Thursday, April 26, 2012

Educator Discounts for Homeschoolers

I recently came across this post HERE from The Homeschool Post that lists companies where discounts are given for homeschool families. 

I would like to add Staples to this list, as well as, Office Max and Office Depot since all of these office supply stores also have a Teacher Reward program. 

I personally love Staples as they give 10% back on ink, paper, and printing purchases and their Easy Rebates are really easy.  They will also recycle your empty ink cartridges and give you $2 for each cartridge you turn in.  The $2 comes in the mail in the form of a Rewards check that you can redeem for other purchases in the store.  I recently received over $60 in Rewards money in the mail from Staples from turning in ink cartridges and other purchases and was able to buy new ink cartridges with this money. 

At the beginning of each school year, I use my Staples Teachers Rewards Card to purchase school supplies that are sold for 1 cent.  Traditional classroom teachers can get up to 25 one cent items and so can homeschool parents.  HERE is a post where I got alot of school supplies for only 37 cents at Staples using my Teacher Rewards Card.  

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Shower Pics and Recipes

Last Thursday we got back late from visiting dear friends in Chillicothe, OH while my husband was in Cincinnati on a business trip.  So between getting back from our trip (hopefully, I'll blog about our fun trip soon), soccer games on Saturday, our 4 year old vomiting late Saturday night with a stomach bug, a baby shower at the end of the weekend that I hosted, and attending a heartbreaking funeral for a 11 month old baby boy yesterday (A BIG sad face) :( ,  it's been a whirlwind with so much going on!

But, I wanted to share some pictures of the baby shower I hosted for a mother in our homeschool group who just gave birth to her fifth child, a beautiful and sweet baby girl!  I am also posting pictures of the food I made with recipes in case you want to try them out.

Guests had to guess how many Hershey kisses were in the jar....Hey, it was a great way to use up alot of Easter candy that I did not need :)  The winner was one of the baby's big sisters :)

I decorated the house with this pink bouquet of flowers and the mother took home the vase with flowers.
 I tied a St. Joseph medal around the vase since the baby's name is Josefina.

Beautiful Josefina decided to check out her party after her naps :) 

These are great and easy Almond Club Cracker Breakups that I made.  You can find the recipe HERE.

I also made these No-Bake Energy Bites that my friend in OH sent me.  Here is the recipe:

1 cup oats (I used Old-Fashioned Oatmeal oats)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix.  Chill in fridge 30 minutes.  Roll into balls and enjoy. Store in airtight container.

I didn't make mine with the coconut, but they were still delicious.  I will try using more oats if I don't use coconut again to give them more substance.  I also didn't mix in the chocolate chips, but instead just melted the chocolate chips with a little Crisco shortening and then dipped the bottom of each ball into the melted chocolate.  I then drizzled some chocolate over the top and stored it in the fridge to harden the chocolate a little.  This is definitely a recipe worth making again and is very forgiving so I will probably try experimenting with it some more next time.  Enjoy!

Speaking of recipes for baby showers, check out this adorable creation for a baby shower.  I found it on Facebook and wanted to share with you.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: I've Got My Eye On You!

A few weeks ago, I was waiting for my oldest daughter to finish piano lessons and my 4 year old  here fell asleep in the car.  Boy, was I surprised to see that she had one eye open while she was sleeping when I turned to check on her in her car seat!  It was a little freaky! :)  Even while she's sleeping, she has to know what is going on and keep up with everything and everyone!  :)   Happy Wednesday!

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Saturday, April 14, 2012


My husband and I just got home from seeing October Baby, which opened in our local theatres on Friday, 4/13.

This is the story of 19-year-old Hannah, who finds out she is adopted and is the survivor of an attempted abortion. She goes on a road trip to find answers, locate her birth mother and, ultimately, discovers how powerful forgiveness can be.
I  heard such wonderful reviews about the movie and knew about the story line, but my husband had no idea about it and I did not volunteer any information.  He went because he kept hearing me talk about it.  :)  When I found out it was coming to our local theatres, I was so excited and wanted to see the film for myself.  I was also blessed to see this movie with my husband and share such a special movie with him.  Here is the trailer for the film to give you a glimpse of the story line.  

So when the movie was over, my husband turned to me and said, "That was a great movie and I would pay to see that one again! Everyone needs to see it, including men!"  Now you have to understand that he typically goes for the adventure type movies with/without guns.  October Baby has no guns :) , no foul language, but lots of adventures, twists, and turns. I usually go for the drama films and I knew this movie was a good one based on other's reactions, but it exceeded both our expectations.

I enjoyed discussing with my husband how abortion affected all the actors and actresses in the film and in real life including the birth mother, the child with health issues, adoptive child's sibling, adoptive parents, birth mother's husband, nurse at the abortion clinic, adoptive child's friends... all these people were affected by the birth mother's decision so long ago.

Both my husband and I agreed that this movie is worth watching as it will make you laugh, cry, and fill you with hope and affirm that every life is beautiful, no matter what our society tells us again and again.  We want to purchase the movie on DVD so that we can share this movie with our four young children as they get older.  There is so much to talk about after seeing October Baby and so much to learn.  

I am also so impressed that the producers of October Baby have assigned 10% of the profits of the movie to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund, which will distribute funds to frontline organizations helping women facing crisis pregnancies, life-affirming adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.

Be sure to stay at the end of the movie while all the credits are rolling through to hear the testimony of actress Shari Rigby before you leave the theatre.

If you get a chance to see this movie, it will be well worth your time because October Baby captures how every life is beautiful and brings this truth into theatres everywhere and into our hearts and home.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Kids Gone Wild!

In March, I took my 2 older children to an expo in our area that explored all things wild, including live animals!  There was a scavenger hunt where we had to go to different booths to answer the clues throughout the morning and we sat in on 2 presentations.

One presentation was all about trees in our area and my children and other children acted out parts of a tree.  Very interesting and fun! :)

The other presentation was about several kinds of birds of prey.  The presenter brought about 5 different types of birds including a falcon, hawk, and an owl.  We enjoyed learning more about these fascinating birds.

At one point in the presentation, a bird got away from the trainer's hand (He holds the birds with a cord that is wrapped around his hand and the bird's talons) and while he was trying to catch it from the ground, he told everyone to be still and quiet so as to not scare it.  ( one moved or made a sound) Then when he tried to give the bird a treat to coax him out of the corner of the wall, the presenter said, "Oh great, it's not hungry right now and it's not interested in this."  He eventually got the bird back.  It made for an exciting morning and I was just happy the bird didn't decide to take off flying in the small room!

There were lots of facts to learn including this one:

 Beautiful wolf 

And lots of stuffed and real animals to see...
At one point there was a group of about 10 children holding this python as it was stretched out!  

I don't blame my daughter for not wanting to get too close! :) 

My kids were excited to find a girlfriend for Leo, our pet Australian Bearded Dragon Lizard.  This is a another type of Bearded Dragon, pink in color.  They loved holding her.

Then we tried some archery, which my daughter loves to do! I even tried to hit the targets a few times!

It was a great morning filled with fun and learning! I hope to go back next year!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordful Wednesday: Planned Parenthood launches ‘40 Days of Prayer’ for abortion

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, is praying.  Maybe in their search for peace and love they will find the Prince of Peace who teaches that life is sacred because all life and authentic love comes from Him. 

"Liberty Counsel likened Planned Parenthood’s latest tactic to Nazi Germany’s attempts to use religion to dehumanize the portions of society they sought to exterminate.
“Planned Parenthood’s attempts to develop a ‘spiritual’ aspect to the pro-abortion argument can seem comparable to the religious leaders in Germany who supported Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. It was wrong then and it is wrong now,” wrote LC in a press release Tuesday."

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

Click HERE to read a great post in response to the Planned Parenthood '40 Days of Prayer'.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter 2012 !

Yesterday on Holy Saturday we were busy with our annual activities that we try to do each year as a family to prepare for Easter Sunday.  I was also busy fighting a bad cold :(

We changed the salt dough crown of thorns that we made at the beginning of Lent...

into this....


We also dyed Easter eggs...

And we made resurrection rolls....These are fun, easy, and delicious!  Lacy at Catholic Icing did a post HERE about how to make the rolls and how they symbolize Jesus and the empty tomb.

Finally, the last activity that we do as a family just before everyone goes to bed is to make our resurrection cookies. You can find the recipe HERE.    We have been making this an annual tradition on Holy Saturday evening, the day before Easter morning. I love that we can do this as a family to explain the Easter story. The cookies are not only yummy, but they really do look like empty tombs when you bite into them to remind us that Jesus is risen!

Here are some photos:

Our cupcakes love to pound the pecans to pieces, although this part of the recipe is sad as it represents how our Lord was beaten and mistreated.
Another part of the recipe is to separate the egg whites as we explain that the eggs represent new life.
We put the cookies in the preheated oven and turn the oven off before heading to bed.
Our kids love to seal the oven with tape to represent that Jesus' tomb was sealed.

The next morning we have a tray of delicious resurrection cookies that are hollow on the inside.

Finally on Easter Sunday morning we attend 7:30 AM Mass before the kids even see what is in their Easter baskets.  It is an early start to our day, but so worth it to go as a family to celebrate our Risen Lord and to avoid the later Mass crowds...

Happy Easter from our family to yours!


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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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