Our Third Year Of Homeschooling

Yes, yes yes… I know!  Where have I been?  I have not written a word on here in so long. But I tell you it wasn’t for the lack of trying. This was our third year of homeschooling and we tried something new.  This year, we decided to join a co-op.  What is a co-op you ask? It is a group of moms who come together, whom have strengths in different academic areas, and teach the kids of the group. That is the most simplest way to explain it!

Let’s Try Something New!

The co-op we joined was different then others around. It is not like Classical Conversations or Tapestry Of Grace where the curriculum is pre-packaged. The admin of the co-op chose different curriculums for the four different subjects.  It covered history, geography, writing, and science. Many hours were spent looking at different curricula to find which ones would fit the co-op. I have to say, it was a year full of fun, excitement and frustrations but they were all worth it!

With being a part of a co-op, our kids had to participate in class.  They did all sorts of science experiments, hands on history, gave presentations, had to work in groups and learn how to work together even when there was a disagreement.

The photo above only captured a fraction of what the kids did while they were in class at the co-op.  We mummified a cornish hen (which represented a mummy in Ancient Egypt), wrote in hieroglyphics, had multiple presentations, and made cookies. Yes, we made cookies!

You asked, “Would you do a co-op again”?  Absolutely! But, there was a lot of good and some bad that went along with our year.  The two years previous, we were pretty relaxed. If we didn’t feel like “doing school” we would have documentary day or baking day or home economics day (which meant cleaning the house and grocery shopping🙂 ).  We had a relaxed homeschool but not too relaxed.  We definitely worked on our school work, but there was no sense of urgency, no stress, just a get-it-done type of attitude. I loved it, but I saw lots of flaws in this way of schooling (for us).

Our oldest is a very grade oriented child. She loves getting up in front of classmates and show off (for a lack of better words) how smart she is. She loved being the smartest kid in the class.  Now that we homeschool, she didn’t get to stand in front of the class and talk about all that she researched.  So, for her, co-op was like being back in public school.  Our middle daughter really loved our relax learning environment.  She is not shy to say the least, but she gets stage fright. But by the end of the year, she was so excited to do her presentations and talk in front of the class. It was great seeing her almost comfortable presenting her subject to the class!  For our son, this was his first grade year.  He was placed in the 1-4th grade class.  I was a little worried that he would not be able to hang academically with the older kids… but he blew that worry off the fence!  He did great and had no problem getting up and presenting.  Actually, he loved it!  He was so excited when he picked to play Joshua (from the Bible) as his First Person Narrative!  He did such a great job and totally stayed in character!

It was a great experience but we (well… more like I) had a hard time trying to balance everything with such a strict homeschooling schedule.  For me, that was the frustrating part of the co-op.  Going from a relaxed atmosphere to a “this assignment is due next week” atmosphere was really hard… for me!  I will not lie, it stressed me out.  Finally, towards the end, we missed assignments, life happened (it was crazy for a while there) and it was ok! The joy of homeschooling… GRACE and I needed a lot of it!🙂

Como Se Dice?

If adding a co-op was not enough, this year we also added Spanish.  My friend, who is a Spanish teacher for local homeschool groups, lives in our neighborhood.  I had asked her if she would be willing to teach Spanish here at our house if I could find another family or two who would like to join us.  She agreed! I was so excited because this meant that I didn’t have to drive 30 minutes into town for her to teach our kids!  I only needed to find one more family, they had 5 kids who took the class with ours.

Spanish class was fun and the kids did a Spanish country report… and made food for that report!🙂 It was fun to see what different types of foods the kids came up with.  Spanish was not our oldest’s first choice but it was a good introduction to learning a new language. I think this coming up year we are going to try German… since it is part of my heritage!

To Be or Not To Be, That Is The Question?

Oh yes, we just went there… The girls did a fun 6 week class on Shakespeare, that 2 fellow moms put together.  My friends did such a good job planning it, teaching it, and made it so much fun.  Who knew Shakespeare could be fun!  For the final day, the teachers planned a trip to the Shakespeare Theater in Orlando to watch the performance of The Tempest.  Our oldest wants to read more works by Shakespeare now! Thank you so much my friends!

Oh Where Did Those Shoes Take You?

I am so glad I did this.  At the beginning of the school year, a group of us (outside of the co-op and the homeschool group) scheduled monthly field trips to a local, privately owned, springs. It was an inexpensive monthly field trip in the great outdoors of Florida! The kids has so much fun with all the hands on learning! They investigated every thing from water ways, bugs, to microscopic organisms, to animal skulls and bones, and so much more! I am really happy we were able to go on a monthly field trip and that it was already planned out.  All we had to do was just show up!

Where Did That Rabbit Come From?

To add the our crazy life… We adopted a bunny!  Funny story. Our neighbors have a couple of bunnies, snakes, big dogs, and they just love animals!  While they were on vacation, somehow (while the animals’ caretakers were cleaning out a cage) the male and female bunnies mated.  A few weeks after our neighbors got back from their long summer trip, their oldest daughter’s friend saw that the bunny had given birth to 5 babies!  Both mom and dad bunny are show bunnies but they are different breeds.  That means, we can not show the bunny at the fair. That is ok, she is our little bunny and we love her. Her name is Agnes or Aggie for short.  Which is fitting seeing the our neighbors are alumni of Texas A&M… the Aggies.  It was such a beautiful thing watching Aggie grow up and get bigger! We got to hold her before her eyes were open! It was a beautiful thing! She is a mix with Holland Lop and Mini Lop and we were able to bring her home on October 31st! So cute! (P.S. if you are wondering what is on Aggie’s head, it is a faux raccoon hat!)

 

Oh The Places You Will Go!

To go along with our monthly field trips, we had a few other field trips throughout the year.  One of our favorite field trips was the Alafia Rendezvous. It is an encampment from the 1800’s. It is so much fun and this time, my husband was able to join us! I love it when he can participate in anything school related!  Of course we went to the library… what homeschooler doesn’t do that!🙂 We took a fun trip to Sea World. I have to say, Sea World has to be my favorite amusement park in Orlando. We have been a few times since moving to Florida but this time we did things we normally didn’t do, which included feeding the sea lions! Yummmm, fish!  In the late spring we had a death in the family so we drove the 22 hour drive home to be with family.  While up there I took the kids down to our ole fishing hole! It was so peaceful out there.  Then to end our school year, we went to the FPEA Homeschool Convention!  Man, that was fun!  A highlight of that trip with taking the kids to Medieval Times.  It was fitting that we went there, because we studied the Medieval Time Period in our history class!  I loved watching their faces as the show went on!  It really got your heart pounding!

What’s Next?

I am looking forward to our next school year. We will be studying U.S. History big time so I am hoping to have some really cool field trips! So much to go out and see!

 

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I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment at the bottom! If you liked my post and would love to hear more of our adventures, please follow me so you get the newest post!

 

Healthier Pancakes

I can’t tell you how often we eat pancakes.  If it was up to our 5 1/2 year old we would eat pancakes every meal!  Since we like to eat pancakes so much, I have tried different versions of a main recipe.  I keep changing the recipe and trying different ingredients to make the pancakes more then empty carbohydrates.  Sometimes I add flax seed meal, wheat germ and even chia seeds and always add fresh blueberries or blueberries we have frozen.

Healthier Pancakes Copyright by Holly Hedman

Healthier Pancakes Copyright by Holly Hedman

Click here to read the rest of the article and get the recipe!

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Thanks for taking time to reading.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Also, I would love to hear how you liked the recipe.  Please leave a comment below.

Also, take a look at what we are doing now. Click Here

Want to keep you and your family healthy this year, check out my Young Living Essential Oils Facebook page. Click Here

Artificial or Not Artificial? That is the Question

Does it really matter if our foods have artificial food coloring in it?  Read on and then I would love to hear what you think!

Rainbow of Colors By Holly Hedman

Rainbow of Colors
By Holly Hedman

The other day, a friend from church asked if anyone knew of natural food coloring.  This made me stop and think for moment.  I could come up with a few alternatives to artificial dyes, but that was it.  So, this sent me to the computer to do some research because I wanted a decent list of items to use and how to use them since I really never thought about food dyes before.  We have truly been blessed with healthy kids and for that I thank God every day, but there are many people that are not as fortunate to be free of food allergies or have children that struggle with food allergies, for this is not an easy life.

Artificial food coloring has been around since the 1950’s.

Decades ago, food manufacturers started using artificial colors, because they were more stable then natural food coloring.  In fact, artificial food dyes are made from PETROLEUM (yes, I said petroleum… a by-product of crude oil.

Click Here to finish learning about why you should not eat foods with artificial food coloring!

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Thanks for taking time to reading.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Please leave a comment below.

Also, take a look at what we are doing now. Click Here

Want to keep you and your family healthy this year, check out my Young Living Essential Oils Facebook page. Click Here

Summer Workout!

Oh my, is it really that time again?

It is almost that time of year again, when we take off layers of clothes and are gearing up for our favorite summer activities; swimming, boating, water skiing, playing in the sprinkler and more.  But, are you ready?  Are you ready to get back in to shorts, swimsuits and tank tops?  Don’t worry, I have a great workout for you that you can do at home, takes about 20-30 minutes and you only need to do it 3 times a week to really see effects from the workout.

Click here to read the workout that I put together! 

But, before you go, here are some photos of correct form for some of the movements in the workout.  If you don’t do exercise with proper form, you could injure your body! If you are in need of the equipment I talked about in my article, take a look at Amazon.

Now, take a look at these photos then go and do the workout that I posted on Learning Tangent!

Triceps Extension 

Correct Form

Shoulder Press
dumbbells_militarypressArm Curls
dumbell curl

Lunges Lunges-Forward SquatsSquat-Exercise

Yummy Treats!

Every once in a while, for school, we have a baking day.  I love these days and so do our kids!  Cooking and baking are skills that are needed and I believe that both girls and boys should be able to cook a great meal and bake a yummy cake and more from scratch.   One day, must have been around Easter, we had one of those days… it was a baking type of day.

About to make a treat!

About to make a treat!
Copyright by Holly Hedman

 

Peanut Butter Cups!

I am not a big Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup type of gal… I never buy them for myself or eat them when we have them at Halloween.  But, my husband loves them.  The kids and I decided we would treat my hubby with a healthier (but it is still chocolate) version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!  My husband was in Heaven with this recipe!

Girl Bunny making yummies!

Girl Bunny making yummies!
Copyright by Holly Hedman

No Oven Necessary!

Ingredients:

Almost done! Copyright By Holly Hedman

Almost done!
Copyright By Holly Hedman

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor. Set aside.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler with the coconut oil. Add a thin layer of the melted chocolate to the bottom of each mini muffin cup, layer of peanut butter mixture and a top layer of chocolate.

Place them in the fridge or freezer to store or hide till they are set and ready to be eaten!  Try not to eat more then 2 in a day… OK… 3!  For someone who doesn’t love peanut butter cups… These are AWESOME!

*Quick little note.  The reason why I used organic or natural peanut butter is because it has less sugar the conventional peanut butter.  Seeing as you are adding sugar to it, this helps to make it not super sweet!

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Thank you for taking time to stop by Healthy Homeschool Family Blog!  I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below and share with me what your favorite recipe is for Peanut Butter Cups!  Feel free to share this recipe with your friends and family!

Making a Lifestyle Change!

Pantry Copyright by Holly Hedman

My Pantry Now
Copyright by Holly Hedman

My pantry used to be filled with boxes and boxes of highly processed, highly preserved and horrible foods that no human truly should eat!  We used to have a bunch of canned fruit and veggies too.  I hardly ever had fresh fruit or veggies in the house, because when I did they would go bad before we ate them. Even before having kids I used to be all about easy cooking and not healthy cooking.  But, that started to change after we started having kids but more so after I had our son.  I weighed the most I have ever weighed… Yes, it bothered me!  Prior to having kids, I was very physically active.  I was a Physical Education teacher, coached and played volleyball and was also a personal trainer!  I loved being at the gym for hours working out.  Then we had kids.  I started working out again after I had our first born but every time I would go to the gym and put her in the nursery she would get sick.  I, just like other moms, don’t like having sick kids.  So, NO more gym membership for me!

When we had one child it was pretty easy to put her in the stroller and go for a power walk.  But when we added more, it really became difficult!  The days would go by so fast and by the time I would think of exercising it was time to go to bed.  Then after having our youngest, food had become comforting and I kept gaining weight.  I am 6 foot tall (yes, I know, that is tall for a girl) and I could hide my weight very well with clothes.  No one really knew I was almost 200 pounds… more then I weighed when I was pregnant with our last baby (whom I gain 18 pounds with).  Seeing as I have hypothyroidism, I have always been careful and cautious about my weight.  But sometimes, you just don’t care and eat, eat, and eat.  Food comforts…

Just add 12 oz of liquid, 3 scoops of powder, shake and enjoy!

Just add 12 oz of water, milk or almond milk, 3 scoops of powder, shake and enjoy!

Finally, enough was enough and I decided that something needed to change.  I couldn’t go on this way and my health is important in order to be a good mom.  That is when, while we were home and visiting a good friend, I asked her about her meal replacement shakes she had been using.  I was looking for something that was good and kept me full.  She introduced us to Usana Health Sciences.  This brought on a new way of thinking and a new way of life for our family!  I started buying more fresh fruit and veggies, started cooking clean and healthy, started truly watching what I was eating and caring about what I was eating.  We started taking high quality vitamins and supplements through Usana Health Sciences and also drinking their meal replacement drink called Nutrimeal.  My husband and I both lost weight and truly had more energy and felt amazing!  It amazes me what a good vitamin can do for you!  We transformed our health and as a side affect of that we lost weight and felt great!  You have a choice in life… to be healthy or not!  We chose healthy because our kids depend on us to be around for a long time!

Recipe for you

One of my favorite things to eat happens to be pudding.  I would make it almost all the time… from a box, until one day I found a recipe that uses avocado.  I just had to try it and I was hooked!

Avocado Pudding Copyright by Holly Hedman

Avocado Pudding
Copyright by Holly Hedman

 

This recipe is super simple with only 6 ingredients. 

1 ripe avocado (soft to touch)

3 tbs of almond butter

1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk

3 tbs of dark cocoa powder

1/4 cup of agave syrup

1 scoop of Usana’s vanilla Nutrimeal

Avocado Pudding Ingredients  Copyright by Holly Hedman

Avocado Pudding Ingredients
Copyright by Holly Hedman

Directions

Place avocado and almond butter into food processor. Blend until creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.  Add more almond milk till you reach the consistency you prefer.  A little of this pudding goes a long way!  Enjoy!

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Thanks for taking time to reading.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Also, I would love to hear how you liked the recipe.  Please leave a comment below.