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What's the big deal about Young Living

On Examining the Scriptures With Children


“Now the Berean Jews… received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

Our goal is to read the Bible as a family every morning before we begin the rest of our academic work. I’ll admit that we sometimes don’t accomplish this if we are rushing to get to co-op on time or make some other appointment. Still, it is a habit we constantly come back to as part of our daily routine.

Here is a short video of how we take turns reading the Bible aloud. You might notice we are not reading a Bible storybook, but the actual Bible. Some of the younger children read from the NIRV since it has simpler words, my Bible is a NASV, and the older kids have NIV, but we all follow along together, and we read at least a chapter at a time. (Our 10yo has requested a King James Version Bible for Christmas, since she wants to read a “more intelligent” version.)

Even though the words are not identical in each version, all the children have become accustomed to realizing that several words can mean the same thing. The children’s version might say Jesus “walked,” while another version will say he “traveled.”

Once in a while, a reader might have to ask, “Where are we?” and someone will tell them which verse was just read. I believe this is excellent practice for reading comprehension, oral reading skills, vocabulary building, and more.

But most importantly, I love this daily Bible reading habit because we are stressing the importance of examining the scriptures for ourselves. We have told our children many times that we love Dr. So and So who is bringing the message to us, and we believe he would never intentionally mislead us, but it is our responsibility to examine for ourselves to see if what he says is true.

This has caused our kids to know much about what is actually in the Bible and what are common misconceptions about Biblical teachings.

It has also brought about many difficult conversations.

Like, “If God is loving, why did He do that? That doesn’t seem loving.”

We try to answer to the best of our abilities. Sometimes the answer is to remind our children that just like parents know what is best for their children, even if the children don’t like it at the time, God knows what is best for us even if we don’t understand or agree.

And sometimes the answer is we simply don’t know, but we are looking forward to finding out one day.

Entire religious structures have been built upon what a single man or several men have told the people what God expects of them. And sometimes the people simply trust and do not look for themselves.

We don’t want our children to ever be deceived by false teachings, but to be in the habit of examining the scriptures daily for themselves.

Winter Summit

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Take Turns Reading Aloud With “Popcorn”

Have you ever watched a pot of popcorn being heated? You cannot predict which kernel will pop next, or when. This read aloud game uses that same principle.

Take turns reading aloud with popcorn

When I taught elementary grade levels in public school for 8 years, the students often took turns reading aloud. This let them practice their reading skills, and one way I encouraged the students to pay attention and keep up with where we were was to play “popcorn.”

Now that I’m a homeschool mom of 8, I use the same approach to let my own children practice those same skills. Even though I am homeschooling grades from preschool through 12th grade, we all read the Bible together every morning, and everyone, from 1st grade up, gets a turn at reading aloud with “popcorn.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Everyone looks at the passage being read, and knows where we are beginning.
  • Mom starts reading, and at a random point, stops and says “popcorn,” and calls a random name.
  • The person whose name was called must begin reading at precisely the point the former reader stopped.
  • After reading for a while, this reader stops at a random point and calls, “popcorn” to choose another reader.
  • (Optional) Stickers can be awarded for children who never lose their place.

Here’s an example of our varied ages playing “popcorn.” Each child must keep up with what is being read in case his or her name is called next.

This read aloud game has many benefits.

  • No one knows who will be called next, so each child must pay attention
  • Each child gets a chance to practice reading aloud, but can choose how long to read. This alleviates embarrassment for the slower readers.
  • There is no daydreaming during reading since everyone is on high alert in case they are called next.
  • The material read aloud is remembered since everyone is paying attention.

We take turns reading aloud with popcorn every day. My kids of all ages love it!

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Candy Corn PayDay Candy Mix

If you haven’t tried this Candy Corn PayDay Mix yet, YOU MUST!

PayDay Candy Mix

It’s easy as can be, and tastes just like a PayDay candy bar!

Candy Corn PayDay Candy Mix

  • Candy Corn
  • Salted peanuts

1. Mix

2. Enjoy

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Is Multi-Level Marketing a Scam?

Is Multi-Level Marketing a Scam

Recently I’ve been seeing negative rumblings around the internet about “that MLM thing.” That’s “multi-level marketing” if you don’t know.

Some companies, like Jamberry, Younique, Young Living, Pampered Chef, Avon, and others take the money that is usually spent in traditional advertising and pay their members in commissions to spread the news about their products.

In other words, Kohl’s and K-mart spend money in advertising to convince you to buy their products. This doesn’t necessarily make them sneaky or dishonest, nor does it make their products worthless. It just means they are using their advertising budget to increase awareness about their products.

And, by the way, if your favorite blogger is showing you a great deal at Amazon or Wal-mart or Vista Print, there’s a good chance she is getting paid to do so. And there is nothing wrong with that. They are receiving a payment from a company in return for advertising. This is often called “capitalism.” (See Proverbs 31 for other examples of a woman practicing capitalism.)

Alternately, multi-level marketing companies pay their members to promote their products. In the same way the stores mentioned above aren’t trying to trick you out of your money, neither are multi-level marketing companies. Again, this is capitalism at work and isn’t illegal or shady, as some claim.

What both kinds of companies are doing is simply trying to spread the word about what they are selling. 

The claim I have seen, and one specific claim which was aimed at me, is “She is only telling me about this so she can make money!”

And it is indeed true, that I could be writing everything on my site for the single purpose of getting you to give me your money. Heck, for all you know I’m not really a homeschooling mom of 8 at all, but instead a 52 year old ex-convict named “Scary” Larry Rodriguez.

MLM scams?

It could be that I haven’t really taught 7 of my children to read using “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons,” and that I don’t really read “Little Britches” aloud to my children because they beg me to every couple of years, and these pictures of my children doing the Bible study I wrote, “How to Manage Your Mouth,” could even be fakes!  (Those are affiliate links, by the way.)

That could all be a ruse.

It might be that my singular interest is to trick you by dishonest means into making myself rich, and in the process making you poor.

And by all means, if you believe those things, I would click away from this site as quickly as possible because you would be a fool to follow my advice on parenting, homeschooling, or anything else!

Except that some of you know me in real life. And you know that I really do homeschool my 8 children, and I really do deeply love many of the books I use to teach them, and I really am not a scam artist who is only interested in getting your money from you.

And that is the beauty of multi-level marketing. For example, when I bought Younique mascara from my long time friend, Ellen, I knew that she would make a commission from the sale, and I was happy for her to have that. I also knew that she would never try to scam me or trick me into buying a product that was worthless.


(Ellen and me – First day of college, 1984)

When I mentioned to Ellen that the only thing I didn’t like was that I sometimes ended up with flakes under my eyes at the end of the day, she told me that meant I wasn’t applying enough of the sealer in the second step of the application process. Voila! Problem solved! Because I know Ellen and because we have a relationship, I can go to her with any concerns I have about the product and she can figure out how to resolve any problems! I know she is honest and believes in any product she promotes, and I trust her.


At the lake with Ellen, summer 2014

Now, if you know and trust someone as a source of valuable information, and you are interested in the product recommended, wouldn’t that be the perfect person to buy from? I know that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get the advice Ellen gave me on applying my mascara from the lady at the counter at CVS. But because Ellen is my friend, she helped me out.

Of course, Ellen didn’t coerce me, pressure me, trick me, or Duck Tape my hands behind my back and force me to order the mascara from her. I was already interested in it and I decided on my own that I wanted to order. Again… capitalism. It was a win/win. Ellen got the commission for bringing the product to my attention, and I got the mascara I wanted with excellent customer support.

No trickery. Valuable product. Excellent customer service.

See? Win/win.

So, if you are interested in a product, you know the company to be reputable, and you trust the person recommending it, there really is no reason to avoid it simply because it is available through multi-level marketing.

And there is certainly no call to insinuate someone who is involved in multi-level marketing is working toward dishonest gain. 

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Use a Potato Peeler for Shaved Butter {Dump Cake Recipe}

When we make Dump Cake, the entire top of the cake needs to be covered with one stick of butter.

I used to spend a fair amount of time meticulously cutting thin slices of butter to place on top.

shaved butter

And then I had the brainstorm to use a potato peeler for shaved butter.

use potato peeler for shaved butter

Using a potato peeler to shave the butter makes it quick and easy to cover the entire top with butter!

Here’s our dump cake recipe

  • 1 can pineapple crushed pineapple (16 oz)
  • 1 can cherry pie filling (20 oz)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter

1. Dump pineapple in 9×13 casserole dish. Spread over bottom.

2. Dump in cherry pie filling. Spread.

3. Dump cake mix. Spread over top of fruit.

4. Top with shaved butter.

5. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour.


Need stocking stuffers? Check out these 5 little tractors for under $6! These could be divided into several stockings!

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Helpful Links – Homeschooling and Parenting

I frequently get emails or private messages on Facebook asking my advice on different topics I have already written on, like homeschooling and parenting.

Since I don’t have time to answer each inquiry individually, I though I would give you all a roundup of helpful links with my post popular posts on those topics.



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What's the big deal about Young Living