Monday, April 23, 2012

Benefits of Family Vacations

Whether it is to the beach, to the woods, or to a theme park, family vacations are important and benefit the family in more ways than you can number. Do not just dream of a vacation or wish there was more money for adventure. You can buckle down and make it happen. Vacations do not have to expensive to make them count!

There are 5 TOP benefits to family vacations (in no certain order):

1. Memories that last a LIFETIME. Do you remember a family a vacation from when you were younger? My family was very poor when I was young and I can count on one hand the vacations we went on. However, I remember EACH one like they were yesterday. I remember the fun, the close calls, the smells, and the stories that were told. I often recall them with fondness and when the family gathers together we reminisce about those times. Your children deserve to have these memories too. They will last forever and will be remembered with fondness—even if it was a total flop! (i.e.—the tent flooded in the storm, the hurricane chased you out early, etc…)

2. Time with Family is PRICELESS. Is there a better way to spend your time outside of serving the Lord? Your family was given to you to hold close, to laugh with, to minister to, and to be a blessing to each other. Time with these people is needed and should be craved. It is fleeting—the time with our kids. One day they are tiny, needing everything from us and the next thing you realize is that you only have a few short years or months left of their childhood. It is a wake-up call when you one day stand there and wonder where time has gone. It makes me think of the song from “Mamma Mia”:

What happened to the wonderful adventures?
The places I had planned for us to go.
Well some of that we did, but most we didn't and why I just don't know.

3. The mental break is NEEDED. Yeah, as adults we know this fact. We know the wonderful feeling of leaving stresses and burdens of work and everyday life behind. Our children too need the break. They do not realize it but we certainly should. They need to break free from their everyday thoughts and troubles. They should have some time where all that is on their mind is, “What fun thing can I do today?” Family vacations are the times we “recharge” our batteries to prepare us for the rest of the year. We count down to vacation and when we are home we start the countdown again until the next family vacation! Our bodies and minds want that time—it needs that time.

4. The bond with family and friends is STRENGTHENED. This is worth repeating! The bond with your friends and your family is strengthened with every moment of every vacation. You learn more about one another in these times than any other time during the year. Your appreciation and love for each of these individuals grows deeper because the time has been taken to know each other better. True, we learn the quirks that we may not like in our friends and family members. In the end, it is what makes them—them. We see past their weaknesses and focus in on their strengths and their character and just have fun and adventures together.

5. The rest of the year is MORE PRODUCTIVE! Yes, studies have shown that the person who vacations and takes time for themselves and for their families is a more productive worker, student, and citizen. A well rested mind and body can function more efficiently. Even before the vacation hits, knowing that date on the calendar will help you work productively and with minimal distractions. Your vacation becomes a reward for a job well done not just time off.

So, if the idea of a more productive year, stronger family ties and friendships, mental relaxation, priceless time with our aging family, and memories that will make you smile until the day you die, is something you must have—Sit down and start planning. Remember, a vacation does not have to be two weeks. It can be a weekend. It does not have to be expensive. It can virtually be little to no money needed. You don’t have to stay at the Four Seasons when camping in the back yard will do. The possibilities are endless! Leave a comment and let us know what you have planned or what you will be planning for vacation this year!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review of Remember Me Pockets

Haven't tried our Remember Me Pockets?  Oh what you miss!  This review is specific to October's RMP but all of our RMP's are similar in layout!

Review of Remember Me Pockets – October

Recently, I was given a copy of Remember Me Pockets October free, in exchange for my honest review. Remember Me Pockets is a series of monthly unit studies unique to Fortunately For You Books. Because they use lots of graphics (but don’t worry: they offer both black and white and color images for those who like to watch their color ink usage!), these unit studies are ideal for several kinds of learners. Very young students can use the studies with a parent’s aid, and older students who tend to shy away from schoolwork with too many words will similarly be drawn in. Further, unlike many unit studies currently available, Remember Me Pockets gives you all of the information that you need contained within the study itself. There are no external links required to complete the study, although there are some links that are suggested as extensions of a particular topic.

What exactly is Remember Me Pockets? Essentially, each monthly study uses as its base the important dates and themes of a given month, in this case October. Because October is stamp collecting month, there is an imaginative interview with a mailman and a template for creating a stamp series. Because Michael Landon’s birthday is in October, there is an imagined interview with him. When you realize that there are six or so important birthdays in a given month, and at least five themes for any given month, all of which are covered in Remember Me Pockets, you begin to get a sense of how much you are getting with this monthly study.

What differentiates Remember Me Pockets from any other monthly-themed unit study then? First, the variety of the activities is noteworthy. From labeling the parts of a squirrel, to matching quotes to their famous speakers, to learning the “10 codes” used by police officers, Remember Me Pockets October has subjects and activities to suit many different ages and both genders. What makes Remember Me Pockets truly unique, though, is its namesake: the creation of pockets. Something like a cross between a lapbook and a notebooking page, but really more creative, the “pockets” will be a welcome change to moms who want a different approach to schooling, but who need someone else to do the heavy work for them.

Using different sizes and shapes, students will make their own little arsenals of facts as they create “Tags of Time,” “interview pockets,” and more. At the end of the month, your child will have a tangible keepsake of his study of the month of October. More likely than not, he will continue to “play” with his pockets, thereby reinforcing what he has learned.

Remember Me Pockets are targeted for elementary through middle school students, but both younger and older students can benefit from them, depending on their personality type and ability level. If it sounds like these monthly studies are hard to describe, that’s because they are! For $4.99, though, it is well worth the money to purchase one and find out what pockets are all about! Delivered to you in ebook format, as seen on Fortunately For You Books’ website (, you will be creating your first pocket in minutes (instructions are included and detailed). If your school day needs a little excitement, tactile learning, or just a booster shot, give Remember Me Pockets a try!

Product Review by Laura Delgado, Ph.D., Fortunately For You Books, LLC, November, 2011

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Turning Your Child into a Picker

Turning my child into a—what?!?!? A picker? A picker of what you may ask. Let’s define the word picker. A picker is a person or thing that picks, especially that gathers fruit, crops, etc… Ah, but there is a new type of picker in town—the junk picker.

Have I lost you yet? I went from making you think of nose picking to dumpster diving didn’t I? What if I told all you homeschoolers out there this kind of picking opens the doors of many fun history conversations and lessons? Does that clench your attention? Read on, my friends! Read on!

The History Channel has a great show out called, American Pickers. It features two pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, and their hunt to find America’s lost treasures. This show I would recommend for Middle-High Schoolers but the idea can be implemented into an Elementary aged child. (Just to cover all bases, I recommend the parents watch the show beforehand to establish that all content is suitable for their young viewers.) Mike and Frank set out to find treasures they can clean up and then turn around and make a few bucks on but they are also finding things for their own personal collections because they love history.

America has an amazing history. It is a short one compared to other nations, but the story plays out as if it were on the silver screen. We’ve been through innovation after innovation and the history of these “things” get forgotten until they are discovered in some barn under piles of boxes, at a garage sale, or in an estate sale. You’ll find yourself saying, “I remember these!” or “My grandmother used this when I was little”. Do you see how not just American history comes into play but YOUR own history does as well? What an amazing thing to pass onto your children.

I’ve never met a child who doesn’t like to hear their parents or grandparents stories of when they were younger. I know the older they get, they will pretend not to care, but their interest is still there. They are still listening. Children have a natural desire to know history. It is just all the monotonous book learning that has taken the joy out of it. They need to see it, touch it, and experience it to gain appreciation for it.

I’m setting up a challenge for you (and for my kids as well). Yard, garage, tag, and estate sales are all gearing up for their busy summer months. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You don’t need a lot of money, just a keen eye for a good deal. Go out to these sales and look for pieces of American history. These can be found if you are diligent and widespread in your effort. Learn their history from the seller or if they have no clue—start scouring the internet.

Lastly, you are going to want to know what on earth to do with all your treasures. You can keep them and display them, start your own collection, clean up and consign them to antique dealers, or even sell them on Ebay. You may even have family and friends that are willing to buy your found treasures.  Your finds can also be turned into gifts if you know that person's interests and history!  However, please know your limits!! I do not want you to end up on an episode of Hoarders.

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