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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Grade Levels Are Made Up

So many parents are trying to keep their children up to the grade level they are suppose to be at with their age.  We all do it.  Public schools do it; they are the ones who made up what a child should know for each grade level (or age).  Homeschoolers do it.  We buy curriculum by what?  ....... Grade level.  


Who is the expert on what every single 8'th grader across America should know not considering any other aspect except age (grade)?  If you think about it, it is dumb.  Just plain dumb.  

My middle son was reading small books at the age of 4 years old!  Yes, 4.... and he loves to read even now at the age of 18.  I had to ground him from books in Middle school because he would stay up until 3am reading the new 'Peter and the Skycatchers' by: Dave Barry.  (He never lets me forget that by the way, lol.)  My youngest child struggles with reading.  He's in 8'th grade and absolutely hates to read.  

Let's take a look at the 'grade level' subject again.  Let's say we have a 5'th grade class that consists of 30 students.  Every single 5'th grader in that class isn't going to be able to read at the same level. It's impossible.  There will be a few that may read fast and hard words will come easy because they can remember all the English Language rules and they can put them together and pronounce a word right off the bat.   But there will others who won't be able to even know where to begin to sound out the vowels to make that word make sense in the sentence.  Why?  Because we are NOT the same.  We are NOT robots made up of all the same equal parts.  So why does the school system focus so much on 'grade level'???  I understand why they have it.  They have to have a baseline for children to move up to different levels until they reach graduation status, of course.  But again, WHY DO WE FOCUS ON THIS SO MUCH??

Let's look at this in a different way.  I'm 43 years old and last summer I learned how to ride a horse.  I was a total beginner.  When my friend (mentor) started to teach me to ride, she didn't think to herself.... 'Ok, she is 43 so she is at level 10 which means she should know how to ride a horse without instruction'.  No.  I was a beginner and it didn't matter that I was a 43 yr old adult.  To assume, because of my age, that I was an experienced rider would be totally ignorant.  Ahhhh, then why do we do this to our children?

I wish I would have followed this concept when I first started homeschooling 13 years ago because I would have homeschooled my boys so differently.  I wouldn't have purchased curriculum by grade level.  I would have purchased it by what level they were at and what needed to be covered.  

So my advice to you is ditch the 'grade level' thoughts and focus on what your child needs to learn to be a successful adult.  I will repeat this again as I have in my blog posts, but my 3 goals for my sons are as follows:

1.   Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
2.   Be able to support themselves and their families.
3.   Be happy and helpful.

That is what life is all about right?  It's about helping others, being happy, raising a Christ filled family, and supporting that family financially.  Those are my goals anyway.  With only one son left homeschooling now (my other 2 have graduated), our homeschooling is very different than years ago.  We have a different focus, not grade levels, but goals.  

God Bless & Happy Homeschooling!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jackson by Noriko wig review

Jackson by: Noriko Review
in color Creamy Toffee R


This Noriko wig comes in a nice box with the cap inside out for shipping and handling.  It comes with an info card.  The style and color listed on one side and the care instructions on the back.

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Wig Feel & Style:

This synthetic wig feels very nice, soft and real.  It is a straight style with layers.  It is considered a long wig but only comes to about 8 inches from the nape of the neck.  It has been referred to the Jennifer Aniston wig due to the style.  I would have to agree.  It's very cute!

This wig is NOT heat resistant.  After washing (listed on care instructions) you turn inside out and hang to dry.  Then you just shake it and put it on.  It is supposed to go right back into its shape/hairstyle.

Front view of wig.

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Back view of wig.

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Side views.
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It has a lot of nice layers in it.  It's not thick and bulky but not too thin either.  It is a straight hairstyle that can be parted on either side or in the middle.  It's long enough that it could be pulled back in a low ponytail or just the front & sides could be pulled back with a small clip.  


This Creamy Toffee R has gorgeous blonde shades throughout the hair with dark brown roots for a more natural look.  The platinum blonde, being the strongest color to pop, is just beautiful!  One reason I chose this color blonde is because I can never get my hair dyed this shade of blonde and look like this due to my dark color.  I've had bleach blonde hair about 14 years ago but as you may know, when you bleach your hair the shafts of the hair get big, tangled, dry, brittle and they are very unhealthy.  So this is a great alternative!

Cap Construction:

The cap has 2 adjustable straps for security.  It has ear tabs for comfort and a soft band at the nape of the neck and forehead as well.  (The cap is made exactly like the Reese wig, also by Noriko, which I reviewed Feb. 27, 2017.)

It does have some permatease on the top and back top for lift. Some people don't like the permatease but I love it because I could never get that much lift in my bio hair even with tons of back combing and hair spray.


Jackson retails for around $118.  I searched for the best price on this wig and came up with a few websites.  The first one is Brand Name Wigs.  Their price was $90.95, click HERE to view the wig. (They also offer free shipping over $50)  The company I purchased the wig from was Wilshire Wigs.  Their price was $118, but offered a 30% off code for a sale they were running.  Perfect timing hey?   So that brought the wig price to $82 approx.  & FREE shipping!  Click HERE to view the Jackson from that site (Wilshire Wigs).  I'm not sure if that 30% off sale is still going on, but you could always call to see what discounts they are offering.  They offer free shipping as well on orders over $50. 

The wig comes in many different colors.  I highly suggest you YOUTUBE the wig and color before you buy it so you can see what it looks like on other people (rather than just the model on the site).  

Overall the wig seems great!  I will do an update after a few month wear.  I'm interested in how it will stand in the heat of the summer.  ;)  I started wearing wigs last October so I haven't experienced the summer heat being a wig wearer yet.  

Disclaimer:  I purchased this wig with my own money.  All the info. given is from my own experiences & my own opinions.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How we 'kind of' Unschool ........

I need a Disclaimer right off the bat here before you read on.  These are just my opinions and this concept is NOT for everyone.  Although it is legal to homeschool in all 50 states, each state has their own homeschooling laws that must be followed.  Make sure you are up to date with those laws!  You can find out what laws your state has by going to HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Assoc.) website. 
With that out of the way, let's begin.

There are several different ways to "unschool" and I am not an expert.  However, I have learned a few things in my 13 years of homeschooling my 3 sons.

First, let's take a look at the definition of unschooling.  

Unschooling:   is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means of learning.

You are probably thinking right now.... What? What the heck does that mean?  

It means that my child's interests come first and we use that as a guide to educate.  Now, I only have one son homeschooling right now.  (The older two have graduated already.)  My youngest is going to be 14 years old next week and right now the only thing he is interested in is video games.  lol.  Needless to say, we don't play video games all day.  But I knew that I didn't want to teach him the traditional way.  

Let's back up a bit and take a look at the definition of homeschooling.

Homeschooling:  the education of children at home by their parents.

Let's not confuse this with "schooling at home".  Some say that doing the online K-12 program is homeschooling.  I disagree.  To me, that is just doing public school at home, in a different environment maybe, but not homeschooling.  I feel that homeschooling is led and taught by the parent or guardian at home.

After years of homeschooling, I decided to try unschooling (in at least what my opinion of unschooling is).  I was thinking to myself one day "what is my goal for my son"? (Remember, the other 2 graduated already so I just have the one son left at home.)  So this is what I came up with......... #1 being the most important.

#1  Raise a God loving man & follower of Christ
#2  Raise a man who can support himself & his family
#3  Raise a man who enjoys life & is happy doing what he is doing

Now, if any of my boys decide to be a plumber, electrician, state road worker or even a manager at Walmart, as long as he is achieving these 3 goals above, I have succeeded as an educating parent.

So using these 3 goals I tried to figure out what needs to be taught in order to achieve these goals.  So this is what I came up with.

8'th grade (this current schoolyear) but these are the things to achieve from now through high school.

Math - 
Know how to keep & balance a checkbook.
Know how to budget & pay bills on time.
Know what you can and cannot afford.
Know how to pay tithes.
Know how to shop for himself.
Know how credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc work.
Know how to figure out dimensions to build, add on, replace or repair your home. (plumbing, electrical & automotive included)

Language Arts / Writing -
Know how to write a business letter, email or basic letter.
Know how to spell check a document.  
Know basic sentence structure for writing short papers or documents.
Know how to address an adult or stranger.
Know how to fill out important paperwork.
Know how to prepare & conduct a job interview.

Science -
Know basic Anatomy, Reproductive Cycle and how Life begins.
Know the scientific method.
Know how to raise an animal for food.
Know how to grow and maintain a garden for food.
Know basic canning techniques, food preservation and storage.

History -
Know our Constitution & Amendments.
Know the history of our country / forefathers. 
Know how history came about (Biblical).
Know how the electoral system works & why.

There are other things I'm sure I'm forgetting, but these are the basics.  I do ask my son what he is interested in and we do try to use those interests as a guide to learning.  (I also teach Logic & Geography.)

(Something to oldest son went to our local public school for his high school years and he did NOT learn how to balance a checkbook, he did NOT learn how interest works or how to budget, etc.  This doesn't make any sense to me at all.  But that is for another blog post.  Needless to say if I had it to do over again, he would not have attended public high school.)

So this is how a basic unschooling day goes in our home:

Wake up:  Happens whenever he wakes up naturally.  He needs his sleep, he is a growing boy. ;)  Usually he is up by 9am.

Eat Breakfast and watches some Netflix while 'waking up'.

10:00 am we start our 'school'.  I usually read to him (we just finished 'The Hiding Place' by:  Corrie ten Boom).

Then we do some EIW (Excellent in Writing).  He gets to be creative and write about a certain topic while using instructed strong verbs, clauses, etc.

Sometimes I will ask him to spell a few words orally.  If he doesn't get them correct, I have him write them down and see why they were wrong.  But let's face it, everything now a days has spell check.  I practiced spelling all through public school and I am a terrible speller.  Thank God for spell check!!

Around 11'ish we will go to the kitchen and eat a snack or brunch (depending what he ate earlier).  Then we will do our Math exercise.  I may ask him to prepare a grocery list for me.  He has to take inventory and write down what we may need.  I may give him a math worksheet (I created) that has a few things that need to be deducted from a 'fake' checking register.  You get the picture.

He has an unschooling journal he works in as well.  This journal consists of drawing, figuring out puzzles, researching a country and answering questions, etc.  
You can find many unschooling journals here:

We use Netflix a lot in our education.  There are tons of great documentaries, educational movies, etc on Netflix.  We are still studying the 'Nazi era' right now so we are watching the series on Netflix called "Auschwitz".  Wow, all I can say is wow.  If you are studying this, or going to be covering this, you need to watch it.  

We are usually done with our unschooling day between 12 - 1pm depending what we did that day.  Some days we will do a science experiment so those days we end closer to 1:00pm.

Yes, our 'schooling' only consists of less than 3 hours per day.  Why does it need to be more?  If we accomplished what we needed to, to achieve our goals, why drag it out?

I know the one question on your mind is "what about college"? How is he going to survive college if he doesn't learn Algebra, Trig or how to write a 2,000 word report?  The answer is easy.  If HE decides to go to college, then we will learn it.  If he doesn't, then he won't.  The basic Algebra that you and I use daily is what he will know, why bore him with anything that will not benefit him later?  I think back to all the stuff I learned in high school and honestly, I don't use probably 90% of it.  I would say the 10% I do use is how to address people and write basic letters, email, etc.  Seriously, do I need to teach him the square root of 625?  Whatever he comes across that he needs to know and doesn't, he will know where to find it.  Let's face another fact.......Google is what most of us adults use to find out the answer to just about anything now a days. Before Google, we had our local library.  We use the library quite a bit in our unschooling by the way.

So this is our 'unschooling', well kind of unschooling approach.  I hope that if you decide to educate your children at home that you will do it in the style or manner that you want your child to grow in and accomplish his/her goals and not the way the world feels your child should be educated.  If you are currently homeschooling, kudos to you!  :)  I hope all is going well and you decide to venture outside of the box now and then.  I did.........and I'll never go back inside that box again!  Can everyone say education freedom?  :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Living Life After Cancer

This post isn't easy to write.  It brings up a lot of emotions and feelings I'd rather not deal with.  But people just think that once you are in remission, you are done.  No more worries, no more fear, no more thoughts about cancer.  Well, they are so wrong.

The doctors say I am in Remission.  Let's look at the definition.

Remission: Disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer or other disease; can be temporary or permanent.

I choose to not think of this as remission, but as healed from God.  Why?  Because God brings hope.  

Psalm 118:8 says, It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

Man will fail us.  I fail, you fail, we all fail.  God is the one thing that never fails us.

So living life in 'remission' isn't easy.  It's is a spiritual, psychological warfare DAILY.  What do I mean by this?  Well, every day the devil attacks my mind.  With me, every day he puts a voice in my head that says things like....

"when will the cancer come back"
"that pain in your elbow, it's bone cancer"
"headache?  brain cancer"
"look at your children, too bad you won't be around to see your grandchildren"
"when it comes back, it will come back with the vengeance"

This goes on constantly.  This voice isn't just a thought, it's a strong voice in my head.  However, the Lord's voice (and word of God) is stronger and more powerful and that is how I deal with this.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12

Every time I hear this voice I remember back to what the Lord told me that day on the swing after hearing the news that I may have BC.  (blog post June 14, 2015 - My Beginning of my Breast Cancer Story)

The Lord said to me on that day, "I am going to allow you to go through something.  You are going to be fine.  I have your back."

He didn't say, 'You will be fine temporarily' or 'You'll be fine until such as such day', He said 'You are going to be fine.'

I cling to that.  God doesn't lie.  God has my back.  The King of all King's told me he has my back!  :)  

When I say he spoke to me, there is no mistake.  HE SPOKE TO ME.  I KNEW.  He told me this before my biopsy and before my diagnosis.  So I knew I had BC before they told me.  From those words on, I had TOTAL PEACE!  

Let me clarify, I am NOT afraid to die.  I know Heaven will be glorious.  I am however, afraid to leave my children without a mother.  When God told me I was going to be fine, I knew my boys would not have to deal with losing me at this point. Parents are supposed to pass on before their children.  That is the circle of life.  But no child should ever have to lose a parent.

Here are a few scriptures I cling to.....

Proverbs 4:21-22  "Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body."  (speaking about the Word of God)

Psalm 107:20   "He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave."

And my favorite.....

Romans 8:11   "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you."

To me, that is so inspiring.  That same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave 3 days after he died, lives in me???  That is amazing!

So if you are going through cancer, I hate to tell you this but your fight will probably never be over in your mind.  You must fend off those daily voices from satan.  You must replace them with words of Power.  I find myself saying out loud at times, "I rebuke that in the name of Jesus". Remember, your words are powerful.  If you tell yourself you are dumb, ugly and unlikable everyday, you will eventually start to believe it.  So you need to speak positive, bold & full of life!   Maybe God didn't give you peace like he did me through your cancer journey.  That doesn't mean you can't have peace.  You must claim it!  Speak it!  Believe it!  I will not live my life worried from day to day about the "C" word coming back.  I refuse.  It's work.  I have to fend off the enemy daily, but I will do it and it's worth it.

Remember that fear comes from satan.  God doesn't give you fear.  Fear is a negative emotion and not created by God.

And one final thought, God didn't give you cancer.  Sin is why you landed cancer.  Not your sin, but sin in the world.  When Adam and Eve betrayed the Lord, sin entered the world.  Your cancer has nothing to do with something you've done in your life that was sinful.  God is not a punisher.  Don't let anyone tell you that you inherited or received cancer due to your lifestyle / sinful ways.  That is a lie from satan.  

You may ask 'if you are such a believer of the Lord God, why didn't he heal you right away or why did he allow you to get cancer in the first place'?  God could have healed me in a blink of an eye but you can't help others without a story.  You can't have a testimony without a test.  I can't explain why I got cancer, but I trust that the reason was important.  Maybe I witnessed to someone in the doctor's office, maybe I helped someone else through it not knowing, maybe I needed to gain faith myself, etc.  I probably will never know but I do know that God knows what he is doing.  In his eyes, me going through something to help someone else may be worth it.  I don't know exactly.  

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1 out of 8 women get BC.  I was the 1 of 8.  

I am a survivor.  

I will not let negative thoughts stay with me.  

That is my testimony.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wig Review: "Carrie" by Uniwigs from the LAVIVID collection

 This review is brought to you by Uniwigs

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This is "Carrie" in the Lavivid collection 
in color AL01003-01R (Almond-Frost) 

My excitement couldn't be hidden!  hee,hee.

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Shipping / Packaging:

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It came by FedEx in a very nice box along with a few gifts.

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The gifts included a wig cap, some sew in clips and a nice special brush for this wig.

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The tag has the Livivid logo, wig name and color.  

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On the inside of the tag there are care instructions.  
Note: This wig is NOT heat resistant.

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Cap Construction:

The inside cap has 2 adjustable straps for comfort.  The cap is very soft, not scratchy at all.  They have ear tabs that fit securely in front / above the ears.  There is metal inside each ear tab to bend so the wig fits securely at the sides.

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The back piece that is at the nape of the neck is very soft.  I've had other wigs (not from this company), that have been scratchy and itchy.  This is not!  Again, very soft and comfortable.

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The top inside is closed with a soft flower net material with some permatease for some mild lift.  There isn't too much permatease, just the right amount for the perfect body and lift at the crown.  

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Oh my goodness!  This is right out of the box!  I gave it a shake and then put it on.  This is before any finger combing, styling or brushing!  I am very impressed!  It honestly looks like model hair!  

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This wig has dark roots to make it look natural.  I have dark hair so I could pull some of my bio hair out to blend it and then I could wear this wig pulled up and back away from the face.  It has beautiful blonde highlights!  (The wig is NOT shiny at all.  In the pics it looks like there is shine, but that if from the camera.)

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I can style this many different ways as seen below.  

I can just pull back the top, front sides......

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......or I can pull up all the sides..........

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...........or I can put it in a low pony..........

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........ and it look gorgeous with a small piece pulled up with a small clip......

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........or with a winter hat or camo cap.

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This wig feels and smells like REAL HAIR.  I have never had a wig smell so nice!  It smells like real freshly washed hair and conditioned for softness.  It has just the right amount of hair in this wig, not too much to make it look thick and not too little to make it look thin.  It's constructed with the perfect amount of hair and the layers are beautiful!  The front layer, bang area, come down to my chin.  You could have your stylist cut them shorter if desired.

Also, the wig length is very nice as well.  I am 5'2" and the back comes down just past my bra strap.  You could have it trimmed by your stylist if the length is too long for you.

You can also change the part easily.  You can part it in the middle or either side.  The wig is very easy to manage.


The wig is very lightweight and very comfortable. 

Customer Service:

I was in contact with "Kelly" from several times in regards to this wig and the review.  Every email, every question was answered the same day!  Excellent customer service!  You definitely want good customer service in case you do have any issues.  This company stands behind the wigs they sell.  I would highly recommend for your wig purchase(s).


The Lavivid collection has 7 styles to choose from with Carrie being the longest.  

You also have 5 different colors to chose from! 

The colors are: 

Almost-Frost (which I purchased and shown in this review)....

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Light Brown......

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Macadamia (platinum blonde)......

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Chocolate-Caramel (gorgeous brown/auburn with blonde highlights).......

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Retail is $135.90 - $158.00 (depending on the color).  This color I am wearing (Almond Frost) costs $158.00.  Uniwigs does offer FREE SHIPPING on orders over $49.00  

**Uniwigs is offering a 10% discount with the code below**

Coupon code:  Tina10   to save 10% off  
at checkout!

Wig information:

Carrie Synthetic Wig:
SKU: AL01003
UniWigs LAVIVID collection:
LaVivid Face book page:

Shipping Cost were great!  Again, Free shipping over $49.  

Under $49.00 is $4.95 US Ground, 4-7 days.

My Opinion:

This wig gets a 5 star and an A+ from me!  I think it is amazing! Carrie is very comfortable, cool, easy to wear, fits perfectly, perfect amount of hair, parts nicely, gorgeous color and looks like model hair!  What's not to like?  


As of now, I don't have any cons other than I had to wait a few weeks on shipping.  This Lavivid Collection has a prep time of 2-3 weeks on this Carrie wig.  But I have to say, when it was shipped they contacted me via email and provided a tracking number so I could watch it's location.  So all in all, NO CONS about the wig.  

Was it worth the price?

That is something I will have to decide over time.  Some wigs I have purchased in the past have been very cheap and they don't last long.  So if this wig lasts a while (6 months or so) I would say yes. You may think spending $158 is a lot of money for a hairpiece, however, if you go to the salon and get highlights done, a trim, and styled, I would say you probably spend close to that anyway about every 2 months at least.  So if it lasts 6 months or longer, I would say yes, it was worth the price.  I plan on doing a few updates in the future on Carrie so stay tuned.  

THANK YOU UNIWIGS for this amazing wig!  I have my eye on the chocolate caramel color and hope to purchase it soon!  

Thank you!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this wig with my own money, I did however get a discount in exchange for my honest review.  I'm not getting paid for this review.  All opinions are my own.