New Parenting Super Bundle Available Now!

Trying to balance homeschooling, parenting, housework, business, etc. can certainly be overwhelming. I would be lying if I said I had all my ducks in a row. I feel pretty lucky to believe mine are at least swimming in the same pond. With all the resources out there for parenting advice it can be rather difficult to decide where to invest your time and money. Enter the Parenting Super Bundle!

This amazing collaboration from parents just like you has a value of $1,283.96 if each resource is bought separately. You can get the full bundle for only $29.97 (PDF version)/$39.97 (eReader version). In addition you can upgrade to the ebook version FOR FREE if you buy before August 14th at 11:59pm EST.


What’s Included in the Parenting Super Bundle?

There are 35 eBooks, 10 eCourses, 2 audios, 23 printables, 9 workbooks, and 1 membership site. Topics covered include

  • Activities & Crafts
  • Chore Charts & Planners
  • Discipline
  • Education
  • Faith
  • Food
  • Homeschooling
  • Outdoors & Travelling
  • General Parenthood
  • Special Needs
  • Special Occasions
  • Toddlers and Preschoolers

Check out the website for a full list of all items that are included in this bundle.

In addition there are 4 bonuses available as well.

  • FREE 1-month membership from Musik at Home ($30)
  • 10 free audio stories for kids from Around the World Stories ($30)
  • FREE 1-month subscription from Bookroo ($18)
  • FREE All Natural Bug Repellent & Lotion Bars project kit from Detox Project Box ($25)

Getting Started

Worried you won’t know where to start with all the resources in the bundle? Don’t be! Inside the bundle you’ll find a handy Getting Started Guide so you can find just the right tools for the things you’re dealing with today.

I can’t wait to dive into this bundle myself and I know that you will love it too. One more thing I almost forgot. After you complete you Parenting Super Bundle purchase, you will have a chance to purchase the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle for only $27 as well! I don’t know about you, but clutter is probably enemy #1 around my house. With 7 kiddos in 940 sq ft it’s a never ending battle!

Remember to buy the Parenting Super Bundle before it expires on Monday, August 14th, at 11:59 PM EST!

CreativeLive Mid-Year Sale: Save up to 50%!

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It’s no secret that I love CreativeLive. Since I first discovered them a few years ago I’ve watched hundreds of classes while they were streaming, purchased many, and even attended two as part of the studio audience. It has been such an amazing educational resource for me. Right now CreativeLive is having their mid-year sale where all classes are up to 50% off!! No coupon code needed, simply go to their catalog and choose the classes you want.

Shop Creative Live Classes

When CreativeLive first started they were really focused on photographers. No w they have five different channels; Photo & Video, Art & Design, Music & Audio, Craft & Maker, and Money & Life. They have classes on everything a creative entrepreneur needs. Whether you need help with business, marketing, or actual artistic techniques you are sure to find something useful. If you aren’t sure where to get started here are a few of my favorite classes:

Kickstarter for Photographers and Film Makers

This is one of the classes that I attended in the creativeLive studio. In this class Clay Hebert walked us through the steps to take before and during a Kickstarter campaign to ensure its success. He showed us some case studies on a few successful projects that he had worked with and showed us why they succeeded.

The Creative Newborn Photography Studio

This was the second class that I attended in studio and it was a life changer for me! Julia Kelleher is an amazing teacher and I absolutely loved her passion for teaching. Julia encouraged each of us to find a way to be creative and put our own hearts into our work. She encouraged us to try new things and find a personal project to work on. We got to watch her photograph a few different newborns as well as work on her own personal project exploring motherhood. She showed us the basics of creating a painting in Corel Painter as well as how she mounts her art prints. It was because of this class that I first tried digital painting which I LOVE and is now one of the staples of my business.

Photoshop Classes by Ben Willmore

There are TONS of classes a on Photoshop on CreativeLive and it can be hard to choose which one to purchase! I would highly recommend anything by Ben Willmore. I have watched several of his classes. He has an easy to follow teaching style. He explains things in a simple manner so that anyone can follow along. He doesn’t stop there though, he also goes into more advanced concepts and ideas. I have never failed to learn something new from every call of his that I have watched.

Brush Lettering Bundle

This bundle includes three excellent classes by Laura Worthington. Watching and participating in this class was probably the most fun I’ve had with a CreativeLive class outside of the studio. Laura started with the very basics of how to use the brush to create lines and shapes before moving on to letter forms. She then discussed how to think through and add flourishes and other ornamentation. From there the third class of this bundle discusses how to take a piece form idea through sketching to a finished piece.

These are just a few of my very favorite classes, but there are hundreds more that I have watched and enjoyed. Go check them out now while everything is on sale! You won’t regret it.

Have you watched any classes on CreativeLive? What were your favorites? What types of classes are you searching for? Please share and ask for recommendations in the comments. Let’s help everyone get their perfect class! 

Brush Lettering on CreativeLive-Class Review

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Yesterday I had the chance to watch three brush lettering classes by Laura Worthington on CreativeLive. Laura is a font designer and expert hand letterer. The classes were Brush Lettering Basics, Flourishes and Ornamentation, and Putting Together a Final Piece. Each of these classes can be purchased individually or you can buy the bundle that includes all three at a discount. I really enjoyed following along and doing the exercises along with the class, at least as much of the exercises as Miss Hannah would allow in between nursing and snuggling.

Brush Lettering Basics

Brush Lettering Class on CreativeLive|| Online educational resources| Class review
Practicing basic letters with my name.

In the first class Laura discussed the basic tools she uses as well as how to practice the basic strokes and letter forms. The brush that Laura used during the class and that she gave to the seven studio audience members was a Pentel Color Brush pen which can be purchased from Amazon or Blick Art. On Amazon there was also an option for a set of 18 different colors. She also had both regular and tracing paper as well as scissors and tape. When at home she also uses digital tools to refine and vectorize her artwork. I personally was using the Sakura Koi watercolor brush pens and look forward to also trying out drawing directly in Corel Painter, Photoshop, and Illustrator with my Wacom tablet.

After showing us her supplies she started doing simple strokes and shapes to help us get used to the was the brush feels. She showed the proper grip for both right and left handed artists as well as discussing how the motions were different from traditional writing. As a free download with the class she provided a paper with different lines indicating where the different parts of a letter should fall. She had us focus on light pressure on the upstrokes and heavy pressure on the downstrokes. After doing the basic practice strokes we moved on to doing letter forms, both lowercase and uppercase. The final project for this first class was to practice writing your name.

Brush Lettering Flourishes and Ornamentation

Brush Lettering Class on CreativeLive|| Online educational resources| Class review
Flourishing my name

After a short break we moved on to the second class on flourishes and ornamentation. When you purchase the class there is a free download of several sample flourishes that you can practice tracing to get the feel for them. After practicing some of these flourishes Laura had us work on adding flourishes to our own name. As a demonstration she did my name! First she drew the name and added some flourishes in pencil then when she was happy with the shape she went over it with the brush. My own attempts aren’t nearly as nice as hers, but it was definitely fun.

Brush Lettering Putting Together a Final Piece

Brush Lettering Class on CreativeLive|| Online educational resources| Class review
My work in progress, still have a long way to go.

The third class focused on how to create a complete piece of artwork with a short phrase. She had each of the students choose a phrase to work on and talked through each one with them pointing out which words to draw focus to and a few suggestions on how to do that. She then had each person to several thumbnail sketches of their chosen phrase. From there they chose a thumbnail and started drawing a larger version of their final choice. She cautioned that it often takes MANY tries to get to the final product. This is where she pulled out the scissors and tape and showed us how she would take the best parts from each attempt and pull them together to then trace over for her final piece. I decided to practice with the phrase “let your faith be bigger than your fear” which will become the focal point of one of the pages in my Pregnancy and Birth Coloring Book.

I have been trying to teach myself lettering from the book “Modern Calligraphy” as well as a few worksheets form “The Postman’s Knock“. They have both been EXCELLENT resources, but it was completely different to actually watch Laura doing the lettering and talking through her thought process. I think that my books and worksheets will be even more useful now as I am better able to apply what they teach. I am excited to continue to hone my skills with lettering and be able to offer it as a service to my clients soon.

Are you an expert or do you want to learn brush lettering? What are your favorite resources? I’d love to see some links to your work in the comments!

Elenco Snap Circuit Kit- The Best Science Toy We’ve Ever Owned

I can not say enough good things about the Elenco Snap Circuit set that we own. I bought it as a birthday gift for my oldest son when he was eleven and it fast became one of his favorite toys. He could play with it for hours. It has now been passed on to the younger kids and they can’t get enough of it either. Everyone enjoys the set, but Ben (age 7) is the one that really loves it.

Elenco Snap Circuits review| | Homeschooling | Unschooling | Science | Electronics

What’s in the Box?

Elenco has several different Snap Circuit sets and each one has different parts. There are a few basics that are in every box. There is a base plate to build on, circuit pieces of varying lengths and sizes, and special pieces that do different things such as light up or make noise. Right now we have the SC-300 Discovery Kit. It has over 60 parts and an instruction booklet containing over 300 projects that can be built. So far both Ben’s and Corey’s favorite thing to build was the radio.

Elenco Snap Circuits review| | Homeschooling | Unschooling | Science | Electronics

Why are Snap Circuits so Awesome?

The best part of the Snap Circuits toy is the snapping mechanism. The snaps work just like the ones found on clothing and are easy for even the smallest kids to assemble without any pinched fingers. The circuits are contained within the plastic pieces that snap together with the metal snaps allowing them to conduct electricity. The set can then be run on battery power or plugged in with the optional Snap Circuits Battery Eliminator. Each set has hundreds of different configurations that can be built from the instructions, and kids can also create their own once they understand the principles. Another great thing about Snap Circuits as that they are very sturdy. Officially only kids who are able to read are allowed to play with them in our house. Of course this hasn’t stopped the littler ones from snatching pieces or touching when older kids are using them. After 4 years of use and having been packed up and moved 3 times we have never had a single piece break.

Elenco Snap Circuits review| | Homeschooling | Unschooling | Science | Electronics

Are there any downsides?

Of course no product is perfect and just like everything else Snap Circuits do have a few disadvantages. First off only one project can be built at a time. Many of the projects require you to use most of the parts in the box so it is pretty much impossible to build more than one circuit at time. Plus each kit has only one power source, so even if you could build two circuits you wouldn’t be able to power both of them. Second if your child can not read the instructions then it takes quite a bit of hands on help form a parent or older sibling. This isn’t’ as big of a deal for most families, but in a large family like ours I really like to have things that kids can work on independently when needed. This isn’t an issue with the older kids of course, hence our rule that you have to be able to read to get out the Snap Circuits.

Elenco Snap Circuits review| | Homeschooling | Unschooling | Science | Electronics

The Snap Circuit Kits

As I said above we have the Snap Circuit SC-300 Discovery Kit. They also have two smaller kits (SC-100 and beginner) as well as two that are larger (SC-500 and SC-750). In addition to the basic discovery kits Elenco has come out with several new specialized kits since we purchased the basic kit four years ago. Here are the ones that are at the top of my wish list for expanding our collection.

Should You Invest in Snap Circuits?

Of course every child and family is different, but if you’re asking me my answer is a resounding YES! If you have a child that is even slightly interested in the science of electricity they will love Snap Circuits. If you’re lucky you’ll get 6 hours straight of independent play from this toy like I have!

Elenco Snap Circuits review| | Homeschooling | Unschooling | Science | Electronics

Do you have any of the Snap Circuit sets on my wish list? I’d love to hear your opinion of them to help me choose which ones to buy first! Do you have any other similar toys such as circuit scribe or littleBits? I would love to hear your reviews on those as well!

Using a Parent-Child Journal to Create Connections With Your Kids

Using a Parent-Child journal to increase communication and more | | Handwriting and Cursive | Language, Spelling, and Grammar | Reading ComprehensionSeveral months ago I read about using a parent-child journal to communicate with your kids. I thought it was an excellent idea, and immediately started one with my oldest child (the only one that was reading and writing at the time). It has been a BIG hit. She loves writing back and forth with me and dad. She usually responds within a day, if not a few hours, and is good at holding us accountable for responding promptly as well.

What is a Parent-Child Journal?

Using a Parent-Child journal to increase communication and more | | Handwriting and Cursive | Language, Spelling, and Grammar | Reading Comprehension

A parent-child journal is simply a notebook where we can write to each other. We bought a plain composition notebook, and started with writing our daughter a letter about how much we loved her that pointed out several of her strengths, and things that she did that we appreciated. I told her that she could write back anything she wanted. She could draw a picture, ask a question or tell a story. It didn’t matter, she could say anything she wanted. After one of us writes in the journal we place it on the pillow of the other person so that they can read it and respond. There are so many benefits! It is an opportunity to work on reading comprehension, spelling and grammar, handwriting, and increasing communication. We’ve even started learning/teaching cursive.

Reading Comprehension

Using a Parent-Child journal to increase communication and more | | Handwriting and Cursive | Language, Spelling, and Grammar | Reading Comprehension

As adults we usually write far more to our eight year old daughter than she writes to us. It’s a great opportunity for me to use words that she may not know or tell a story about myself as a child. This gives her a chance to expand her vocabulary and practice her reading comprehension. I often will ask her a question at the end of what I write to gently test that comprehension. I’ve also let her know that she can always bring the journal to me to ask about anything she doesn’t understand or look up a word while reading.

Spelling and Grammar

The journal should be a fun activity with no pressure, so I NEVER correct her spelling and grammar. I do, however, pay attention to the mistakes she makes. This allows me to identify gaps in her knowledge of grammar or specific spelling rules she may be struggling with. I can then incorporate these things into our lessons at a later time. Every now and then I can ask her a question designed to get a specific answer to test whether that rule is still a problem.

Handwriting and Cursive Instruction

Using a Parent-Child journal to increase communication and more | | Handwriting and Cursive | Language, Spelling, and Grammar | Reading Comprehension

The journal is a great way to get in handwriting practice. It is a fun activity, rather than a chore, and she doesn’t even realize I’m making her work! If her handwriting gets too sloppy I simply bring her the journal and say “I’m sorry sweetie, but I can’t tell what you wrote here.” She tells me and I write it in next to the word “so I won’t forget”. That’s it. I don’t say anything that will put pressure on her to write better, as stated before this is supposed to be a fun, no pressure activity. She will inevitably try to write neater on the next exchange, because she doesn’t want me to have to ask her what her words say. When she expressed an interest in learning cursive I began writing to her in cursive. She is now getting practice at reading cursive. She has to ask me what certain words are occasionally, but her comprehension is quickly improving. We practice her own cursive writing outside of the journal and she can choose to use it in the journal when she is ready.

Creating Connection and Increasing Communication

At 8 years and younger communication isn’t much of a problem, yet. Our kids are pretty much an open book. As they age, however kids start to have problems, questions, and concerns that maybe they don’t know how to talk about with their parents. This journal gives them an opportunity to bring up those issues in a safe environment. As parents is gives us the chance to pray, discuss and plan how to respond to these problems and questions they will have. It is also a place where we can introduce topics of conversation to our child. For example at age 8 she is ready to start learning about menstruation and how puberty will affect her body. I can introduce the topic through the journal so that when we sit down to have the talk it isn’t uncomfortable or awkward, it’s just an extension of a topic that has already been discussed. As my children get older I hope they will use it to ask me questions about their religious beliefs, relationships with friends, sexual purity, and anything else that is on their mind. This is why it is so important to keep the journal a safe and fun activity when kids are young. As they age they need to know that it is not a place for judgment, it is a place for open communication.

Have you ever used a parent-child journal? In what other ways do you encourage open communication with your children?

Educational Shows- Our Favorite TV and Movies for learning

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I have no shame in admitting that I will turn on a show for the kids just so I can grab a quick uninterrupted shower or nap. Mom’s got to do what mom’s got to do to keep her sanity in tact! We usually watch an hour or two a day after lunch while the littles ones are sleeping. I do, however, try to make sure that the majority of what we watch is educational shows. I simply tell my kids “pick a learning show”, and thankfully they know what that means and follow instructions! We do not subscribe to any television service, and instead us Netflix and Amazon Prime to stream the shows that we want to watch without the bother of annoying commercials. Both services will give you a 30 day free trial.

**some of the shows listed are not a part of the Amazon Prime free service, but can be purchased or rented through their streaming service. We often do this as well and have a great digital library of our favorites**


Leapfrog movies are some of the best for basic reading, and grammar. They are fun adventures that get the kids engaged and their repetition (while slightly annoying for mom) really helps drill the information into the kids heads. We also really love Super Why, Word World, and Word Girl.


All the kids are interested in science, but Ben especially loves watching natural science shows like NOVA. There are tons of other nature and science related documentaries on both services as well including National Geographic, PBS Specials, and independent films. There are also several cartoons the kids love such as Octonauts, Sid the Science Kid, Wild Kratts, and of course The Magic School Bus. Two really fun TV shows are Brain Games and Street Genius. Be warned with Street Genius, however, it is filmed in Vegas, which occasionally means minimal clothing, and many episodes talk about alcohol or he offers a beer as a reward. May not bother many, but also a show some parents may want to watch with their kids.


Once again Leapfrog is the star of the show here. There are several episodes that include basic numbers, skip counting, adding and subtraction, and even multiplication and division. We also enjoy Electric Company and Monster Math Squad.


History isn’t as big of an attention grabber around here, but it often creeps up in the science documentaries that the kids love. In addition they do enjoy Mr. Peabody and Sherman as well as a few of the National Geographic or NOVA episodes about ancient peoples.


Education isn’t all about the academics. Teaching kids good morals such as kindness, empathy, sharing, etc. are every bit as important as the math and reading. Dragon Tales, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Sofia the First, and VeggieTales in the House are the most popular ones around here for that type of learning. WE also enjoy the American Girl movies and many of the Disney/Pixer greats.

What are your favorite educational shows? What types of restrictions do you have on screen time? How do you use screens in your educational plan?


Hooked on Phonics- Online Program

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A little over a year ago I was blessed to be told about a one day promotion on Hooked on Phonics in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Day. All teachers, including homeschoolers, could get the full app for free! Of course I took advantage. We have absolutely loved it! Two of my kids are reading well after using it and another two are currently learning with it. Even the almost 3-year-old loves to play the games and is beginning to recognize sounds and letters.

Hooked on Phonics digital program||learning to read|homeschool|unschool
Reading while waiting at the Midwife’s for mommy to have her appointment

The Hooked on Phonics digital program is on Educents for only $29.99. We have two kids who have learned to read, and two more working on it, using the Hooked on Phonics on our iPad. It is WELL worth the full $49.99 price tag IMO so this price is awesome. I have no idea how long this deal will last, but I’m going to be buying it. When I got it for free it was via iTunes so I can only use it on the iPad. Now I will be able to use it on the computer and Kindles as well! They also have all sorts of other hooked on Phonics programs at the best prices I’ve ever seen.

The Hooked on Phonics program includes interactive games, entertaining videos and books to read. Each level has a mixture of the three to help kids fully understand a specific letter and sound grouping. One of our favorites is the Big Pig song.

Hooked on Phonics paired with Life of Fred Beginning readers and tons of reading with mommy has worked very well for our kids learning to read.

What reading curriculum do you use? Do you have any tips for maximizing the Hooked on Phonics program?


CreativeLive, One of My Favorite Educational Resources

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CreativeLive is an amazing resource for creatives who want to learn new skills as well as entrepreneurs wanting to learn to create and grow their businesses. Each day they run several streaming classes. Some are live classes and some are rebroadcasts. Any of these streams can be watched for free. When you watch a live class you have the opportunity to ask questions of the instructors and participate in the chat rooms with the other students.

After a class has aired they are archived and available for purchase. If you purchase a class you can download the videos or stream them any time you want. You also often get access to freebies that the instructor has provided as a bonus to those who buy the class. Classes  are very reasonably prices, starting as low as $29. Also if you follow CreativeLive on Facebook they will often announce sales and specials.

CreativeLive started out geared mostly towards photographers. As they have grown they have expanded into 5 different main channels which are photo & video, art & design, music & audio, craft & maker, and money & life. They have classes on everything from marketing and sales to calligraphy and scrapbooking. They will also often run events such as Photoshop Week, where they will bring several instructors in to give shorter classes on one specific topic for an extended period of time.

CreativeLive||online education|distance learning|live studio audience|live streaming classes
The entire studio audience and crew after the Julia Kelleher Creative Newborn Photography Studio course. I’m the pink bumble bee 😉

One of the best parts of CreativeLive is the live studio audience. CreativeLive has recording studios in Seattle and San Francisco. Each class has a studio audience that is invited to attend for FREE! The only cost to the students is travel and lodging if needed. This is an amazing opportunity, as taking in person classes from many of these well known instructors would run several hundred or even thousand dollars! I have been blessed to attend one class in each studio location. They were both awesome experiences. The one on one talks with the instructors as well as networking with other students was invaluable. If you want to attend a class simply scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on “In the Audience”. This will take you to a page which shows upcoming classes and you can select which class you’d like to apply for and request an invitation to attend.

Overall CreativeLive is one of the best resources I’ve seen for creatives and entrepreneurs. If you haven’t checked it out yet do it now!

Have you watched a CreativeLive class or been in the audience? What was your favorite class? If you haven’t attended yet what is one class coming up that you are interested in?


Magic School Bus Science Club!

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I wish I was Mrs. Frizzle! Seriously she has the coolest clothes, endless patience, and who wouldn’t want a magic school-bus? My kids love her every bit as much as I do. That’s why the Magic School Bus Science Club is at the top of our Christmas wish list!

SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER: Between now and December 13th you can get 55% OFF a year-long subscription to the Magic School Bus Science Club and FREE shipping in the Continental United States! Ships to Canada for $2/month. Just use code MSB10 at checkout and you’ll receive an additional 10% off the already discounted price – bringing the total to just $9 per month, DELIVERED! The first kit ships on December 15th, making it a perfect holiday gift!

If you have children (ages 5-12) who enjoy the Magic School Bus books or videos–and if you like doing science experiments with them–then you’ll LOVE The Magic School Bus Science Club!

These award-winning science kits were developed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, and educators. Each month you will get a new kit delivered right to your doorstep!

Each kit includes a colorful manual based on The Magic School Bus characters, as well as everything you need to complete at least seven experiments related to that month’s theme.

Kit Topics:

*update- grandma bought us the subscription for Christmas! Stay tuned for reviews on our fun experiments.


Fred and Kingie Giveaway

Life of Fred is probably my favorite curriculum resource ever. His daily adventures int he world of math keep the kids entertained and engaged and they learn a TON! Now Fred and Kingie can be a real part of your family! Let them sit at the kitchen table while you count how many grapes you have on your plate, take them to the store to help measure the produce. why not ask fred to help you calculate your miles per gallon at the gas station? Your kids will absolutely love having their stuffed pal along to help them out as they figure out their own real world math.

Fred is eight inches tall and ready to tackle math concepts big and small!

Life of Fred Doll - Educents

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But wait… that’s not all of the exciting news! Kingie is ready for an adventure too!!

Life of Fred Kingie Doll

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Kingie loves to keep his best friend, Fred, company on all those silly math adventures!  Your learners will love to have Fred and Kingie live and in person as they learn with Life of Fred!

One more exciting bit of news. I am giving away one set of Fred and Kingie dolls right now on my Facebook page! Head on over to this post to enter!

Life of Fred doll Giveaway|homeschool math curriculum|Unschool

Can’t wait until a winner in announced to get yours or need more than one to stuff in a stocking?

You can find both Fred & Kingie on Educents for $13.99 (retail price is $15). For limited time, Educents is offering 10% off and free shipping on your entire order. That means you can get any Fred books at an extra discount right now too. Have a very Merry Life of Fred Christmas!!  Use discount code GIVETHANKS at checkout.

Want to learn more about Life of Fred? Check out my Life of Fred Math Curriculum Review.