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French Revolution Lap Book

Posted by Admin on January 9, 2017 in Homeschool |

In an effort to make history more fun and interesting for my 10th grader we purchased the French Revolution Lap Book curriculum from Hands of a Child. We used this to help her organize the information in her head and get a better grasp on the lessons. The lapbook breaks the information down into easy to use lessons and as she works on each task she gets a better idea of what it is all about. The activities help to cement the knowledge in her head.

The lessons do require printing, cutting, pasting etc. which can add to the time to complete each lesson, but the benefits are far worth it. If you have a child that does not enjoy this type of activity, you can do the printing and cutting ahead of time for them. Those who struggle with fine motor and writing can use the version that allows you to type the information onto the page before printing.

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New Year Resolutions!

Posted by Admin on January 3, 2017 in Personal Thoughts |

I read somewhere that only 8% of those who make New Years Resolutions are successful at achieving them.  So why make a resolution?  Every year I make resolutions.  Do I keep them all?  Nope!  Do I keep some of them? Absolutely! Continuing to work towards good health, good relationships, making our world and making our family life better are good things.   If I’m not successful at reaching my goals, at least I tried and made I improvements for awhile.  Starting a New Year is a reminder for me to get back up, dust my pants off, “forgive myself”, try to find something else that might work to reach my goal and try again.  I believe I (and my family) lose out when I quit trying.  Here are my goals this year.

  1. Walking 7000 steps 5 times a week
  2. Drinking 64 ounces of water a day
  3. Throwing away 10 things every day until all of my clutter is gone (more is better, but at least 10)
  4. Declutter, organize and deep clean our home.  (Using Spring Cleaning 365)
  5. Menu Planning each and every week (healthier meals, less stress, less money, win-win-win!)
  6. Going on a date 2 X per month with just my husband.
  7. Participate in 1 quality time activity with each member of my family every week.
  8. Making monthly, weekly and daily lists to keep me focussed on my goals.
  9. Read and write daily
  10. Get to bed on time and get up on time at least 5 X weekly.

What are your goals for this new year, or week or day?

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Hurricane’s Coming! What Should I do?

Posted by Admin on October 5, 2016 in Personal Thoughts |

We were ready to travel to my niece’s wedding in Charleston this weekend.  We worked to get clothes ready, gifts ready, and preparations for someone to care for our home and pets for while we were gone.  It was to be an exciting weekend with family while we celebrated their commitment to love each other.  Then came Matthew! Totally unexpected Matthew began to churn our way.  Matthew is a hurricane that is currently wrecking havoc on Haiti and Cuba.  Now we are stuck at home and they are having to evacuate Charleston because predictions have him heading our way.  After all of their time planning their perfect day, I am saddened for them and all of us who were looking forward to time to celebrate them together.

Now we suddenly have to switch to emergency prep.  We basically have a one day warning to get our stuff together.  Now where to start?  Below is my preparation list. Feel free to use it to help you if you need direction.  But please keep in mind.  I am not an expert.  I have had some experience in this as I’ve grown up in Central Florida but use your own judgement and follow this at your own risk.  😉 (my disclaimer)

  1.  Find important papers, (insurance papers, birth certificates, social security cards, etc.) and seal them in a waterproof container such as a zip-lock bag and place them in a safe place or pack them to go with you if you are evacuating.
  2. Take stock of what you have in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer.  Start eating from fridge and freezer to reduce possible loss of food due to lack of electricity.  Make a menu “canned” menu in case you loose electricity.
  3. Make sure you have a manual can-opener!  You will need this to open cans if you lose electricity.  Check a hurricane preparedness list such as this one http://www.mynews13.com/weather/hurricane-center-checklist.html#supply to ensure you are prepared.
  4. Make your list and head to the store.  The sooner, the better.  Stock will be depleted quickly. Don’t forget personal care items like medicines, feminine hygeine items etc.  While you are out there, fill your gas tanks, and fill your propane tanks.
  5. Next step is to prepare you home.  Pick up anything in your yard that can become a flying missile!  (Chairs, garbage cans, trampolines)  Secure them. If you have a pool you can throw your outdoor chairs in the pool.  We remove the jump pad and netting on our trampoline to prevent the wind from catching and tossing it. Then we secure the poles as best we can.  We bring our garbage cans into the garage.  Do whatever you can to protect yourselves and your neighbors.  If you have a neighbor who has not done this, offer to help them move their outdoor stuff.
  6. Next, prepare the inside of your home.  Board or tape your windows if you are going to do so.  Make a living space to wait out the storm in the safest room in your house.  Usually near the center of the home where you have no windows or the fewest number of windows.  Put your battery operated radio in there with pillows, bedding and games to wait out the storm.
  7. After you have done all you can to prepare and helped those around you prepare, keep a close eye on the news.  Make sure cell phones are fully charged.

Extra tips:

-Put your expensive china or anything you want to protect in your dishwasher.  It is one of the safest places and is sealed to protect from the elements.

-Clean your bathtub and fill with water.  This is to use if water use is lost.  (Think flushing toilets etc.)

-Pack necessary items for last minute travel into backpacks that can be quickly grabbed if needed. (Think medicines, change of clothes, important papers, personal care items)

Please feel free to share any of your tips below.  I’m always looking for different ways and different ideas.

For anyone in the path of this storm, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  Stay safe and prepare!

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Phishing Scams

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2016 in Personal Thoughts |

I get these in my inbox daily! What drives me crazy is that it must be profitable and someone is falling prey or it wouldn’t continue. I decided to share this little masterpiece (I am sarcastic there in case you missed it!) and explain a bit on how to spot a phishing email.

What is a phishing (pronounced fishing) email? It is an email where a third party (someone we don’t know or do business with) sends you a message disguised as a second party (someone we do know or do business with) in an attempt to get you to provide personal information, like your bank account number, social security number or credit card information.  If you give them information, they can go shopping on your dime.

In this example, someone is pretending to be Amazon in hopes I will push the little button and give them my password for Amazon. Then they can access my account, place an order and have it delivered to their door.  In actuality, they send it to someone else’s door and watch for delivery, then nab it.  That way it can’t be traced to them and someone else gets the blame.  UGH!

sample phishing email

So how do I know it’s not from Amazon?  The fact that I don’t have an Amazon account would be a clue.  But let’s say I do.  Notice in the greeting they do not address me by name.  It says, “Hello, From Amazon!”  If this were a message from Amazon, and I had an account with them, they would address me by my name,  “Hello Mrs. Sarcastic!”  That is your first a big clue.  The next clue would come in the form of grammar.  Amazon and other financial institutions hire people and pay them good money to write grammatically correct messages.  In this example, the first sentence states, “You have entered wrong password for many times.”  I think a fourth grader would be able to correct that grammar. Let’s see if the second line is better!   “As our security measure, we need more informations from you.”  Are you seeing the pattern here?  If the grammar is poor, it’s a fake.

So what can you do if you get these emails?  My first advice, “DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS.”  There are two ways to handle the emails.

  1. One is to be proactive and attempt to help the organization that they are pretending to be.  This helps to protect others who may not be as savvy about the email as you are. If this is the route you chose, contact the company (In this case, I would go to Amazon.com and search for their phishing department.  When I put the words phishing email into their search engine, directions come up telling me to attach the email to another email and send to “stop-spoofing@amazon.com” It tells me they take it seriously.  Then leave it up to them to find out who is using their name and potentially causing harm to their customer.  Delete the email from your account.
  2. The second option is to just delete the message from your inbox and be done with it.

I find some companies to be very happy to get the information and give me every indication that they are working to stop it. They have departments that seek out these creeps and shut down their organization.  Other companies seem to be less appreciative.  I like to give them the option to deal with it and I choose not to do business with anyone who doesn’t take it seriously. The sad part is even after being shut down, these folks turn right around and set up other scams. And they set them up because they are successful in enough instances and enough people fall prey to them that is it profitable. I feel obligated to do what I can to stop it.

Steps to protect yourself:

  1. Do not open any links in an email that you do not expect.  I even question friends before opening their emails if I have something without an explanation.
  2. Do not reply to any unknown emails, this includes unsubscribing to the email.  It’s better to block them.
  3. Even if you suspect the email is valid, do not reply to the links.  Go directly to the website of the institution you do business with and make your adjustments from there.  Do not click on a link from an unknown email.
  4. Report suspect emails to the company they are posting as
  5. If you do fall prey, contact the “real” company immediately and let them know.  Change your password and add additional security to all of your accounts.

 

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Great New Find

Posted by Admin on August 15, 2016 in Homeschool, Organization, Personal Thoughts |

Try Grammarly

I found a great new program to help with blog writing, my daughter’s school work and checking for plagiarism.  The program is called Grammarly, and I love it!

I am one of those people who struggle with a brain that moves much faster than my fingers when typing.  As a result, I usually have a mistake or two (or three, or more) in my work.  When I proofread right after writing, I have a tendency to miss the errors.  I usually wait a day or two before I reread.  Then I always find more mistakes. Grammarly makes it easy to double check myself and find those errors the first time around which saves me time and reposting my blog again.

I can find many uses for the program in work, homeschooling, and household tasks, like term papers, essays, writing our Christmas newsletter and other correspondence. The most fun benefit for me is the email I am sent each week which tells me the types of mistakes I make most often.  That helps me to identify my common mistakes and work to improve my writing.  

The program is fabulous and very easy to use.  I highly recommend checking it out. Grammarly offers a free and a paid version.  There is a link on the graphic at the top of this post that will take you to their site. Check it out!  I think you will be amazed. 

 

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