Blog Archive

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cutting the Cable Cord - Again!

We are doing it, again, cutting the cable.  I have had a love/hate relationship with cable TV for a long time now.  I think the fact that the cost of cable has increased dramatically is kind of insane, and I also find that I don’t need nearly as many channels as they give you these days!

Many Americans have decided to cut the cable cord, and I have to say, I fully agree with this.

Americans who no longer subscribe to cable or satellite TV have increased 44% in the past four years, according to an Experian Marketing Services report. 


We are at an interesting point in time when most everything you could ever want (or need) to see is online.  There are so many options available between Netflix and Hulu, and they only run you $7.99/month – much more affordable than a cable subscription.

TV’s come equipped with internet capabilities, and for those who don’t have a smart TV, you can have a box like Roku, Apple TV or Amazon FireAll of these are great options when you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for cable.


I think the biggest issue that I have with cable is the mindlessness of it.  I can easily sit down in the evening and flip through my 500 channels and not watch anything at all, or I can spend 10 seconds turning on my favorite show (that was on last night but I was putting the kids to bed and couldn’t watch) on Hulu. 

I think with the creation of smartphones and tablets, it is so easy to move away from cable. 

I remember back when I got my first iPhone and thought, why would I watch TV on that?  Of course then I proceeded to binge watch the first season of The Vampire Diaries, and I realized that I could easily watch TV on a 3 inch device.  Now my iPhone 5s is much bigger than that, and they are getting larger! 

Flexibility is the key.  I don’t want to have to think about programming a DVR or making sure I am home at a specific time in order to watch my favorite show.  I like that I can stream my local news in the morning, and find all of my shows online as well.  And I feel like binge watching is a big thing these days with so many great shows being added to Netflix and Hulu.

It isn’t just at home that you have that opportunity.  With US Cellular’s 4G LTE Network, it is easy to keep up with programming while you are traveling (or waiting a very long time for a dr.’s appointment with two children).

Granted, there are some people who watch a lot of sporting events and a wide range of other television programming, and in those cases, cutting the cable probably would not work out so well.  But, if you mainly have a few favorites, and want to watch whenever and wherever you are, cutting the cord and using a service such as Netflix or Hulu is the way to go.

Now, I am not saying that we should all have our noses in our own device and completely disengage from the rest of our family, that is where smart TV’s and a Roku box come in.  You have the flexibility to watch together as a family, without advertisements.   If you are worried about what your kids are going to be watching on their devices, don’t forget to download the Parent/Child Agreement and make sure that you set those expectations up front!



Have you cut the cable cord?  Are you unsure of whether or not you want to?  What is keeping you plugged in to cable?

I am a member of the US Cellular Blogger Brigade and have received compensation for this post, however, all words and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Homeschooling Science Part One

Out of all the subjects that I teach to my kids, science is the hardest.  Why is that?  I love science, I enjoyed it in high school and college, and I love nature.  So why is it so hard?

I think it might have something to do with the fact that my kids are still quite little.  Finally I went online to see what the kids were learning about at the public school this year.  What I found was that they were learning about weather, the change in seasons, and the cycle of a year.  Well, that made me feel a lot better!

I thought it might be nice to share some of the resources we are using this year for Science.


First and foremost we will be reading a lot of books.  These are pulled from all of the cores that we have used so far from Sonlight.  This is not an exhaustive collection of course, it is just the beginning.  I fully support interest led learning, so when there is a subject that really catches the eye of my children, we will follow that, taking more books out of the library.

Every morning we have circle time.  It is a time where we read our Bible story for the day; we do some morning stretches and sing some silly songs.  But, the favorite part for my kids is doing their calendar.  We have a magnetic calendar from Melissa & Doug that the kids do together.  And the favorite part on the calendar is the weather.  They talk about what is going on outside our window, decide on how warm (or cold) it is, what the weather might be like for the whole day, and how that will impact our time outside.  It is something we have been doing since Emma was two.  It has gotten more advanced as the years have gone on, but what is going on outside our window has always been a part of it.

Another resource that I absolutely love this year is the Wild Kratts games on PBSkids.org.  Seriously, if you have not checked out this free resource, you should.  It is amazing the information that Emma and Jack will report back to me after they have their screen-time on the computer.

I also love the Magic School Bus shows, which are on Netflix instant.  There is an entire Magic School Bus curriculum for science, but we do not have that.  Instead the kids will watch a show and then tell me about what they have learned and draw pictures in their Science notebooks.  I love to be able to give them something to watch that has educational value, so they feel like they are getting to watch something fun, but also learning at the same time.


Being outside is another big resource, at least until the snow flies around here.  Getting out into nature not only helps my kids concentrate better on their other school subjects, it allows them to get dirty and messy and explore God’s creation around them.  Some days they spend a lot of time digging up worms and chasing butterflies, and others they go outside to sit in their tree fort for a bit then come back inside.  I try and give them the freedom to explore, and then report back on what they are doing. 

Finally, we do include some experiments.  However, these seem to be few and far between.  It is something that I struggle with doing, and will touch on it more next week in Part 2 of our Science resources for this year.

For a couple of years we mainly did science during the summer.  I spend a lot of time out in the garden, and having the kids involved in that is such a huge learning experience for them.  But, they are becoming pros at planting seeds in the dead of winter and nurturing them to grow into something edible in the summer, so we need to keep going. 

Is there a subject you struggle with teaching?  What do you do to make sure you cover everything?

Monday, September 15, 2014

fall is in the air!

It is amazing how quickly the seasons seem to change in Maine.  I feel like we were just in 90 degree, high humidity weather.  Well, I guess that is because we were.


Those days definitely seem to be behind us now.  This past weekend we were waking up to temperatures in the 40's and day time highs in the 60's...with the mention of frost warnings on the weather.  The summer garden is definitely done for us.


Right now it is actually a big field of weeds.  I stopped weeding a couple weeks ago, and it is amazing how quickly all of those weeds grow!  The husband will *hopefully* be getting that all taken care of in the next week or so.  


Now we are looking forward to the lovely weather that is fall around here.  It makes going outside so much more enjoyable for the kids.  They are true Mainers, when it is hot hot hot they want to lay around inside the house.  But, when the fall weather comes, everyone seems to gravitate to the outside.


We are looking forward to all the wonderful fall activities we typically do, first up will be apple picking.  I have high hopes that I can get my canning done...even though we are expecting a baby in a few short weeks!  Wish me luck!


What are you most looking forward to about fall this year?

Don't forget, this is the LAST DAY to buy the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!  Don't miss out!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle - What's Included?

We all want to make better health and lifestyle decisions for ourselves and those we love. We want to lose some weight, have more energy, use greener products, create nutritious meals for our families, get fit, and feel confident that we’re doing all we can to prevent serious diseases.

But it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the masses of healthy living advice out there – to the point where we’re frozen into complete inaction instead!

That’s where The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle comes in. For the ridiculously low price of just $29.97 (for the PDF version) or $39.97 (for the eReader version), you can get access to a carefully curated collection of eBooks and eCourses with a total combined value of $1,030.

The bundle contains a wealth of information from the very finest healthy living writers out there – but there’s no risk of getting overwhelmed! A useful Getting Started Guide is included with your purchase, which will help you identify the most valuable resources for your specific health priorities.

The Ultimate Bundles team has done all the hard work for you – finding the top experts across a number of healthy living fields and combining their products into one essential collection. If you want to take control of your health, there’s no better way to start!

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 15.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 30,000 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone!

You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles one-year guarantee: you have a full year to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don’t feel like it’s made a huge difference to your family’s health, you’ll get your money back in full!

Click here for more info or to buy now.



As if this great collection of eBooks and eCourses wasn’t enough, the Ultimate Bundles team has also partnered with 10 fantastic companies who’ve each agreed to give a special bonus to every buyer. The bonuses have a total value of over $200 – more than 5 times the price of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle itself!

The bonuses include free goodies aplenty: a bottle of Healthy Mouth Blend from OraWellness, a baltic amber bracelet from Sweetbottoms Boutique, and a starter culture from Cultures For Health. You’ll also get gift sets from Made On Skin Care Products and Homegrown Collective.


There are virtual goodies, too – a 4-month membership to StayAtHomeYoga.com and a 3-month premium membership to meal planning service Tradishen. And as if all that weren’t enough, there are also $15 gift certificates for TheJoyfulGiraffe.com, Strawesome.com and Trilight Health. There is a nominal shipping charge for many of the bonuses, based on each company’s standard shipping rates, and is usually $3-5.

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, September 15

What? 73 eBooks and 7 audio & eCourses, PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle HERE. 
How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth $1030, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

Click here for more info or to buy now.



Want to know exactly what’s included in the bundle?

Take a look through the categories, as well as the full list of eBooks and eCourses.

We think there’s something here for everyone, and don’t forget… our Getting Started Guide will show you exactly which resources cover the topics and health concerns that matter most to you!

Alternative Health & Home Remedies

Audio Courses & eCourses

Fitness

Gardening & Homesteading

Green Cleaning

Healthy Children

Meal Budgeting & Planning

Natural Beauty & Skincare

Real Food Recipes

Seasonal

Special Diets

Click here for more info or to buy now.



Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 7 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, September 10th to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, September 15th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Friday, September 12, 2014

soup and muffins and menu planning, oh my!

I have been thinking a lot about food lately.  Who am I kidding?  I am always thinking about food!  

The past few weeks I have been incredibly unmotivated to do any cooking.  I attribute it to the insanely hot and humid temperatures outside.  This week has been completely different, mornings it is in the 40’s outside, and we are lucky if we hit 70 during the day!  Fall comes fast and furious in Maine.

curried corn chowder - yum!

Now that the temperatures have been cooling down, and the garden is winding down, I am thinking ahead to meals that I can make during the fall and winter. 

I actually love cooking and baking in the fall.  There is still so much fresh produce available (albeit not from my garden), and it isn’t too hot in the kitchen to put a soup on the stove all day.

banana muffins

I have been thinking about menu planning for the past couple of months though.  I need to get back to it.  I need some motivation to get back to it.  And it all needs to be done on a budget and with whole healthy foods. 

I am really excited about this year’s Ultimate HealthyLiving Bundle because it has an entire section on meal planning.  This is something I definitely need to concentrate more on.  I want to feed my kids meals that they will eat, but at the same time I want them to be healthy meals that I can feel good about giving them. 


I was also excited to see the wide variety of books available on allergen free cooking.  It seems like there are so many people with food sensitivities these days.  Honestly it is a little concerning.  I don’t think there were any kids I knew growing up that had food sensitivities, and now there are entire classrooms in the elementary schools dedicated to peanut free/nut free, I know several children that have gluten sensitivities, and I myself do better without dairy in my diet, unfortunately considering I love cheese.
  

These two sections are what I am looking forward to most in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle.  What are you looking forward to checking out?


Don’t forget, this bundle is only on sale until MONDAY September 15th.  That is just a few days away!  And then it will be done until next year.  Don’t wait to snag your copy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

knitting and reading : Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!

If I said I finished the hat would you be surprised?  Of course you would!  That is why I won’t say such nonsense!  Actually, I am very close to being done.  I thought I would spend more time knitting last week, but when the temperatures were in the 90’s with high humidity, I parked my 8+ months pregnant self on the couch and did nothing but read.

OK that isn’t entirely accurate.  I was also making meals and doing school with the kids.  There are never enough hours in the day, I am convinced of it!




I am looking ahead to some socks, and I think I might have found a cute pattern for Emma.  I will have to see how they start knitting up though before I share the pattern here.  Hopefully next week I will have some progress on that!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately!  There is an amazing opportunity for a bunch of really exciting e-books and e-courses that I want you all to be able to take part of!  


We all want to make better health and lifestyle decisions for ourselves and those we love. We want to lose some weight, have more energy, use greener products, create nutritious meals for our families, get fit, and feel confident that we’re doing all we can to prevent serious diseases.
But it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the masses of healthy living advice out there – to the point where we’re frozen into complete inaction instead!

That’s where The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle comes in. For the ridiculously low price of just $29.97 (for the PDF version) or $39.97 (for the eReader version), you can get access to a carefully curated collection of eBooks and eCourses with a total combined value of $1,030.

The bundle contains a wealth of information from the very finest healthy living writers out there – but there’s no risk of getting overwhelmed! A useful Getting Started Guide is included with your purchase, which will help you identify the most valuable resources for your specific health priorities.


The Ultimate Bundles team has done all the hard work for you – finding the top experts across a number of healthy living fields and combining their products into one essential collection. If you want to take control of your health, there’s no better way to start!

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 15.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 30,000 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone!

You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles one-year guarantee: you have a full year to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don’t feel like it’s made a huge difference to your family’s health, you’ll get your money back in full!

Click here for more info or to buy now.




As if this great collection of eBooks and eCourses wasn’t enough, the Ultimate Bundles team has also partnered with 10 fantastic companies who’ve each agreed to give a special bonus to every buyer. The bonuses have a total value of over $200 – more than 5 times the price of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle itself!

The bonuses include free goodies aplenty: a bottle of Healthy Mouth Blend from OraWellness, a baltic amber bracelet from Sweetbottoms Boutique, and a starter culture from Cultures For Health. You’ll also get gift sets from Made On Skin Care Products and Homegrown Collective.

There are virtual goodies, too – a 4-month membership to StayAtHomeYoga.com and a 3-month premium membership to meal planning service Tradishen. And as if all that weren’t enough, there are also $15 gift certificates for TheJoyfulGiraffe.com, Strawesome.com and Trilight Health. There is a nominal shipping charge for many of the bonuses, based on each company’s standard shipping rates, and is usually $3-5.
Here’s what you need to know about the sale: 
When? 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, September 15

What? 73 eBooks and 7 audio & eCourses, PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle HERE
How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth $1030, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?
We think there’s something here for everyone, and don’t forget… our Getting Started Guide will show you exactly which resources cover the topics and health concerns that matter most to you!

We know you’re eager to see exactly what’s included in this bundle, so head on over to the website, where you can see the full list of eBooks, eCourses, and bonus offers.
When you’re ready, you can either buy here directly, or right through the website. It’s fast and easy, and you’ll have your bundle sent to you via email within minutes.

Click here for more info or to buy now.




Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 7 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, September 10th to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, September 15th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

homeschooling: one month in

I can’t believe we are already a month into the new homeschool year!  Actually, it is a little bit over a month.  We are finally falling into a better routine, and accomplishing what I hope to accomplish in a week.

It was rough at first.  I don’t think any amount of planning could prepare me for moving to schooling two children who are at different grade levels.  I read as many forum posts as I could find on homeschooling different age groups, but I think it really is a trial and error kind of process.

The biggest problem we were having was having both kids sit at the same time to do their seat work.

We do not spend a lot of time sitting at the table doing writing/math, because we are primarily using a literature based approach to homeschooling – lots of reading!  However, there is still some seat work to be done.


Emma realized very quickly that it was easier for her to “help” Jack with all of his work than to work on her own stuff. 

Because both children need my help, I decided that we would need to do this work separately.  Of course the next issue that came about was “why does Jack get to play while I am doing school?”

Let’s just say that we were taking a lot of breaks in the beginning!  But, now it seems like we are getting back into a real rhythm.  I think that the cooler temperatures help.  When it is 90 degrees outside with 100% humidity no one, including this very pregnant mama, wants to do school.

We are now trying to do one “difficult” subject followed by something fun.  Emma believes that her difficult subjects are math and reading, although she does really well in both and rarely needs my help past the instructions on what she needs to accomplish during that lesson.  I think the fact that it isn’t creative time for her, and she has to come to an actual answer instead of doing whatever her imagination allows, is the main issue.

It seems to be going much smoother now though.  I think that working with them individually has helped, but there are definitely still days that it is a challenge.  Luckily, we are homeschooling, so we can make adjustments as the days go on!  One of the reasons I love homeschooling so much!

What do you do when homeschooling multiple grades?  Any tips for a newbie?