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Bottle Bust! – from


frozen bottle


Bottle Bust!

This is a guest blog post written by Donna Lasinski from has a freebie listing in our FREEBIE FEBRUARY event – please check it out.

Cold temperatures and freezing water can play lots of nasty tricks. Have your kids ever wondered why sidewalks crack in the winter, or why that glass soda bottle you left in the garage exploded on a cold winter night? Freezing water expands as it changes from water to ice. Try this frozen liquid experiment to see just how much change happens.

Be safe! No one wants to clean out a freezer full of exploded soda and glass!

What You Need:

  • empty plastic soda bottle with a cap
  • water
  • a freezer or a cold winter night

What You Do:

  1. Fill the bottle up with water. Leave no air in the bottle.
  2. Screw the lid on tight.
  3. Put the bottle in the freezer or outdoors (if it is below freezing) overnight.

In the morning, your water bottle should be bulging on the sides. The expanded water had nowhere to go with the lid on tight so it pushed out the sides of the bottle.

The next time you see a cracked sidewalk or a pothole in the spring, your kids will understand the power of freezing water. Water that seeped into cracks in the cement and roads during a thaw, then froze again and expanded so forcefully that the cement cracked and the asphalt crumpled!

Donna Lasinski is a mother of 3 sons and the author of the Parent Guide to Summer and creator of ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program. also has a winter program to help prevent “brain freeze”.

Homeschool Inspired My Company


This is a guest blog post from Nessy Reading Spelling.  Did you see?  They have two listings in’s FREEBIE FEBRUARY event.

Learn more about Nessy and dyslexia

Any visitors that decide they would like to purchase Nessy Reading Spelling from the Nessy Store should quote ‘homeschool’ when asked to enter a coupon code to receive a 20% discount.

Homeschool Inspired My Company

There is a boy who hates school. Every Friday he has a spelling test and every Friday he gets zero out of 20 and every Friday he has to say his score aloud and is laughed at by the whole class. He is called ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’ and he believes it because even though he copies from his friend he can’t even do that properly.

That boy was me. I was lucky. My mom was a math teacher and realised something was wrong. She got me assessed, found out I had dyslexia and decided to teach me at home. School will never be an easy place for dyslexics but after a few years of intensive help at home I went back to school and I never looked back.

My mom realized that to make things stick you have to be inventive. You have to develop strategies. So that’s exactly what she did, she created a bunch of strategies to help me learn.

She had learned how to teach children with dyslexia and so she started a learning Center. After finishing college I joined her. It was incredible to see how quickly kids can learn once they are taught in the right way. Learning with games kept the children happy and motivated.

I realized what I had to do, that my passion was to help as many children with dyslexia as possible. With the internet you can reach everyone. Together we created Nessy – an online program for kids with reading disabilities like dyslexia.

“Nessy is much more than a game. It is a teaching program.”

The first strategy that we made into a Nessy video helps children understand syllables. You can’t imagine in your head what a syllable looks like. This makes it very hard for a dyslexic to remember. We made a character called Silly Bull. When a bull gets angry, before it will charge it paws the ground. Silly bull beats the ground to sound out the syllables. You can make this funny, the kids can act it out and because they can imagine a Silly Bull. They have a mental ‘hook’ that they can hang that memory on.


It wasn’t until much later that I realized what a huge commitment it is for a parent to home school. It is not an easy option but I can honestly say it turned my life around. Nessy wouldn’t be here today, helping kids with dyslexia, if I hadn’t been home schooled so here is a big thank you to all you home schooling parents! If you aren’t fully appreciated now then you will be when your kids grow up.



Mike Jones is the founder of Nessy Learning

Learn more about Nessy and dyslexia

Any visitors that decide they would like to purchase Nessy Reading Spelling from the Nessy Store should quote ‘homeschool’ when asked to enter a coupon code to receive a 20% discount.

Homeschooling Travel with Rebecca

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures,Travel — Tags: , — Rebecca Kochenderfer @ 4:00 am



Expensive, But Worth It

Written by Rebecca Kochenderfer, co-founder of


I think I may have a snow phobia. When I think about driving in the snow, I don’t envision a landscape of bucolic snow-covered meadows and sparkling snow drifts. No, I see cars sliding into each other and exploding into fiery balls of death. Or I see myself trapped in my car on the side of the road, slowly starving to death while I wait for rescue (I’d have to wait through winter, spring and summer before I starved to death, but in my Phobia I’m fit and thin. And fluent in five languages. But I digress).

I probably shouldn’t be proud of my ability to list “100 ways people die in the snow.” Still, a talent is a talent.

rebsnow         Undoubtedly caused by snow

My children don’t have my snow phobia. They think snowboarding is fun and safe — (ahhh, the blissful ignorance of youth) — and have been begging me for years to take them on a ski vacation. So this year their Christmas present was a snow vacation in Northstar Village  at Lake Tahoe, California.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can travel midweek and off-season when prices are lower. But this was our Christmas vacation so we had to suck it up and pay peak season prices. Supply & demand was not my friend. I can’t imagine a more expensive hobby. Skiing makes golf look like garage sale-ing. But I was determined to get over my snow phobia and I wanted the kids to have a White Christmas experience, so we robbed a bank and spent it all on one weekend. Shockingly, it was worth it.

The weather that weekend was sunny and clear so our drive did not involve any sliding-fireballs-of-death. Still, I was grateful to park in the condo parking garage and not have to drive again for the entire time we were there. One of the reasons I chose Northstar Village is because everything you need is within walking distance and the condos are ski-in/ski-out. Since we were throwing money to the wind this holiday, one smart thing we did was to rent the ski and snowboard supplies from a place that delivered the equipment right to our door. I thought this was going to be more expensive, but it cost the same as if we had rented the equipment in our home town and schlepped it up with us. Plus, the advantage of using a local ski rental place is that if anything happens to your equipment you have someone nearby who can fix it. Black Tie Ski Rentals came to our condo and fit the girls for all the snowboarding equipment they would need. No driving to a rental store or waiting in the super crowded I-shouldn’t-have-come-during-Christmas-vacation rental line at the resort. When one of my daughters wanted to change from snowboard to skis, they came out for free and made the switch. I was very impressed and highly recommend Black Tie Ski Rentals

Renting a condo in the village turned out to be worth it too. The girls were able to come and go and I was able to relax by the fireplace. I found the condo using (I have rented several times through VRBO and AirBNB and never had a bad experience). In the evenings, we walked down to one of the village restaurants and enjoyed a great meal while the girls told us about their crashes and near-crashes (This did not help my Snow Phobia).

All in all, I recommend taking the family on a ski resort vacation. Especially if you can go mid-week when it’s less expensive and less crowded. It turned out to be one of the best family vacations we’ve had and it helped this California girl to see that a person can go to the snow and still live to write about it.


Fundanoodle Product Review


Did you see that Fundanoodle is offering a number of freebies during’s FREEBIE FEBRUARY event?  Check them out- you might win!  And if you read the review below, you’ll see that we sure like their products!


I’m going to start this review with…I LOVE this product! Why? Because Fundanoodle teaches letters and writing, while encouraging movement. Studies show that young children NEED to move around for optimal learning to take place. Learning while getting the wiggles out? I’m in…

The Fundanoodle products (Preschool to 2nd Grade+) range from writing tablets to multi-activity kits, all designed to make learning a fun and interactive experience. Organized in developmentally appropriate progression (so your kids can start with one product, and then easily move on to the next), Fundanoodle activities encourage kids to focus on and complete increasingly complex tasks. No need for you, the parent to wonder, “What’s next?”

Fundanoodle teaches kids while:

  • Helping to improve their fine and gross motor coordination
  • Enhancing their eye-hand coordination
  • Improving their strength, control, and endurance with writing objects
  • Encouraging touch and visual exploration
  • Encouraging self-expression, creativity, and problem-solving

In addition,

  • Fundanoodle products challenge and encourage kids with a sticker-based reward system–keeping them engaged in the learning process
  • Fundanoodle is appropriate for both right and left handed children
  • Fundanoodle can be used anywhere. The heavy covers allow use on the floor, in the car or anywhere that is comfortable. Both products I reviewed had a sturdy carrying case with handle—I liked that

Parents like the Fundanoodle products because:

  • They’re fun, so kids like using them
  • The company offers instructional videos– for the parents. The teaching advice is a plus. Gems include–
    • Since children are full of energy, we recommend starting with floor activities, such as the Muscle Mover Cards which give kids a change to run, hop, jump and otherwise express themselves. Not only is this approach fun, but these activities help strengthen the core as well as arms and necks.
    • Remember to limit your child’s practice time (fine motor and/or handwriting) to 20-30 minutes. Children need to move! Sitting at a table for long periods of time can be difficult for them.
  • They’re affordable and well made

Fundanoodle has many products. We reviewed Muscle Movers Upper Case Gross Motor Cards (Upper Case Letter Cards & Activity Kit) and I Can Build Lower Case Letters! seen below.


Muscle Movers Upper Case Gross Motor Cards promote gross motor development and alphabet recognition. Each card has a letter on one side and a fun animal with action on the other. Actions include stomp like an elephant, leap like a frog, stretch like a giraffe, run like a jaguar, pounce like a tiger, zig zag like a zebra, and more (they’re fun!). The cards are colorful, attractive, and they are made of heavy cardstock. You can play a game with them on the floor, or attach to the O-ring which is included (so individual cards don’t get misplaced).

With this kit, your child can practice letter recognition while improving flexibility and strengthening muscles.

I Can Build Lower Case Letters! comes with a magnetic dry erase board and pen, a lower case writing tablet, a set of 17 magnastix forms (colorful forms pictured below), 6 muscle mover cards, a die and an instruction booklet.

Both products are shown in the first video on this page. Other products are also shown.

What piques your interest?




What do the Top 100 Educational Websites of 2015 and FREEBIE FEBRUARY have in common?  Well, both are organized/put on by  AND lots of the Top 100 companies have freebies listed in our FREEBIE FEBRUARY event.

So, check it out- and can get some fantastic freebies from some colossal companies!

Valentine’s Day & Presidents Day Freebies

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 4:00 am


valepres day


There are Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day freebies included in our FREEBIE FEBRUARY event. Since those are coming up (Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and Presidents Day is on Monday),  you might want to check it out!

Fun!  And fun learning is forever learning!

20 Fun Winter Activities for Kids –

Winter vacation

20 Fun Winter Activities for Kids

This is a guest blog post written by Donna Lasinski, from  ThinkStretch has a freebie listing in’s FREEBIE FEBRUARY event.

Winter days can feel short and long all at the same time and finding fun things to do to fill the time can be tough. But there are some great winter activities that everyone in your family can enjoy. So if you’re looking for winter activities that are a blast for you and your kids, here is a list of 20 favorite things that are best done on a cold winter’s day!

  • Have a snowball fight
  • Make ice marbles
  • Build a snowman
  • Grow your own snowflake
  • Catch snowflakes on your tongue
  • Make a snow angel
  • Make Marshmallow tinkertoys
  • Collect pine cones
  • Feed the birds
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup
  • Follow tracks in the snow
  • Bake cookies and share them with friends
  • Make snow cream
  • Read a favorite book
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Complete a jigsaw puzzle
  • Celebrate the shorter day sof the year!
  • Donate a gently used toy to a charity
  • Mail a handwritten card to a friend


Donna Lasinski is a mother of 3 sons and the author of the Parent Guide to Summer and creator of ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program. also offers winter materials to prevent “brain freeze”. 

Middlebury Interactive Languages


This is a product review of Middlebury Interactive Languages.  They’re offering a freebie listing in’s FREEBIE FEBRUARY event, so check it out.


Middlebury Interactive Languages provides a versatile and dynamic approach to learning a second language.

All Middlebury courses are developed exclusively for the K-12 education market by Ph.D. level academics and linguistic experts in second language acquisition. All courses are designed to help students develop communicative competence in languages while also building a strong foundation in grammar and vocabulary. Cultural awareness is also a main (and fun) focus. Language courses offered include Spanish, French, Chinese and German. Also offered—four-week Summer Language Academies bothin the U.S. and abroad.

Middlebury Interactive courses can be taken as independent study or with the support of a teacher. The instructors at Middlebury Interactivee are state-certified (always a plus!) and Middlebury Interactive is accredited through AdvanceEd—this means students can possibly earn credit for completed courses (another plus!). All courses align with the national standards developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Even if you’re not a fan of national standards, you might appreciate them for a foreign language.

The courses at Middlebury Interactive use interactive media, including animated stories, task-based activities and videos which feature native speakers; and can be delivered fully online, in a blended learning environment, or as a supplemental curriculum. Pacing and completion depend on the teachers’ and students’ objectives. This flexibility is especially nice.

The elementary courses at Middlebury Interactive focus on building a strong/solid language foundation. The programs use stories, games and songs to provide students with an introduction to basic words, expressions and phrases. The classes are fun and enjoyable, with bright graphics, and I enjoyed the interactivity of them—moving the correct family members into a house (casa), for example.

The middle and high school language courses focus on the development and integration of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students are introduced to vocabulary themes, grammar concepts, sentence structure and culture through task-based activities and interactive lessons. I took a few French classes and enjoyed them. They were easy to follow and allowed me to practice my pronunciation (you should look up the pronunciation of l’homme!)

I enjoyed the different classes I took (different languages and different levels). I even dallied on an elementary numbers class so I could learn my phone number in a foreign language!

Computer requirements for the courses are as follows—

PC System Requirements:

  • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor
  • Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Display setting 1280×1024 resolution or above; lower resolutions may require scrolling
  • 128MB Graphics Memory & Sound card
  • Google Chrome 6.0+, Mozilla Firefox 4.0+
  • Adobe Flash Player plug-in 10.1+
  • Cookies enabled
  • Javascript enabled
  • Headset/Microphone

Macintosh System Requirements:

  • Intel Core™ Duo 1.33GHz or above
  • Mac OS X v10.6 or v10.7
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Display setting 1280×1024 resolution or above; lower resolutions may require scrolling
  • 128MB Graphics Memory & Sound card
  • Google Chrome 6.0+, Safari 5.0+, Mozilla Firefox 4.0+
  • Adobe Flash Player plug-in 10.1+
  • Cookies enabled
  • Javascript enabled
  • Headset/Microphone

If you’d like to see what Middlebury Interactive courses are like, you can take a look at their videos — You’ll see that the courses are thorough—and maybe exactly what you’re looking for! And if you’re really interested, Middlebury courses are available for purchase at








We LOVE FREEBIE FEBRUARY - and we’re hoping you do too.  Have you had a chance to click over and peruse the 200+ freebies?  With 200+ freebies offered, there’s bound to be something you’re interested in/want!

So, please click on over!  And enjoy the event!

FREE Human Body App


FREE Human Body App is a guest blog post written by Deborah Lee Rose/  This app is available in our FREEBIE FEBRUARY event–go check it out!


What keeps the blood in your body moving in one direction? How do your lungs pull air in and push air out? Why does your nose make sticky snot while your intestines make smelly gas? Discover how your body really works with the new, free DIY Human Body app. The app uses everyday items to let you explore your body’s complex machinery in 13 fun, hands-on STEM activities.

With the DIY Human Body app, you can engineer models of human organs, and make a centrifuge replica that tests the contents of “blood.” You can carry out experiments on what makes your bones both rigid and flexible. You can even get “gross” to learn about the fluids and chemicals your body produces that keep you healthy. 

Developed by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, DIY Human Body for the iPad and iPhone offers easy, safe explorations of how your body parts and systems work. One activity uses a plastic bottle, balloon, and disposable glove to engineer an “artificial lung” that shows how your lungs and diaphragm muscle allow you to breathe. Another activity lets you construct a one-way valve, like those in your heart and circulatory system. These kinds of hands-on explorations offer insights into staying healthy, and engineering artificial body parts.

“Advances in medical science and engineering are giving us a closer look than ever inside the human body,” says Chris Keller, who led the app’s development. “Breaking down and exploring the interconnected parts and mechanisms help us understand the body as a whole, and encourage us to keep our own bodies healthy.”

With inquiry-based activities and videos, the app lets you go deeper to experience what makes your body strong and protects you from getting sick. The app also teaches why getting exercise, eating healthy food, washing your hands well, and not smoking are so important to your own health and the health of others.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the app can be used for learning at home, at school, after school, at community health events, and for patients in medical facilities. The DIY Human Body app follows two previous apps from Lawrence Hall of Science, DIY Nano and DIY Sun Science

You can download DIY Human Body on your iPhone or iPad for free from Apple’s App Store. Click on over to FREEBIE FEBRUARY for the link.

Expand the human body learning and fun with even more hands-on activities at

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