Saturday, July 31, 2010

(Organization) System Saturday-I Won the New APOLOGIA Anatomy Science Kit !

I just found out tonight that I am the winner of the new APOLOGIA Anatomy science kit!  To enter the contest I had to become a Facebook fan of Creation Sensation Apologia Science Kits and leave a comment on why I would like to win the kit in the Discussion part of their Facebook page.   WOW, am I excited!  Thank you Creation Sensation for this awesome kit to use in my Sacred Heart Academy Homeschool!
I used APOLOGIA Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day text last year with my cupcakes and we did a full year of lapbooks designed by Knowledge Box Central with this text.

See photos below of sections of our completed lapbooks for Zoology 1:
APOLOGIA science is a great science curriculum with lots of wonderful information in each text!  Our cupcakes really enjoyed learning all about bats, birds, birds, beetles, butterflies, ants, dinosaurs, and so much more with Zoology 1!  We are looking forward to diving into the Exploring Creation APOLOGIA Anatomy text, especially with our new kit to go along with our studies!

So my (Organization) System Saturday tip is to check out Creation Sensation APOLOGIA science kits Facebook fan page and join in on a discussion as there are more giveaways and chances to win other awesome products in August!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stories for the Homeschool Heart Contest

I just received this from the Stories for the Homeschool Heart facebook fan page and I wanted to help spread the word about this contest in hopes that you know someone you could nominate.
Here are the details:

Homeschool Heart Contest: Nominate a mom you know who has a 'homeschool heart'. Tell us in less than 200 words or less how she has inspired you and why she has a 'homeschool heart'. Send your entries to TheresaThomasEverydayCatholic at gmail dot com OR pattiarmstrong at mac dot com. Winner and nominee both win a free copy of the book. (cover pictured above) Entries due August 30.

Happy nominating!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to Make Blog Buttons on your Sidebar Scroll

As I visit other blogs I always like seeing how some blogs put their blog buttons on their sidebar and make the buttons scroll like this: (You can also see this button scroll on the left sidebar of my home page)

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

the Baby Store PLUS Blog
Homeschool Resource List

So I did a Google Search to try to find out if there was a tutorial somewhere to teach me because the sidebar scroll would help my blog home page look a little less cluttered.

This is the link and site I found that had very clear and easy steps to make my blog buttons scroll up in my sidebar:

I am grateful for Jenieshell's Design Challenge blog (Check out her adorable button on my scroll) for teaching me something new about blogging!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NFP Awareness Week (July 25-31, 2010)

This week is Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week (July 25-31, 2010) and I am grateful to have my blog as another way to help others become aware of what NFP is, is not, and the many blessings that can come out of embracing the NFP lifestyle.

So what is NFP and what is NFP Awareness Week?  Find out here.

If you want to find out more about NFP you can also go to my "Natural Family Planning" page here on my blog to read more.

You can also go to the "Great NFP Links" on the left sidebar of my homepage of my blog to read more about NFP.  

Here is a  list of the top 10 reasons to use NFP.  You can go here for more information about each reason.

10. NFP is based on scientific fact and modern technology.

9. NFP users learn more about their bodies and about their fertility.

8. NFP is between 97– 99% effective when avoiding or postponing a pregnancy.

7. NFP can also be very effective in achieving a pregnancy.

6. NFP is easy to use.

5. NFP is all-natural and very “organic.”

4. NFP is very inexpensive.

3. NFP is “marriage insurance.”

2. NFP fosters authentic marital love, respect, honesty and good communication.

1. NFP respects God’s plan for marital love and sexuality.     

I would like to share this personal story with you of how NFP charting gave my husband and I comfort and peace when a doctor mistakenly wrote down the wrong due date for our third child.

It is amazing to see how charting my own cycles has given me freedom and power because I know what changes are occurring in my body and I don't have to depend on a doctor to tell me what is going on.  By charting my cycles, my husband and I were able to know when our due dates were for our children before our first doctor's visit.  

We were especially grateful to have my charts when our third child was conceived because my doctor documented the wrong due date on my records.  He put the due date using the formula most physicians use (the Naegele Rule), but with NFP we use the Prem Rule which is a more accurate calculation of the due date because it is based on a time close to the actual time of ovulation.  He wrote down the due date according to the Naegele Rule, but since I ovulated late in my cycle for that month, my due date with the NFP Prem Rule was a week later. 

So when I went in for a Level 1 ultrasound, our baby's measurements were a little off so we had to get a Level II ultrasound.  During this time, the doctors were telling us about possible "problems" our child could have because his/her measurements were not where they should be.  But, when I went in for the Level II ultrasound the nurse asked for my due date and I told her that according to my NFP charts it was June 12.  She then told us the doctor wrote down June 6th, the wrong due date and the date that he calculated using the popular, and sometimes inaccurate,  Naegele Rule.   So I didn't need a Level II ultrasound after all (we did get one though) and the baby's measurements were right on target.  

So we are grateful for NFP, especially in this situation because if I didn't have my NFP charts, I might have been worried that something was not right with our baby or I could have been induced unnecessarily because the doctors would have thought I was late if I hadn't delivered by June 6th, when really my more accurate due date was June 12.  Our third child arrived on June 10 which is really close to the due date I had calculated with my charting.

NFP is a way to really appreciate why our fertility is a gift to be understood and not a disease to be eliminated.

(Organization) System Saturday-Never Pay a Library Fine Again!

I picked up this great book shelf at a yard sale awhile ago and as soon as I saw it I snatched it up knowing that it was going to be a useful bookcase whether I homeschooled my cupcakes or not!  This was one of those finds where I was happily surprised to find such a treasure only because I was not specifically looking for it.  But, have you ever tried to find something specific in stores or yard sales and could never find exactly what you were looking for?  So aggravating and so my story!
Anyway, one way I use this book case is to store "Books We Made" on the top shelf.  These are lapbooks, journals, stories, etc. that my cupcakes have made in the past and they enjoy pulling them out to look at them again and again.
Then on the bottom 2 shelves I have reserved for library books and my cupcakes know to always (when they remember) store their library books on these rows to make sure we do not lose any.  I wrote the "Library Books" and  "due on" phrases before I laminated the orange sign. (in the market for a laminator?  Be sure to click here to see the great laminator I use at a really great price and a $20 rebate until 7/31/10)  After lamination, I write with a wet-erase/Vis-a-Vis pen  the date the books will be due.  That way we will know when our books' due date is coming up so I can be sure to renew them or turn them in on time.  I do have an account set up at my local library that sends me an email reminder the day before the books are due, but sometimes that does not give me enough time to plan a trip to the library.  With this system I have set up I can always see when the due date is approaching and plan accordingly.  When we get a new stack of books, I can wipe off the old due date and write in the new date.  So far this has helped me not pay overdue library fines so my money can go toward buying more homeschool books/curriculum/resources!  Do you have a system in your home to make sure library books don't sneak under couches, chairs, beds, rugs, or get tucked away in a bookshelf never to be found again?  If so, leave a comment.  I would love to hear your tip!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adding Your Signature to Blog Posts

After searching many blogs/websites, I finally found one that had steps (that I could understand and do) on how to add my signature at the end of my blog posts and here it is:

I found the steps on how to add my signature to my posts here:

Have fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hershey Cake Recipe

Are you looking for a delicious chocolate cake to make that is easy (and not low cal or low sugar)? If so, I would like to share this Hershey cake recipe with you that I made last night for friends and family that came over for dinner. I got this recipe from a friend, who got it from someone else. I have made this Hershey cake several times and decorated it in different ways. You can see how I've decorated it for my "cupcake's" birthday cakes from my cake archives: Pumpkin Cake Elmo Cake Bug Cake Gymnastics Unlimited Cake #2 So here are the ingredients for the most delicious Hershey Cake: One box of Duncan Hines Swiss Chocolate cake mix Don't follow the box recipe, instead mix the cake mix with: 3 eggs 1/3 cup oil 1 1/2 cups milk Instant vanilla or french vanilla pudding (3.4 oz box) Mix all ingredients. Spray (2) 9" round cake pans with non-stick spray. Pour mix into pans Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes When cakes cool, cut each cake in half (to make 4 cake layers) Now for the icing ingredients: Mix together: 8 oz. softened cream cheese 1 cup sugar 1 cup powdered sugar 16 oz. Cool Whip 3 Hershey bars, chopped into small pieces Then spread icing in between each layer and then ice the whole cake when the last layer is on top. Enjoy! Here is a photo of half the cake from last night to show you the layers inside: (I'm sorry it doesn't look pretty, but it tastes oh so good!) Enjoy and if you try this cake recipe leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!
Saturday, July 17, 2010

(Organization) System Saturday-Great Gerber Containers

I have been busy these last several weeks reorganizing our classroom to prepare for our upcoming homeschool year. It's quite a task and sometimes overwhelming for me to decide what I will keep and what I can get rid of as far as academic resources go. We are recycling tons of old papers, magazines, and used workbooks and this morning I had a yard sale to get rid of some things. I sold some educational material, but mostly I had baby girl clothes for sale that my youngest cupcake has grown out of. It was a hot day, but I am happy to say that I got rid of ALL my baby clothes and shoes thanks to a sweet young mother who came to the sale. She has relatives and friends who live in Mexico and she teared up when she was telling me that there is so much poverty in Mexico so she has decided to collect children's clothing and she is personally delivering the collection to those families who need so much. She drove away with 3 garbage bags of clothes as I told her to take all that was left to help with her ministry to help those in need. Win-win situation for everyone! Besides decluttering, I am also reorganizing our classroom and I'm always looking for ways to store math manipulatives better. I love collecting empty containers and storing them until I find the right "stuff" to fill them. Since my youngest cupcake was a baby, I have held on to those cute Gerber plastic baby food containers thinking they are just too durable to throw away. They remind me of "mini" Rubbermaid/Sterilite boxes like those used in Sue Patrick's Workbox System and since baby food can be expensive, I was determined to find another use for the boxes besides filling up the trash can with them. So I have decided to store all my real coins in the boxes to make them easy to get to when we do money lessons in our homeschool day. I have several paper punch out coins from my days of teaching elementary school so I taped the "head" of each paper coin on top of the lid and the "tail" side on the front for the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. From the pictures below you can see that I have also reused the plastic seasoning containers to store all the paper punch out coins. I used to store them in ziplock bags, but packing and unpacking ziplock bags does not make for quick cleanup or easy storage sometimes in my house and everything ended up on the floor. Cleaning up coins after an activity is easy now and makes for a great sorting lesson when my cupcakes place each type of coin in the right place. So are there other "Gerber geeks" out there who like and reuse these baby food containers in some way to store things? If so, I would love to hear what you put in them!


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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