Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year! Time to think about buying curriculum?

Now may be the time to start thinking about next year's curriculum. If you are quite certain of a particular curriculum that you will indeed be using next September, and you are in a position where you MUST be a bargain is the time to find great deals on used books. Often we wait until peak time to look for those used treasures only to end-up in a bidding war.
However, in contrast to what I'm saying, I must applaud for offering such a great discount on Apologia last August.
However, here are some sites where you may be able to find a great deal on used curriculum:

Please feel free to list a site in the comments section to this post.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shutterfly offers no limit on storage

Just FYI:
Shutterfly works with stores like CVS and more. Unlike Costco and Snapfish they offer storage without the need to purchase within a year. In other words, they won't delete your storage of pictures if you don't buy anything within a year's time frame. They don't have the photo editing capabilities of say picasa by Google but you can download your pictures, edit, send to Shutterfly, and then delete from your hard drive. You can also purchase external hard drives now too. But, for those who don't have the financial means to invest in more electronics, Shutterfly offers an alternative.
No Time:
I know as a single mom, I don't always have the time to scrapbook and my scrapbooking episodes are few and far between.
Old Computer:
I also have an old computer and don't want to use up space with a ton of pictures on my hard drive.
Kids and photography:
These on-line storage sites also allow my aspiring photographers to take lots and lots of pictures and then enter them in contests such as 4-H clubs and more, without filling-up the hard drive. They only have to be 13 to have their own site on Shutterfly.
NOTE: I do not work for Shutterfly and there may be more sites with these perks. I just stumbled upon this and thought I'd share.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Four Centuries of American Herbs

Patricia B. Mitchell has a series of books or rather, booklets that are quick and informative and very inexpensive. These handy books could make great gifts.
My favorite is Four Centuries of American Herbs. It's a great starter book with recipes that can help someone start with herbs...gardening and cooking. OR it's handy to just have in your kitchen.
Check out more with a book review:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dragons in our Midst

A book series by Christian author and homeschooling father: Bryan Davis offers kids a reading adventure that includes dragons and knights. This series is written for young people and is not TOO scary. If you have a child that likes this type of reading format, this series could be a great Christmas gift idea.

You may be able to find them used at

You may also find them used on Amazon. Or NEW at

Click here for a Book Review on the first volume in the series.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Free Resource for Learning Spanish

Teaching Spanish is not my comfort zone and I'm still trying to figure it out!
My dilemma: I need to teach Spanish on a budget.
I graciously received Bob Jones Spanish 1 from a friend of a friend and I purchased the Teacher's Manual for a mere $5. But, I can't find the CD's available for less than a fortune.

However, I did  find a website to supplement the Spanish curriculum that is fun for the kids and I thought I'd share:
Your children (and yourself) can play games and more to help learn a foreign language.

If you have more tips and resources that you'd like to share, please join this blog and leave your comments here. Please note: I never send emails to junk-up your email box.
Thanks! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun and easy turkey project for kids

Take the traditional hand print turkey project to the extreme. You can get as creative as you want but the basic idea is for children to write all of the many things they are thankful for. Easy to make with basic materials.

This project allows for 30 things they are thankful for....God, mom, toys, pets, whatever.

Here's directions on how to make it:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Practical ways to help at Christmas

Angel Food Ministries offers quality food at low cost. They also offer gift cards to be given to those in financial crisis, or anyone for that matter.
You do not need to qualify.
They currently have Christmas food boxes available in addition to their regular options.
Check out more details about this great ministry.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh No Not Christmas!

As a newly single, Christian, homeschooling, looking for stay-at-home work so I can...stay at home...trying to get my name out there as a writer, re-inventing how I do life, now freaking out about Christmas...Mom,
I've had to re-think Christmas. And I know I'm not alone.

The pros are that living this new, financially lean and mean, yet simple lifestyle is actually easier. I'm learning to live with less and it's not all bad. My head feels clearer, my heart feels purer, and my house is less cluttered. I like it!
Do I need to find better ways to provide for my family? Yep! And I'm working on it. How about you?

So, I started thinking about Christmas and how I'm going to pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Here's some make at home gift ideas for extended family members that don't break the bank:

Rice bags. You can buy flannel remnants, sew while watching T.V. or machine stitch, load with some white rice and maybe a little lavender, and they're perfect for heating in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, to be used on a sore back. Who can't use that!

Food is always a winner! When in doubt, go for the food. Buy cello treat bags at the dollar store and stuff them with homemade cookies that are firm and don't crumble easily, like Russian tea cookies.

Baskets are useful. A beverage basket full of tea bags, coffee bags, hot cocoa, etc.

Now as for your own children...I'm still working on that one. My kids and I have suggested No presents and volunteering instead.
More to come. OR YOU can post your ideas. I'd love to hear them. Then we can share at LinkedIn (Homeschool Moms), and anywhere we want!
God Bless all of you. Jesus is the reason for the season.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reviving Lloyd Alexander

I came across this series in the book; Honey For A Child's Heart, and I read the whole series.
The series was written in the 1960's. The author has a great flow to his words.
If you or your child like King And Queen type fiction, I recommend this series: The Prydain Chronicles, By: Lloyd Alexander.
Read More about these books here...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get your girls writing the easy way

American Girl has offered a way for girls to enjoy reading and history. But it also offers a way for girls to be motivated to WRITE! Read more...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ways to get involved in community

There are several ways you and your family can get involved in community events.

Did you know October is:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tips for playing and exercising during cold temperatures

Now is the time to consider a few tips when children go outside to play, or when we run/walk during the cold winter months. Print this tip sheet out and stick it on the frig.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Food Safety as a curriculum

September is National Food Safety Education month.....
Why is it we plan safety lessons for everything but food handling? We make sure our kids know gun safety before they hunt, we make sure they're taught fire safety before they build a campfire, we have them take babysitter training...but the prevalence of food borne illness is higher then an accidental gunshot or falling in a campfire.
Not that they shouldn't be well prepared for all of these things, but food safety should come before cooking lessons.
Moms can teach Food Safety quite easily and there are many resources available to them. Read more.... 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apologia sale at CBD is having a 35% off sale on Apologia resources. This includes their science books and their supplemental books like Around the World in 180 Days (World History and Geography).
Write down this code for free shipping thru 9/10 (on orders over $35): 313114TS. I just used it today and it worked.
The sale on Apologia is only good through the end of this month (August).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why your homeschool should include herb growing....

  • they're easy to grow, kids can easily get involved in their planting, maintaining and harvesting
  • you don't have to have a big yard for a garden
  • the have wonderful flavor
  • they're easy to pick, rinse, dry and bottle
  • they have wonderful medicinal and nutritional value
  • they're great with a botany curriculum
  • they're great for gardening and cooking lessons
Here's some (vegan) recipes for mint.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arthritis information and resources

Some of us homeschooling moms have special needs children. And some of those special needs are juvenile arthritis. Here is a brief overview of all the different types of arthritis (including adults) plus some resources that may offer help and support.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fire Safety as a unit study

Do you have a self-proclaimed Rescue Hero at home? Make Fire Safety a unit study.
Things to incorporate:

  • a visit to the local Fire Department, ask about a Fire Safety Day for your homeschool co-op or arrange something for your neighborhood
  • Practice fire safety at home with mock drills
  • have your child map out escape routes and a meeting place on paper.
  • have them map out where the fire extinguishers are
  • incorporate handwriting with fire safety words
  • make fire safety a birthday party theme
  • for more tips and for inexpensive and fun resources (with free shipping), check out:

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Homeschool Channel

I just created a blog on The Homeschool Channel website:
What a wonderful place to meet new people with the same interests. I just requested to join the Single Homeschoolers group. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Single mom fears

What gets in the way of having true reliance on God the most for single moms? Time and money.
Dedicating at least a few minutes each morning to bible study can get your day started on the right foot. Read a small section at a time from the bible book of your choice, so you can use the day to absorb it. The Life Application Study Bible provides some great commentaries to help give you, not only meditation with God, but bible study as well. If you are "in the thick of it" start with Psalms.

Money. Check out They do NOT require a qualification form...anybody can order. You can save a lot of money on groceries. Our favorite thing to order are the "Signature Meals." They provide the most bang for your buck. They're designed to feed a family of four for a week for $30, but I can stretch it further than a week. You order once a month and pick your food up (usually the last Saturday of the month) from a host church. The website provides a place to insert your zip code so you can find the closest church.

Time. Well, I'm still working on that one myself. I've had to simplify my life in many ways. I've streamlined my finances with one financial adviser that is 5 minutes from my home. Of course, I only recommend this if you trust the person. I don't sign-up for everything that "looks good" anymore. Instead I've become very strategic with my activities and shopping time. I've drastically reduced the clutter in my home including my clothing and it actually feels great!

We are focusing now on "time well spent" such as the mission trip that my son and I took and he just wrote about in the previous post. My only concern with that was securing child care for my other children. The fund raising paid the mass majority of our expenses.

Please feel free to add your tips and advice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Mission trip experience from Zak

My name is Zak, and my mom and I just got back from our mission trip!
We left on the fourth of July and we got back the ninth of July.
We went to a city just outside of Pittsburgh named Wilkinsburgh.
My mom and me along with two other people from our church and seven other kids from around the country with one other adult spent the week at the Boys and Girls Club of America. Talking to the kids and playing with them. The conditions of this town is very rundown, and fortunately for me I got to talk with one of the staff members of the club. He told me that he attended the club when he was younger and now he's staff because he doesn't want to be a part of the drugs or gangs that are in Wilkinsburgh. While the week went on we played kickball, football, and dodgeball. Along with pool [they beat us most of the time.], Wii and ps2.

I was also able to meet other youth from my church and we bonded throughout the week. On Tuesday my youth group got to go dragon boat rowing. And later we went on the DuQuesne Inclines. Once we got to the top of the mountain we ate at a very nice restaurant that had a very nice view at the top of the mountain.
I was very happy to do this mission trip and I will gladly do it again!!! 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Packed and ready

Got it we think. There always seems to be something that gets forgotten when preparing for a trip.. Very excited to make new friends and serve others. I'm sure we'll learn a lot. Please pray for our trip. Thank you.

Friday, July 2, 2010


This momma is heading out for a Mission trip with her teenage son. If I can get on-line I'll be sure to blog our experience. Otherwise, I'll catch ya on the flip-side of next week. Be healthy and happy in your God. He is all!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Interesting Resource for food and travel

I came across this interesting database for finding good, whole foods during travel. You can plug in travel destinations and a list of places that sell, organic foods comes up. This could be very useful for those of us who are tired of the fast food vacation and want something wholesome yet convenient. Please feel free to check this out and comeback and share your opinions and experiences.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Apologia experiment

Here's a simple experiment of observation. Use a Spec Sheet from one of the Apologia texts. Place a small piece of cracker, and a drop of honey near an ant hill. Observe how the ants react.
  • Do they go for the cracker first or the honey. 
  • Do they lift the piece of cracker and take it down into their hole?
  • How long did it take for them to realize the food was there?
  • Did they appear to go get their "worker" friends before doing anything?
Have fun with this. Come up with your own hypothesis first and then your own conclusions.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Haiku's and other short poems

Purple Yahoo
in the form of a haiku
I volunteer to make

See, haiku's can be easy. I just wrote this one for my column on Associated Content which has recently been acquired by Yahoo.
Use this summer to teach your kids about short poems. It isn't hard, doesn't take much time, you can add a little history as well, and then check that off your list. Done! Print off this article to use as curriculum. It's totally free!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brain Power Activities for Kids this Summer

With the "screen" temptation of hand-held games, TV games and computer games, parents are at a loss on how to help their kids manage their time during summer break. Here's some helpful tips that you can print off and share with your children.

1. Limit your screen time to 30 minutes a day. This way you're not cutting it out all together but limiting it to allow for other activities.

2. Don't forget the good old board games on a rainy day. This allows for the kids to congregate in your garage and enjoy some 'thinking and sharing" time while you get stuff done inside the house. Start a marathon with Monopoly, Life or some other board game.

3. Read some classics. Summer is the best time to enjoy the classics without having to take notes or give an oral report. Just enjoy it! Help your student find a few books to tackle this summer with the help of a librarian or check -out the book: Honey for A Child's Heart; The Imaginative use of Books in Family Life, By: Gladys Hunt. This book is great because it does the thinking for you. You and your child can scan the book for some great, well-written classics (or not so classic) and then check them out at the library.
If you would like to have these books on your own home shelf, check out This website allows you to load books you no longer want and earn credits each time another user requests them. Then you use your credits to request books you desire from someone else. The only cost is the cost to ship your books out. You do not pay to have someone ship to you.
Your kids can enlist other neighbor kids to start a summer reading club.

4. Get out and explore! After all, this is our world and it pays to know something about it. Summer is the time to learn about, bugs, flowers, trees, animals, etc... Nature activities can be shared with siblings and friends. The sky's the limit if you wish to purchase some great nature resources.
Here's just a few of the many: which offers a down-loadable Safari Pop Guide, Essential Field Tips and Gear that you can purchase such as a vest, binoculars, lantern, water case, a really cool bug vacuum and more. offers a huge inventory of microscopes, books, bacteria stains and a Backyard Naturalist's Backpack Kit for ages 5 on up.
Don't forget about your local State Parks that offer classes and guides, usually for a nominal fee or free, plus the cost of a day pass or annual sticker.

5. Start a garden. It doesn't have to be big and can be maintained by your child. They can learn about the effects of too much water, too little water, earthworms and good soil. A small square is all that's needed in a sunny location of your yard. Mix an easy to grow item such as chives with a harder to grow item such as tomatoes or cucumbers. This will maximize learning and they can check-out books at the library on companion planting. Let them be the boss with this one.

Have a fun summer!

Published by Tina Szybisty, RD
Ann Arbor Health News Examiner

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Old Books

Got a favorite old book? Tell us about it.
I have many! And many more that just haven't found me yet.
Read about this one....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The View From My Deck (2)

pic by Tina

Why I don't move out of the state of Michigan...because of the view from my deck. A lesson on life.
Do you need nature? or do you just tolerate it?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pinckney, MI celebrates 175

picture by: Tina Szybisty

More info and some prose (of course) on this Grand Celebration which will take place June 25 -27, 2010 in Pinckney's Village Square.

My plan is to attend this event and take lots of pictures, especially the old homes and cemetary walk, then post another article and slideshow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Living on the Wetlands

"The View from My Deck." nature, life, prose. You can learn a lot from your backyard.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Howell Depot Museum

picture by: Tina Szybisty

Slideshow of The Howell Depot Museum.
Save our depots because they have character and offer a visual of the past. This depot is currently doing a brick fundraiser to help replace the cracked and deteriorated cement.
Visit:  to donate.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Alzheimers Resources in Michigan

Caregivers should not try to take care of their loved one with Alzheimer's without support and helpful resources. The Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association:
Ann Arbor's: Michigan Alzheimer's Disease and Research Center:
More resources and helpful hints:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Town Hall Meeting in Pinckney, MI

If you have a Town Hall meeting in your community, take your kids. You can't beat the experience and a textbook pales in comparison. Read more at A.C.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trail of Tears Blog

Picture by: Tina Szybisty, RD

Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. A first person article and slieshow. Great educational opportunity for family or history buffs. Read more.....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Out of MI for a moment

Here's  an article and a pictorial we took of the Jefferson Davis Monument.
picture by: Tina Szybisty, RD
It was a very interesting and fun trip - and it only cost the gas to get there.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Slide show of Walk-A-Mile

Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser held at Tanger Outlet Mall in Howell, Michigan.

Click picture to see slideshow and read article.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Bye Ernie

America just lost a big slice of apple pie and I think it was my Grandma's fault. A  memoir about "Ernie."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last Minute Car Trip was more fun with Harry & David chips and salsa

Scan for title: Healthy Snack Ideas for a Long, Family Car Trip - Harry & David Review:
I was very impressed with the Howell, MI store (Tanger Outlet mall).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The da Vinci Surgical System is alive and well in Michigan.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor has been seen quite a bit on the news lately concerning the new da Vinci Surgical System. This wonder breakthrough allows for less invasive surgical procedures with less pain and shorter recovery times. They say it's even less invasive than Laparoscopy. Anyone have stories to share concerning this topic?
More info. here:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stonehouse Cafe - Pinckney, MI

Sometimes it's good to be a loner. Stonehouse is basically the only sit-in coffee shop in the Pinckney/Hamburg/Lakeland area. And it's a good one...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Field Trip - Heavenly Scent Herb Farm in northern Livingston

Get edu-ma-cated on herbs and how to use them in cooking and as therapy. This business is housed in a 100-year old farm house that is beautifully landscaped.
Picture taken by: Tina Szybisty, RD
Click the picture to read more about herbs and spices and this great field trip idea....right here in Michigan.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tahqhamenon Falls Sate Park in the U.P..

Michigan Travels from TinaRD - Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Life should NOT go by without a trip to this beautiful park. It is very family friendly with a rich history. There's camping on the grounds or the surrounding areas. Read further and don't forget to click the 5 pictures that I included with this article:
Whitefish Point is not far away (more to come).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michigan and warm weather prompts a little education on Lyme Disease

I first posted a brief article in Examiner on Lyme Disease and now I've posted a more, informative article on Associated Content. This one has more resources and a link to a radio talkshow featuring a person who lives with Lyme disease everyday. This is a HIGHLY underdiagnosed disease so we need to raise awareness by getting the word out.
Picture by Tina Szybisty, RD
Lyme can often be found in residential areas that border woods.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Michigan Travels from TinaRD

I'm launching my new "Michigan Travels from TinaRD" starting with Bishop Lake in Brighton, Michigan. This has been a long overdue dream of mine. I think many people outside of Michigan don't realize just how beautiful this state is. We have a "motor city" stigma that's great but totally incomplete.
Visit this link:,
photo credit: Tina Szybisty, RD
for my first ever launch of Michigan travel writing and photos. This link is simply a slideshow-writing to follow. 
Thank you and Please tell all of your friends and family. The more promoting we do the more money we bring into our struggling (but beautiful) state.
What's this have to do with health? Everything because stress stinks! Relax and enjoy life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the theme of "Staycationing"  and "Locavore" why not make a fun day event out of your usual spring garden shopping. Just print off the itinerary and plan your day (if you're located in SE Michigan) or use it as a guide to plan a day within your own community.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For the first time, I put myself out there. Maybe not a story of detail but a little of what I've been through this past year....and it's published! My first---published---"first person" article. It may seem minimal but it was difficult to write, very emotional for me. Trying to write a story that is so steeped in pain and emotion is very hard to get down on paper. Maybe I can bring a ray of hope to others suffering from abuse. There is a light at the end of the tunnel you just have to be patient-easier said than done. Persevere!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, Michigan

When you stand on the shores of Whitefish Point, it's not hard to see why there were so many hard fought shipwrecks here.
The water hits the sand with a thunderous roar that is almost deafening.
This is nature in its fury and it makes you see how small you really are compared to the strength of wind and wave.
This photo and description taken by Tina Renee.
Currently submitted into a Frommer's contest.
No part of this may be used without expressed, written permission.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Beyond the Mountains" By: Mark Danner (Haiti)

Adapted from the book: The Magazine Article; How to think it, plan it, write it. By: Peter Jacobi, pg.113, 1991.        
The following excerpt was originally written by Mark Danner for The New Yorker.

Suddenly, through the rain lashing the jeep's windows, I became aware of dark shapes outside, moving silently along the road. looking more closely, I realized that I was sitting in the midst of a village; on either side of the road, scores of mud huts extended back into the trees. Now the rain had come, and-as would happen many times every year, hundreds of times in every lifetime-the villager's homes had instantly been flooded, and the entire village had been forced from sleep out into the rain. With each flash of lightening, I could see them all, hundreds of them, standing mutely on either side of the road, thigh-deep in water. On the radio, Bazin's low voice droned on, smoothly, gracefully, forming its perfect sentences, continuing a brilliant analysis of Haiti's political crisis. When it rains in Haiti, the people have no shelter.
This was written about Haiti more than 2 decades ago.

Why do we give?
Why do we care?
Why do we move like ants through dust and adversity?
Because it is our cause,
     our way,
     our purpose.
Who of you have never had need?
    and felt the deep warmth of a caring soul,
    the satisfying taste of love and  genuine concern.
The food of a piece of ourselves,
     creates more satiety than tangible morsels,
     a lasting presence in our hearts.

poem by: Tina Szybisty, 2/22/2010
(no part of this may be used without permission)