Television Watching Management Idea & Favor

I have a favor to ask of you.  I hate taking up a blog post just for a favor, so keep scrolling for a great management idea for keeping television watching to a minimum.

Okay, so first the favor.  As you know, writing curricula provides the means for me to be able to homeschool my own children.  God has really blessed me in this way and I love developing and writing products!

I sell products through Teacherspayteachers and the end of the first quarter is this Saturday.  This the first quarter that I’ve sold there and I am hopeful that I will do well.  I won’t get another royalty check until the end of December, so I’m scrambling this week to market any way I can think of. 🙂

My best seller on TpT are my Common Core Standards Posters (which includes Essential Questions Posters as well).  If you are a teacher or know of anyone who is, would you mind please forwarding this information along to them. 

Forty Five states in the US have adopted the Common Core for their schools!  Most districts are requiring that teachers post these and the EQ’s in their rooms.  I worked with an Instructional Specialist and several teachers in developing these posters.

I also have other products for various age-groups including my A to Z Toddler and Preschool Curriculum (great for daycare or even church preschool), Reading is for Everyone (which was designed for beginning readers or reading remediation), Virtual Fieldtrips and some brand new Math Lessons like Rounding Over the Mountain and Island Hopping Rounding.

I would be so grateful and consider it a huge blessing if you would Pin, post, Facebook, Tweet, email, etc. this message.  Here’s the direct link to my store on TpT.  As a Thank You, I would like to send you something FREE.  So, let me know what product you want…anything that I sell through TpT can be yours.  Just email me to let me know you shared my TpT info.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Now on to the management idea I promised…

Recently, I gave my children a challenge.  They are to see if they could go for a whole week without watching any TV.  Well, the prize was $10, and I never dreamed either of them would actually be able to make it through the week!  But, to my surprise, neither caved!!  I had to fork out 10 bucks to each of them!

The point of the challenge was for them to find out that there were so many other things they could do besides watch TV!  They spent more time outside, doing Art projects and crafts, playing together, reading, etc.

Once the week was up, I wanted to continue to limit their television viewing.  I used some old tokens I had (but you can buy pirate coins from the Dollar Store).  I used a Sharpie to write TV on them.  I give the kids some each day and they have to turn one in for every 30 minute program they watch.  (We actually don’t have satellite, but do have Netflix…so one show equals one token).  I have placed a jar on the TV for collecting coins.  You can give them as many or few tokens as you wish.

I plan to also use the tokens for occasional rewards…like for the cleanest room or when I catch them remembering to get their things out of the van without being reminded, etc.









In His Presence Friday Link Up

Once again Mentoring Moments is doing their, “In His Presence” Friday Link Up.  Please visit and add a link to your post.

Here’s the post I wrote for today…

I was watching the Andy Griffith show the other day.  It was the one about the old tramp who was stealing cows at night by putting shoes on them.  The characters spent the whole show analyzing footprints left by the cows.  At the end of the show, the Taylors were cleaning out their attic and Opie finds an umbrella stand in the shape of an elephant’s foot.  He starts yielding it all over the place making footprints in his yard.   (You can image Barney’s reaction when he came over later and saw those prints!)  If you have Netflix, you can watch it – Season 3, Episode 5.

Anyway, I was thinking about that elephant’s foot.  I want to be like that foot–a vessel the Lord can yield where He wants.  I want to be available to Him–my hands for His service; my feet to go where He needs me to go; my mouth to relay what He wants me to say.  I love the Casting Crowns song with the line, “I want to be Your hands and feet…”

In order to be “an elephant foot” for Christ, I have to listen to Him to hear what He wants me to do.  This means making time to spend with Him.  Recently, I felt the Lord telling me to anonymously buy a Streams in the Desert devotional book for someone who had recently lost his spouse to cancer.  How did I know He was telling me to do it?  If God is telling me, He doesn’t usually tell me just once; He continues to remind me!  It was almost a relief when I bought it and stuck it into the mailbox!  What a great feeling to know  I could be used by God!

Keep spending time in His Presence and try to be an “elephant foot” for Him!  I’m praying for ya!

Island Hopping – Rounding to Tens

I recently found this awesome lesson plan for teaching how to round to tens!  It’s called Island Hopping.  Check it out here.

Basically, we went outside and used sidewalk chalk to draw a long string of islands on the driveway.  I added number lines between them (to connect them).  All the rain we’ve had recently totally washed our drawings away or I would run out and take a picture for you!

I gave my daughter a number and she had to find it and then decide which island it was closest to.  How fun is it to do Math outside!?!  We had a blast!

I just created a packet called Island Hopping – Rounding to Tens, which includes worksheets and an assessment to go along with them.  These sheets correspond with the lesson at the link above.  You can purchase them here.  They are $4, but that includes one sheet for four days and then an assessment for Friday.  I even included the Keys.

Spread the word!  Thanks sooo much!!

This set is also for sale on Teacherspayteachers.

Monster Fingers for Reading

This time of year is the perfect time to pick up some “monster fingers” to add to your reading centers!  You can find them amongst all of the costumes/party favors.

I’ve used these year round to help students keep their places while they are reading.  They are great for beginning readers and for struggling readers!  They add just that little extra ounce of fun!

If you are teacher, consider adding them to your reading center or use them during small group reading time.  I used to pass one out to each student in my reading circle.  It was amazing to notice that everyone seemed to know where we were and be able to keep up! 😉

If you are homeschooling parent, use them with your own children.  My daughter is reading Charlotte’s Web.  It’s her first chapter book, so she has a little trouble keeping her place with so many words on the page.

Another tip for struggling readers is to get a plain bookmark (or index card) and turn it sideways.  Instead of moving it down below each row that is being read, I have found it much for effective to place it on top of the row being read.  I’m not exactly sure why this works better, but it really seems to help my daughter.  I notice her speed increases when I do this.

Note:  If you don’t like the idea of calling these “monster fingers,” tell your children they are fingers of  book characters like a Narnian creature or bear claws, etc.



In His Presence Fridays

Today’s Friday, so that means Mentoring Moments is doing their weekly “In His Presence” Friday Link Up.

I was the contributor for today’s post, so I’ve pasted it below.  Be sure to visit Mentoring Moments and add your link and let us hear what the Lord is said to you during your “Quiet Time.”

Philippians 4:4 says,  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”  Hum…this must be pretty important because, did you notice, Paul says it twice just to be sure the Philippians got it.  Whether things are going really well right now for us or whether we are in the middle of a tough time, I think it’s important that we rejoice!  Why?  Because “joy rests not on favorable circumstances, but ‘in the Lord.’ “  Besides, praise is a great spiritual weapon!  The devil can’t stand it when we acknowledge that our blessings come from the Lord.

I read the following in my Jesus Calling devotional book and it really spoke to me today during my Quiet Time.  “While they daydream, their moments are trickling into the ground like precious balm spilling wastefully from overturned bottles.”  What a vivid picture of the moments that we let waste away while we are thinking about how the grass is greener in someone else’s house.  Whatever things are, “ true, …honorable, …right, …pure, …lovely, …of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8)  Let’s think on all the things God has done for us and the things He’s already blessed us with.  Join me in praising Him today!

Now it’s your turn…link up and tell us what the Lord brings to your mind as you spend time in His Presence.  I can guarantee you this…the devil doesn’t want you to spend time alone with God and he will throw every distraction that he can at you today.  Don’t let him!  Praying for you!


The line, “joy rests not on favorable circumstances, but “in the Lord,” came from this source:


I Made it Myself Breakfast Burrito

Some of you may have read my I Made it Myself Pie post a while back.  I have an eight year old daughter who has outgrown the Easy Bake Oven stage and is ready for some “real” cooking projects that she can do mostly all by herself.

Recently, she has been making these very simple breakfast burritos.  I stand near the stove and supervise, but she can whip these out pretty much all by herself.  She is sooo proud of herself when she makes her own breakfast!!

First, she cracks and scrambles one egg.

She puts about one teaspoon of butter in a small pan.

She turns on the stove to medium heat.

When the butter has melted, she pours in her egg.

She knows to wait a bit and then stir them slowly until they don’t look runny any more.  (I’m always standing by the stove too – to make sure they are done.)

While those are cooking, she puts a flour tortilla on a plate and pops it into the microwave for 10 seconds.

She takes that out, spoons the scrambled eggs down the middle of the tortilla and then sprinkles shredded cheese (shredded in advance) on top.

She rolls these up.  If the cheese doesn’t melt completely, she puts it into the microwave for about 5 to 8 seconds more.

That’s it!  My son likes his with sausage or ham in addition to the egg and cheese.  You can add mushrooms, peppers, or whatever you like to these super easy (and super affordable) breakfast burritos!

By Kathy Hutto Posted in Recipes

Free September 11 Coloring Book

September 11, 2001, will be a day that Americans will never forget.  In the midst of tragedy, we saw an amazing patriotic spirit rise up.  September 11 A Day to Remember Coloring Book is a simple way to explain this event to children.  It’s also a reminder of the heroics displayed as a result.

It is recommended for children in second through fifth grades.

Anyone who follows this blog between now and September 11, 2012, will receive this 10 page coloring book free!  If you already follow this blog, just send me an email to let me know and I will send along your coloring book.

Be sure to spread this message around (Pin it, Facebook, Twitter…).  I’d love for as many people as possible to have this resource for free!



“In His Presence” Fridays

I contributed an article to Mentoring Moments for today.  I thought I would re-post it today.  If you scroll to the bottom, you will also see my “In His Presence” thoughts for today.  Link up through Mentoring Moments and share what God says to you today too.


Here is the Mentoring Moments post I wrote:

My mother recently gave me a devotional book entitled, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  In the Introduction she describes how she longs for times when she can sit in the presence of the Lord.  She talks about how she went through seminary, was a missionary to Japan, and worked as a Christian counselor in Atlanta, but, she writes, “not once during those sixteen years did I vividly experience the Presence of Jesus.”

I wonder how many of us have actually experienced the Presence of Jesus?  I know a whole day can go by at my house before I even know it!  We really have to actively pursue His presence.

I recently went through something really tough and it was during that trial I really understood what it meant to delight in His Presence.  Now, I get all giddy when I know I’m going to get a chance to have some alone time with Jesus.  I can’t explain it, but once you experience it, you are going to crave it!

So here’s the challenge.  Let’s take one day each week and really set aside some time to actively pursue the Presence of Jesus.  One whole day where we don’t get on Facebook or Twitter…no television…just look for times to get in His Presence.  Get some good praise music on and let it play all day.  We have a local Christian radio station that is playing all the time in my kitchen.  Try to set aside at least one larger block of time.  Grab your Bible and journal and just “be still” (Psalm 46:10).  Sarah Young wrote that she “listens to God with a pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying.”

It’ll take some effort, especially with little ones, but we can do it!   Let’s see if we can try not to let our big block of time be during a time that we are going to be sleepy…like early in the morning, if you are not a morning person, or at the end of the day (even though that’s when most of us finally get a break!).

Maybe pop some popcorn and run by Redbox and let those kiddos watch a movie (one they’ve never seen, so they may actually make it through the whole thing without interrupting you   If you have other ideas about how to steal those blocks of time from your day, share them!  We’d all love to hear ideas about how we can find the time to sit in the Presence of Jesus!

Would you like to seek the Lord with like-minded sisters in Christ? All of us together pursuing Jesus? Okay, let’s do it! Let’s start today!

Afterwards, let’s all get blogging about how our time in His presence went and what the Lord said to us.  I can’t wait to hear!  We will continue to do this every Friday–and share our personal stories and testimonies to encourage one another.  Some of the Mentoring Moments regular contributors will be taking turns posting special In His Presence articles each Friday–and you can connect using Linky to share your posts as well.  If you are not a blogger, comment right here and on the weekly articles.  It should be fun and meaningful! Hope you’ll join us for “In His Presence Fridays!”

Here are my “In His Presence” thoughts for today:

I like to get up early before the kids wake up and have my “quiet time.”  I have been going through the book of Exodus.  I am so amazed at God’s goodness.  Today, I specifically was thinking about when God made the bitter water sweet for the Israelites’ to drink.  I use a John MacArthur Study Bible and the notes mentioned that no known tree could have made that water taste better.  This was a supernatural act.  I felt like the Lord was telling me that sometimes there are people that we encounter who are bitter toward us.  Try as we might, no acts of kindness seem to change a thing.  It will take a supernatural act to get through to them.  We need to commit it to prayer, knowing that God alone can change that bitterness they have toward us.

Kathy 🙂

Our Homeschool Classroom

We decided to do some updating in our homeschool classroom.  Here’s a picture of what it looked like before.

With a middle schooler this year, I knew it was time to make some changes.  Our old room just screamed “kindergarten.”  The first thing we did was to get rid of the “teacher desk” and move an old love seat we already had into our schoolroom.  It’s our “reading couch.”  We LOVE it!!

Next, I cut the large white board (really just a sheet of  “shower board” from Home Depot for about $12) in half.  I have two children, so I put half on each side of the room.

I turned the kids desks (bought at flea markets) so that the kids each face their own board.

The border around the boards cost about $3 from Walmart.  It’s self-adhesive and was sooo easy to stick on!  It even comes with extra stickers so the kids could do a little more creative decorating around their boards.

That’s it!  We spent hardly anything and we updated our schoolroom.  Next, we hope to give it some new paint and the kids really want make one wall a mural with a big tree, clouds, etc. We’ll see! 🙂

If you have more than two children, you could just cut the board down further and let everyone have their own boards.

If you want to take a look at how we set up our original schoolroom, you can check it out here.