What Happened to Patriotism?

When did patriotism become a bad word? I remember when the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001. I was a freshman in college and I remember watching the news footage that morning being absolutely petrified. The days following this horrific event showed American’s coming together in a way they had never come together before. We were proud to be American’s in 2001 and we allowed our pride to bring us together to support one another during that terrible time. The American Flag was flown from every porch, building and many cars as it was a reminder of how great our nation was and it gave us all hope for the future.

I am still proud to be an American and I believe that we live in one of the greatest countries in the world. Yet in 2019 a statement like this is often met with criticism and hatred. Somehow being a proud American now holds a negative connotation. The American Flag no longer represents purity, valor, or justice instead people now believe that it represents racism and division. The Pledge of Allegiance is also under attack for being divisive and is no longer being recited in many schools and government institutions. This past 4th of July I saw numerous Facebook post from friends and family members stating that they couldn’t celebrate the holiday because there were people in this country who didn’t have freedom.

People seem to forget that if you are an AMERICAN CITIZEN that you do have freedoms. Freedoms that are not available in many other countries. Instead people want to focus on the fact that we have men, women and children being detained at our southern border because they want to live in our country. The problem is that these individuals are making a CHOICE to cross our border illegally. They are not being detained because they are a certain demographic. They are being detained because they are breaking the law. I understand that some of these individuals are coming here to reunite with family or to seek safety but it doesn’t change the fact that they are doing so illegally. They are endangering their children and themselves by making the difficult trek through rough terrain and through dangerous territory.

I am not a heartless individual and my heart breaks for the children involved in this horrible situation. We have a real crisis on our southern border and Congress has been turning a blind eye to this for far too long. Now many politicians want to use this situation to push a political agenda one that is turning American’s against one another. There has been a lot of finger pointing and blame but no action to correct the situation. We need to discourage illegal border crossing and figure out a way to overhaul our immigration system. If our elected officials spent a little time working on this problem rather than playing blame game they could fix this situation.

The American Flag is not divisive or racist it is our liberal politicians pushing this mindset creating an illusion of division. These politicians are more concerned with the welfare of those illegally entering our country than they are with true American citizens. American’s need to start thinking for themselves and remembering what it means to be an American. In the United States of America we can have differences of opinions but at the end of the day the very fact that we are American should bring us together. Abraham Lincoln warned us that a house divided would fall and it seems that this is what many politicians want to happen. Why? So they can gain control and strip us of the very freedoms we take for granted.

Regardless of your thoughts or feelings on illegal immigration or any other issue it shouldn’t change how you feel about your country. I will continue to be a proud American and I will continue to raise my children to have respect for their country. Patriotism is not a bad word it simply means that you support your country. Shouldn’t you support the country you live in?

Image by Flash Alexander from Pixabay 
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Let’s Talk Christmas

I know it’s July and with this beautiful summer weather Christmas seems eons away. In reality though Christmas isn’t all that far away and before you know it the local radio stations will be playing our favorite Christmas songs around the clock. While Christmas is a time for joy for many people it can bring a great deal of sadness and frustration especially when it comes to finances. Even the most frugal of families can feel the pinch when it comes to Christmas which can suck the joy right out of the holidays.

This year I want to make Christmas as stress free and as joyful as possible. I want to spend time with friends and family without the stress of finances hanging over my head like a cloud. I have decided that this year I am going to start planning for Christmas in July. With 24 weeks left until Christmas this gives me the opportunity to save $1000 by simply putting away $42 a week. My goal is to save a $1000 by Christmas to help pay for Christmas presents, host my annual Christmas party and so I can give a little extra to those in need. I have recently kicked an expensive coffee habit so I know that I can work the $42 into my budget.

If you are reading this and thinking it sounds like a good idea but $42 a week isn’t in the budget think about putting aside $20 instead. In 24 weeks you will have accumulated $480 and that can go along way towards easing the burden that holidays often put on our finances.

Let me know in the comments below if you already have your Christmas fund started. When do you start planning for the holidays?

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Homeschooling While Pregnant

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This is the first time I have attempted to homeschool during a pregnancy and I can tell you that it has been quite the challenge. During my first trimester I was plagued with severe nausea and fatigue which made it difficult getting through the day upright. At night I usually had a half hour where I was able to get things done and this is when I would print off any worksheets or activities that I wanted the kids to do the following day. This really helped and now that I have started my second trimester I am feeling more like myself and able to get back into the thick of things.

While I have been able to get back into more of a normal routine I am behind with several important tasks. I need to get all three of my kids set up for their yearly assessments (a requirement in the state of Ohio) and I need to get our 2019-2020 academic year planned. Typically by this time of year I have these things done and already have shipments of books rolling in so I am a bit anxious. My goal this week is to get everything organized and outlined so I can get all of this done before the start of the new school year.

One of the reasons it has taken more time to get my homeschool planning done is I am trying to decide what path to take. Normally, I piece together a curriculum for each of my kids so they can have a truly customized education. The only problem with this is that there is a lot more work for me and I am not sure how my health is going to hold out during this pregnancy. That is why I am currently leaning towards a boxed curriculum that is more open and go to take some of the work load off of my plate. We have used Sonlight in the past and we really enjoyed it so I am considering this as an option for this year. I just want to make sure that whatever option we choose my kids education doesn’t suffer.

Special Announcement

Life truly is an adventure and you never know what could happen to send your life’s journey down a new path. At the end of April I discovered that I was pregnant. This was an exciting discovery as we had always wanted more children but I have had issues with fertility since my youngest was born 7 years ago. We had come to terms with the fact that our family was complete but God miraculously had other plans.

A week or so after I discovered I was pregnant I began to have issues with bleeding and cramping. I was so scared as I thought that I was having a miscarriage. We were in the ER for hours and after numerous test including an ultrasound the doctor came in and told me that there was a problem with my pregnancy. He handed me a box of tissues and explained that I was having a molar pregnancy and would need emergency surgery. I was devastated and spent the next two hours with my husband grieving the loss of my pregnancy. Then another doctor came in and began to ask me questions about whether I had ever had any uterine anomalies. I explained to her as I had to the Ultrasound tech and the first doctor that I had a large fibroid cyst. This doctor explained to us that she thought their may have been an error made and that what they were seeing was not a molar pregnancy but my fibroid tumor. Apparently, a Molar pregnancy looks like a snowstorm but a degenerating fibroid can appear the same way on ultrasound. She cautioned me not to get too hopeful but said they were going to repeat the ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis of a Molar pregnancy.

After an excruciating 30 mins of them searching with the Ultrasound machine they discovered behind my fibroid tumor a tiny egg sack. My fibroid tumor had hidden my pregnancy from the first ultrasound tech which resulted in an incorrect diagnosis of a Molar pregnancy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t far enough along for anything to be seen in the egg sack so I had to wait another week to confirm the viability of my pregnancy. Finally, we had the confirmation we had been looking for; we had a viable pregnancy and we had a heart beat of 127 bpm. Unfortunately, due to my age (35 almost 36), my fibroid tumor, and a type 2 diabetes diagnosis I am very high risk. The doctors are unsure how my body is going to respond to this pregnancy or how my growing fibroid tumor will impact the outcome. Luckily I have a great team of doctors who are overseeing my case and I feel confident in their abilities to give me the best chance of a healthy baby.

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions and we have had several miscarriage scares. It’s very easy in situations like these to let fear overtake joy but I have been working very hard on staying calm and letting my faith in God carry me down this path. While I don’t know what to expect I am hopeful and excited to meet my little baby sometime around Christmas.

Are You Afraid of Leftovers?

Over the years I have encountered a strange phenomenon among men and women my age and that is an unnatural fear of leftovers. I happen to be really good at saving money on my food budget and when people ask me the secret to my success they are usually appalled that I make my family eat leftovers. The funny thing is that these same individuals love to fill their shopping carts with expensive frozen dinners because I guess that is their idea of “fresh food”.

Recently, I had a conversation with a woman about leftovers and she told me that she would never feed her family leftovers because they are gross, flavorless and unhealthy. She had no issue with cooking a homemade meal for her family but instead of packaging away the leftovers for another meal later in the week or storing them in the freezer she just throws them out. When I think of the amount of food this family waste as well as the wasted money it makes my brain hurt. I attempted to explain that leftovers are nothing to be afraid of and in fact are a great way to serve healthy food on a budget. In fact, having leftovers on hand saves time and dishes later in the week when schedules get hectic.

I don’t think I was very successful explaining the benefits of leftovers but it has compelled me to sit down and make a case for them in writing. If you are afraid of leftovers and stumble upon this post I hope you will reconsider the idea of cooking with leftovers.

Leftovers do not have to be gross, flavorless or unhealthy. When you make a casserole and you have leftovers refrigerate or freeze within two hours of serving. This will maintain the quality of the food and prevent bacteria from growing. I agree that bacteria riddled food is gross but proper storage prevents this from happening. I will link a great article below from the FDA that provides some guidelines for food storage.

When it comes to flavor most food will taste better the next day because it has had time to meld flavors. For instance, chicken noodle soup is great day one but it is way better day two because it has sat in the fridge with the veggies and spices melding flavors. When you throw out leftovers you are missing out on a wonderful culinary experience.

Eating leftovers is not unhealthy unless the food was unhealthy to start off with. A leftover chocolate pie isn’t going to gain nutritional value overnight just as a lasagna isn’t going to lose nutritional value overnight. Making food from scratch gives you the opportunity to create recipes that are healthy and nutrient rich. A homemade lasagna is going to be lower in sugar and salt when you compare it to a pre-packaged frozen lasagna. We know that excessive salt and sugar consumption can lead to a whole lot of health problems and unfortunately the convenient pre-packaged meals are saturated with sugar and salt.

Leftovers are nothing to be afraid of as long as you educate yourself on proper food handling and storage you can safely reuse leftovers. I love using leftovers because it gives me a break later in the week when I need to make a fast meal. Not only does this save me time it also saves me on kitchen cleanup because I am just reheating not creating the meal from scratch. Using leftovers can be fun as well it’s an opportunity to get creative. Over the years I have learned how to take leftover chicken noodle soup and turn it into chicken pot pie, creamy chicken and noodles, and chicken spaghetti. Leftover pulled pork is not only great on sandwiches but you can stuff baked potatoes and top with cheddar cheese for a whole new meal.

As you can see leftovers are not that scary and can be a great tool if used correctly to save you time, energy and money. If you are still on the fence consider this if you are feeding your family a steady diet of pre-packaged freezer meals then you are already eating leftovers. These meals are pre-cooked and frozen only to sit a month or two in your local grocery store before being purchased. They are full of sugar, salt, MSG, and other preservatives that give me chills. Skip these chemical laden leftovers and start reheating your home cooked meals. It really is the best thing you can do for your family and your budget!

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm529509.pdf

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That’s Not My Baby Gender Reveal

Recently I was handed the responsibility of hosting a gender reveal party for my brother and sister in law. They wanted something simple but unique and after a great deal of thinking I finally hit upon an idea. I came up with a game where mom and dad had to hunt through the group looking for their baby.

I created 20 index cards featuring pictures of animals and a silly sentence explaining why that wasn’t their baby. For instance, on the index card featuring a baby lion I wrote “That’s not my baby it’s claws are too sharp”. One person in the group had an index card attached to the ultrasound picture with the words ” That’s my baby SHE is so perfect”. Each index card was placed in a brown envelope and closed with pink and blue ribbons. I attached the ribbons so that when they were pulled it was easy to open the envelope and uncover the index card. This worked out really well and even the little kids participating in the game were able to easily open their envelopes.

Since the day was nice and warm we chose to play this game outside and we had the entire family line up and we passed out the sealed envelopes. My brother and sister in law had to start picking family members one at a time to reveal what was in their envelope. There were a lot of laughs as people uncovered baby skunks, turtles and hippos. Finally, after going through most of envelopes they called on my sister in laws Grandmother to open her envelope. Grandma opened her envelope and immediately started to cry once she realized that she had the ultrasound picture. With a shaky voice she read out “That’s my baby SHE is so perfect!”. Everyone started laughing and crying with excitement and it really ended up being a lot of fun and super special.

Now prior to the party I had marked one of the envelopes with a heart on the bottom because I wanted to make sure Grandma was the one who got to make the announcement. How many Grandma’s get to tell their granddaughters whether they are going to have a boy or a girl? I am glad that this worked out so well and wanted to share this idea in case anyone else would like to use this for their gender reveal party.

For the record this idea was inspired by one of my kids favorite children’s books produced by the Usborne Publishing company. Usborne has a whole line of That’s Not My…. books for young readers. I think one of the first baby gifts that I will be giving baby girl once she arrives will be one of these books for her library.

Materials Needed

Blank Index Cards 1 for each guest

Two colors of ribbon

Small paper sacks or gift bags 1 for each guest

Images of baby animals ( I found a ton of these online through Pinterest)

Craft Glue

Permanent Marker

Hole punch

Paper Clip

Print off pictures of baby animals or you could even hand draw the animals on each index card.

Write out silly sentences for each animal picture starting each sentence off with “That’s not my baby it’s __________________”. Glue animal picture to the card.

Attach ultrasound picture with a paper clip to an index card with a sentence that says “That’s my baby (insert he/she) is so _____________” (If you are selecting a certain individual to receive this make sure to mark the bottom of the bag with a tiny symbol).

Cut strips of ribbon for the bags I did 6 inches of pink and blue for each bag.

Place index cards inside paper sacks or gift bags and punch a hole in the top.

Fasten 2 strands of ribbon to each bag and tie two knots to keep bags sealed.

Game Time!

Once you have everyone arranged either into groups or in a line have the expectant parents take turns selecting an individual to reveal what is in their bag. Individual selected has to pull there ribbon to open bag and than read off their card and show the picture they received.

Keep going until the ultrasound picture has been chosen.

If there are cards left you can have people read them off after the gender has been revealed.

As a special memento you can retrieve the cards and put them into a little book bound with ribbon.

This was super affordable I spent under $10 for all of the supplies and I purchased everything at my local Walmart!

Let me know what you think of this idea?

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The Importance of the Electoral College

i voted sticker spool on white surface

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Since our last presidential election in 2016 we have heard a number of politicians and media personalities discussing whether or not we should continue using the electoral college in our elections. Now it seems that discussion has turned to action as a number of democrats have gathered together to submit a measure to congress that would remove the electoral college in future elections.

The scariest thing about this is how many people especially younger voters seem to thing this is a great idea. They believe that by removing the electoral college that it will make the election process more fair. In my opinion this is the result of our poor education system in this country. The electoral college is in place to make the voting process as fair as possible by giving every state a voice in the election regardless of population. If this measure is approved elections would be determined by the popular vote which means that populous states like California, Texas, New York and Florida would hold all of the power. There would be no need for United States citizens in other states to vote because their vote wouldn’t carry the same weight if any weight at all.

Our founding founders devised the Electoral College because they wanted the voting powers to be equally distributed throughout the United States. While it may not be a perfect system it is the best way for each and every citizen to have their vote recognized and counted. I believe that removing the Electoral College will destroy Democracy in the United States and threaten the foundation this country was built upon.

I am very concerned about the state of our politics and our country in general. We have so many children graduating from high school without the ability to think critically, and without adequate knowledge of history and government. I have spoken with a number of teens and young adults who have expressed a desire to see the electoral college abolished yet can’t provide a reasonable argument to support their opinion. Schools are supposed to teach children HOW to think they aren’t supposed to teach children WHAT to think. This is  dangerous behavior because these children are being taught to think a specific way and then they go on to be voters.

Our future is dependent on our youth and all educators including those of us who homeschool; we have a duty to teach our children HOW to research, think and form valid arguments. Research and education will highlight the importance of the Electoral College in our voting process. The right to vote is an important one and it should never be done lightly because it is our civic duty to be informed and active participants in our government. That way we can “all” ensure that the values and rights established by our founding fathers in the Constitution can be upheld for generations to come.

usa flag waving on white metal pole

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https://thehill.com/homenews/house/423810-dem-introduces-bills-to-eliminate-electoral-college-stop-presidents-from

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-dems-introduce-bill-to-abolish-electoral-college

https://www.thenation.com/article/democrats-need-to-get-rid-of-the-electoral-college/

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Commonly Googled: How to homeschool for free…

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I wanted to see what questions Google was being asked about homeschool so I turned to the Google search engine and typed in how to homeschool and the first thing that popped up for me was how to homeschool for free. When I first began my homeschool journey years ago the financial burden was something that had concerned me because we had very limited finances. I wanted to provide the very best in education and was worried that our budget would restrict the quality of our resources. After a great deal of research I learned that it was possible to homeschool for free without affecting the quality of the education we provided.

If you are thinking of homeschooling and wondering how to do this either with little money or no money I recommend reading Homeschool Your Child For Free by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski. This is a great book that breaks down how to homeschool various age groups and subjects for free and where to find free resources. I found this book in my local library and loved it so much that I hunted down a used version online. Over the years I have read and reread this book countless times and have always found great advice and inspiration.

In order to homeschool your children successfully you need to provide access to books, activities and lively discussion. The first step is providing access to books and even if you don’t have an extensive home library you can accomplish this by taking advantage of your local library. Here you can find books and resources to really teach any subject or topic. The next key to success is to engage your children in activities outside of the home where they can experience new things and learn while having fun. Check with your local metro, state and national parks in your area because many times they provide free activities and events. We have done bird watches, butterfly walks, fishing, hiking and a number of other activities all for free through our park system. With a little online research you can find museums, zoos and field trip opportunities that are free for residents on certain days of the week. Finally, you can utilize lively discussion to educate your children. I love having conversations with my children discussing what we have learned and there thoughts and feelings on the situation. Recently, when discussing the American Revolution I had my kids split into Loyalist and Patriots and argue their stance from that perspective. This was a great way for them to practice what they had learned in a fun way while really gaining an understanding of the issues the colonist were dealing with during that time period.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to break the bank and you can provide a quality education at home for free. Of course you will still need to provide things like pencils, paper, glue and other craft supplies but you don’t need an expensive boxed curriculum to homeschool. Make sure you do a lot of research and read as many books as you can on how to homeschool. This will help you develop a plan for your school year which will basically be the map you need to navigate your journey as a home educator. Anyone can homeschool if they have the desire, the initiative and the willingness to provide an environment that encourages and promotes learning.

Below you will find links to some great information about homeschooling for free. If you have a specific question about homeschooling for free or in general let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Free online homeschool

 

Online Homeschool Community

 

Free Online Math Game

 

Preschool Science Curriculum

 

Education.com (access to lesson plans, worksheets and other resources for a small monthly fee)

 

The Free Reading Program

 

Starfall

 

TeachersPayTeachers (While there is a fee for some of these resources you can find free worksheets and lesson plans)

 

The Good & The Beautiful (Language Arts courses Level 1-5 can be downloaded for FREE)

 

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (Free books for kids 5 and under. Not available in all zip codes)

 

 

Ordering Prescription Glasses Online

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Did you know that you can order prescription glasses online? I just learned it was possible about a week ago. I had received a new prescription from my eye doctor and when I went to pick out my glasses I discovered a very long line. I didn’t have enough time that day to wait so I figured I would just go back later in the week. That night I randomly wondered if I could somehow get glasses online so I turned to Google for answers. This is when I discovered Zenni Optical an online retailer that makes it possible to purchase prescription glasses from the comfort of your own home. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was this a convenient option it was also an affordable option as well.

I found frames for as low as $6.95 with free lenses and I was able to add the anti-reflective coating for $4.95. I purchased two pairs of glasses and had them shipped directly to me for the low price of $29.07. The entire process was relatively simple the only hard part was measuring my pupillary distance. Luckily Zenni Optical provides easy instructions to help you figure this out with a ruler and a mirror. I measured three times to make sure I had the right numbers but this is the only tricky part. Other than that you select the frames you like, enter your prescription for each eye, your pupillary distance, and select whatever options or accessories you want to add. Once your order is submitted it takes between 7-10 days to receive your order unless you pay extra shipping to fast track the order. Since I enjoy saving money whenever possible I chose to wait the 7-10 days and was very happy when I received my order exactly 7 days later in the mail.

I have to admit I was still a little skeptical that I could get a quality pair of prescription glasses online especially with the price I paid for two pairs but I am no longer skeptical. After trying on both pairs I can happily say that this is a fantastic way to purchase glasses in fact I might be going back to their website to snag a pair of sunglasses. In the past every time I have picked out a pair of glasses at the eye doctor I end up with glasses I hate. It’s because I feel rushed and usually just pick the cheaper option but ordering them online allowed me the chance to browse and really find frames I liked. I absolutely love both pairs of glasses I picked out and no longer have to wear the bulky glasses I hate.

If you are in the market for affordable prescription glasses I urge you to check online. I know there are a few online retailers like Zenni Optical but I can honestly say this is a great company to buy through. I love the variety of frames they offered, the fact that they carry children’s glasses, their affordability and of course the convenience of ordering online. From here on out this will be the way I purchase not only my glasses but my family’s glasses as well.

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Disclaimer: I am not being paid or sponsored by Zenni Optical or any other party. This review is unsolicited and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

 

Zenni Optical

www.zennioptical.com