Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Praying for Mendy Brockman: Update and Upcoming Anniversary!

For all my  readers who have read of Mendy Brockman and her accident, here is a little update from her and her husband, Jason, yesterday morning.

http://nvbc.org/pray4mendy/ : you can sign up on the site to receive these updates every Monday and I would encourage you to do that and also to share this link with your families, friends, and web-world friends!

Here's why I'm doing a little update: Jason and Mendy have a wedding anniversary coming up on April 8!!!
They will have been married 14 years and I was so privileged to have been a bridesmaid in their wedding. This year, as you can imagine, will be a different anniversary for them in SO many ways...so many ways. To encourage them in a special way, a friend and myself have put together some ways that YOU can wish them a Happy Anniversary and also let them know that you've been praying for them! Here's what YOU can do!

First, we are asking you to send us a 2 minute MAX. video clip of you and your family wishing the Brockmans a Happy Anniversary along with some words of encouragement to them. Let them know you've been praying for them and share with them how God may have used this trial in their life to grow you in your faith. Please include your name and where you are from in the video! Please read the instructions below as to how we need you to download your video!

Please go to https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qvzqo1oqp8x7tta/77eEQsSrDX . Sign in on the login page using brockmanvideos@gmail.com as your username and April82000 as the password. 

After you sign in , click the folder
icon with the + sign and create a folder with your first and last name.

Open the folder with your name and upload a video file by
clicking the file icon with the + sign
 then choosing the file from your PC.
so that I will have time to process them all!

Second, If you cannot do a video but would still like to send your congratulations to the Brockmans, you can do so by sending a card to the following address...

Jason and Mendy Brockman
c/o Lighthouse Baptist Church
4280 Hopeful Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80917

Thirdly, you can go to GoFundMe, a site set up for helping with receiving/giving donations, and send them a little anniversary gift that will be set aside for them to use to celebrate their special day when Mendy can be out of the house for longer than a couple of hours. We believe that in setting these funds aside for them, it will encourage their hearts to know that people care, and also it will give them something fun to look forwards to doing in the near future! Having a goal in sight helps encourage us, doesn't it? It will do the same  for Jason and Mendy and will do so 1000 x's over!!! The site is set up with my mutual friend and I have already personally donated so that my readers would know it is truly legit!

Please feel free to share this information with your families, friends, and churches! What a blessing and encouragement it would be to the Brockmans to have thousands of people shower love, best wishes, and cards on them on APRIL 8th!!! Thank you, my dear readers, for reading and SHARING! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Switched On Schoolhouse Review

Let me start by saying this...I'm NOT getting paid to do this.  I'm not linking up to anything or anybody in this post to draw traffic. I'm not asking for a recommendation. I don't even want to go there:-)

Everything about my blog is completely user-shared. Meaning this...there is not one post about something on my blog that I have not personally done or do not personally do every.single.day. I'm not here to give you ideas on what you CAN do, but am here to share with you what I HAVE done. :-) When I'm looking for information, I don't want a multiple choice list with 30+ ideas on it. I want 1 or 2 suggestions that someone else has done, had success with it, and is still continuing to do it. I don't want their one-time-use-here's-a-review approach on something. Now, that's just me. :-) That may not be you! You may like the multiple choice approach and that's great! This article can still be for you :-)

READ ON......

Five years ago when my oldest daughter was entering 3rd grade (she is now in the 7th), we needed to try a different home school curriculum with her. We had been using BJU Press and loved it, but felt she needed something a little more student-guided and not parent-fed :-) BJU makes schooling very easy for the parent, but sometimes too easy for SOME (and I say SOME) children. I am not bashing BJU PRESS because I have used it for my second child too. I feel they teach things very precisely and in a very organized fashion, laying the groundwork for middle school very well. Anyways, we felt the need to try something different. So we tried this...

Switched on Schoolhouse is put out by Alpha Omega Publications and is a Christian based curriculum that offers the five core subjects, Math/Language Arts/Science/History/Bible, in a format that is fun and easy to use!

Your child will have to know how to type as this curriculum is done exclusively on a computer and the child will be required to type in their answers to the problems in their lessons. A fun way to teach your children to type is here and this is what we used with our oldest and are now currently using with our second child who will be going into third grade next fall. She will begin using SOS for her schooling so we are getting a jump start on her typing! Both of our girls love the Typer Island and our oldest still  "types" through the games often just because they are that fun! 

How the program is laid out:

This is a completely customizable system. You can purchase your childs grade in either a 4 or 5 subject set. The 5 subject set includes the Bible curriculum, the 4 does not. You can also purchase each subject individually for your child's particular grade. LOVE  this option! The curriculum comes with an installation disc, but you can read all about that on AOP's site here :-) 

The curriculum is set up with a student log on and a teacher log on. The teacher part has EVERYTHING a homeschooling parent ever dreamed of! Customizable school calendar, grade and record keeping, tools to customize each subject to the needs of each of your students, and the list could go on and on! You can print off report cards and quarterly reports to help you have paper records to file for your homeschool record keeping. I did a post a while back about organizing the record keeping aspect of homeschooling and you are welcome to read all about it HERE! 

Each subject in Switched on Schoolhouse that is required for state testing (Math, Language, Science, History) is covered very thoroughly, enabling the student to be very prepared to take their yearly state tests. 

The lesson format is set up in the form of the student reading all of their lesson material and then having 10-30 questions that they have to answer from the material they just read. It takes the student a few weeks to get the hang of being solely responsible to retain the information that they read :-), but once they figure that out, it's easy as pie! 

The best part of using SOS is that you can load this entire curriculum on a  laptop and take it on the road. For families who are in ministry and travel a lot, or for military families who need to move often and don't have places to set up a great homeschool "room", or for the family who is at home and needs a more flexible form of schooling,  Switched On Schoolhouse is a God-send! Even though we don't travel and I stay home full time, I did teach College Music at a local College for two years and I took my oldest daughter with me sometimes and she would do her schoolwork on her laptop  while I taught. It worked very well for us and she didn't miss any school! We now have our schooling set up with our oldest working on the computer in the kitchen while my husband and I work with the others at the kitchen table....perfect!!

The subjects come very equipped to teach the student not only through reading, but through hands on experiments and projects. The student will be required to write research papers, complete hands on science projects, and make other projects pertaining to each subjects requirements. The nice thing about it is that the teacher can log in and change the project settings for each subject. Some things are just not necessary for certain age levels and you can "un-assign" the things that you don't feel are important for your child to complete. 

Switched on Schoolhouse also offers a wide variety of Electives for students in Middle to High School with a few language electives for the elementary grades. Here is an exerpt off of SOS explaining the various electives they offer...

"Switched-On Schoolhouse offers a variety of elective courses to diversify your student's study. Mostly designed for middle and high school grades, these courses are made to enrich Switched-On Schoolhouse's core subjects. Here is a list of electives offered in this Christian homeschool curriculum: 
American Literature (7-12),
 British Literature (7-12), 
Business Computer Information Systems (9-12), 
Civics (7-12), 
The Civil War (9-12),
 College Planner (9-12), 
Consumer Math (9-12), 
Earth Science (8-12), 
Elementary French (3-6), 
Elementary Spanish (3-6), 
Essentials of Math (8-12), 
Family & Consumer Science (7-12)
, Foundations for Living (9-12), 
French I and II (9-12), 
GED Preparatory History & Geography (9-12), 
GED Preparatory Language Arts (9-12),
 GED Preparatory Math (9-12), 
GED Preparatory Science (9-12), 
General Science III (9-12), 
Health Quest (4-7), 
High School Health (8-12), 
Pre-algebra (7-9), 
Secondary French (7-12), 
Secondary Spanish (7-12), 
Spanish I and II (9-12), 
Speech: Essentials of Communication (9-12), 
State History (7-12), 
The Story of the Constitution (7-12), 
Trigonometry (9-12), 
Twentieth Century American History (9-12), 
Vietnam Era (9-12), 
 World Geography (8-12). "

Another plus to using SOS is that the curriculum checks for updates made to the curriculum daily. I never have to worry if my child will be learning out of date material or material that is incorrect. SOS does a good job of keeping material current!

Cost Comparison:
Compared to a lot of video schooling out there, SOS is VERY VERY comparable in price. Just to give a few comparisons, I went to BJU Press and looked at their online schooling..here's the breakdown..I used 7th grade as my comparison because my oldest is in 7th this year.

Online with or w/o books - $800-$1000
DVD with or w/o books - $850-$1050
Hard Drive with or w/o books - $700-$900

Switched on Schoolhouse offers 7th Grade 5 Subjects, Brand New, this years current curriculum for...drum roll......$450.00!!! Now that is retail price right off AOP's site, but we never do that. We buy ours off Ebay for 1/3 the price and get the previous year's edition, or off of Craigslist if the seller will ship it to us. This year we bought 7th grade 2012's version off Craigslist for $125.00 :-) 

Let's compare that again....$125 for SOS or $700-$1000 for another curriculum. Hmmmm...even if you bought SOS BRAND NEW right off the AOP site, you are still paying a fraction of what it costs to do other options. 

$125.00 also means that you have everything you need for schooling outside of printer paper and pencils :-) LOVE IT! 

Pros and Cons:

Pros: Covers each subject very thoroughly. Easy to set up. Very mobile, making it a plus for students who need to have a moving school without lugging lots of books around. Keeps the schooling concise without a lot of "rabbit trails" :-) Frees the parent to have more time to concentrate on helping the student(s) with trouble areas due to the parent not having to verbally teach every subject to every student. Covers the subject material very well. EASY parent set-up and is customizable to each students particular needs. Makes it very easy for Moms who need to take a sick day. You can take one and the kids won't get behind in school!!  

Cons: I personally have none, but putting myself in another individuals shoes and looking at it from an outside perspective, there might be a concern that it isn't possible to finish a child's complete days worth of schooling in 2-3 hours. Well, we've been doing this for 5 years now and the schooling is finished in 3 hours everyday and her yearly state tests have gotten better and better each year. I have my own personal opinions on how long schooling should take, especially when you are home schooling, but that is for another day :-) If there were any cons to using SOS  it would probably take the form of the child having to be able to type well before they start using the curriculum in grade 3. BUT, if you get some type of typing program like the one I listed above, it won't be a problem at all! We didn't start the typing program with my oldest until 2 months before she was to start 3rd grade (SOS), so the first few months of school were S.L.O.W. and tedious because her typing skills were slow :-) After she got better at typing, that problem resolved itself.

All in all, I have been very pleased with SOS and will continue using it for many years to come. If you have ANY questions, please feel free to ask or to suggest any materials you have used for your home schooling that have brought good results! Information shared is a positive to every homeschooling family! I hope that if you are looking to make changes to your homeschooling curriculum, this post has been helpful to you and has given you another option to look into! Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Herbal Home Remedies for Flu, Cough, and Cold Season!

The flu, cough, and cold season is upon us in full swing it seems! Not here in our house, but it seems that everywhere we go we run into somebody that is sick, has been sick, or knows a gazillion people who are sick! Know what I mean? Whew! It's everywhere!

There are many things that you can do that are simple but very effective in fighting off these yucky bacterias and I guarantee you that you probably already have what you need in the pantry! If not, the grocery isn't that far...thank goodness!!! :-)

I will also include a few links in this post to purchase a few herbs and essential oils that I keep on hand to use during this most "un-wonderful time of year" :-)

It alarms me as I am out and around people as to how uneducated people are these days about germs. In this day of great knowledge and availability of information, you would think that those around you would understand that if they are sick they have GERMS. Germs are what cause the spreading of disease and illness, so it's safe to assume that if one has germs one will spread illness. Not so these days! In this age of "antibiotics rule out contagious" we find a lot of ignorance concerning illness and prevention of illness by the alarming number of individuals walking around sick with contagious diseases who claim to be "not ill" because the drug they are taking makes them feel good.  I'm not writing to get on the topic of antibiotics and "flu shots", but am writing to give you alternatives to illness and antibiotics (good health destroying drugs).

Over the past few years I have been so blessed to have been given a wealth of information concerning health and nutrition through many wonderful herbal/medical books written back in the late 40's to early 50's. I have gleaned so much helpful information from those books that I just have to share it with you!

All of the remedies that I will share today are ones that I personally use with my family and have done so for several years with wonderful results! I am not affiliated with any company and am not receiving any compensation from the companies I promote. I am just sharing what has worked well for us in hopes that it will do the same for you!

First, let's take a look at the immune system. Your immune system is your police station/fire station/ FBI of your body :-) It protects, puts out, and drags out of the hidden recesses of your body those nasty little bugs and gets them out of the body! If your immune system is worn down with boxed/canned food (organic is included :-),  SUGAR (watch out for those "healthier" treats! Sugar is often substituted for wheat, gluten, or carbs in those "healthy" treats!) Processed dairy and meats, and sugary drinks,  then you are a prime candidate for catching "THE BUG"!! All of these things deplete the body of necessary bacteriums and vitamins in your gut, weakening the immune system, and causing you to be susceptible to bad bacteria from food and germs from other ill people.

SO, what can you do for that immune system???

1. Feed it good bacteria through the following items...
     - raw milk yogurt or organic yogurt if you do not have access to raw milk. We consume raw yogurt at least 2 x's a day (about 1/2 each time for each person)
     - organic apple cider vinegar with the mother in it. I make a drink out of it by putting 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp. of raw honey in an 8 oz. glass of water. Delicious! If your children have a hard time with the vinegar, increase the raw honey! Real raw honey is wonderful for the body and contains many natural germ fighting properties that will help aid in your fight!

 2. Use herbs in tea, tincture, or syrup form....here's where I get into the stuff I really love :-)
      - herbal teas are great for helping everyone get that water into their bodies in a more palatable way! I brew my loose leaf herbal tea blends from the Bulk Herb Store in my coffee pot with a filter just like you would do coffee, except that these teas will actually boost and not deplete your system like coffee will!
     - herbal tinctures are great to keep on hand for the occasion that someone does get sick in your house and they need a lot of immune boosting herbs in a concentrated form! Over at Herb Pharm you can get everything you need for those emergencies and can be assured that what you are getting is really going to work! I personally use Herb Pharm and can vouch for their quality and success rate! I highly suggest using herbs like echinaccea, lobelia, mullein, elderberry, rose hips, Indian gooseberry, to name a few, for immune boosting power!
    - last, but not least, herbal syrups!! My kids love taking their herbs in this form and I find it to be the easiest for me to make, especially if I need it quick! I am going to share my flu, cough, and cold herbal syrup remedy that I have been using for several years. My oldest child is 12 and has only had 1 (24 hr.) flu bug one time in her life, so I think that this remedy has been successful! I do purchase the elderberry in this recipe from the Bulk Herb Store (link above) when I cannot wild craft it. This year happened to be one of the off years for wild elderberry so I ended up having to buy it! Very worth it though!!!

Yes, that is my honey in that little jar. Raw honey sugars after awhile so you have to melt it down sometimes:-) 

Finished syrup! We're ready to battle it out with the germies this year!

Flu, Cough, Cold Herbal Syrup
1/2 cup dried elderberries (I also include autumn olive berries in my recipe. Read why I do that here)
1 cup of fresh autumn olive berries or 1/2 cup dried berry *optional*
3 cups water
1 cup raw honey
Place the dried elderberries and other berries you may choose to add into a saucepan, add the 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the boil to a simmer and let simmer for 30-45 min. Remove from heat and let cool. Line a stainless strainer with cheesecloth or thin cloth and pour the berry liquid through the cloth into another stainless bowl. Mash the berries well to remove all the nutritive properties and discard the pulp. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and heat till warm. Add the 1 cup honey and stir till dissolved. Pour the syrup into a glass mason jar and store in the fridge. Take 1-2 tsp. daily for maintenance of health!

3. Use Essential oils designed for killing germs in homemade household cleaners, hand wipes, and air diffusers!
     - I purchase and use Four Thieves Synergy Blend from Amazon.com and I absolutely love it! Click here to read about this amazing little oil and to purchase it as well. You will NOT be sorry you did! I use this little oil blend in many different ways.
Household Cleaner - add 15 drops to a spray bottle filled with white distilled vinegar. Use to clean any and all surfaces in your home.
Hand wipes - purchase baby wipes, sprinkle 3-4 drops on each wipe, fold them up and store in a plastic ziplock bag in the glove box of your car. So very handy for when you are out and about and need to wipe off those yucky germs!
Air diffusers - every time I change the air filter in our home and 1-2 times a week during the sick season, I sprinkle 30 drops of this essential oil on the filter. This helps to  kill the circulating bacteria in your vent system! I also put 15 drops in a crock pot of water in the room of a child who is sick for them to breathe during the night. It can also be used in a saucepan on your stove during the daytime hours. Just fill the saucepan with water, add 15 drops, and let gently simmer throughout the day! I find this oil to be extremely powerful and have been pleased with the results we have had from using it!

4. Lastly, (I know this has been long, but I'm almost done!) we must NOT forget about the good ole' sunshine and exercise! Sunshine and exercise are even more needed during the winter time to boost that immune system! My kids and I spend an average of 1-3 hours outside every day, unless it's raining, in the sunshine and cold air playing, exercising, and just having fun! We bundle up in appropriate clothing and just have at it! If nothing else, the colder air invigorates your brain and makes you  feel so refreshed!  Here is a video about Vitamin D (sunshine) and exercise and the effect that they have on your health! Click here to view the video. Studies have been done and proven to show that trying to keep your house cooler in the winter to save money is actually giving you a good breeding ground for germs which in turn is going to make you spend all that saved money on doctor bills!!! Hmmm...:-) Might be something you want to research a little more! All I know is that we keep our house on the same temp. day and night, play outside in the cold, use the herbs and healthy bacterias in all the forms listed on a daily basis and we have only succumbed 1 time in the past 14 years  to a 24 hour flu bug!! Prevention is the key to good health!

I hope that this has been a help and if you have other herbal remedies that you've used or are using that work, feel free to comment with your suggestions! I love reading about new remedies to try! If you use any of mine and they help you or your family, I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading and here's to a healthy and happy New Year for you and yours!!!