Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day With Healthy Green Food

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with healthy green food

Less than one month until St. Patrick’s Day, when sweet little Irish leprechauns will sneak into your house, make a mess and leave you chocolate.

St. Patrick’s Day is kinda a big deal in my house. Not because we are Catholic, but because I am Irish. A set of my 3rd great grandparents on my mom’s side both came to American from Ireland when they were children in the mid-1800’s. As adults, they met in New York, were married, and had 5 children. I have one stained and creased photo of my Irish grandmother and unfortunately she is my stubborn brick wall because to date I have not been able to find out who her parents were. I have an idea of who I think they may be, but a genealogist needs facts, ya know.

Because she, and her husband – my 3rd great grandfather, are my most recent immigrant ancestors, they make my gene pool percentage more Irish than anything. All my other ancestors were old school, here in America before we were even America.  There is also a lot of Irish on my dad’s side. I found this out through a 23 and Me test that linked my DNA to a “kidnapping Irish maniac” (my son’s words.) Read my post My Family Kidnapped St. Patrick.

We do a lot of fun things during the week of St. Patrick’s Day. But I believe that this one has always been my son’s favorite activity. I mean look at that spread of goodies!

Holidays are often loaded with cookies, cakes, pies, candies and anything else that is packed with sugar…so this is an enjoyable sugarless way to celebrate a holiday.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with healthy green food

From top left going across: zucchini, asparagus, grapes, key lime pie yogurt (this is really green but the flash made it appear white), spinach

Row 2: celery, Green Goddess salad dressing (this is really green too), peas, pickles, green veggie sticks

Row 3: a green apple, green beans, honeydew melon, kiwi, pear

Row 4: pistachios, lettuce, broccoli, green pepper

St. Patrick’s Day posts from my archives 


*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

From Ice Storms to Palm Trees to Snow

Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street, trying to look at everything at once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their shopping

“Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street, trying to look at everything at once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their shopping.”  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1) 

We took a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando this week and that quote from Harry Potter sums up exactly how I felt walking around. Oh, the joy on my son’s face as the Hogwarts Express came down the tracks, the shock and awe as we walked through the secret jagged wall that unveiled Diagon Alley, the hilarity that ensued when we met Doc Brown from Back to the Future…it was all worth a million dollars. What a magical fun place! There is nothing like viewing the world through your child’s eyes!


Things that made me happy this week
  • Our choice of vacation time. Visiting Orlando in February was a brilliant idea, if I must say. The crowds were practically non-existent and the weather was just right. Sort of like an Ohio November.
  • Seeing elderly couples dressed in full Hogwarts gear – robes, wands, and scarves. They were just adorable!
  • The customer service and convenience of flying on Southwest Airlines. We will never choose anyone else.
  • The perks of purchasing a vacation package and staying at an on-site hotel. Complimentary water taxi, express pass that lets you skip the ride lines, free delivery back to your hotel of items you purchase in the parks, free breakfasts at the Harry Potter restaurants, and more…it is highly recommended!
  • Flying back and seeing the Ohio snow from the airplane.


From around the web
  • The Kindle version of one of my son’s favorite science books is on sale right now for only $1.99! We have the hardback version and LOVE it. It is a gorgeous book!
  • How to Host a Book Club – Alicia describes, step-by-step, how she organizes a book club for her children and their friends. What fun!
  • Did you know that you can stream classic poetry readings from Harvard’s Rich Audio Archive? Over 6,000 recordings of poetry from the 20th and 21st centuries, all free!
Other books that I know you’ll love
  • Your God-Given Purpose: Finding & Fulfilling God’s Plan for Your Life  – a free ebook from my “nerd BFF” Alisha. Long before you were ever born the Lord knew you. He wrote out all of your days in His book. He created you for a specific purpose and it is a purpose that only you can fulfill. He has given you dreams and desires that will propel you toward it.

In our homeschool

There was no school this week, since we were hanging out with the Minions, Doc Brown, Captain America, Scooby Doo and Wolverine, and screaming our heads off on roller coasters. (OK, I was screaming my head off, with my eyes tightly shut and my hands death-gripping whatever I could hold onto to most of the time. They were throwing their hands up in the air and laughing at me.)

I did learn a valuable lesson this week. Be careful with your stuff. I lost my brand new $50 Harry Potter scarf somewhere in the park and I have no idea when or where. It got a little too warm to wear it and I folded it up nicely around my tiny little satchel/purse. We just finished getting pictures taken with Optimus Prime when I noticed it was gone.


Linking up with my friends Kris and Mary.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Free Doctor Who and Minecraft Calendar / Planner Pages For Kids

Doctor Who Calendar Pages For Kids

We haven’t used a homeschool schedule in many years. It only took a short couple of years before I realized that planning was a hindrance to my son’s learning, so I stopped. The day we stopped planning was sort of a smack in my face. A big wallop to my Type A personality. My entire life has been full of meticulous schedules planned down to the minute detail. Spreadsheets and lists were my best friends. I let it all go for the sweetest 7 year old boy on the planet.

He has never liked being told what he can and cannot learn and he certainly doesn’t like being told he needs to do a certain amount of a certain subject on any given day. So instead of planning what he will be learning, I keep track of what he has learned. This may sound a little like unschooling, but my brain is still far too Type A to let it go that far.

My son knows the subjects that he is required to learn and he knows which resources are available to him. I am a curriculum and book junkie, so we have plenty of resources laying around. Beyond that, it is pretty much up to him how much he wants to do in a day. And I can honestly say that not one single day has gone by where I have had to make him do something. Because of his personality, this non-planning system of ours works brilliantly.

We use the following check sheet that lists all his subjects on the left. He’ll complete the subject and then tell me what he learned. I make brief notes about what was covered and it works like a charm.  Many of these subjects we do together, but at his age, more than half of his work is done independently.

Free Doctor Who Calendar Pages For Kids

I created both Doctor Who and Minecraft versions of our simple check sheet and monthly calendars. I am giving them away completely free…no sign up, subscribing, or following required. I know that a lot of non-homeschooling Doctor Who and Minecraft fans will see these on social media and will want to download them for use with other schooling and I don’t want to make those people subscribe to a homeschooling blog in order to do so.

Free Minecraft Calendar Pages For Kids

DOWNLOAD Doctor Who Calendar Pages For Kids
DOWNLOAD Minecraft Calendar Pages For Kids

View more free printable posts from the iHomeschool Network bloggers – this linkup will be live on Monday 2/2.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

My Life This Week



Yes, you. YOU are an adventure story. Your life, from beginning to end is one big adventure. Don’t ever get bogged down by the stress and boredom of a daily repetitive life. Remember to look for the beauty in simple every day details. Look at the world through the eyes of a child. Lead your adventure.

In one episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor says, “In 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.”

Something I’ve made

Speaking of Doctor Who, my family and I made this last weekend….

Doctor Who TARDIS Cabinet: storage for sonic screwdrivers.
I copied this brilliant idea from Pinterest. We needed something special to hold all the sonic screwdrivers and other miscellaneous items from the show. It is a simple bathroom cabinet, with the mirror broken out. The sonic screwdrivers are held in place with elastic.

From around the web
  • The 10 Best Things You’re Not Doing for Your Homeschool – I told Pam that this is my absolutely favorite blog post ever written in the history of blogs. This is a list of the things that will improve the quality of education in our homes….from reading aloud to your kids (my son is 12 and I still read to him every day) to becoming a life long learner yourself (I have been reading this book and I highly recommend it.) She even included a free checklist to download.
  • Economics in the Homeschool – as Cindy says, it is very sad that economics is barely touched upon in schools. Most homeschoolers do not even touch this much needed subject. Also, take a moment to read about my two favorite resources for teaching economics.
On my blog, in case you missed it
  • Science for Under $10 – a collection of really amazing science books that you can buy for under $10. The entire list is only $86!
In our homeschool

Classic Starts book series for kids

We have the entire collection of abridged classic stories for kids. We are now reading the last book in our collection – The Secret Garden. How we choose the books varies. Sometimes he picks, sometimes I pick, sometimes pick a number, sometimes we close our eyes and point. The Secret Garden just ended up being the last. I highly recommend this series of books for young kids. They provide a gentle start to classic literature and through reading them, your kids will learn the general story, so reading the originals will be easier when they are older.

We are now into the study of the Vikings. This marks the end of the outline that I shared with you in Teaching British-European History.  We spent quite a lot of time on Alfred the Great, since he is after all our ancestor. What an admirable man to be descended from! We will soon be on to the high middle ages – full of knights, the Crusades, and castles – which I am sure will bring lots of engineering studies. I will be sure to share my history book and timeline outline with you when it is complete.

Linking up with my friends Kris and Mary.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

What I’ve Written That I Happen to Love (and hope you will too)


A couple of weeks ago, I joined in with my network of bloggers to share our top ten most popular posts as determined by our stats and numbers of visitors. Today’s post is all about MY favorite posts on my blog from 2014.

You’ll probably see a theme here. If you don’t already know me, this collection is a deep glimpse into my psyche. These are in no particular order…

View more favorite post lists from the iHomeschool Network bloggers.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Science for Under $10

Science for Under $10

We all know reading is important. Quality books are especially important. What better way to get your child interested in reading than to give him something interesting to read. That may be books about baseball, or Minecraft, or the World Wars. Or the books listed in this post – books about science. This is not a compilation of science curriculum or science textbooks, these are unique, fascinating, suck-you-in, science books. I own and can vouch for every book on this list.

I am a book junkie. I am not ashamed to admit that I literally cannot stop buying books. I kind of have to, with the voracious reader I am raising. Fortunately, I am married to a man who encourages my habit.

I hope these suggestions will be helpful to many of you, especially because nothing is over $9.99. You could actually buy every book in the descriptions below for a total $86. 

Science for Under $10

65 scienceOne Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!

$8.34 Kindle or $8.78 paperback

Not an ordinary mystery book, One Minute Mysteries makes science fun! Each one-minute mystery (solutions included) exercises critical thinking skills while covering earth, space, life, physical, chemical, and general science. A bonus section includes five mysteries from our upcoming title in the series, One Minute Mysteries: Solve ‘em with Math! This entertaining and educational book is great for kids, grown-ups, schools, educators, homeschoolers and anyone who loves good mysteries, good science, or both!


Archimedes and the Door of Science

$4.95 Kindle

Jeanne Bendick, through text and pictures, admirably succeeds in bringing to life the ancient Greek mathematician who enriched mathematics and all branches of science. Against the backdrop of Archimedes’ life and culture, the author discusses the man’s work, his discoveries and the knowledge later based upon it. The simple, often humorous, illustrations and diagrams greatly enhance the text.


mysteryMystery of the Periodic Table

$4.95 Kindle

Leads the reader on a delightful and absorbing journey through the ages, on the trail of the elements of the Periodic Table as we know them today. He introduces the young reader to people like Von Helmont, Boyle, Stahl, Priestly, Cavendish, Lavoisier, and many others, all incredibly diverse in personality and approach, who have laid the groundwork for a search that is still unfolding to this day. The first part of Wiker’s witty and solidly instructive presentation is most suitable to middle school age, while the later chapters are designed for ages 12-13 and up, with a final chapter somewhat more advanced.


basher4Basher Science

$8.89 paperback

The Basher Science series are little books that teach big science concepts in ingenious ways. Simon Basher’s hip, kicky style and colorful characters make science learning fun and fundamental ideas easy to remember. Using his trademark personality-based approach, Basher illustrates each basic with its own character, who explains exactly what makes them tick and how they are used.


dictionaryScience Dictionary for Kids

$9.99 Kindle

Packed with more than 350 illustrated science definitions that every child must know…this is the ultimate science homework helper!

Science Dictionary for Kids provides hundreds of science terms with kid-friendly definitions and illustrations, perfect for any teacher of science or parent helping a child with science homework. From the basic science equipment, to the physical sciences, to Earth science, kids can flip to one of eight science categories to find the definitions they need.

The perfect reference for kids and their parents and teachers, the easy-to-follow definitions in this guide will help with any science assignment, project, or experiment. Most definitions include an illustrated version to increase comprehension.


science bookThe Science Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)

$9.99 Kindle

The Science Book is an inventive visual take on astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. With eye-catching artwork, step-by-step diagrams, and illustrations that break down complicated ideas into manageable concepts, The Science Book will have readers conversant in genetic engineering, black holes, and global warming in no time. Along the way are found mini-biographies of the most well-known scientists, and a glossary of helpful scientific terms.

For students, and students of the world, there is no better way to explore the fascinating, strange, and mysterious world of science than in The Science Book.


GalenGalen and the Gateway to Medicine (Living History Library)

$4.95 Kindle

We know about Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. But we owe nearly as much to Galen, a physician born in 129 A.D. at the height of the Roman Empire. Galen’s acute diagnoses of patients, botanical wisdom, and studies of physiology were recorded in numerous books, handed down through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Not least, Galen passed on the medical tradition of respect for life. In this fascinating biography for young people, Jeanne Bendick brings Galen’s Roman world to life with the clarity, humor, and outstanding content we enjoyed in Archimedes and the Door to Science. An excellent addition to the home, school and to libraries.


championsChampions of Science

$2.99 Kindle or $5.99 paperback

The great minds of the past are still with us today, in many ways. Individuals who explored the natural world hundreds and thousands of years ago have given us a treasure of knowledge in all the sciences.  Chuckle at the story of Archimedes doing his best thinking in the bathtub! Read how religious persecution gave Kepler his greatest opportunities to study astronomy. These valuable learning guides will give students accurate accounts of lives from the annals of science, and explain what those scientists believed about the world around them.


world ofExploring the World of…

$9.99 Kindle

The Exploring the World of… series of books on physics, biology, chemistry, and astronomy bring science to life and are a wonderful learning tool with many illustrations, biographical information, chapter tests, and an index for easy referencing. The author writes from a biblical perspective and has won numerous awards for his books on science and medicine for young people.


menMen of Science, Men of God

$5.99 Kindle or $8.99 paperback

One of the most serious fallacies today is the belief that genuine scientists cannot believe the Bible.

THE TRUTH IS that many of the major scientific contributions were made by scientists who were dedicated men of God. In Men of Science, Men of God, Dr. Henry Morris presents 101 biographies which include Christian testimonies of scientists who believed in the Bible and in a personal Creator God … scientists who were pioneers and “founding fathers” of modern scientific disciplines.


starsStars and Their Purpose

$2.99 Kindle

Did you know that there are 200 billion stars in our galaxy alone? And that according to current data, there are at least 100 million galaxies in existence? The sheer number of stars in the universe attests to the awesomeness of God’s creation. The purpose and features of stars are discussed in this exciting and fascinating book by Dr. Werner Gitt. Learn about topics such as: How are stars different from each other? How big is the universe? Why did God create the stars? Surprising facts about the sun and moon. How and when do solar eclipses happen?


happenIt Couldn’t Just Happen: Knowing the Truth About God’s Awesome Creation

$8.89 Kindle

This Gold Medallion Book Award winner is a perfect tool that offers solid, biblical answers to some of the tough questions kids ask about evolution and our world. Did Earth begin with a ‘Big Bang’ cosmic explosion? Does science contradict the Bible? What happened to dinosaurs? Is there life on other planets? Did we evolve from apes? What makes my body work on its own? Kids are daily exposed to the theory of evolution by the media and public schools. It’s not safe to assume that your kids will reject that theory. It’s up to us as parents and Christian leaders to make sure our children know the truth about the creation of the world. With thousands of evidences to prove He created and sustains the universe, It Couldn’t Just Happen will fascinate kids with fun activities and examples of God’s marvelous works.


hgwellsFive Great Science Fiction Novels from HG Wells

$2.99 Kindle

Here are unabridged editions of the five most popular science-fiction novels of H. G. Wells: The First Men in the Moon, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The War of the Worlds. Five remarkably prescient works by the “father” of modern science fiction include The First Men in the Moon, a 1901 novel about lunar life; The Invisible Man, the story of a scientist whose experiments take a terrifying turn; The Time Machine, a journey into the future; The Island of Dr. Moreau, the exploits of a mad surgeon; and The War of the Worlds, a grippingly realistic tale of hostile invaders from Mars.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.