New Homeschooling & Cyber Schooling Families: Give Yourself Grace


To all of the new homeschooling/cyber schooling parents:

Give yourself grace. Homeschooling your child(ren), even with a cyber school, is a challenge. There is a lot of work for them, and for you. There is a learning curve as you get used to the technology, courses, and teachers. It takes a while to get your feet under you, and to feel completely confident in what you are doing. Its normal.

Last year was our first year, and the best advice I was given was if the shit hits the fans in any way shape or form, call it a day, and start over tomorrow. You have plenty of time to play catch up academically and be “on task” but don’t jeopardize your sanity or your relationship with your children to do it.

Accept that the house won’t be as clean as you like. Meals might not be when you want them to be. You may not get done everything you want to do during a given day, week, or even month. Remember, that its ok. Everything will eventually get done, and before you know it, you will be talking to a new family telling them that it will be ok.

Think back to when you first had your child(ren) and apply those strategies to getting things done now. Have family help on evenings/weekends so you can do the things you want/need to do. Order carry out, plan freezer meals, and use your crockpot since the days may be longer than you anticipated. Take advantage of the local grocery delivery services so that’s one thing you can cross off your list. Use paper plates so you don’t have to do dishes, etc. You get the idea.

This is only one season of your life, and in each season we have different things we are to learn – in this season its to give yourself grace.

Have a great school year!

Review: Mindprint Learning

*Sponsored PostmindprintI recently was offered an opportunity to have my son evaluated by Mindprint Learning in Princeton.  I am fascinated by how people learn and retain information, it comes from my years of teaching and doing whatever I could to reach all of my students.  The online evaluation took about an hour, and David was able to complete it with minimal assistance from me – not bad for an almost 8 year old.

Over the course of the evaluation, David answered questions a series of questions and completed various tasks to measure his motor skills, flexible thinking, abstract reasoning, processing speed, verbal memory, and more.  

As a teacher, I had administered similar assessments in the past, but never on the computer, and never for an hour straight.  There were little breaks that you could take, but there was no easy way to complete a section of the assessment and then walk away and come back later.  This frustrated my son, and me, as there were a few sections that were particularly challenging and we would have rather taken a break and came back to the whole thing the next day.  Instead, we persevered and completed the assessment.

Once he finished, it was about a week before we received an email stating that our results were now ready.  I read over them quickly, but with the amount of detail provided, the Unique Learning Profile really needed some time and attention so I could process everything that was outlined in it.

Since we homeschool, I have seen first hand what my son is capable of accomplishing and the various ways he goes about completing a task.  What was amazing to me was that a 1hr assessment came to the same conclusions.  “David is a very capable visual learner, but he has more difficulty with verbal tasks” – completely accurate.  I also appreciated how the report took into consideration his age when discussing the results of the assessment, because lets be honest, not many 7/8 year olds take this kind of assessment.

Overall, I am happy with the results of the assessment from Mindprint Learning, and I believe the information in the Unique Learning Profile report will be a great asset to me in the coming year when we are working of various lessons and projects, but also for when I’m expecting David to do things around the house.

For more information on Mindpring Learning, or to have your student evaluated, please visit their website. 

Review: Goldfish Swim School – Fort Washington

goldfish swim schoolWhen I was approached about partnering with Goldfish Swim School in Fort Washington, I was initially skeptical because of my past experiences.  Would they be able to accommodate all three children without having me come out for 3 different lesson times?  Could the lesson times be flexible around homeschooling lessons and Tiny’s nap time?  Would the swim instructors be caring and compassionate enough with my son who is afraid of the water, and still make him feel like a success?

The answer to each and every concern was a resounding yes!

All three children had lessons at the exact same time.  David & Emily were in the BEGINNER class at one end of the pool, while Tiny & I were in the MINI 2 class at the opposite end of the pool.  This was the first major sigh of relief.  We only had to attend 1 lesson time slot per week to get everyone into their lessons!  Goldfish Swim School has many well qualified instructors, so it is possible to offer classes at various levels all at the same time.

They were flexible too!  We had our choice of day and time.  Classes are offered Monday to Sunday, with classes as early as 9am or as late as 7:30pm.  Lessons run every half hour through out the day, and with multiple levels being taught at each time slot, there is a lesson time that could work for every family.

As for the compassionate instructors … they were phenomenal!  My children got so comfortable with their instructors over the 6 weeks, and the level of trust and respect that they had blew my mind.  My son, who was petrified of the water, was putting his head under in only 5 weeks time!  My daughter who had no fear, but couldn’t swim, was swimming unassisted in 6 weeks (yes it was awkward, and yes it was only short distances, but she was swimming).  Then there was Tiny, during our first class he held on to me for dear life, but by week 6 he was jumping into the pool, doing the crab walk holding the side and climbing out with minimal assistance, and he was putting his face in the water.  I don’t think this would have happened so quickly with other swim lessons.

We are taking the fall off from swimming to get used to homeschooling and scouts again, but we plan on enrolling in Goldfish Swim School again after Christmas.

But you don’t have to wait – Goldfish Swim School in Fort Washington has openings now!  Whether your child has ZERO experience in the water, or you are looking for 1 on 1 lessons to strengthen your child’s skills for the swim team,  you really need to check out Goldfish Swim School!

Goldfish Swim School – Fort Washington
185 Commerce Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034
(215) 220-3828


Reading Eggs: Free 4 Week Trial

*Post contains affiliate links.

Reading Eggs - Free Trial


My biggest anxiety about homeschooling was teaching my children how to read.  Even though I was a public school teacher and have taught English for years, I’ve always taught upper elementary and middle school.  Teaching beginning reading was completely new to me, so I was looking for a wide variety of resources to help my children be successful.

One of those tools that I used to help my children was Reading Eggs.  

Reading Eggs makes learning to read easy and fun by combining books with online reading games and activities. The program is a great way for your child to prepare for school, or help them catch up with their classmates if they are struggling with reading.  

My children showed remarkable improvements while using Reading Eggs over the last year, and I can’t wait to do the next assessment to see how far they have come.  

Take advantage of the FREE 4 week trial and see how your child’s reading improves with Reading Eggs!

What’s In Your Children’s Food?

*Sponsored post.

sprout organic pouch

If you buy a baby food product with a name like Quinoa & Leeks with Chicken and expect those three foods to be the primary ingredients, you would be wrong. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, none of the three are in the top five ingredients, and one is ninth. The same problem applies to many other baby food products, according to CPSI.

This issue has concerned local company Sprout Organic for a long time, leading the company last year to launch a “real, honest and pure” campaign for its own baby foods: “real” because all Sprout products contain whole foods (no concentrates); “honest” because the product names precisely match the top three or four ingredients in the package in descending order (unlike products that list things like kale first even if it’s only a trace ingredient), and “Pure” their product is organic and GMO-free. It is the only brand that is unadulterated by sugar, salt, preservatives, acids, artificial colors or flavors, or thickeners like guar gum. 

As a mom, the best part is that their products taste great, are nutritious, and my children enjoy them.  My children have been enjoying Sprout Organic pouches since they first came on the market in 2008, around the time my oldest was first being introduced to baby food.  I loved that Sprout Organic offered a wide variety of flavors and combinations, similar to what I would mix together at home, and not just the basic orange and green veggies (don’t worry – they have those too).  

Today, my youngest still enjoys the Sprout Organic pouches for breakfast or a snack, and my older children like the fruit & veggie cereal snacks as well as the Morning Smoothie pouches.

You can buy Sprout Organic products at your local grocery stores, as well as at Buy Buy Baby,,, Walgreens, and Amazon.

An Introduction to Home Food Preservation – Saturday, August 22


In the last 5 years, there has been a bit of a home canning explosion!  Canning has become trendy.  

Unfortunately, with this influx of people into such a wonderful hobby, there is also a lot of misinformation floating around about what you can can at home.  For example, did you know, you should not can pumpkin butter at home but apple butter is ok?  Or that you need to pressure can vegetables, never water bath can them?

I have been helping out my friends and family with their canning and home food preservation questions, and now I want to help you too.  Join me on Saturday, August 22 from 9a-12:30pm for An Introduction to Home Food Preservation at the RWJ Center for Health & Wellness in Mercerville, NJ.

During this class, we will discuss boiling water bath canning, pressure canning, freezing, and dehydrating and how to utilize these processes to preserve what you grow in your garden, buy at the farmers’ market, or purchase on steep discounts through out the year.  

Attendees who register by July 24, will each receive a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Canning.


Organizing Girl Scout Badges & Awards

girl scout badges & awards

I’m gearing up for another year as my daughter’s Daisy leader.  Unlike the older Girl Scout badges which are sold individually, Daisy petals are sold in sets – 10 petals & 1 center, so when you make a purchase you need to store the remaining petals until they are earned through out the year instead of buying as you go.

Last year, we had our first awards night in December, and then I had to store the remaining petals until the were earned.  While I am normally very organized, I managed to disappear the remaining petals.  They vanished!  Less than a week before our end of year court of awards, I tore apart my homeschool shelves, and found a nondescript brown paper bag.  When I opened it, I was thrilled to find all of the remaining petals!

Right then and there, I vowed to never have this issue again, and to come up with a solution where I could keep the Daisy petals, pins, and other awards organized, and be able to adapt that storage solution to Brownies as I moved up the levels with my daughter’s troop.

Enter the ArtBin organizer.  

girl scout - artbin

I purchased the ArtBin Anti-Tarnish organizer from Joann Fabrics for about $25, but you can get a similar one from Amazon for only $19.84.  Once you move the dividers around to your liking, this organizer can easily hold a wide variety of badges, pins, journey awards, and more.  

The best part, you can flip this organizer any which way, and everything stays in the compartment where you put it!  Nothing mixes into the various compartments.  You stay organized!  

This would also work very well for fun patches (I like to stock up when they are on sale), as well as Cub Scout/Boy Scout advancements and belt loops.

Are you a scout leader?  How does your troop organize badges?

IKEA Hack of the MÅLA Easel



This post contains affiliate links.IKEA Hack of the MÅLA EaselThis past weekend, I went to my home away from home, IKEA is South Philly.  I had some shelving to return, chairs to purchase, and the downpour had just begun.  In order to kill some time, and avoid getting soaked, I wandered the showroom and found the MÅLA easel – a basic children’s easel where one side is a wipe-off board, and the other side is a chalkboard – for $14.99!  I couldn’t believe it!  Brand new, and still cheaper than what I was used to seeing at consignment sales for a wooden framed easel.

There was only one catch – I really wanted at least one surface to be magnetic, and that is not available on this easel.

I did a quick online search for magnetic easels, and found that many of them were well over $50!  No no, that wouldn’t do.  I needed to find a way to make the MÅLA easel have at least 1 magnetic surface, and that’s when it struck me: Rust-Oleum Magnetic Primer! [Read more…]

Coming Soon: Best Dressed For Less Opens Thursday 8/20


Don’t miss the Best Dressed For Less ALL SEASONS kids consignment sale next week, August 20-22, in the Life Center at Fountain of Life Church 2035 Columbus Rd in Burlington Township NJ. 500 Consignors – 50,000 kids items! Anyone can shop! Free admission & Free parking!

Best Dressed For Less has clothes for your newborn through teenage children; plus baby gear, toys, books, educational materials, furniture, bikes, bedding, and so much more! I have shopped Best Dressed For Less since their very first sale, and have never missed one! It is my go to sale in South Jersey!

Come find out why Best Dressed For Less has been voted “One of the Best of Burlington County 2014,” as well as the only 400+ TOP RATED sale in the nation on Consignment Mommies!

Since 2008, they have been hosting the LARGEST & HIGHEST QUALITY kids consignment events in SJ!

Join them on Facebook and “SHARE” with your friends!

Best Dressed For Less ALL SEASONS Sale
Thursday 8/20 9am-8pm
Friday 8/21 9am-8pm
Saturday 8/22 10am-2pm Most items 50% off!

BDFL top ratedBDFL one of the best

Keep Your Cool For Back To School Giveaway Event

This post contains affiliate links.

Are you already thinking about back-to-school?  Let us help get you ready!
Welcome to the Keep Your Cool for Back to School Giveaway Event!
Hosted by: Southern Mom Loves


All-natural Facial Care Trio: Gel Cleanser, Purifying Toner, Moisturizer
Choice of Little Kid Combo, Stylish Scholars Combo, or Ultimate Back to School Combo
International Moonjar Moneybox, Conversations To Go: Money, & Conversations To Go: Travel

2015-2016 Academic Planner in choice of design & Book: What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management by Leslie Josel

$25 Amazon eGift Card

Nurtura Replenishing Cream, Banishing Cream, & Firming Cream

It’s That Kinda Day Planner in design of choice
Funbites food cutter of choice


1 WINNER will receive all 11 prizes (ARV $255)! Good luck!
Giveaway begins on 8/1/15 at 1:00 am CST and ends on 8/22/15 at 11:59 pm CST. Must be 18 years or older, open to residents of the US only.

Disclaimer: The participating blogs were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. All entries will be verified. Void where prohibited by law. Winner will be contacted by email; Please add email hidden; JavaScript is required to your whitelist. The individual sponsors will be responsible for prize delivery to the winner. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest, or any other social media platform.

Contact Holly at email hidden; JavaScript is required if you have any additional questions or comments, or would like Southern Mom Loves to organize your next giveaway.