Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review of ABCMouse.com



One of the joys of homeschooling
 is getting to choose which programs work best for your child.  For my youngest computer based programs have always been the best way for him to learn.  ABCMouse.com is a great online program designed for two to seven year olds.  The program focuses on reading, math, science, arts and colors.

 It has a very impressive scope and sequence that covers a wide variety of information in each subject area.  ABCMouse's approach to learning is a stepping stone type approach with each lesson building on the previous lessons.  The program is designed to encourage children to acieve goals in order to achieve the next step of learning.  One of the great things is that with this program kids do not even realize they are learning but instead they think they are just playing a computer game.

Another feature that I like about ABCMouse is that it does have a built in timer which makes it easy if you want to limit your child's use of the website.

I do think that ABCMouse is a great program and is appropriate for it's target audience.  I think for ages 2 to pre-k this is an excellent stand alone program but for those in kindergarten and beyond it is more of a supplement.  Some relaxed homeschoolers will be fine with it being a complete kindergarten curriculum, so it really does come down to a personal choice.

Are you ready to try ABCMouse.com for yourself?  

Throwback Thursday - Waking Up Early When You Are a Late Riser

For this Throwback Thursday post I am sharing this post from August 14, 2013.  While it was written towards homeschooling moms the post is useful for anyone, which is why it has become one of my more popular posts.



One of the joys of homeschooling is the fact that it doesn’t have to run on the same time frame as public schools.  However, I have learned that the later in the day we start our school day, the less it seems we get done, and the grumpier my kids are.  I don’t like getting up early in the morning to start school.  I use to work third shift and getting up at 7 AM is extremely hard for me.  After talking with many other moms who homeschool I have found that I am not the only one who finds getting up early so hard.  After some work I have managed to get used to getting up early each day.  Here are some tips to help you make the adjustment from sleeping in each morning to getting up early.
Start Small
If you are use to getting up at 10 AM, try getting up at 9:30 AM for a few days, then move it up to 9 AM for a few days, then after a few days of getting up at 9 AM try getting up at 8:30 AM for a few days.  Keep moving the time up until you reach the time that you want to get up each day.
Go to Bed Earlier
You can’t expect getting up at 6:30 AM to be easy if you are staying awake until midnight. Making it a point to go to bed earlier will allow you to get enough sleep so that your body won’t keep fighting your desire to wake up earlier in the morning.
Move Your Alarm
When you set your alarm move it to the other side of the room from where you are sleeping.  By moving your alarm to the other side of the room you will force yourself to have to get up out of bed to turn it off.  Once you are up don’t lay back down, instead jump in the shower to wake yourself up completely. 
Let the Sunshine In
If your room is dark and cave-like you are going to want to hide out in it all day.  If you live in an area where it is okay you can leave the window coverings from your windows open at night so that the sun will shine in each morning.  However, if leaving your window coverings open overnight is not possible you can purchase window coverings that will allow the sunlight to stream in through them in the morning.
Get a New Alarm Clock
If you live in the North part of the country where it is dark and dreary in the morning letting the sunshine in is not always possible.  You might consider getting a new alarm clock that offers a sunrise feature.  With the sunrise feature the alarm will mimic the glow of the sunrise in the morning.
Also if you like to hit the snooze button on your alarm in the morning consider buying one that does not have a snooze button.
Don’t Sleep in on Weekends
Getting up early every single day of the week will help your body adjust to your new sleep schedule.  Sleeping in just one day can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule so be sure to avoid the temptation to sleep in on the weekend.






Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - April 25th to May 1st

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

As I mentioned last week, it is the season of the year when we are busy and don't eat at home a lot, despite my best intentions.  On nights when we are home I do my best to take advantage of the opportunity to cook.  This week is a typical spring week in our home, and we have only a few meals planned.

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Monday - Eating Out

Tuesday - Pizza Braid for the kids, and a yummy THM pizza on a Joseph's Pita for me


Thursday - BLT Frittata, Trim Healthy Mama cookbook page 74


Saturday - Eating Out




Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up - Thunder Over Louisville, 2016

It has been said that Louisville, Kentucky is the only place where people will party two weeks for a two minute horse race.  The kickoff for that two week party leading into the Kentucky Derby is Thunder Over Louisville, which was yesterday.

My husband and I have both been to Thunder Over Louisville before but we have hesitated on taking the kids.  The traffic is terrible, the crowds are insane, and we just have never been sure that it was something we wanted to tackle with our kids (disclaimer here - I am not saying it isn't the place for kids but that we weren't sure we wanted to deal with the madness of it all).  So this year when we had the opportunity to spend the weekend at Tom Stinnett RV in Clarksville, Indiana we were excited to finally give the kids the opportunity to see Thunder for the first time in person.

It was a wonderful weekend, yes we spent the entire weekend in the parking lot to watch thirty minutes of fireworks but it was a great opportunity to spend some family time with our kids.

Here are some fun pictures from our weekend






 

How was your Thunder over Louisville experience?  Did you brave the crowds on the riverfront?  Or participate in a Thunder Over Louisville viewing party?  I'd love to hear about it!

Kentucky Derby Menu Ideas, Take 3



It's that time of year again when the attention in the state of Kentucky turns to the Kentucky Derby. With last night being Thunder Over Louisville, the official opening of the Kentucky Derby Celebration, Derby planning is in full swing.  Food plays a huge part in Kentucky Derby celebrations, and each year my most popular posts are menu ideas for Kentucky Derby parties.  You can see the previous two years menu ideas by visiting those older posts here and here.  And now it is time to look at the new recipes that are perfect for your Kentucky Derby party!

Kentucky Hot Brown Dip



This Hot Brown Dip from Cupcakes and Kale Chips puts a fun spin on the traditional Kentucky Hot Brown and makes it much more party friendly.

Mint Julep Lemonade


The Mint Julep is a Kentucky Derby staple and this Mint Julep Lemonade from Hot Beauty Health is an alcohol free version of the drink that can be enjoyed by party goers of all ages.

Mini Derby Pies with Bourbon Whipped Cream



No Kentucky Derby party is complete without Derby pie and these Mini Derby Pies with Bourbon Whipped Cream from Home is Where The Boat is are the perfect size for the food table at your Kentucky Derby party.

Kentucky Derby Pie Cookies


Another party friendly and crowd pleasing way to get a taste of Kentucky Derby pie onto your Kentucky Derby party menu is with these Kentucky Derby Pie Cookies from Theringers.  These cookies pack all of the taste of a Kentucky Derby pie into a fabulous finger food!


Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs


Kentucky is known for it's bourbon and bourbon is a staple of the Kentucky Derby.  These Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs from The View From Great Island are a great way to bring a taste of bourbon to your Kentucky Derby Party menu.

Derby Day Bourbon Brownies


Another fun and delicious way to bring a small taste of bourbon to your Kentucky Derby party is with these Derby Day Bourbon Brownies from The Seasoned Mom.


Woodford Pudding


Woodford Pudding is another traditional Kentucky dish and has earned a spot on any Kentucky Derby party menu.  This Woodford Pudding from The Southern Lady Cooks is a fabulous recipe and one that you will want to make.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Meanest Mom in the World

Have your heard about the Meanest Mom that has social media all a buzz?  As a mom I love the story she shared on Facebook that tells of how she became the meanest mom ever:



Her post reads:  

So... I am the meanest mom ever... Like... Ever.
Took the kids to Dairy Queen after dinner. They ordered their dessert choices and we waited about 5 minutes for them to call out our number. The young lady (maybe 17) handed each child their ice cream. Not one looked her in the eye. Not one said thank you. Not to her, not to me... So I waited. I counted to 10 in my head as they dug into their ice cream and the young lady just looked at me (probably because she thought I was hearing voices) and I watched as my children strolled out the door. I followed them outside where I calmly collected their ice creams and my kids watched in horror as I deposited them into the nearby garbage can. All 3 launched into mass hysteria. I waited. Quiet. Calm. When they realized I had something to say, they quieted down. 
I explained that one day, if they were lucky, they would work a job like that young lady. And I would hope that people would see them. Really see them. Look them in the eye and say thank you. We are too old at 8/7/5 to move through our days without exercising manners and honestly basic human decency. 

So today, I am the meanest mom in the world.

Jaime has some moms like me cheering for joy but she also has some that are firing back at her for how she handled the situation.  I personally think she handled it perfectly, as parents it is our job to teach our children how to function in the world.  Sometimes this is hard, there are days as a parent where I find myself in my room crying because I had to correct my child and it broke my heart as much as it did theirs.  I am sure that is how Jaime felt.  I am positive that she was not thrilled with the fact that she had to throw away her children's ice cream cones, and I am sure it broke her heart the same way it would break mine to hear their tears.  I think she taught her children an important lesson, and one they will not soon forget.  In a society where everyone gets a trophy, and children can do no wrong I find it refreshing that she had the courage to show her kids that they are responsible for their own actions and that their actions have an effect on others.  

It brings to mind Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way that he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."  So moms (and dads) let's remember this the next time we find ourselves in a situation like Jaime was in and know that it is up to us to teach our children they way that they should go, even if it does mean that we may be the "meanest mom in the world".






Free Admission to All National Parks During National Park Week



Chimneys Picnic Area in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We here at the Modern Day Mom love visiting National Parks.  There are so many activities that can be enjoyed in our National Parks and we even plan many of our trips around visiting a National Park.  Our favorite National Park is the Great Smoky Mountains, which always has free admission.  However, during National Park Week, which is April 16-24, 2016, all National Parks will have free admission.  



Great Smoky Mountains National Park

National Park Week is meant to give everyone an opportunity to explore what the more than 400 National Parks across the United States have to offer.  In addition to free admission there will be several special activities throughout the week.  You can find out more about National Park Week by visiting their website.

So pack a picnic basket, and head out to your closest National Park for a day of frugal family fun!

Clingman's Dome Lookout Tower

And how will the Modern Day Mom family spend National Park Week?  By planning our May visit to Mammoth Cave National Park, where we intend to camp, fish, go on a cave tour, do some hiking, and even take a canoe trip.  We would love to hear about your National Park experiences as we are always looking for new places to visit.





Menu Plan Monday, April 18-24, 2016


Spring has finally arrived and it is the time of year when we are incredibly busy.  As much as I try to cook at home, it seems as if we are never home to eat.  This week is one of those weeks where we will be eating at home very little, and there aren't a lot of recipes to link up.  We won't be home on Monday night, we are meeting my sister who is coming in from out of town for dinner on Thursday night, and this weekend we will be going to Thunder Over Louisville.  Since we are taking our camper with us this weekend, I will be taking some appetizers that I can keep warm in the slow cooker.

Here's what I have planned for this week:
Monday - eating out
Thursday - Eating Out
Weekend
Ham Sandwiches on Yummy Dinner Rolls

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dapper Day at Disney


As a Disney fan it always amazes me when I discover something new at Walt Disney World.  How is it that I have never heard of Dapper Days at Disney?



Dapper Days are a semi-annual event that are held at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Paris.  This fashion centered event has Disney guests stepping out in vintage style.  This is not a Disney Park event but more of an informal meetup that was started in Disneyland in February of 2011.  The event has grown over the years, and by the looks of posts on social media I am not the only Disney fan who has never heard of this event.  

Check out some of these lovely outfits from Dapper Days at Walt Disney World in Florida yesterday.
















The remaining 2016 Dapper Days are:
April 30th and May 1st at Disneyland
November 5th and 6th at Disneyland 
November 12th  at Epcot

Am I the only one who wants to go?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

New Pete's Dragon From Disney


Remember Elliott the Dragon from Pete's Dragon?  I loved this movie growing up and was soo excited when I heard that Disney is remaking it and can't wait to share this movie with my kids.  

Entertainment Weekly featured the movie this week and got an in-depth look of the movie that releases on August 12th.  As part of their story they released a photo giving us our first look at the new Elliott the Dragon and it is has the Internet in an uproar.



The photo is trending now on social media sites with people crying out that they are disappointed in the new Elliott.  Some are saying the dragon now resembles a furry cat with wings, or a green dog and others are even comparing it to something that would be found in Monsters, Inc.  Some want to know where his pink tufts are and his scales.  And those most skeptical commenters believe that a furry dragon is a way for Disney to push Plush character sales for the movie.  

What are your thoughts on the new Elliott the Dragon?

Me?  I am not sure what I think of the new Elliott the Dragon yet.  I am still hoping for a movie I can love as much as I did the first.

When Plans Don't Go As Planned

If you have read my blog much at all you will know I am a planner. I like huge holiday celebrations with bunny shaped rolls or Santa shaped bread. A fully set tablescape, with all the little touches attended to. I go big when it comes to holidays. But what about the holidays when things don't quite go as planned?

This past Easter was one of those holidays. At the beginning of the week we realized we were going to be on our own for Easter this year, it would be just our little family of five, which was a huge change for us. My daughter was upset and wanted me to try to pull something special together. All of my kids wanted to make sure that they would still receive an Easter basket and that we would still celebrate the day.

I had a busy week at work all week and was unable to shop for the kids Easter goodies until the day before Easter. So on Saturday morning, the day before Easter, my husband and I headed out to attempt to pull something together from all the picked over shelves.

In addition to Easter shopping we had other errands to run, and it was nearly midnight by the time we arrived home. It was way too late for me and I was too tired to climb up into the attic to retrieve the Easter baskets so I started looking for alternatives - the paper bags from Whole Foods that I had brought my groceries home in won.

On Easter we discovered the restaurant we had planned to eat lunch at was closed, and everywhere else seemed busy. The Hibachi grill at the Japanese restaurant had no wait so it was quickly decided that was where we would eat.



Our day didn't go quite as planned. There really wasn't much that was spectacular about it and I felt as if I had failed as a mother because I had let them down. I cried. I was upset. I just wanted a do over. I had wanted to make their day special.

Then later I realized the day was not about making my kids feel special, it was about celebrating our Risen Savior. So what that the kids Easter goodies came in brown paper bags instead of baskets? So what that we ate a very non-traditional Easter meal? We celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The day isn't about the perfect Easter basket, or the perfect meal, it's about so much more than that. It is so easy for us to get caught up in making everything perfect that we lose sight of what is really important.

So next time your plans don't go exactly as you have planned look for the silver lining, because I guarantee a silver lining is there.


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