my meal planning secrets

Anyone who knows me wouldn’t use my name and cooking in the same sentence (and I am not offended!)  It isn’t that I don’t know how to cook but it is one of my least favorite things to do with crafts coming in at a close second.  So people like me have to be creative especially since I have five kids and a husband who like to eat at least 3 times a day!  I may not have the passion to get in the kitchen and make magic but what I do have going for me are my researching and planning skills.  Google, and sometimes Bing, are my best friends when it comes to finding  information on anything including school lunch menus and kids snack menus.  The reason I chose school lunch menus is because they follow USDA nutritional standards and they’re detailed (entree, side, and drink for breakfast, lunch & snack).  Here’s how it works.

step one: google school lunch menu

step two: browse through different menus for ideas.  here is an example of one I like

step three: fill in your weekly menu. i like to have at least four different ones to rotate through out the month.  ours is posted on the fridge.  Weekly-Menu-Planner2

step four: make your grocery list using the menu

step five: HAPPY SHOPPING 🙂



Joy Unspeakable Homeschool Band has been providing music education to homeschooled students (from age 3 until high school graduation) in West Georgia and East Alabama since Fall 2004. We are embarking on our second year of marching band, beginning Tuesday, May 29th! In addition to flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, horns, trombones, euphoniums/baritones, tubas, and percussionists/drummers, we also need: -PIANISTS (to play percussion keyboards, timpani, cymbals, etc. in the pit) -a BASS GUITAR player (in the pit) -young ladies (ages 8 and up) for COLORGUARD (FLAGS) – no previous experience required! -a DRUM MAJOR (must have musical or dance experience with a very strong ability to keep the beat). Please email Amber immediately if you have a student interested in this position!
Band camps and rehearsals will be held in Bremen, GA. For those of you not familiar with where Bremen is, it is exit 11 on I-20, 11 miles east of the Alabama state line and 23 miles west of Highway 5 in Douglasville, GA.
The schedule, registration, and all additional information can be found on our website If you have any questions, please feel free to email Amber

new Georgia homeschool law

With the signature of Governor Nathan Deal on House Bill 39 on May 1, 2012, Georgia enacted significant improvements to its homeschool law. Effective with the 2012–2013 school year, parents will no longer have to submit monthly attendance records to their local public school superintendent. Instead, the records will be submitted only once a year to the Georgia Department of Education. Additionally, the initial and annual declaration of intent to conduct a home study program will be filed with the department of education instead of the local superintendent.

Submission of monthly attendance records has always been a thorn in the flesh of homeschoolers in Georgia. Problems with parents missing the end-of-month deadline by a few days or misplaced records by school officials often led to inappropriate action by the school district. School districts routinely reported families to social services for educational neglect or threatened truancy charges against family members. They also initiated action to bring about the revocation of the driver’s license of students by reporting excessive absences to the department of driver services. Annual reporting at the end of the school year should bring an end to these excessive and unwarranted enforcement actions.

Filing the declaration of intent with the department of education removes the local school district from the administrative process of beginning and continuing a home study program. HSLDA’s experience has been that the less involvement homeschoolers have with the local school district, the fewer legal problems they have.


here is a link to the bill that was passed

Bright Ideas Press facebook party :)

It’s a P A R T Y and you are invited!!!

What: Bright Ideas Press FB Party
Date: TODAY!
Time: 5 pm – 8 pm EDT
Place: FB page!/BrightIdeasPress

Bright Ideas Press is having a HUGE party and you’re invited! Have you attended a FaceBook party yet? I love being able to share information and goodies with all my online friends and a FB party is a fabulous way to do just that. Here’s the scoop: just “friend” Bright Ideas Press on Facebook. Then, TODAY, 5 – 8 pm EDT come to our page and get ready to share, learn, and win prizes! Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of prizes!!!

Plus, we’ll have “speakers” available to answer your questions on different topics. Meet Kim Kautzer of WriteShop, Felice Gerwitz of Media Angels, Sharra Badgley of TOS, and Dari Mullins from Illuminations. I’ll be there the entire time to answer your questions, as well.

Throughout the evening you’ll have opportunities to win great products from Heart of the Matter Online, WriteShop, Media Angels, Raising Real Men, The Old Schoolhouse, My Audio School, Trivium Pursuit, Knowledge Box Central, and of course US! (And everyone who stops by gets a FREE Literature Study Guide a free Family Bible Study on Ruth!) The two grand prizes include TWO free copies of WonderMaps and Illuminations!!

Introducing Tip Talk Time! One of the cool things about our FB Party is a chance to learn, connect, and get your questions answered! We have three folks doing Tip Talks. Kim Kautzer, of WriteShop, Felice Gerwitz of Media Angels, and Dari Mullins of Illuminations (Bright Ideas Press). In addition to the scheduled talks we have several other folks on hand to answer questions. You can talk to Sharra Badgley of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, who is especially interested in helping newbie homeschoolers, Melissa Craig and Stacey Lane who are BIP employees and moms who use (and create!) BIP products, as well as Christie Jarvis and a host of others!

Each of the 3 scheduled speakers has a specific 15 minute time slot and you get a chance to “ask the experts” your questions! This is how Tip Talks will work:

1. Our speaker will post a tip on our wall.
2. She will then allow for comments and questions (under her wall post).
3. She will answer as many questions as she can and then –
4. She will move on to post a brand-new tip.
5. Rinse and Repeat. LOL!


5:30 PM EDT
Title: Tips for Teaching a Reluctant Writer by Kim Kauzter (WriteShop)

Description: Kim will share some practical ideas to help your struggling student find more joy and success in writing. Learn how to inspire confidence, strengthen skills, and add a bit of fun to writing time!

6:15 PM EDT
Title: Parent-Child Relationships with Your Homeschoolers by Felice Gerwitz

Description: Most of us who homeschool wear many hats…mommy, teacher, and disciplinarian. We love our kids and they love us but sometimes relationships in such close proximity can cause havoc within our homes! Join Felice Gerwitz as she shares life with five very diverse children ranging in age from 30-10. Felice is a long-time homeschool mom (since 1986) and mommy to five very different children. Join her for a session of Q and A about kids, how to engage them, and how to have lasting relationships. Felice is the publisher, (Media Angels, Inc.) of “Secret Code Time: Creating an Unbreakable Bond Between Parent and Child.”

7:00 PM EDT
Title: Answering Your Questions about Illuminations by Dari Mullins

Description: If you use (or are considering using) The Mystery of History or All American History, you might be interested in Illuminations. Illuminations includes dozens of fabulous literature study guides and much, much more to go with these two history series.

FYI – even if a particular TIP TALK is not for you, there will be plenty of other partying going on simultaneously! Buckle up – this will be FAST!
See you at the party!
Maggie Hogan

the relationship our children have with God

If your kids were going out in the rain would you encourage them to take an umbrella or make them take one?  What if your child is less than excited about brushing their teeth, do you encourage them to brush or make them brush?  Most of us would make them take the umbrella to keep dry and not get sick or buy them fun toothbrushes to make the required brush time more fun!  Why then are we requiring less of our children when it comes to their quiet time with God?  Raising a child who sincerely loves and serves God is our job, and a hard one at that.  Our children need to study and memorize the Word PERIOD…………..but sometimes we don’t give them the tools they need to do this.  Instead we make excuses like they don’t understand what they are reading or that is just one more thing to add to the already crowded TO DO list.  They may not be fully understood everything they read and study but then again, neither do we!  Much like a seed that is planted, as they grow, the meaning will become more clear.

I came across the issue of devotion time not exciting my older son and honestly wasn’t sure what to do.  As a parent, it broke my heart when my child found reasons to cut Bible reading short in order to fit in something else he want to do.  So I began to pray.  Lord, make quiet time to be the desire of their hearts, grow them spiritually, develop their Godly qualities, give them the courage to stand for what is right, submit to God and resist the devil,  help them recognize evil and hate it, and so on.  But the strongest prayer was that God give me the strength to be the mom He has called me to be, raise my children in the ways of the Lord, set a Godly example, and KNOW WHEN TO GET OUT OF THE WAY and hand it over to Him:)  More than anything I want my children to choose God and I will continue to lead them in the right direction!

The Word will change how we think, act, and desire.  The Bible shows us what is righteous and spending time with God helps get our heart in order.  I am equipping my children with the tools they need to pursue the Kingdom (by choice).  Devotionals, Bibles in various translations, volunteering, and Bible studies, are a few of the ways.  I have found that devotion books that includes Scripture and allow for open, honest discussion and prayer, work best for my daughter.  While computer devotions or leading family Bible study is of more interest to my son.

God’s Word will make a huge impact in the lives of our children and their walk with Christ.  Here are a few suggestions 🙂

God and Me! Devotions for Girls, Ages 2-5, 6-9, and 10-12
Gotta Have God: Cool Devotions for Boys Ages 2-5, 6-9, and 10-12
The One Year Book of Devotions for Kids #1
Tyndale Kids / 1993 / Trade Paperback ***pictured below

Curriculum SALE !

I am having a sale at my house this Friday from 2-5pm and Saturday from 10-1pm.  Here is a detailed list of the items I have for sale.  If you cannot make it but are interested in one of these items or want a picture please email me

the larger items are a student desk $30 and a folding table with one chair $15 

Magic Tree House #1, #2, #3, #5, #6,#9, #10, #20 **SOLD

Henry Huggins

Caddie Woodlawn

Mrs.Friby and the Rats of NIHM

Where the Red Fern Grown book and dvd

Apologia Botany notebook

Apologia Astronomy notebook and textbook ***SOLD

All American History Vol 1 student read and teacher guide/answer key

Visual mind benders

Easy grammar 5

 A Beka Arithmetic 2 curriculum/lesson plans

A Beka Arithmetic 2 tests and speed drills teacher key

complete set of A Beka second grade readers ***SOLD

A Beka Phonics, Reading, and Spelling curriculum/lesson plans ***SOLD

A Beka Letters and Sounds 2 test key ***SOLD

A Beka Phonics and Reading curriculum/lesson plan 1 ***SOLD

A Beka Writing and Seatwork 1 curriculum/lesson plans ***SOLD

A Beka My America and My World 1 ***SOLD

Letters and Sounds 1 test ***SOLD

A Beka Arithmetic 1 curriculum/lesson plans ***SOLD

A Beka Arithmetic 1 charts and games ***SOLD

A Beka Arithmetic 4 curriculum/lesson plans

A Beka Arithmetic 4 test and speed drills teacher key and answer key

A Beka Arithmetic charts 3-8 ***SOLD

A Beka Place Value concept cards

A Beka combination dot cards

Arithmetic drill set A cards

Arithmetic 3-4 concept cards ***SOLD

A Beka Basic Phonics Charts

A Beka clue word cards

calendar pieces ***SOLD

animal puzzles

Switched on Schoolhouse science 4

Switched on Schoolhouse history 4

Five in a row vol 1

geo boards with rubber bands

scale with weights


Jumpstart Kindergarten cd rom

Jumpstart Phonics cd rom

Day by Day devotions

Student thesaurus


rising above that bad day because HE is worth it

John 10:10 NIV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I was having a hard day and decided to hide in the bathroom to get away from it all.  As I sat on the side of the tub with my face in my hands this verse came to me.  I needed to be reminded that Jesus came to earth in the form of a man just so He could die on the cross for me.  The moment I believed He is who the Bible says and has done everything that it says our relationship began.  Our relationship much like others has to be given attention but unlike others it should be given the most attention.  I MUST surround myself with God.  The time I spend praying, reading my Bible, memorizing scripture, fellowship with believers, and practicing His ways, allows me to have that FULL life John 10:10 talks about.  The enemy is excitement when I am disconnected from the power source of my heavenly father and please believe, the devil is real.  Trust me I know that life gets us down and it is not easy to smile all the time., but you are of more use to the enemy when you feel defeated.   Praise God no matter what is going on around you.

Philippians 4:11 ASV Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content

And decided your love for God is greater than everything else.  Say, “Lord, In my life, ALL things work together for the glory of God.”   That includes the good and the bad but being His daughter guarantee’s you win in the end 🙂

 Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,d neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.