Nov 222017

Addition Help

A story about 9 wanting to be 10 (addition help).  There is more in this lesson, but this short story is a great way to connect the left and right sides of the brain to learn a new fact.  She goes on to talk about 8 “itching to be 10”, and so on.  What a great way to present this method of adding.  My non-apraxic brain automatically sees this, but I was never sure how to frame it in a way that George would get it.

I am not sure how the school has been teaching this, as they never told me, but I do know that the method they were using was not working for him.  Once he understood Touch Point and Adding On, he had trouble learning any of the other methods.  Memorizing doubles has not taken place, so that will be another area I will look for help with.

The video above also gives a visual representation I can use, in a physical form to add in sensory input, to find the answer to a math problem.

Here are the math facts set to music.


Nov 212017

This post contains affiliate links.

As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Nov 132017

This post contains affiliate links.


Several years ago I went from planning my meals with an excel spread sheet to using Plan To Eat.  I have never looked back.  Even those weeks where I, well, where I do not have an official meal plan I often use this site to reference my recipes while cooking.  It has been well worth the switch for me.

PLANNER – Copy Move Swap or Delete from Plan to Eat on Vimeo.

When I first began, it did take a bit of time to add in recipes and get to know the layout of the website. However, those first few hours have paid off big time. No longer do I need to go searching through books for recipes or looking for that “one paper I had yesterday”.

Plan to Eat is holding a Black Friday sale starting on November 24th.  If you have been thinking about trying an online meal planning site, this would be a great opportunity to do so.  At 50% off, this makes it less than $2 a month to help bring a bit of order to your meal planning.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to EatEven better, you can try it for free for your first 30 days.  However, the Black Friday pricing only comes around once a year.  If you wait till the end of you 30 days you will not be able to take advantage of this great sale!  What can you do then?  Sign up for the free trial, try it out for the next 10 days, if you think it is something you like sign up for a subscription.  At the end of your 30 days, your subscription will begin.

What if you already have an account, but it is not set to end till a different time of the year? You can still renew at this time, but the time will be added on to the end of your current subscription.

What if you do not think it is for you, but you know a sister/friend/coworker/neighbor who it would be perfect for?  You can purchase gift subscriptions for them.  What a great clutter free gift!


Nov 122017

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Thinking back to my childhood, I have vivid memories of Sunday lunches at Grandma’s house.  Cousins were there to play with when we were done eating, trees to climb, leaves to jump in, and games of ball to play in the field.  But the most welcoming memory was of the initial opening of the door – warm, delicious smells met you in the coziness of their downstairs.  Yes, there may have been too many people to fit around the table, but that did not matter. Everyone was there and good food was to be had. Not fancy, mind you, but food which was familiar and tasted of home. (We may have even had basically the same meal every week, though my memory does not contain that information.)

Even the cups used had their own smell.  They were nothing fancy either, plastic Tupperware cups which have lasted decades, survived use by many grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, and still look new.  Yet, the smell when you poured soda on top of the ice was something I associate with my grandparents’ house. No other drinking vessel has replicated that smell, it is unique to those cups.

Nourished, a memoir of food, faith & enduring love by Lia Huber follows a similar path – memories of the author’s the past associated with the foods which nourished her, both in body and in spirit.  Through her journey as a young college student, to making major life choices, facing a health crisis, searching for her place in this world, and now to the present, Lia Huber takes her readers on a path of finding her faith and understanding how food can be more than bland, thoughtless item put in front of you three times a day.

…food went from something I didn’t think about to becoming a pivotal part of my life. It was what brought me joy.  It was how I healed my body when doctors couldn’t.  It was how I related to people and gained deeper insight into my life’s purpose and the way I serve the world.

Nourished is not a recipe book, though the end of each chapter contains the recipe for a dish mentioned.  It really is more of a memoir of Lia Huber‘s life and how food and relationships influenced how she came to understand her place in this world.  The recipes shared contain fairly common ingredients which makes them very easy to replicate.  There were several I marked to try.

I was a bit surprised when the author began to talk about her faith in such a bold way.  It was not necessarily inappropriate for the story, but an aspect I was not suspecting.  At times it began to feel like it touched on some new age-ish ideals, though most of what Lia mentions is fairly mainstream Christianity.

Nourished really is a well-written story.  My attention was held from the first chapter and never waned throughout the rest of the book.  If you are looking for a well-flowing book some weekend, I would highly recommend Nourished by Lia Huber.  Who knows, you may find yourself in the kitchen recreating a recipe from your past or finding a new one to help nourish your soul.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Nov 102017

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.

If you haven’t tried Swagbucks before, you can get a bonus $3 for signing up during November as part of their Three for Fall promotion.

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

I use it myself, and I earned 4171 SB ($41.71) during the month of October.  My biggest earning activity was ordering replacement ink for my printer, which resulted in 700 SB being added to my total.  That was my only online purchase for the month, by the way.

The next 5 biggest earners were:

  • a group of missing credits from Discover activities
  • September’s Daily Meter bonus
  • a survey
  • a bonus for completing the above mentioned survey
  • another survey

Per category, I earned:

  • 1,168 SB from nCrave (videos, slideshows, and articles)
  • 786 SB from Discover activities
  • 700 SB from shopping online (the printer ink I previously mentioned)
  • 529 SB from Answer (surveys)
  • 452 SB from Other (this includes September’s Daily Meter Bonus, as well as SB from the Spin & Win wheel from October’s SWAGO game)
  • 127 SB from Watch (online videos)
  • 109 SB earned as bonuses
  • 106 SB from Mobile Watch
  • 79 SB from searching the internet
  • 65 SB from referrals
  • 48 SB from Swag codes
  • 2 SB from Play (online games)

I also redeemed SB for two gift cards – a $3 Amazon gift card and a $25 Amazon gift card.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $3 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 12/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you want even more bonuses, you’ll get a $10 (1000 SB rebate) bonus for making your first shop purchase! That’s in addition to the SB you earn for every dollar you spend.

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real.  Swagbucks has been a blessing to us over the years, something which I have gotten better at the more I do it.

Not all activities are equal in ROI (return on investment) in regards to time.  Figuring out what works for you, at this time in your life, may take a bit of trial and error.  However, it can work.  You will not earn a full-time income from this, but it can give a nice bit of extra each month.


Nov 092017

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.

It is that time of the year again, though it sure does not feel like it weather wise.  The calendar is telling me that I need to finalize my gift giving list.  Not only do we have several holidays approaching, but also a lot of birthdays happening in the next several weeks.

For several gifts, I know what I am going to purchase.  The others, well, they need to be finalized in the next few weeks if I want to reach my goal of having all the shopping done by the end of the month.

Swagbucks is offering double cash back at dozens of different stores (like Macy’s and Target) during their 2017 Holiday Sale. Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

You can even save on travel costs, whether car rentals, hotel stays, or air travel!

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Nov 072017

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is celebrating Thanksgiving early with another big “Swago” promotion starting Monday, November 6th at 9am PT and running until Monday, November 13th! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online.

If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster.  So far this year I have been able to redeem for over $400 in gift cards by using Swagbucks!

Here are a few tips:
  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Monday, November 13th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you’ll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, November 16th to use all your spins.

In the month of October, I earned 347 SB ($3.47) from the Spin & Win Wheel.  These spins were the result of that month’s Swago promotion and were an unexpected addition to my total for that month.

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.

Click here right now and click “Join” to get started! If you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you’ll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

Nov 062017

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support this blog.

Over the course of my time using Swagbucks I have earned a total of 105,116 SB (equivalent to $1051.16).  While this may not be a huge amount compared to what others are able to earn, it is nothing to sneeze at either.  Swagbucks will not replace a full-time job, but it can be a great help if you are looking to bring in a bit of extra money each month.

I was able to earn this amount while:

  • raising two very needy toddlers and a few teenage and preschool foster kids
  • my husband working full time and going to night classes for a few years
  • and it was only a part of other activities I was doing to earn a bit of extra spending money

The amount represents an activity I have been able to incorporate into my life, not something for which I have had to adjust my life to do.

Looking Back

As I looked back through the past 8 years, I could see when the times I had specific goals, times where I went for months not earning anything, and other times where I took the time to find new ways to earn.

Some years, and those were tough years, I earned as little as $15. Over the entire year. Did I mention that was a tough year?

Then there were years like 2016 where I earned $385. It may not be enough to buy me a car, but I did not have to leave the house, pay for gas to get somewhere, or even get the kids to brush their teeth. (Who knew a 2 minute task could cause such agony!)

Looking back over my totals, ways I have earned points, called SB, and my gift card redemption patterns, I am wondering what was going on during those times.

In 2015 I redeemed my SB for gift cards during two month out of the whole year, January and August.  I suspect the August gift cards were used for home school curriculum while the January gift cards were used to purchase gardening supplies.

Deer and Rabbit repellent purchased with Swagbucks


My first gift card redemption was a $5 Amazon card earned in July of 2009.

We had moved to a new town the year before and I had not found a job outside the home yet.  I was looking for a way to earn a little bit of money each month to help out.  It was not a lot, but at that time it was better than nothing and the months following I was able to earn a $5 Amazon card each month. In the 6 months I redeemed for $40 in Amazon gift cards. Not too bad for doing something no one else I knew was doing or had ever heard of.  There was a lot of trial and error, as well as slow learning, between home improvement projects and lining up contractors.

The following year my activity levels were not quite as steady.  It may have had to do with deaths in the family, becoming foster parents, or other factors.  I earned $75 that year.  Some months I was able to earn 2 – $5 gift cards (again to Amazon), though I could not seem to break the $10 mark each month.

The first few years I used the Amazon gift cards toward whatever we happened to be ordering online, focusing on Christmas gifts and grocery items.  No set monetary goals, but it was a nice surprise to “save” $5 here and there when we did order online.

Items purchased with gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

Items purchased with gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

At that time, Swagbucks was also structured differently:

  • There were no team challenges or other ways to connect with other Swaggernauts.  The way to find the best ways to earn at that time was to search for blog posts or articles.
  • SWAGO did not exist.
  • Activities were worth more in points, called SB, on average. However, there were fewer choices of ways to earn.
  • There were no ways to earn by watching videos via apps, now one of my most completed activities.  Even if there were video apps, I did not have a phone which I could use to watch them.
  • The $5 Amazon gift card was the best deal points-to-dollars wise.  There was no monthly discount on your first $25 gift card (from almost any retailer) like there is now.

cloth potty trainers swagbucks

In 2012 I set a goal of using Swagbucks to help buy cloth training pants.  It was my first time setting an actual goal.  Combining these gift cards and online deals I was able to pay for our first set.   Within a a year we saw the need for different nighttime items, again turning to Swagbucks to help cover the cost completely.

In 2014 we began homeschooling.  By the Spring of 2015 I set the goal of paying for our home school materials with SB.  Using PayPal and Amazon gift cards I was able to make a significant dent in the cost of materials.

Recently I have used gift cards to cover, fully or a portion thereof, the online purchase of:

Join Swagbucks!Today I am using my balance, which I have slowly been increasing, to purchase something to hopefully make my life a bit easier and our new home look nicer.  This is something I have been researching and waiting to purchase.  Due to the normal cost, it was not high on my list of items to get right now.  I have been saving up the SB left over from my gift card redemption each month in anticipation of purchasing this sometime in the fall.

Today I found out that this was listed as a Daily Deal on Amazon, thereby saving me 70% off and totaling just under what I have saved in SB.  While it was not one of the exact brands I had been researching, I quickly realized it met all of my requirements, needs, and the price was perfect.  This is what I mean by “combining gift cards and online deals” above.

With the remaining SB left I am going to be saving them up again to go toward the purchase of a rain barrel for the new house.  Knowing rain water is better for plants and helps lower our water bill each month, I have been wanting to invest in one for several years.  Now seems like the perfect time to do so.  Honestly, if I had not seen the Daily Deal above, I would have been purchasing a rain barrel this week.  In the long run, though, taking advantage of a reduction in price on one item will save me 100’s of dollars over the course of the next few months.  And who knows, I might find a sale on rain barrels to match the SB I have earned.

Until then, I have a goal to reach, which I have seen over and over really helps me focus on doing activities on Swagbucks which can result in more SB earned faster.

Note: this post was written in May 2017, but  was not published at that time.  When it was written, the earnings numbers were accurate, though they have increase by this point in the year.  I also had to adjust my goal of purchasing a rain barrel as life gave us some other goals which needed to be covered.

Nov 042017

This post contains affiliate links.


When George and Jack were younger, I was finding our need for more mature Bible Time materials, but nothing too adult oriented.  They still liked to hear the stories from the Bible but are needing to see that these are not just stories.  There are things in the Bible which apply to their lives and which they should emulate.

The ABC’s For Godly Boys & Girls was part of a bundles of ebooks offered a year or so prior.  I held onto it for a few months, while we finished up the other material we were using.  When I felt the time was right, I printed off what we needed, put it into a 3-ring binder (and page protectors) to help me keep things organized and in one place, then introduced it to the boys.  At the time they were 4 and 6 years old.

Some of the items were a bit above their ages and understanding, though most of it was perfect for them.  They enjoyed having a different letter each week, learning a new verse and hearing a story that applied to virtue being taught.

We are at the end of the alphabet now, with just a few letters to go.  Once we finish up, I will put the binder on the shelf to use again in a year or two.  The material included will cover several ages, enabling you to use or not use activities.  I really like the flexibility and variety, allowing me to use it again in a few years.