10 DIY Christmas Ornaments You Can Make with Your Kids

Do you smell that? Mmmm...that's the smell of fresh baked sugar cookies and gingerbread men coming out of the oven. Do you see that? Wow! I can see twinkling lights and stockings hung by the fire. I'm daydreaming, of course, but it's Christmastime!! It's time to pull out the totes of Christmas decorations. It's time to dig through our favorite cookbooks and find those yummy recipes we make year after year. It's time to make memories with our kids and make some new Christmas ornaments for the tree.Today I've got ten DIY ornaments you can make with your kids. They're easy enough for all ages. So, pick your favorites, make a list, head out to the craft store and pick up the supplies needed to have an afternoon of ornament making. {You may already have the supplies in your craft closet if … [Read more...]

How Snowflakes Form: Homeschool Lesson Plan

Like it or not, it's the beginning of winter.  Some of us have snow and others don't.  Snowflakes are one of the tiniest miracles and a perfect opportunity to introduce science into your lesson plan.  Everyone knows that each snowflake is different, but do you know how they are made?  Here are some ideas for your homeschool lesson plan. Books About Snowflakes Kenneth Libbrecht has numerous books about snowflakes and their beauty.  I highly recommend The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes  and Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes.Image credit and link sources: Amazon  These books easily explain the formation of ice crystals into snowflakes, not to mention they are full of beautiful images.  The books will even help you learn which … [Read more...]

Dear Parents, It’s Not Our Fault!

My kids tell me all the time when I embarrass them. I’ve got news for them – while I love them with everything I’ve got, they’ve also found ways to embarrass me, too!With reflection, it’s not my fault, and I don’t blame my kids either. The times we live in now are much different than when the parents of today were kids themselves. Digital technology has taken over nearly every facet of our lives, for us and our kids. Lost in the shuffle is the development of social skills and manners. Yet, these capabilities are still just as important as ever (ask any college recruiter, employer or someone new to your neighborhood)!Maybe that’s what drove me to write The SMART Playbook. It took years of researching and drafting, but I did it. I’m not an expert, I’m just a Mom – that is a Mom with … [Read more...]

Festive Fourth of July Recipes

The Fourth of July is the perfect reason to bring together friends and family for a good old-fashioned backyard barbecue.  Celebrating our independence is a pretty good reason to gather 'round the picnic table, too!  Today I'm going to give you eleven recipes {or how-to's} that are as delicious as they are beautiful.Let's start with a few beautiful appetizers./1/ Patriotic Dip - Turn your ordinary dip dish into a festive masterpiece with just a few simple steps./2/ Summer Fruit Wands - While your guests wait on their juicy cheeseburger to come off of the grill serve them these super fun Fruit Wands!/3/ Cheesy Star Chips - These are easy and cute! Add a dish of salsa for dipping to complete this appetizer. Moving on to the main course, shall we?/4/ Aloha Burgers - … [Read more...]

Easy Fourth of July Crafts for the Entire Family

In most areas around the country school is out for summer. For me, when school is out I need lots of activities to keep the idle hands of my little ones busy. What better way to do that than to decorate your home with red, white and blue!? After all, the Fourth of July is right around the corner!Today you'll find a craft for all ages. And ALL in preparation for our nation's Independence Day!/1/ Pop Rocks Marshmallow Pops - Pop Rocks were such a fun candy when I was a kid! Who am I kidding? I still love them! Combining Pop Rocks and marshmallows just seems genius. See for yourself!/2/ Hidden Flag Cake - Don't be intimidated by it's complicated appearance. This Flag Cake is really simple. What's more? Ice this cake with plain white icing, light some sparklers on top {like … [Read more...]

The SMART Back to Basics Summer Project. Bring it ON!

I’ve spoken to hundreds of moms and everyone seems to have the same complaint. How do we get our kids off electronics and back to basics? How do we teach them to connect with people on a deeper level? How do we teach them to search for a solution using their minds and not just with a push of a button?Sometimes I just want to shout, “Stop looking down and take the time to look up, connect and enjoy the moment.” I am determined to teach them the amazing benefits of life unplugged!And voila, that inspired me to set up my summer of getting back to basics plan begins! It’s time to look up, connect and experience real feelings, real emotions, real people, real nature – everything REAL and NOTHING electronic.I’m calling it 'My SMART Back to Basics Summer Project'. The goal is to … [Read more...]