Sweet Plans: Homeschool Planning – Plugging Away

This is the fourth post in the Sweet Plans: Homeschool Planning series.  Here are the links for posts one, two, three, four, and five.

By this point, we’ve already started our planning.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t finished mine in one sitting.  Many of the moms I know haven’t either.  Here are a few suggestions for plugging away at the planning and staying the course, taken from my own personal experience and the experiences of other homeschool moms:

  • Set a timer
  • Plan one subject at a time
  • Plan half the year at a time
  • Plan a quarter at a time
  • Plan a month at a time
  • Plan two weeks at a time
  • Drink coffee
  • Avoid Twitter
  • Eat chocolate
  • Hole yourself up in a room
  • Utilize block scheduling
  • Use pretty supplies so you’ll want to sit there and use them

What ways do you use to keep yourself at the homeschool planning till you’re done?


Awesome Linkage – Bloggy Boot Camp Atlanta Edition

Bloggy Boot Camp AtlantaI am so excited about my upcoming trip to Atlanta for Bloggy Boot Camp {BBC} in October!!!  This will be my first blog conference and I tell ya, I’m so giddy it’s ridiculous.  I’m a grown woman after all…

Nonetheless, I’m excited, I’ve heard great things about Tiffany and BBC, and I’ve started “meeting” my fellow attendees.

Here’s a special edition of Awesome Linkage, showcasing the blogs of known-to-me BBCATL gals.  Show them some love!

I’m sorry if I missed you!  I know there are more BBCATL ladies out there and I can’t wait to meet them!

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Sweet Critique: Top Secret Adventures

Top Secret Adventures

Last school year I decided I really wanted Babydoll to study geography.  I am ashamed of my limited knowledge in that area, although I will say I’m not nearly as bad as many Americans…

I know several places incorporate geography into their items, but I wanted something specific.  Somehow I stumbled upon Top Secret Adventures by Highlights.

Top Secret AdventuresWhat is it?


Top Secret Adventures is a subscription-based service offered by Highlights magazine, from which Babydoll receives a new “case file” each month.  Her job as a detective is to open the top secret file, read the mission assignment, review the villain cards, and then complete her puzzle book using her guide book as a research text.  In addition, with your first shipment you receive a big world map, passport, and country stickers to use with each file.



I’d like to note that our pictures show a puzzle.  This month Highlights changed some of what they send in the files.  Previously, Babydoll received a puzzle that had to be put together in order to learn where she was going to be doing her detective work.  They now send a mission assignment, spy ring, and key chain with the country’s name on it.  Babydoll enjoyed “not knowing” where she was going, so it might be good to conceal that if at all possible until they’ve read their mission assignment.

What do we think?


We love Top Secret Adventures.  Babydoll anxiously awaits her package each month, and can’t wait to tear into it once it comes.  She learns all sorts of interesting facts about the  countries she’s studying, and she loves the puzzles in the puzzle book.

One thing to consider is the fact that each file only comes with stuff for one child.  It’s not an issue for us obviously, but if your kids will each want their own passport, stickers, map, key ring, and key chains, you’ll want files for each kid.  And yes, that could get expensive.  I bet you creative types out there could figure out a work-around though!

Also, this doesn’t do an extremely thorough job of reviewing each country, if that’s what you’re looking for.  What you will get is a great wealth of tips, trivia, and pictures related to that country.  You do learn a great deal, but it’s not a thorough curriculum if that makes sense.

Final thoughts…


Despite some of the things listed above, we love Top Secret Adventures.  Babydoll enjoys it and learns something from it.  We just started getting the USA version, so we’ll keep you guys posted!

True confessions:  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  We subscribe to this as a family and I thought it might be a great resource for others.

Awesome Linkage

A quick dose of awesomeness:

Sweet Critique: Chef Boyardee Recipes

As I’ve mentioned before, the “traditional” school year is very busy for us, especially when it’s soccer season.  If I don’t plan a crockpot or super easy meal on practice nights, there’s a 99% chance we’ll be eating fast food those nights.  And that’s three nights a week…

Sometimes it has nothing to do with planning, but everything to do with execution.  That roast would have been awesome on practice night, had I taken it out of the freezer…

Get the picture?  I’m imperfect!

I was recently given the opportunity to take a look at Chef Boyardee’s new quick and easy recipes.  They’ve put together six quick and easy dinner options using seven ingredients or less, all ready in 35 minutes or less.

I’m going to go ahead and say it:  for all the organic, pampered cow, no hormone stuff I like to purchase and eat, I still love me some Chef Boyardee ravioli.  The stuff’s yummy!

At any rate, after consulting the family, I chose to make the Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake.  True to claims, the recipe was quick and easy.  The longest time was spent baking the item, but it still was done in 35 minutes.

Overall, we enjoyed the recipe.  Vince really liked the “dough balls” and Babydoll liked the spaghetti and pepperoni.  It was cheesy and gooey and yummy.

The recipe lists six one cup servings, but it did look like such a small amount of food.  I suppose, though, if you actually paired it with some fruits and veggies, you’d be set for a pretty filling dinner.  We polished it off that night.

I think next time I would take the suggestion at the end of the recipe {which I didn’t see before I went shopping} and add a few other ingredients such as olives or mushrooms.  The recipe is actually quite versatile.  And, compared to our normal fast food fare, it’s nutritionally much better for us.

There are five other recipes to choose from, and I think I might keep a few of the items on hand for a quick meal.

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True Confessions:  I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Chef Boyardee and received a gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.  I still would have told you if I hated the recipe…