Our 2013/2014 Curricula



Well the school year is about a third over, but I’m putting this post up anyway. You never know when someone will stumble across it and find it useful.

I know when I started homeschooling I wanted to know what anyone and everyone was using…


Life of Fred – We’re sticking with what works. I can still say that this is hands-down the best math curriculum around.


myWorld Social Studies


Growing with Grammar


Artistic Pursuits


WriteShop Junior Book D


Interactive Science


Road Trip USA


Classic Literature Unit Study


Digital Teaching Tools


I set several goals for the year, things that I’d like Babydoll to learn. We’ll be systematically working through those.

The Definition of Family

I’m at Reviewer’s Retreat right now {speaking, ack!!} and I’ve been pondering how we look at family.

Of course, we think about those we live with, those we grew up with, our biological {or adoptive} family.

But really, when you think about it, in today’s world, family encompasses any number of things.

We bloggers are like a family. We share, we love, we get upset, we help.

Family comes in all forms, and it can be beautiful in any form it takes.

Family shouldn’t be equated with perfection and an absence of fighting, drama, and abnormality, though, and I think the upcoming Disney movie, Delivery Man, is a testament to that.

In the movie, Vince Vaughn plays a man who, unbeknownst to him, fathered 533 children. *gasp* Don’t worry, it was through anonymous fertility clinic donations. :)

Crazy, yes, but where does the family connection come in? 142 of the 533 children want to meet their biological father, and he is faced with the decision to reveal himself or not.

Take a look at this never-before-seen trailer because it really adds the warmness of this movie that can’t be conveyed by text alone.

See, don’t we just love movies like this that make us look to ourselves and our own families to make sure we’re really maximizing what we have? Love it!

Delivery Man will be in theaters November 22nd!

Comfort – Full Circle

Sealy Says Thanks

True Confessions:  This serendipitous relationship occurred out of the blue in late March. I received an email with the subject line of “Sealy Says Thanks!” Sealy’s Posturepedic Hybrid Series is all about comfort and support, and they wanted to thank me for the comfort and support I was offering through my work here at Sweet Phenomena by offering a mattress: I was floored, and I cried.

The purpose of this post is two-fold: to share a personal story of comfort and support with you and to share my experience with the new mattress. I think you’ll like both. This is written in my own words and contains my opinions, of which there is never a shortage. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent. Not really…

Sealy Says Thanks

I couldn’t be here, doing this fabulous work, without the help of my husband, Vince.

He is the ultimate in comfort and support. He lets me dream big, which is what I do, and he supports me in it.

He may not always understand it, he may not always think it’ll work, but if I am passionate about it and it’s not going to hurt us or anyone else, he helps me make it happen.

He’s my sounding board. He’s my tear-wiper when I’m having a meltdown {but, of course, those don’t happen often}. He’s my financier.

I’m strong-willed and that can’t be easy to deal with. Couple that with my passion to bring awareness to domestic violence and help parents raise girls that are confident, caring, and full of win, and I’m a fierce force to be reckoned with.

Vince knows how to let that force be unless it’s absolutely necessary to disturb it. That’s true comfort and support: knowing when to step back and knowing when to step in.

With his support, I’ve managed to keep Sweet Phenomena alive for almost three years and transform it into something I’m unbelievably excited about.

I’ve got some super-exciting things coming down the pipeline, and when you see them, I want you to remember that it’s all possible because of the unwavering support of my husband.

Now, About That Mattress…

I didn’t know it was possible to be this excited about a mattress.

Back story: We got married in 2001, and we bought a mattress. We were poor, and the mattress was part of a $300 set {boxspring and mattress}. That’s right, it was superior quality and sprinkled with unicorn tears.


But you know, it was a mattress, and it wasn’t bad.

But, “not bad” isn’t so great after 11 years. The mattress was getting old and so were we.

That not-so-fun old where you “feel” things when you wake up after a night’s sleep on a not-so-great mattress.

A good mattress was just too expensive; it was money we didn’t really have to spend.

I resigned myself to being with that mattress forever.

Then, I got that fateful email mentioned above. And yes, I really did cry.

I even made Vince read the email to see if it was for real.

The mattress was delivered a couple of weeks ago and oh my God people, it is so totally epic.

I’d been mattress shopping, so I had tried out memory foam mattresses. Sure, they were better than what we had, but they just didn’t feel right to me.  Too squishy. Not enough support.

That is my most favorite thing about this mattress: half foam/half titanium-alloy spring construction.

Comfort and support. It’s not a marketing ploy my friends, it’s for realz.

It’s also pretty.needed quality in a mattress? Not necessarily.

A nice-to-have if it’s available? You bet. Look at it up there, it’s SO pretty!!

And that pretty little section is functional: it’s the CoreSupport Center. It supports the heaviest part of my body. *wink*

I’m not fibbing friends: I wake up feeling SO much better. I don’t feel tired and groggy, I feel like I’ve been snugly hugged all night.

I don’t feel old. Hallelujah.

You can read all about the mattress on Sealy’s site. I would definitely, without a doubt, recommend this mattress.  It’s affordable and it beats the sheets off any other mattress I’ve tried.

I am forever grateful to Sealy and Jacqueline Jones for making this possible. It truly means so much to me.

The mattress is awesome, but even more importantly, it’s nice to know that others support my mission.

So send virtual high fives to Sealy, they’re total winners!!

You can find them on Facebook and YouTube.

Mattress image courtesy of Sealy.com

Using Reading to Inspire Your Daughter



It provided an escape, a separate world.

I could dream, I could lose myself in the words, I could be anything I wanted to be.

I’m talking about The Secret Garden, and reading as a whole.

Growing up in a less-than-happy household was hard, especially for me, an already introverted child.

My escape was to read. One day, I was sitting in a secret garden with Mary and Colin. The next, I witnessed martians waging war on the world.

I encountered heroes, strong females, dream worlds.

It lit me up inside, and I took that magic and light with me to this day.

Want to inspire your daughter to dream, to take magic and light with her throughout her life?

Use reading to inspire her.

Read to her. Read with her. Give her a special spot that’s all her own to dream and explore and become powerful.

Provide her with books that help her grow as a person, that teach her about powerful female heroines, that encourage her to explore.

Check out the three books below to get your daughter started on her inspiring journey!

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer

A Sweet Smell of Roses

33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women’s History: From Suffragettes to Skirt Lengths to E.R.A.

I’ve just shared with you how reading helped me be the woman I am today, now I want you to share what reading has done for you in the comments below!

Stupendous Sweeties


Many of us who have daughters are on a constant quest to find suitable role models for them.

To find women who deserve their attention.

In a world filled with Bratz dolls, sexualized Candy Land characters, and trashy toddler clothing, we’re desperately trying to find something better for them.

This is why I’ve decided to highlight a Stupendous Sweetie in the Sweet Phenomena newsletter each month.

On the first Wednesday of every month you can find a new article all about a phenomenal female who is doing her thing and changing the world.

The first Sweetie debuts tomorrow!

Not on the list? No problem!

Just head here to sign up for the newsletter and you’ll be all set to get your first issue!

Oh, and there’s a swell bonus for you too: a three-part mini-series on helping your daughter achieve her dreams! A series for her, and a series for you!

Have any ideas on who you’d like to be featured as a Stupendous Sweetie? Leave a comment below!

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