2018 Portfolio Review Giveaway


Picture: Rodolfo Marques

Would you like to have something to celebrate? How about entering the Portfolio Giveaway for a free portfolio assessment for your child this year? There is one more week to enter the free portfolio giveaway, so if you have not yet entered, click on the link.   Portfolio Giveaway

I hope you win! I will post the winners on February 26, 2018.

~ Lisa ~


2018 Portfolio Review Giveaway!


Portfolio review season is here and time once again for my annual portfolio giveaway!

I am super excited to announce that I am having a portfolio giveaway this year for two people to win a portfolio review.  This year I have added several new chances of ways to win. For each friend (up to ten) you refer to my blog, you will have a chance to win for each referral to my blog!

Also, if you schedule your portfolio review with me, I will give you a code to enter for 10 additional chances. Of course, you don’t need to schedule now because I have openings throughout the spring and summer. But, if you are interested in getting a jump on things and perhaps win one of the FREE portfolio reviews, contact me. 🙂

Click on the link below to read the contest rules. The giveaway begins today and will end at midnight on February 25. 

*****2018 Portfolio Review Giveaway****


I hope you win!



The Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

No, I am not talking about the hygiene of your children. Each year, Environmental Working Group that specializes in research in the areas of toxic chemicals and other environmental issues releases a list of fruits and vegetables. These lists inform you as to which have the highest amounts of pesticides and toxins. Did you know on the 2017 list that strawberries are #1 in harmful chemicals?

I know firsthand that buying organic foods can be expensive, but I look at it this way, I would rather pay more to eat healthier than be sick and pay a doctor’s bill. I appreciate that there is a small printout that I keep in my purse and pull out when I am shopping. I can avoid paying extra for food that is fine to eat and buy organic fruit and produce that is otherwise high in pesticides.



May you have a healthy new year!

~ Lisa ~

Cooking with Your Kids

Teaching your daughter or son to cook is not only fun but a great way to incorporate health and math into the activity. Who says that homeschooling has to be all bookwork??

I saw this book title, Cooking Class by Donna F. Cook, when I was perusing the internet and decided to get it at the library. It not only has recipes, but also has terms that are commonly used in recipes such as dice, chop, blend, and sauté.  In regards to teaching health, there is a section that discusses washing hands and the proper handling of food.  Measuring ingredients is a practical way of teaching fractions and being precise, which sometimes children have difficulty in understanding. Of course, we know this is extremely important in cooking, otherwise, the recipe can be ruined.

I’ll never forget the first time my mom let me make brownies on my own. Desserts were a rare treat at our house when we were growing up and when I was allowed to make them I was ecstatic! I was anticipating licking the bowl and the delicious taste of a brownie with milk. Well, I did not read the recipe correctly and instead of 1/4 cup of water, I added 1 1/4 cups and they were totally ruined! Wahh! Talk about a terrible mistake. 😦


You may have picky eaters at your house and, believe me, I know what that is like! I, unfortunately, was the picky one at my house. I had a really great sense of smell and I believe I could taste things much more than others. So, everything was really sour or really spicy, funny how nothing was ever too sweet though!  If you have a child like that, I feel their pain, oh, I meant yours. lol Perhaps this recipe for roasted vegetables will help alleviate the Battle of the Veggies. If not, keep having them try a spoonful and one day they will eat them! I am almost a total vegetarian now. My mom would be so proud of me.


If you don’t have access to the book, then here are some other recipe ideas that you can use when teaching your aspiring cook.

How about Bread in a Bag? Yes, you read that right! Your baker puts all of the ingredients in a gallon sized bag and mixes it all up by kneading it inside the confines of the bag! It makes two mini loaves and I am sure your son will gobble up the bread he has made. The hardest part will be waiting for it to cool enough to slice. Best Bread in a Bag Recipe


Have you tried spaghetti squash? This is so fun to make with your children! I love the transformation that vegetable goes through! While it really doesn’t taste like spaghetti, the fibrous insides of the squash do resemble it and your daughter will enjoy scraping the squash to see it come apart in strings.



Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe  (recipe from cookingwithmykid.com)

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 45 mins to 1 hour

1/2 pound ground turkey or hamburger (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large spaghetti squash
1 egg
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese or cottage cheese drained
1 1/2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
5 fresh basil leaves, torn
salt & fresh ground pepper
4 10 oz ramekins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Poke the spaghetti squash 10 times and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes stopping every 3 to 4 minutes to turn. You’ll know it’s done when the skin starts to buckle. Remove and split open. While it’s cooling off, heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add oil to the pan and blot the turkey meat dry before adding to the pan. Space the meat out in the pan and cook until it is just brown on both sides. As long as it is browned, it can be a little undercooked. It will cook the rest of the way in the oven. Set aside and begin scraping out your squash with a fork. Transfer scraped squash into a colander and let drain while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together sauce, ricotta, egg, 1 cup of cheese, oregano, basil and salt & pepper to taste. Mix in the drained spaghetti squash until it’s all well combined. Place one scoop of squash mixture in each ramekin covering the bottom. Layer browned meat on top of squash mixture and then place another scoop of squash on top of the meat. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and squash looks set. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. PS: If you don’t have ramekins, you can make it in a pie pan as you would a spaghetti pie.

Yogurt parfaits are easy to make and can be customized for each person’s taste preference. 

Yogurt Parfait
In a glass (so you can see the layered effect) add the following ingredients in order.
2 tablespoons of  yogurt
1-2 tablespoons of granola (This varies according to your preference.)
Blueberries or sliced strawberries (buy organic- conventional have the highest amount of pesticides of all fruit)
Repeat layers until glass is full.


Here’s a recipe that even little ones can help you make from laughinhkidslearn.com

Healthy Bites (Toddlers can make too!)

2 cups rolled oats
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/3 cup cranberries
* 1 tsp marmalade or orange peel (optional)
* 1/2 cup applesauce
Throw it all into a bowl and mix well.
Roll into small balls
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown (350F)
Happy Cooking and baking!
~ Lisa ~



5 Indoor Winter Activities Kids will Love

Wow! winter has been putting on a little show here in SW Ohio the past few weeks. It was so cold here for a period of time that the Ohio River had big sheets of ice on it! So, when inclement weather has you housebound with your youngsters, how do you keep them happy and still focusing on school? How about some winter-inspired activities?

  • Make paper snowflakes. You can back your creations with tissue paper either white or colored for some pizazz and hang them from the ceiling and close to a light source so you can see through the tissue. (art)
  • Play a Scavenger Hunt- Instead of just hauling the books out from their usual location, why not create a scavenger hunt to start out the day? Not only have the schoolbooks hidden, but add a treat for a special surprise. Clues could be:  Clue #1 Go to the room where you brush your teeth. (Hide the clue somewhere in the bathroom such as under the wastepaper basket or inside the vanity. Clue #2 Go to the place where we eat our meals. (Hide the clue under the tablecloth or a placemat or salt and pepper shakers, etc.) Clue #3 Look in the place where pots and pans are kept.  Clue #4 Find the place where you rest at night. Here you can have the books hidden under the bed. Clue #5 Bring all of your books to the schoolroom and there you will find the treasure to begin our school day. Your treat can be a piece of fruit, a cup of hot chocolate, a new Read-Aloud book, or whatever you think would be a fun idea to have as a reward. (reading, physical education)
  • Create Word Poetry– Do you have old grocery fliers or magazines that you can cut up for this activity? You can create a simple poem that has two lines that rhyme or you can create a free verse poem. You can make the poem’s theme as simple as food if all you have is grocery fliers or as elaborate as you like. Since we are in the middle of winter, what about that being the theme? (language arts)
  • DIY Window Clings– with a little bit of glue and some paint your son will have lots of fun making these. I bet you would enjoy making a few too! (art)

Window Clings

You will need for each color:

2 tablespoons White craft glue (like Elmer’s)

2 -3 drops Liquid food coloring

2 drops Liquid dish detergent

1 small paintbrush

Combine 2 tablespoons of glue with 2 drops of dish detergent. Add a few drops of food coloring and you are ready to make your design! Lay a page protector down so that you can paint your design (using your paintbrush) directly on it so it will be easy to pull off when it is dried. You can create your own designs or use cookie cutters and paint inside of them.  Make your design about 1/4 inch thick. If you make it too thick it will take a long time to dry. If you are using a cookie cutter, let the glue set for a few minutes before removing it. Let designs dry overnight, poke with your finger to see if they have set well enough to remove from the page protector without tearing.  Carefully peel off of the page protector and place on your windows.

  • Make popcorn and cups of tea or hot chocolate and snuggle up with a great Read-Aloud book. I just finished the 1957 Newberry Medal, Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen. This is a delightful book about a family who is in need of a miracle for their father who has come home from the war and how an old homestead restores him and his family.  (language arts)