FREE Early Reading Program from Through Jan Only

Saturday, January 29, 2011

During the month of January, the Funnix Reading Program will be FREE--no strings, no hidden costs. The Funnix sequence teaches 2 years worth of reading skills and is regularly priced at $249.

The program is designed by the world's most successful creator of instructional materials, Siegfried (Zig) Engelmann, a maverick professor of Education who has authored many books, including Give Your Child a Superior Mind, and highly successful reading programs like Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Engelmann says of Funnix,"Teaching the lessons requires a lot less effort, and the lessons are more entertaining. Also, the program consists of 220 daily lessons, so it takes kids farther than most beginning-reading programs-- from being non readers to reading on the third-grade level."

The free version of Funnix is electronic. You download the entire package of 220 lessons and other material onto your computer, and you have everything you need to teach the program. The steps of what you do and how you do it are spelled out in Teacher’s Guide, which you review before presenting the program. Workbook and textbook activities accompany the lessons. You print these.

When you teach Funnix, you and you child sit next to each other and watch the computer screen. A narrator presents a series fast-paced exercises in each 30-minute lesson. The narrator asks questions, and your child responds--out loud. Your job is to reinforce correct responses and correct any mistakes by following simple rules for "navigating" through the material.

Click here to learn more. Hurry this offer ends soon!

Back To Basics – Budget Birthday Parties A Guest Post by Leslie Blumenstein for

Sometimes the thought of planning a child’s birthday party seems more like planning their wedding or some other huge life event.  The budget for a standard birthday party seems to have increased exponentially since we were kids.  Bigger, better, faster, more, more, more.  What about a return to simplicity? Let’s get back to basics! 

Isn’t it just fun to have your friends over and play?  I think that if you make your child feel special and offer up a few fun things to do, you’ll find you’ll have a spectacular birthday celebrations and you don’t need all the bells and whistles.  Here are five budget saver ideas to help keep your next birthday party within budget.

Party Invitations - One of the best ways to save money is to either DIY invitations  or send them online.  Printing your own invitations is a great way to save on invitations.  You can create your own designs to coordinate with your party theme.  Since you only have to pay for the cost of the digital download of your design, it’s a very economic option.  You can also elect to send invitations online, which is generally free to do. 

Time of day – When deciding when to host your child’s birthday party the best way to keep it low cost is to plan it in between mealtimes.  That way you only have to provide a light snack and whatever birthday cake treat you choose.

Simple food – By planning the party in between mealtime you can keep your food budget to a minimum.  Planning one savory dish, one snack dish, and a dessert item to serve as the main attraction is plenty.  One mistake many people feel is they have to feed the adults (for young children’s parties).   You really don’t.  Offer something to nibble on and some birthday cake.  Offer lots of water – dress it up with citrus slices or cucumber slices to make it extra refreshing.

Location – Choose a location that is free, your home!  If your home isn’t big enough, ask a grandparent, aunts or uncles.  It’s likely someone would be more than willing to host their beloved grandchild, niece or nephew’s birthday party (especially if you offer to help tidy up before and after).   If you are lucky enough live somewhere that has accommodating weather or the season provides warm enough weather, have the party at your child’s favorite playground, park or lake.

Limit the Guest List – Do you really need to invite the whole class?  In my opinion, you really don’t need to.  The less people you have the less expensive the party will be.  Some people go with the rule that if their child is turning six, then they get to invite six friends.   Choose the people your child enjoys being around and will enjoy celebrating with.  It’s not about impressing neighbors, classmates and friends.  It’s about celebrating your child the adventures they’ve had and the ones they will have in the coming year.  
You can easily incorporate all or some of these elements to help you create a birthday party budget that is realistic and still allows you to throw a great party.   Happy Celebrating!  

Leslie Blumenstein is a contributing writer for, an innovative invitations and party planning site.  She has helped put together many party planning tips for a variety of occasions as one of PurpleTrail’s party experts.  You can find more of her party ideas and suggestions at

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)

It's the Half Time Show

Sunday, January 23, 2011

That cute little blondie up front on the left is mine. Awooha!

He Shoots, He Scores!

Awesome! That's me you hear cheering on #33. Too bad his jersey actually says 13!

Yep, I'm an idiot. But in my defense, I do have a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 5 month old with me, squirming and talking in the stands, as I try to pay attention to the game and capture photos and video for Dad to see.

I know, I know. I'm still an idiot, lol. But I'm a proud idiot.

Top Educational Websites for 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011 has come out with their annual list of the top 100 educational websites. The full list is categorized by subject and you'll want to bookmark it as a great reference tool. I've linked the top five sites here, but check out the full list. There are some great tools for fun and learning with your kids!

The Top Five Sites for 2011


For the full list click here.

Left To Their Own Devices

This is how they entertain themselves:

Aloha Friday

Greetings friends! I hope you've had a great week. We had some warm weather and enjoyed a bit of time outdoors. Unfortunately tomorrow's high will be 28. I'm ready for Spring! Most of the winter here is cold and snowless, just gray. My least favorite kind of weather!

My question for this week is: What is your favorite winter weather comfort food? Got a great recipe to share? I'm adding a linky here so feel free to share your posts with recipes!

Thanks for coming by! Be sure to stop by An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun.

Where Does the Time Go?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I know I say this all the time, about how time flies, but it is SO true! I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that Thanksgiving and Christmas are gone and done, much less that baby girl is almost 5 months old. And she has a tooth! Seriously. Will someone please tell me how to make time slow down already! I'm afraid to blink.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here's a funny post I saw over at Of Mice and Ramen. I thought it was too cute so I had to share. Enjoy ;)


A first grade school teacher in Virginia had twenty-five students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the first half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders.

1. Don't change horses...........until they stop running.
2. Strike while the............................bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before..............Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of ...................termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water
6. Don't bite the hand that..........................looks dirty.
7. No news is.........................................impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a....................................Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new...........................math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll .....stink in the morning.
11. Love all,trust................................ me.
12. The pen is mightier than the...................... ......pigs.
13. An idle mind is........................the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's.......................pollution.
15. Happy the bride who.....................gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is ..................................not much.
17. Two's company, three's ...................the Musketeers
18 .Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and..... You have to blow your nose.
19. There are none so blind as.......................Stevie Wonder.
20. Children should be seen and not.....spanked or grounded.
21. If at first you don't succeed................get new batteries.
22. You get out of something only what you ...............see in the picture on the box.
23. When the blind lead the blind................get out of the way.
24.Better late than.......................pregnant.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Little Ms loves the Jumperoo that Santa brought her for Christmas, but all that bouncing can wear a gal out!
For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)

Recipe Apple and Sage Pork Loin

Monday, January 10, 2011

I made this for dinner one night last week and it was delicious! The recipe is adapted from McCormick (the spice people). Unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice. It smelled and tasted wonderful! I served it with garlic roasted veggies, but it would be great with mashed or roasted potatoes too.


1 1/2 pound pork loin
1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 half red onion thinly sliced
2 small red apples thinly sliced
1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and all spices and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle all sides of pork loin with seasoned flour. Add olive oil to large skillet and brown pork on medium-high heat. Be sure to brown all sides to seal in the juices. Remove from skillet and set in roasting pan. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add apples and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Then stir in Marsala and brown sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Next pour mixture over pork in roasting pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven until internal temp reaches 170 degrees, approx 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven. Remove meat and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Quotes for the New Year

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

The merry year is born
Like the bright berry from the naked thorn.
~Hartley Coleridge

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to. ~P.J. O'Rourke

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

CSN Review

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I know I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love the CSN family of stores. There are just so many great deals on so many products! I always have great luck shopping with them and the service has been impeccable.

This time I was able to snag this great dog bed for Bella. When I pulled it from the box it was amazed by how big and fluffy it is. The stuffing is really full and doesn't seem to shift around like in some other beds. And I love that the cover is heavy duty, but still soft enough to be comfortable and it's washable. Bella loves her new "nest."

If you've never shopped at CSN I recommend you check them out before your next purchase. With over 200 stores and millions of items in stock, many with free shipping, you can always find a bargain there!

This post was written for CSN who provided a complimentary product in order to facilitate this review.

Aloha Friday

Friday, January 7, 2011

Greetings friends. I hope you are all off to a great start in the New Year! I've taken a couple of weeks off from AF, but I'm glad to be back ;)

My question for this week is: What kind of camera do you use and are you happy with it?

Thanks for coming by! Be sure to stop by An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun.

Currclick's Secret Sale

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Have you heard? There's a secret sale going on at Currclick. I use their products often in our homeschooling and always love the freebies, who doesn't?! Right now they are having a secret sale. Here are the details:

Check out the Winter Whisper Freebies!

Winter Whisper Sale Right now at CurrClick, in this non-public location of our website, our Winter Whisper Sale and Giveaway is going on. 10 brand new freebies are being given away, 10 of our best selling publishers have discounted all their resources by 50% AND NOBODY knows about it but you. It's NOT on our homepage, it's NOT on our Facebook page, it's not anywhere but here.

It's hard to keep a secret though, right? And we're not going to make you. In fact, feel free to run off at the mouth as much as you would like. You can tell your Facebook and Twitter followers, your co-op, your neighbor, your newsgroups, even your strange Great Uncle. The only thing we ask you NOT to do is post the details on our Facebook page.

And what are the details?

1. The secret phrase is: "Shhhhhh CurrClick has a secret..." It will be fun to post this phrase in as many places possible. We want people to wonder what is going on!
2. The URL for the sale is: http// Feel free to give the secret URL and details to whomever you like. Encourage them to start whispering too. You can give them the secret phrase, the URL and all the details so they can help pass along the word to all their co-ops, friends, family and all their weird Great Uncles too.
3. CurrClick's Winter Whisper Sale ends January 19th.

People say that word of mouth is powerful in the homeschool community. Let's find out!

Shhhh... well, not really!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)


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