Friday, June 6, 2014

Thanks for Coming by...but I've Moved!

Hey there!

You're getting close, but you haven't found me quite yet...

Come on over to My Life as a Rinnagade and visit me there.

You'll get more info on homeschool, autism, ADHD, Celiac Disease and Healthy Living. 

Not to mention, all my new posts.

Stop by and don't forget to follow me so you never miss a post.

And make sure to leave a comment so we can reconnect :).

See you soon and thanks for reading!

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

I'm Moving!

Hello loyal readers :)

Some big news here at Life as a Rinnagade...

In the next week or so, I will complete (God!) a big secret I have been working on.  My blog is changing addresses and getting a new name.

After mulling it over for almost a year, I decided to move from my Blogger platform to Wordpress.  It was not an easy decision and has taken a TON of work, but has been well worth it already.

As for the name change, I had to add "My" to the title for technical reasons.  So you can now tell all your friends about this great site out there for info on homeschool, autism, and striving for healthy living called "My Life as a Rinnagade."  See, nothing crazy :).

The blog you are reading now will continue to stay live and can be accessed at anytime, however, I would love for you to follow me over to my new place.  You can do this by email, facebook, pinterest, rss feed, google +, and/or twitter - whatever suits you. The next post you get from me will include the new address.  I will put a redirect link up on this blog, but to get new posts and better organized information, you'll have to follow the new blog.

Thank you so much for your support over the past couple of years!  Looking forward to hearing from you when the new blog launches!
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Youversion Bible Reading Plans for Kids

This is not an affiliate link.  I just love bringing you great, FREE, options for homeschool that we love!

I was in the pursuit of something new for the kids' bible study.  We've read and re-read through all of our bible storybooks yet they're not quite ready to read through a big kid's bible.

I wanted something engaging.

I wanted something relevant.

I wanted :).

How excited was I to learn that the creators of our favorite bible series, "What's in the Bible?" had teamed up with Youvrsion to create four kid friendly reading plans!?  If you are not familiar with this amazing series, get familiar! 

Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, took teaching kids the bible to a new level.  The entire bible can be purchased on thirteen DVDs.  I cannot tell you how much I personally have learned from "overhearing" these DVDs. 

Okay, confession...I love them...not just for the kids.  I get just as excited when they ask to watch them.

Back to the bible study...each plan comes with scripture reading so you don't even need your bible handy (you choose the translation), a devotional, and a video clip from the "What's in the Bible?" series.

Each plan varies in length.  Whether you're looking for a quick one week plan, or a more in depth month long plan, there's something for you.  Here's the current plans to choose from:

Heroes of the Old Testament


The Ten Commandments

Walk with Jesus: 21 Days through Matthew

If you're like me, you'll appreciate being able to sign up for email reminders.  You'll also love that if you miss a day - or if the kids are so excited about it they want to do multiple devos on one day - you can skip forward or backwards on your plan.  You can catch up or start over at any time. 

For our visual (video-minded) learners, this is by far the best bible study plan we've found. 

Are you a fan of "What's in the Bible?"?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kid's Veggie Trays


I know I'm not the first mother to wish my kids would eat more of them.

We have recently had some success in this endeavor thanks to an adorable container I found at Target.

I wanted to make the veggies more readily available for two reasons.  Yes, I wanted the kids to be able to graze on them, but I also needed it to be easy for me to serve.

At the beginning of the week, I prep what turns out to be the perfect amount of crudités for our family to snack on.

Now at meal time and in between, I simply put the try out.  It's even peaked the curiosity of my more apprehensive veggie eaters.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Mom Summit is Now Mom Conference & Date Change

This post contains affiliate links.  Clicking on them helps our family pay for our excessive GF lifestyle J.  You can read more details in my disclosure policy.  Thanks!

If you signed up for the Mom Summit, you probably already know this.  If you didn't have a chance to sign up yet, you've got some more time.

Due to legalese, the name of the conference has changed, but the great speakers and information has not.

The other important change is the date.  Instead of starting today, it will begin April 7 & run through the 14th. 

Find out more about this FREE event!

The Mom Conference

Sign up today!
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Science Anyone?

Check out the latest issue of's virtual magazine!  It's the first ever science edition and yours truly is featured on pages 10-12. 

Take a minute to get some great science ideas from to freshen up your homeschooling this spring!
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The Mom Summit - A Free Online Event!

This post contains affiliate links.  Clicking on them helps our family pay for our excessive GF lifestyle J.  You can read more details in my disclosure policy.  Thanks!

I cannot wait to tell you this...

There is a Mom Summit happening. 
One week.  Thirty Presenters.  An unlimited amount of information for moms like us.

Moms talking about mom stuff: marriage, kids, real food, business, home keeping, and much more.

There'll be big names like Amy McCready from Positive Parenting Solutions and Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food and many more.

For free.

Yup, free.

On your sofa, in your yoga pants, hot cup of coffee in hand (being interrupted every 3-5 minutes by the kids and the dog needing to go outside...I had to keep this visual realistic). 

Kick off is March 31 and the free video is only available for 24 hours so make sure you remember to sign on. 

Sign up today...and did I mention, FOR FREE?!
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our Homeschool Schedule: an Update

This post may contain affiliate links.  Clicking on them helps our family pay for our excessive GF lifestyle J.  You can read more details in my disclosure policy.  Thanks!

When I created our schedule in the fall, I knew full well adding a baby would change that schedule. 

Midway through the year (if you can call it that, considering we homeschool year round...), I believe we've finally fallen into a routine that works for our high needs family.

6:30 a.m.: Me: Quiet time/AM routine (mine is modified)
                    when boys wake up: Play/TV time
8:00 a.m.: Breakfast/
                   AM routine: prayer, pledge, review boys' schedule with them, memory time, read alouds

8:30 a.m.:
Get Ready: get dressed, dirty clothes in hamper, brush teeth, make bed, morning chores
9:00 a..m.- Noon: Therapy, Errands & To-do’s…

Monday                  Tuesday                       Wednesday                       Thursday             Friday      

Library                   Me: Baking & Food Prep      1st & 3rd of month:                                       Me: weekly plan  (cleaning stuff)
  O.T.                        Boys: Free Time                             Sci-Quest                                                   Boys: Free time >>>>>>>>>
                                  All: Yoga *coming soonJ    homeschool classes                                  All: Yoga                          Errands/
                                  Speech Therapy                      Free time                                                Speech Therapy              Play dates/

12:30 p.m.: Lunch & Read Alouds.  Boys’ AM routine if we missed it (because yes, sometimes we do)
1:00 p.m.: Me: Blog/
weekly plan (cleaning stuff)
Silent reading/outside time
2:00 p.m.: Me: continue blog/weekly plan
                  Boys: Outside time
2:30 p.m.: snack/*electives/workboxes &  1-on-1
*our current electives are puzzles/patterns, board game/play doh, lego build, bean bucket/beads. During this time, we listen to music, as well.
4:00 p.m.: Me: finish any weekly plan/start PM routine
                  Boys: Free play/Computer time (if earned)
4:30 p.m.: Start Dinner (boys help & play)
5:30 p.m.: Dinner
6:00 p.m.: Me: PM Routine/Personal Commitments/Walk Dogs/Run Errands (Fridays)
                 Boys: Wind down play/bike ride/boys’ commitments (soccer, lego class, etc.)
7:00 p.m.: boys: Start bedtime routine: “beat the timer” clean up-
lego room & bedroom; bath, bed
8:00 p.m.: me: Finish PM routine, Hubby time, Personal time, Blog, Read, Shower, Drink some Sleepytime Tea, Stretch, etc. Bed by 11ish...hopefully :).
Free play is an intentional part of our day at this age.  It is SO important for kids to grow their imagination and learn important social skills like communication, getting along with others and problem solving. 
You will not see the baby mentioned here because we are not big on scheduling babies; I nurse as needed and she takes many of her naps in a baby wrap or sling J.
I should stress that this is our goal and most days we stick pretty closely to it.  Of course, there are days this whole thing flies out the window. with small children.
Do you stick with a  schedule?
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Newbie's Guide to Starting a Garden...with FREE Printable

This post may contain affiliate links.  Clicking on them helps our family pay for our excessive GF lifestyle J.  You can read more details in my disclosure policy.  Thanks!

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember my year long commitment to growing a garden.  ...
By no means have I moved from novice to expert in that time, but I have got down a basic understanding behind the steps to getting started. 

The idea of starting a garden can be overwhelming, but I have found only two resources are really necessary...

1. A copy of All New Square Foot Gardening
2. Farmer's Almanac (real or online)

Now for the plan...
  1. Read the book.
  2. Decide what you want to plant. 
    Don't get crazy here...start by making a list of what you already eat and maybe one new veggie.  Let the kiddos help pick, as well.  Flowers are a great addition to your vegetable garden, as well.  They're not just beautiful, but they serve a purpose in many cases, as well.  Did you know marigolds will keep the bugs off your strawberries?  Here's some more ideas like that from Burpee.
  3. Plan
    This is where the Farmer's Almanac comes in.  You can search by your zip code and it will show the best dates for planting seeds as well as the best dates for transplant.

    PRINT THIS to help :)
  4. Layout blueprint
    You don't have to be an artist to do a quick sketch of your backyard.  The goal of this is to simply see where you're putting things.  Also, remember to plot out your garden squares as the book shows.
  5. Buy supplies
    This includes what's needed to make the beds, your seeds and/or plants, and the small amount of tools required (gloves, shovel, pencil, scissors)
  6. Build beds
    If you are not handy with a drill, maybe you could enlist the help of a hottie, like I did
    Sorry, ladies, he's taken ;)
  7. Plant
    Time to get your hands dirty!  Follow the book's instructions for how many plants/seeds per square.  This is a perfect time to get the kids involved :).
  8. Plug in to your routine
    When will you tend to your garden?  I touch base with mine in the morning and early evenings.  It's important to schedule this time just as you would any other chore or else it can easily be neglected.
Are you planning a garden this year?
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Silent Reading for Early Elementary

This post may contain affiliate links.  Clicking on them helps our family pay for our excessive GF lifestyle J.  You can read more details in my disclosure policy.  Thanks!

When I was in sixth grade, my favorite time of day was silent reading.   I was always an avid reader and there was something so tranquil about an entire classroom falling hush for an entire half hour while I poured into a book.

Sounds pleasant, doesn't it?

Now imagine this is your house.

I have been toying with the idea of using a silent reading time to replace our beloved mid-day rest time now that the boys are getting older.  I still firmly believe there needs to be a point in our day where we all refresh and recharge; a time that we hit the pause button.

Silent reading is the answer.

The day I announced this new addition to our schedule, I wasn't sure what to expect but I was sure I needed to be realistic.  Asking three rambunctious boys aged five to seven to sit still and read silently is, well, asking a lot!

What about the kids who can't read?  No worries; you don't have to know how to read to enjoy a good book.  That's what all of those gorgeous picture books are for!

So I laid out the plan...

1. Pick 5 books
This is the core to silent reading...they choose.  This is a time for their love of reading to flourish; for them to find and follow their interests.  This is not a time for you to check off your curriculum list.  The number of books is important, too.  Having a variety anticipates requests for a new book or getting bored with what they have.

2. Tell mom
Accountability is a good thing.  It keeps me from having to track them down in the lego room and redirect!

3. Pick hideout
This is the part they were most excited about.  It's important to make this one really enticing (we also refer to it as their "Super Secret Spot").  I gave them some options to get their wheels turning...a closet, the reading nook, or even the fort outside.  The only rule is they are not allowed to be close enough to see each other.  That will lead to all kinds of distractions.

4. Stay put until timer goes off
The first day we did this, I set the timer for eight minutes (remember, being realistic!).  I have gradually added a minute every day or so and rewarded those who don't yell out "how many minutes left, mom?!"  My goal is to work up to that magical half hour mark, even if it takes a few years.

5. Put books in basket
Three boys times five books times five days a week equals...too many books to be laying around the house.  Instead I have a basket in the hallway where they stash the books until I re-shelf them by category.

How do you work quiet time into your homeschool day?