on amazing facts and the animal world.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What's Your 9/11 Story?

 I can still remember that day so clearly. I was home with my first born son, who was just 1 years old. I was sitting on the couch nursing him while watching television. Back then I would watch those morning talk shows because that is what my Mom did when I was growing up. I remember them breaking away to news that the first tower had been hit. I then called my Mother-in-law on the phone and was telling her what happened when we watched the second plane hit. That was the moment things truly became scary because the realization that this was no accident set in. I remember being so fearful. My husband was working on a military base that day and this was before cell phones. I was worried something would happen at his work, after all we are in NJ which is not that far from NYC. That day I sat glued to the screen. It was all that was on television. In fact television eventually stopped. Most stations went silent and off air during the upcoming days. This was life changing and the entire country took notice.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Read Alouds for Littles from ZonderKidz was sent product for review

 As we transition into our new school year we have been updating our book bin with new books. My littlest loves reading time he loves going to his bin and pulling out his favorites. I let him pick on of his favorites and then I pick one or two. I love the special time of cuddling together and reading a books.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hard Candy Launches 2 New Fragrances! Pink and Black! #review

 Hard Candy just keeps bringing us some amazing new product launches! They are the company for affordable and on trend beauty. Now they've jumped into the fragrance game with two new scents. Pink is a sweet cotton candy type scent that smells amazing it is light, fresh and airy. While Black is more sophisticated and deeper in scent. It still has that cotton candy vibe but more mature. Honestly I love them both! I received Pink in the Body Mist which is a great easy formula to apply and touch up and Black in the Eau De Parfum which looks beautiful in the dark packaging.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

12th Grade Curriculum Choices

I cannot believe my oldest baby is entering his last year of school. I can still remember dropping him off to kindergarten and all the crying. The crying was on my part - he was a champ! Our Pastor at the time said to me that I would be crying on the first day but soon I would be crying for them to take him off my hands. That day actually never happened. I never liked sending them off to school. I dreaded that first day every year. When we became homeschoolers 6 years ago - that was one of the best parts for me. Getting to be with my kids every day is such a privilege. I'm so happy I am the one that gets to share their day.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

9/1 Force Friday 2!! #starwars #forcefriday #thelastjedi #disneystore

 My kids are so excited to go to all the local events for Force Friday II! Last time we went to Toys R Us at midnight then Target at opening and The Disney Store in the afternoon. I *think* that is the plan again this year.


  • Get there early - there will be lines! 
  • Be camera ready - last time my kids ended up on the local news 
  • Download the Star Wars app before you head to the store 

 Scan the above picture with your Star Wars App to unlock a sneak peak at a new character!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Curriculum Review: Notgrass Exploring Government

 Thank you to Notgrass History for providing product for review purposes.

Motivating high school students can be tricky at times. With my two teens they want to be done school and have lots of free time to pursue their own interests. My oldest likes to work outside with the garden and his chickens, while his brother will be often found reading or playing a game. I'm good with them having activities that bring them joy but school comes first.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Duck and Hippo Lost and Found Review & Giveaway #ad

 Summer is nearly over. In NJ we call it over when the kids go back to school just after Labor Day. I have to tell you it went fast. Too fast. I'm a little sad to see it go but I am starting to miss our homeschool routine. We've started back with some short lessons for Jace. I think jumping into school for kids is a difficult transition after having the freedom of those lazy days. So we've been doing some light math and reading work. I decided to pull this new book - Duck and Hippo Lost and Found - off the shelf and read it to him not knowing it was the perfect end of summer tale.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Pencil Sharpener That Changed My Life #win

 Okay, maybe that title is a little dramatic but maybe not. See when we first started homeschooling 6 years ago we were given a school pencil sharpener from a teacher relative. The problem is it chewed through my expensive Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. We went through so many that year. We stopped using that beast and went to using cheap individual sharpeners. Guess what they often broke open and spilled all over. They didn't sharpen nicely either. They were so small and lost easily.

#PRHpartner Meditate with Me Book #win

 Teaching kids to just be still and be is sometimes a tough concept. In Meditate with Me: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Journey by Miriam Gates that is exactly what the story takes you through. Adorable animal illustrations by Margarita Surnaite take you on the journey of exploring quietness and emotions. I like how this book approaches meditation. It shows children how to breathe and quietly listen to the world around. It allows them to explore their feelings and see how that makes them feel.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Build the Human Body Kit Review & Giveaway #partner

 Our first grade homeschool curriculum (Memoria Press) doesn't start formal science until second grade. Instead they incorporate lots of books for the our read aloud time that talk about topics like weather, animals and the world around them. I like to supplement that with hands on activities because J-man loves to do crafts and what I call 'fun-school'. When Build the Human Body Kit came in the mail, Jace couldn't wait to work on the skeleton.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

10th Grade Curriculum Choices for 2017-2018

 We still have a almost two weeks until we start school. That means I will be starting to print up all the notebooking pages for all three kids. Thankfully I have almost everything we needed to purchase and most of it is planned out. I'm excited to have my second son in his second year of high school. He did awesome in 9th and I think this year will be even better.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kiwi Season One DVD Giveaway #partner

Our first grader is a beginner reader. He is doing amazing with it but I still love finding fun ways to supplement his learning. Kiwi Season One is a fun show that features two birds Twiki and Twini who go on educational adventures. I love how the words come on screen spelled out. It is like having a digital flash card. Kids can watch the words being built on screen. Each episode has several words spelled out. The show is narrated with interaction to our bird friends. It is truly an unique word experience!

Friday, August 18, 2017

#PRHpartner I'm Scared - My First Comics Book

 Comics are a rite of passage for all kids. I remember when my older two sons were about 2 and 4 my husband took them for their first comic books on Free Comic Book Day. It was the start of a life-long love and collection for both kids. I'm Scared is an introduction to comics in the style it is illustrated. In I'm Scared - Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm have designed a delightful story featuring weather. The personification of the little snowflake Chilly is unique, adorable and quite fun. He is afraid of many things but in the end over comes his fear to have fun on the playground with is friends Tornado and Cloud. This is an important story written in a sweet relatable way.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Homeschool Must Have -

 This coming school year marks our sixth year. While I'm no expert there are some things I've learned along the journey. Curriculum choices matter. Curriculum might claim to be complete but you will most likely supplement here and there. The internet has tons of things but searching is a chore. Last year, I was lucky to review as part of the crew. I fell in love instantly because of the layout of the site. Everything is broken up into categories. You can look by subject or grade. There are printables for Pre-K - 12th grade.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What You Really Need To Know To Start Homeschooling!

 Whenever we share that we are a homeschooling family one of the very first things people share is that they wouldn't even know where to begin. I get asked all sorts of questions and I get it because I was once there too. Thankfully I had a few close friends that had navigated this before me and I knew I could get the answers I needed quite easily.

Do you need a degree for that?

Is it legal?

Where do you get curriculum?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mily Miss Questions DVD Giveaway #WIN

 Kids are full of hard to answer questions. Some things they ask just don't have a solid answer. Sometimes the answers depend on the parents faith or beliefs. So what is an inquisitive supposed to do with those burning questions? In Mily Miss Questions - a french cartoon- we have a main character who gets to the bottom of those questions. She asks her friends and family to form valid answers.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sustainability Made Simple Giveaway #ad

If I'm being honest I haven't spent much time thinking about sustainability. It has always seemed overwhelming for this time in my life with homeschooling and the two little kids. When I was approached to read Sustainability Made Simple: Small Changes For Big Impact by Rosaly Byrd and Lauren DeMates - I was intrigued. I liked the title because it sounded like it was written for someone like me. Someone who needed the work done for them as far as explaining Sustainability and the importance. I was right! The first half of the book really is all information. From explanation to examples of why we need to think about sustainability.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Lost: Book Three of The Sidhe by Cindy Cipriano

 I'm so excited to share the third book in The Sidhe series by Cindy Cipriano! The Lost brings us back to Calum after his harrowing experience with the Void. In this story the characters have grown. They are not the little kids they were in the first book. They've experienced real life challenges and evil which has molded them into the young adults they are becoming. This book answers questions that we've had but it also transitions us into the next step for Calum and his friends. It feels like a transition book and I liked that because some of the things were resolved and new things popped up. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

July Favorites

Can you believe it is August already? I'm always amazed at how fast the year goes by. Summer is almost over and I'm quite sad! I wish it would last 6 months! I have a few of my favorite things to share with you today.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#PHRpartner Splat! by Jon Burgerman #WIN

We had a great time reading this new book from Jon Burgerman. Splat! is a fun and interactive story about great big messes. It didn't take long for my little one to catch on to the idea that things were going to be splatted on our characters face. He had fun shouting the action words as he read along with me. This brightly colored book is just a fun time. I think it is the perfect "exciting" book for bedtime or really anytime.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Disney Learning Explore Music Library - featuring Mickey, Tangled and Moana #ad #win

Teaching music at home can be challenging. As homeschoolers we try to sing often and we even go to sing at a nursing home once a month. Teaching is different. Getting the kids to project their voice, hold notes and keep tempo can be challenging. Disney Learning has commissioned a series of books -Explore Music / Creative Arts authored  Hal Leonard for the 4 and up crowd that brings music learning to their level by including characters that kids know and love.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sports Illustrated Kids - The Football Fanbook #WIN

 We were recently sent The Football Fanbook: Everything You Need to Become a Gridiron Know-It-All by Gary Gramling. This really is a complete guide to America's most favorite game. Each page is filled with wonderful facts. There is even a section on obscure facts (something my boys love to learn about.) This hardback book has tons of colorful pictures included as well. Perfect for an avid reader or even a reluctant reader who loves the game!