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If you're like most of my readers, you're committed to your family and creating the best home life possible. But the truth is, if you've given up one income to homeschool your kids, you may be struggling to make ends meet. That's why I wrote this special report, The 9 Best Business Ideas for Homeschool Moms, in which I help you design the best business to complement your family's goals. There's only one way to get it—by subscribing to my weekly blog updates here:
 
 

Homeschooling

Your kids need to talk. Sometimes, we parents are too busy to listen. We all know it is important to spend one-on-one time with each of our children. I don’t know about you, but that can be rather difficult in our loud and busy household of eight.

For this reason, I take one child out for coffee, hot chocolate or a smoothie each weekend. Saturday works best for me because my husband is home to manage the rest of the family.

Some kids talk easily. You’re there, so they talk. Others are like prying open a rusty can. It’s hard. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk. They just don’t know where to start or what to say. You can help. Continue reading 6 Questions to Ask on Your Next Kid-Date

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My new tag line for my blog… “Striving to live a Proverbs 31 life in a Romans 1 world” is a pretty high calling, don’t you think? I’ve always been intimidated by Proverbs 31. It’s a lot to live up to. But 2013 marks my year to make some improvements in my life, especially regarding finances, time management and organization. Improving the quality of our family time together is right up there too. I’ll share some ideas on that in a future post. But for now…

In Proverbs 31, it reads, “She makes sure her dealings are profitable” and “she carefully watches over everything in her household.” Last week, I used these two verses as my motivation to open a higher interest savings account and make a commitment to adding to it every month. You can read that post here.

This week, I see something else in those verses… the way I SPEND my money needs to be carefully considered. Think before you spend! Ask yourself… do I need it? Can I find it used? Can I find it free? The beauty of homeschooling (which I have been doing for over 15 years, yikes!) is that there are many resources available online for free. Yes, I said FREE and free is a very good price, don’t you think?

5-No-Cost-Resources

So, if you need to jazz up your homeschooling with some additional resources for this second half of the year, or you are considering homeschooling but didn’t think you could afford it, think again and check out the links below. Continue reading 5 Must-Have, No-Cost Resources for Homeschooling

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Like many of you, I’m a homeschool mom. We have a schedule we follow and various curricula that we use. We embrace the concept of delayed gratification in our home. After you get your work done, you can play. While we don’t take a radical digression, Fridays are different. Much like the workplace, Fridays are marked with variety and greeted with enthusiasm.

How so?

Fridays are the days that we play spelling games, color historical outline maps, mark our timelines, watch an educational video, and maybe finish up a little early. Sometimes we go on a field trip, enjoy a seasonal activity (like ice skating, sledding or snowshoeing in winter) or just read a little extra around the cozy woodstove. Continue reading Who Else Wants a Casual Friday?

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Are you a parent? A spouse? An employee? Then you wear many hats, meaning that you play several different roles in the lives of your family members and the community around you. And wearing many hats means that you do a lot of juggling throughout the day. Of course, juggling implies that we sometimes drop some balls. That’s normal. It’s part of being human, fallible creatures.  Here are just a few of the many hats that I wear (and some of the balls that I drop):

Continue reading Wearing Many Hats

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While yesterday’s post was rather negative, it is true that 9 out of 10 New Year’s resolutions are doomed to failure. There is a science explaining this phenomena that you can read about here on Buffer. This is a fascinating blog post, so I hope that you will read it.

Am I advocating that we do not attempt change in our lives? No! Certainly not! Striving for improvement is part of being human. We crave success in our work, finances and relationships. We fall prey to sadness or depression when we do not succeed in these areas. Check out this info-graphic on what traits and habits contribute to our success:

However, while odds may be terribly against New Year’s resolutions, the fact remains that 10% of those that resolve to make a change are successful, whether it is intentional or accidental. Let’s examine what makes a resolution stick. Continue reading 3 Keys to Unlocking Real Change

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Free gift for you! Free gift for them!

In the month of December, we are going to be working with www.gospelforasia.comto give needy families some great sustainable resources! All YOU need to do is sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter, and you’ll get a FREE recipe book! Deal?

Visit our site at http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/Figgy-Pudding.html to learn more and sign up and get your gift!

Here’s one of the recipes from the book:

 

Bibingka of the Philippines (Gluten-Free)

During the Christmas season in the Philippine Islands, bibinkga, a sweet and spongy rice cake, are traditionally sold outside churches.  This native delicacy is related to the “misa de gallo” or the simbang gabi, the dawn mass celebrated for nine days before Christmas Day. Bibingka is also common as a street food, cooked in the traditional way, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over live coals inside clay pots. The cakes are moist and mildly sweet and the sliced salted eggs and the grated coconut with sugar on top give them a distinctly delightful flavor and texture. The freshly-baked bibingka is spread with butter then served with additional niyog (grated coconut).

Ingredients

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 eggs
2 (12-ounce) jars macapuno coconut strings in heavy syrup*

1 (16-ounce) box mochiko sweet rice flour*
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ (or finely chopped almonds for a gluten-free recipe)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon

* Look for these specialty ingredients at a local Asian market, if you have one in your area.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 13” x 18” baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat coconut milk, condensed milk, and melted butter until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Do the same with both jars of macapuno strings. Gradually beat in mochiko flour (do not pour all at once or it will get lumpy). Next add the brown sugar and wheat germ and mix well. Once you achieve an even consistency, add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

Pour batter onto the lined cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the cake. Continue to bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, between 2 and 15 minutes longer.

Remove from pan and let cool on the parchment paper. Once cooled, cut into to 2-inch squares. A pizza cutter works well.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

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Free gift for you! Free gift for them!

In the month of December, we are going to be working with www.gospelforasia.comto give needy families some great sustainable resources! All YOU need to do is sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter, and you’ll get a FREE recipe book! Deal?

Visit our site at http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/Figgy-Pudding.html to learn more and sign up and get your gift!

Here’s one of the recipes from the book:

 

Yorkshire Pudding of the United Kingdom

Recipe from Aunt Debbie

Yorkshire Pudding, also known as batter or dripping pudding, is a dish named after Yorkshire, England, although there is no evidence it originated from there. When wheat flour became more common for making cakes and puddings, cooks in the north of England devised a means of making use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted in the oven. A recipe for ‘A dripping pudding’ was first published in 1737 in The Whole Duty of a Woman. Similar instructions were published 10 years later in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse under the title of ‘Yorkshire pudding’. It was she who re-invented and renamed the original version. A 2008 ruling by the Royal Society of Chemistry has it that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.”

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup of roast drippings (or melted butter)

Directions

Sift together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the center. Add the milk and melted butter and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until the batter is completely smooth and large bubbles rise to the surface. Use immediately or let sit for up to an hour.

Heat oven to 425°F. Add roast drippings to a 9×12-inch pyrex or ceramic casserole dish, coating the bottom of the dish. Heat the dish in the oven for 10 minutes.

(For a popover version you can use a popover pan or a muffin pan, putting at least a teaspoon of drippings in the bottom of each well, and place in oven for just a couple minutes.)

Carefully pour the batter into the pan (or the wells of muffin/popover pans, filling just 1/3 full), once the pan is hot. Cook for 15 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the heat to 350°F and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until puffy and golden brown.

Cut into squares and serve at once.  Serves 6.

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FREE GIFT FOR YOU….FREE GIFT FOR THEM!!

In the month of December, we are going to be working with www.gospelforasia.comto give needy families some great sustainable resources! All YOU need to do is sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter, and you’ll get a FREE recipe book! Deal?

Visit our site at http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/Figgy-Pudding.html to learn more and sign up and get your gift!

Here’s one of the recipes from the book:

 

Stollen of Germany

Historians have traced Christollen, Christ’s stollen, back to about the year 1400 from the town of Dresden, Germany. The first stollen consisted of only flour, oats and water, as regulated by church doctrine during Advent, but without butter and milk (and sugar), it was quite tasteless. Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht requested of the Pope lift the ban on butter and milk during the Advent season. The Pope, in what has become known as the famous “butter letter,” stated that milk and butter could be used to bake stollen, with a clear conscience and God’s blessing, for a nominal fee. 🙂 Originally stollen was called Striezel or Struzel, referring to its shape, and was said to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Around 1560, it became a tradition for the bakers of Dresden to present the King with two 36-pound stollens as a Christmas gift. It took 8 master bakers and 8 journeymen to successfully carry the loaves to the castle. This custom continued for nearly 200 years. Then, in the year 1730, Prince Augustus the Strong asked the Baker’s Guild of Dresden to bake a giant stollen for his farewell party for the army. The finished stollen was a true masterpiece, weighing in at nearly 2 tons and feeding over 24,000 troops.

To commemorate this event, a Stollenfest is held each December in Dresden. The bread for the modern-day Stollenfest weighs approximately 2 tons and measures over 4 meters long. Each year the massive stollen bread is paraded through the city center, then sliced and sold to the public, with the proceeds supporting several local charities. Although there is a basic recipe for making the original Dresden Christollen, each chef, each village and each home baker has their own secret recipe passed down from generation to generation. There are probably as many recipes for stollen as there are bakers who bake it. The commercial recipe for Dresden stollen is closely guarded and licensed to ensure quality and authenticity.

Ingredients

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup diced candied citrus peel
1/2 cup candied cranberries
1/2 cup brandy
4 to 5 cups flour, divided
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (7 oz.) package marzipan
Melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the raisins, currants, candied peel and candied cranberries. Pour the brandy over the fruit and let sit for 1 hour. Drain, reserving the brandy. Pat the fruit dry with paper towels, return to a clean bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, salt and remaining sugar until just lukewarm. Add the milk mixture, vanilla extract and eggs to the yeast mixture and beat with the mixer or by hand with a whisk until incorporated. Beat in the reserved brandy. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Cut the butter into small pieces and beat in. Beat in just enough of the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 8-10 minutes. Flatten the dough out, then knead in the candied fruit, adding flour to the board as necessary.

Shape the dough into a ball and place the dough into a buttered glass bowl. Turn the dough buttered side up and cover with a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide into two equal parts. Set one half aside. Roll the other half into a 12-by-8-inch oval. Brush with melted butter.

Divide the marzipan into quarters and roll each quarter into a 12-inch rope. Place two of the ropes alongside each other along the length of the rolled-out dough, leaving a 2 inch space between the two ropes in the center of the rolled-out dough. Fold the long side of the dough over to the center of the oval. Fold over the other long side so that it overlaps the center by about 1 inch, pressing down gently but firmly. Place the finished loaf on a parchment or silicon-lined cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Allow the two loaves to rise until each has doubled in size. Bake about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Dust loaves with powdered sugar.

Optional: One cup coarsely chopped dried fruits may be substituted for the candied fruit. Cover the dried fruit with boiling water and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and use in place of candied fruit. This bread freezes nicely for up to 6 months. If freezing stollen, do not sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. To serve, first thaw the bread, then bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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So, the question we get all the time is when will be be developing apps for Android. The simple but incomplete answer is, “Soon, we hope!”

Yes, we realize that Apple’s market share in tablet sales has fallen and hovers around 50%, meaning that our customers who own tablet computers are split down the middle between Apple and Android devices. We certainly don’t want to ignore 50% of our customer’s needs, that’s for sure.

Now, the more complicated answer is this… We have two amazing Apple developers that we work with, neither of which are up to speed on Android programming at this time. So, that means either a learning curve for our developers or finding a new one to translate our current iOS apps into Android. Both of which are possible, but will require additional funds. Plus, it is not as simple to program for Android tablets as their sizing and screen resolutions are not consistent across devices. While Apple keeps their size and dimension ratios consistent so that apps can be programmed for just two sizes – iphone and/or ipad, the open Android market includes devices of all shapes and sizes, which is a graphics and programming nightmare. There are over four standard tablet sizes and many, many phone screen sizes, which makes programming for Android more time-consuming and expensive. Not impossible though!

We are striving to release an app for ipad that hits it out of the park. That would provide the needed funds AND confirmation to expand to additional devices, knowing that the app would be beneficial for Android users as well.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timelinebuilder/id572520921?mt=8

Hopefully, TimelineBuilder will be that app! So far it is getting fantastic reviews! Here are a few…

“Fantastic! I’m so stinking excited about this App! I LOVE timelines, and even more, I love teaching every subject while using a timeline to make correlations to similar events that when I was younger, never made sense to me. Great idea KQ, thumbs up!”

“Nicely done! My family of 5 live in an RV, hardly the place for a wall timeline. I have attempted to start Books of Centuries with the kids many times over the last 11 years of homeschooling. This little gem just might do the trick.”

“Enjoyed the ease of use and the helpful links to websites that allow for picture insertion of copyright free art! That was a brilliant idea. Having a keyboard for an iPad would be beneficial for anyone using this timeline. Great work, I enjoy the apps you produce. Keep up the good work!”

“Great idea! This is a wonderful way for multiple children to have their own timeline. My children love using the iPad for both fun and school. This will be a great resource.”

“This app is great! I like how it gives a description of the person. The visuals are spectacular!”

“A travel-friendly timeline! We homeschool because of travel. Finally, a timeline that will travel with us. I love the info provided for each person or event. This is a GREAT app. See history in the order it happened.”

“We are beginning round 3 of world history with my eldest son. Although he loves history and has no trouble remembering facts and dates he has not been able to successfully keep a timeline for himself. We have a family timeline that I keep but I have really wanted something that he would do himself. When I showed him this app this morning he was so excited. Immediately he figured it out and it was the first thing he wanted to do at the conclusion of the lesson. Thank you for a fun, educational and easy to use timeline.”

“Just downloaded and tried this out today. I love it! It is great to be able to make a very portable and editable timeline on the iPad. The pre-made timeline apps by Knowledge Quest are very nice, but the ability to make our own is fantastic! Would love to see some basic historical figures included as part of the app, just so one doesn’t have to search for images so much. Looking forward to using this in our history studies.”

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To celebrate the launch of our new app – TimelineBuilder – for iPad and the election of our next (or current president), we are hosting a timeline giveaway and giving away 45 gifts (over $550 total value) in honor of our 44 presidents and then maybe one more! Here are the prizes that we are giving away:

Grand Prize – Wonders of Old hardcover and History Through the Ages CD-ROM ($100 value)

9 First Place – Wonders of Old hardcover books ($25 value)

15 Second Place – All 4 Wonders of Old mobile apps for iphone or ipad – or comparable gift if you don’t own one ($20 value)

20 Third Place – KQ TimeTraveler mobile apps or Jacques Cartier for Kindle if you don’t own an iDevice ($3 value)

Also, EVERYONE who buys TimelineBuilder for iPad and takes a minute or two to rate and review it in the App Store gets a FREE Wonders of Old timeline ebook ($20 value) as our way of saying “Thanks!” Details here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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