Saturday, November 30, 2013

Give the Gift of Independence and Responsibility

raising independent responsible children

"Who cleans their room?" was asked by a mother at a public university freshman orientation parent session.

The moderator paused briefly

Friday, November 29, 2013

Family Favorites Friday: OVEN CARAMEL CORN

oven caramel corn
Makes great gifts!
Forget Black Friday shopping.  Make a batch of this Oven Caramel Corn, break out the board games, and have a fun family time.

This is our absolute favorite caramel corn.  It is from my very old Farm Journal's Country Cookbook. 

It is very easy.  A candy thermometer and a popcorn popper come in handy, though.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teaching Children to Be Independent Learners

  As I mentioned in How Do You Do That, I taught my children to be independent learners, even autodidacts. This was my key to teaching so many different ages at the same time.

You can start teaching your children to work independently at a very young age. Sometimes the work will really be play, but the children need to be able to focus on an activity independently or with a sibling.

Let's look at what this might have looked like for me for the 1998-99 school year. That year I was teaching 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grades, plus Kindergarten, with a 2-year-old and a baby. How did I get through a day like that, much less a week, month, or year?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What Does the Fox Say?

teaching research skills

“What does the fox say?” queries a popular song.

After hearing my teenagers sing this around the house, I finally asked, “What does the fox say?”

Friday, November 22, 2013

Family Favorites Friday: Hillybilly Froyd

I found this video clip on my computer and it is too funny not to share.  My son is 13 or 14 in this video.  Maybe it was his way to study Chemistry.  Watch all the way to the end of the 44 second video.  If you like it, leave a comment and I will post the other two Hillbilly Froyd videos he made.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Creative Cookie Exchange: Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

My contribution to the Creative Cookie Exchange challenge for freezer cookies is Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies.  This is a favorite cookie of my daughter.  I added the fresh cranberries and it turned this cake-like cookie into a delightful sweet/tart cookie.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

That's Not Safe

This is the story of a young man with dreams of travel and adventure and of the mother who loves him.

Once upon a time a young man, only 17 years old, came to his parents and said, "Mom, Dad, I want to graduate a couple months early (for he was homeschooled) and I want to take a train to Chicago (from Dallas) and I want to stay for two weeks."

Friday, November 15, 2013

Family Favorites Friday: Cranberry Christmas, Cranberry Thanksgiving, and Cranberry Bread

Recently, while looking through my recipe cards  to find recipes to make and freeze, I ran across a recipe for Cranberry Bread.  It reminded me of one of our favorite books, Cranberry Christmas.  I thought the recipe came from the book, but further research revealed that it probably came from a different book by the same author (Wende Devlin), Cranberry Thanksgiving.   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Create the Perfect College Finals Survival Kit

create perfect finals kit

When my oldest girls were in college, I belonged to a county mom's group for that university. Every spring and fall they would offer a finals kit that we could purchase to be delivered to our students during finals week. This was always a fun time for the moms group to get together and assemble the kit with items one of the club members purchased in bulk. A creative container was always part of the finals kit, too.

While I loved the idea of a finals kit, I was never very crazy about the contents: candy and junk food. This made absolutely no sense to me. During a time when the students would be having more stress, less sleep, and erratic meals, we were going to provide more sugar and processed food to their already weakened immune systems?

My solution was to create a personalized finals kit

Saturday, November 9, 2013


A reader recently contacted me with this question: "I have read your advice on preparing for the SAT and PSAT tests, but what about the ACT test? What preparation should my son do?"
which standardized test

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Real Recipe: Yogurt Waffles

Is this a ‘real’ recipe?  As many times as my family has asked me this, I still wonder what they mean.  What makes a recipe ‘real’ versus ‘fake’? Does a ‘fake’ recipe even exist?  Is being real defined as in The Velveteen Rabbit, being loved so much that it hurts?  I don’t think so.

A ‘real’ recipe is

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why College Freshmen Should Declare A Major

Some students know by seventh grade the path they want to pursue.  Others have no idea the career path that interests them.  Many students enter their first year of college as an Undeclared major.  They intend to get their basic subjects out of the way while they explore and contemplate their career options.

Of my five children who have gone to college, only one entered freshman year as an undeclared major and then I never allowed that again.  It seemed like a logical choice for that student since she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and she was a little bit afraid to declare a major for fear she would be ‘stuck’ with that choice forever.

Why do I not allow Undeclared majors anymore?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Family Favorites Friday: Bavarian Mint Coffee Mix & Hot Chocolate Mix

It is finally starting to get cooler here which makes perfect weather for hot beverages. 
While we love hot teas, we also like flavored coffees and hot chocolate.  

Today, I am sharing two mixes that I like to make; one for hot chocolate and one for a flavored coffee mix.
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