Posted in Education, Family, Library, literature, parenting, Social Change, teaching, toddlers, Uncategorized

Early Literacy Starts with You!



Finally! It’s ready for sale, on Early Literacy Starts with You! is my eBook that 1) explains why early literacy education is so important. 2) Gives you a better idea of our education system today and why we need to he;p our students at home. 3) Tips and tricks to get your child interested and excited about reading and writing, no matter your schedule.

It’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited 🙂


Please share!



Posted in Education, Family, Gardening, parenting, Social Change, Uncategorized

Simple Living for Teens

My husband and I have been trying to buy a house for almost a year now (although I assure you it seems like decades). While doing so I started to become obsessed with this hole small house movement that is going on. I know I’m a little late on the trend and it’s all over the place now but I still was on Pinterest finding anything I could about tiny homes and how to convince my husband it was a good idea.

Well we did finally find a house and it’s not tiny by the tiny home standards (1,120 sqft) but some would consider it small so I am calling it a win! However, what got me thinking about the tiny homes and why they’re so great is that fact that they force you to live more simply. I didn’t have much in the way of material items growing up and I lived in a small home. But that made me more apt to go outside, spend time in the living room, and not accumulate things. I think now it’s easy for kids and teens to get swept up in this “he/she has more than I do” competition that happens.

Just the other day a mother was talking about taking her son to a birthday party. She had gotten the friend a generous gift but during the party he received a new iPod touch from a different friend. The woman’s son was upset thinking maybe they didn’t give his friend enough. This is a problem in my opinion that affects a lot of young people. Here are some ways I have read about to help your kids and teens understand how to live more simply. I think that understanding the concept and it’s benefits will help them in the future.


For an example of a tiny home built by a young person (college student but still) check out this article.


1) Let your kids start helping you shop early on. Show them that it is a process to narrow down what you really need. If they just see you come home with a trunk full of food then it would reason that you just go to the store and throw a bunch of stuff in your cart all willy nilly. Take them and show them how to be selective so you don’t end up getting things that will cause waste.


2) Get your kids (especially your teens) more excited about the outdoors. There’s a lot to do outside all year round. The more people are active outside their homes the less likely they are to keep acquire stuff for inside. Gardening is one great activity. Sports, walking, owning an outdoor pet or one that needs to be walked, hiking, playing in the snow and rain, animal hunting, swimming, water balloon or shaving cream fight, catch fireflies. There’s endless things to do in the outdoor. Like…

Cartoon of tents and campfire.

3) Go camping. We are huge camping lovers here and there’s nothing like getting back to the basics to unwind. There’s something about turning off your phone and leaving your computer at home and just sleeping in nature. Totally cheesy I know but I can’t wait to get my daughter into camping. Seeing how relaxed and how much fun it can be doing something so simple will help instill that way of living.


4) Decrease your family drama. Living simply doesn’t just mean reducing your clutter, items, and wants. It also means getting to a more easy going state of living. Having open communication as a family and reducing the amount of stress and tension is a benefit of simple living.


5) This idea isn’t for everyone. When I was in high school I heard someone give a speech at the church I went to at the time about a program called CFCA (Christian Foundation for Children and Aging now called Unbound). It was a Christian nonprofit that worked in several countries. It wasn’t a typical sponsor program. They actually built towns and farms for people to work at and live in, in addition to providing monetary help to sponsored children and elderly. I talked my mom into sponsoring a kid (his name was Johnathan) who we helped from age 10 to 18. We went to visit him in Guatemala when he turned 18 and talked to him about how our support had helped throughout the years. We had been writing him at least once every other month for all that time so I felt like I actually knew him. Growing up with that helped me when I got a little greedy. Even as an adult when I decided to sponsor my own, it really keeps you in check when you start to get overwhelmed with what really isn’t important. There are other nonprofit and volunteer ideas available that will have the same affect on your teen and family.

Posted in Education, Social Change, summer, teaching

Taking Action

I did a post awhile back about getting teens more involved in their education and communities and brought up the idea of volunteer opportunities. I am a sucker for a great documentary and ever since doing research for my novel Forgotten Stories I have been drawn to any documentary about social injustice, especially about women. Although it is from 2012, I just recently watched It’s A Girl on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it please watch it but I’m warning you it’s one of those documentaries that you just shake your head the whole time you’re watching it.

It’s basically about gendercide and infant deaths of girls in India and China. It also mentions that the human trafficking epidemic is spurred on by the view that daughters will bring nothing but burden to their families. Of course there are exceptions, like one named Mitu I believe it was, who is fighting the medical board in India.

What does this have to do with my educational blog? Well, when I had spoke about volunteer opportunities before it was more along the lines of car washing and volunteering at the humane society. What are the limits of getting teens involved with more serious social injustice? Are these topics too graphic for them?

I know when I was a teen I heard someone from the CFCA (Christian Foundation for the Children and Aging) speak at my church and I talked my mom into sponsoring a child, Jonathan. Because of that we sponsored him for over ten years, until he was eighteen. We had a chance to go to Guatemala to meet him and see his family for three weeks in 2009. If I hadn’t heard that man at church speak and if I hadn’t pestered my mother, he may not have had a sponsor.

I guess what I’m thinking is that I feel so strongly towards social injustice that takes place all over the world. From the teens that I work with and others that I know, I know they can be a powerful force. But how do you teach them about all these negative things in the world? Not just that but those that involve sex, abortions, rape, violence, drugs, and countless other topics that you never want your children to have to hear about?