Category: Education

How to Easily Bind eBooks for Under $1

How to Easily Bind eBooks for Under $1 | Oh Sweet Mercy #easy #diy #bookbinding #homeschool #thm #cookbooks


So, you printed an ebook…what are your choices for keeping it all together?

I’m going to share with you the simple, cheap, and easy method I devised the other day to bind eBooks using something you probably have in your desk drawer right now (and how I’ve made printing less aggravating, too).

But first, let’s compare the pros and cons of some typical binding methods you’ve probably already used.


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Get Your House in Order

Get Your House in Order | Oh Sweet Mercy #2015 #fallfeasts #torah #shemitah #bloodmoons #endtimes #messiah #ohsweetmercy

Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m “super religious” now that I’ve joined what is often perceived as this strange, cultish “movement” known as Hebrew Roots.

I’ve been accused of being Jewish. I’ve been asked what is going on with me now. I’ve seen some curious looks cast my way. People think it’s weird that I don’t eat pork and feel sorry for me because I’m missing out on the “benefits” of bacon. I’m sure some have even questioned my salvation now that I don’t go to church on Sunday anymore.

In fact, I don’t go to church at all. I keep the Sabbath on the seventh day, the day YHWH created and sanctified (not a man or church system), with a group of believers. The locals  think we are Jewish Hippies, actually. It’s kind of like church, but different. We study and discuss large portions of scripture for hours, for example. Not just sit and listen to an uplifting message built on a few select scriptures that may or may not have been taken out of context. (more…)

Homeschooling Torah is Celebrating, Let’s Party!

Homeschooling Torah is Celebrating Their 2 Year Anniversary with a Facebook Party! Come Join the Fun! | Oh Sweet Mercy #homeschooling #torah #giveaways

Homeschooling Torah is celebrating their TWO year anniversary!

We started using Homeschooling Torah two years ago, so it’s been exciting to watch this community grow. The Elliot’s are just wonderful, supportive people and I really appreciate all they do to make this curriculum amazing. The support from the HT community of members is terrific too. You feel like part of the family there. Not something you get with most curricula, right? (more…)

How to Get Your Kids to do School in the Summer

How to Get Your Kids to do School in the Summer

If you homeschool, getting your kids to do school in the summer can be an issue for you at times. Maybe you decide that doing school year round is something you’d like to try – you have to start sometime right? Perhaps this new change in routine is met with some, let’s say, resistance. Or maybe, if you’re like our family, you decide to move right before the official “end” of the school year and take a few weeks off to get out of one home and into another. Then you have some school work to finish. Or maybe, in spite of your best efforts, you just didn’t get everything done and you simply need to do school in the summer.

In a perfect world, your kids will do their assigned school work in a timely manner without complaint. The time of year will have no bearing whatsoever on that. They will also do their chores, mind their manners and hygiene, never lose or break things and go to bed on time without a hassle.

Yeah, welcome back to reality, Sunshine! Even if your kids are pretty compliant most of the time, those warm summer days filled with the promise of swimming and sports and bike riding and digging are going to cause even the most perfect little angel student to not want to do school in the summer, at least once!

So, what can a harried homeschool mom, who is just as eager as the kids to be done with it already, do?

I’m going to be completely real here and cut to the chase, OK? Take a look at the picture below, it says it all:


Yes, that is candy. And cookies. And, ironically, a verse about obeying the governing authorities. This particular day, I was met with a little resistance in getting our work done. It was hot out, and I bribed the kids with going to the beach if we got our chores and school work done. I also bribed them with candy and cookies. Why? Because I was just not up to a battle. I wanted the school work and chores done. They wanted to go to the beach and eat candy and cookies. It was a win-win solution in everyone’s book.

And you know what? It worked. Of course.

Mister Cookie
Mister will do anything for a cookie. He gets that from his dad!

The thing is, however, that you don’t want to do this every day! But using rewards to encourage the good behavior you desire can be beneficial. The day after our Beach and Sweets Bribe Day, the kids got their school work and chores done without much fuss and without the promise of going somewhere or a sweet treat. The key is the element of surprise. If they know that they will be rewarded with an appropriate treat for doing what you expect of them, but have no idea when, they may be more likely to do school in the summer without a hassle, just in case today is The Day.

You can't rush art
My idea of a “quick sketch” and my daughter’s are two completely different things. She let me know that art is one of those things that you can’t rush.

The Word reminds us to not exasperate our children. Yes, children should just do what they’re told because they are to obey and honor their parents. But, when neighborhood friends are out having fun and not “stuck inside” doing school in the summer, your kids might begin to feel exasperated and resentful. Summer time has an especially laid-back undertone and lightening up a bit for a few months probably won’t hurt anything. If you choose fun rewards that are appropriate with your family’s lifestyle and values, the kids will appreciate it and it can help strengthen the bond you have with your children. It’s no fun to think of your parents as harsh taskmasters and that can be very discouraging for a child.

Colossians 321

Here are a few rewards that may motivate your children if they have to do school in the summer:

  • A trip to the beach
  • Popsicles – make them yourself and you know they’re getting something healthy
  • Let them pick a movie to watch (especially great on a very hot day)
  • Candy, cookies and other sweets (as appropriate for your family’s eating habits)
  • An overnight stay at the grandparents house, if they’re close enough
  • A small toy or trinket from the dollar store
  • A trip to the park
  • Visit a local attraction or festival

Ultimately, your children need to learn that they should do what is expected of them. Fun and rewards can be a part of how they learn, as long as you use them responsibly. Getting candy every time they get their math assignments done can encourage them to only do their math assignments when there is a reward to follow. Getting a treat at random when they get their work done teaches them to always be prepared by getting their work done on time, because only those who are prepared and finished with their assigned work will get the reward.

If you are a homeschooling, Torah observant family I’d like to encourage you to check out Homeschooling Torah. Their curriculum is terrific and  affordable, and the support and online community of other families using Homeschooling Torah are amazing! The link in this paragraph will take you to the Homeschooling Torah website and it is also an affiliate link, which means if you sign up using this link, I will receive compensation. If you do that, I just want to say Thank You! 

Do you struggle with getting your kids to do school in the summer?

Fun Homeschool Experiments: Exploring Taste

We’ve done a couple experiments with taste this year, and those are right up our alley since we love science AND food. This latest experiment was called Tongue Map (you can find the instructions here) and the results were interesting.

We put salt water, sugar water, lemon juice and cocoa powder mixed with water (which is almost like trying to mix oil and water. For real.) in little cups and got some cotton swabs and glasses of water. Sister made a small chart to record the results of our experiments, Mister wore his bathrobe stylish plaid lab coat and was instructed to not gag his sister with the cotton swabs.

test materials
I love experiments that use things I already have around the house, easy and frugal!

Tongue Map Experiment

Mister was the first Taster

Lemon juice

Sister was next. They actually both kind of gagged each other, in spite of admonishments to not do so. They were even so I let it slide. Live and learn, I always say.

This just cracked me up! Mister is sticking his tongue out, too.
This just cracked me up! Mister is sticking his tongue out, too.

They tested each taste on the front, back and sides of their tongues. It’s important to remember to drink some water after each “swabbing” to remove any residual material that might interfere with the next taste center being tested. The results showed that they tasted most flavors most strongly either on the back or sides of their tongues, and none on the front.

Sister then wanted to test and see where the umami taste region was. What is umami? It’s the fifth basic taste, and is a savory sense that is

imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don’t recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious.  Source:What is Umami?

I used some turkey stock that I’d recently made, and Sister didn’t really taste anything although Mister did. Since my nourishing bone stock was made by me, I know there were no artificial glutamates in it. Perhaps since it was a stock and not an actual piece of meat, there wasn’t enough umami flavor present for them to detect. Or, they could just be like most people and not really detect it. Sister wants to do some larger scale experiments now. She is currently accepting applications for victims test subjects.

We were surprised by the results, since we had thought that certain regions of the tongue were responsible for detecting different tastes. According to this wikipedia entry, the “tongue map” as it is called is a common misconception. We’re kind of weird around here about taste anyway, so either it’s a misconception or it’s just us.

The Tasters were then rewarded with some homemade mini glazed gluten free donuts. I’m glad they work for food!

will work for donuts

What kind of experiments do you like to do with your kids?

Jury Duty: I Came, I Saw…Did I Serve? Read On

Photo by Brian Turner. Used under Creative Commons licensing.

The prosecuting attorney’s first question to the prospective jurors was “So, was everyone excited about getting their jury summons?” The response was…crickets. Except for me. I actually was! Unfortunately, I was not one of the 14 in the jury box, I was number 17, and I sat in the first row of the gallery seating – hoping they’d dismiss some of the jurors and I’d get a shot.

Even though it was a criminal trial, it wasn’t something exciting like you’d see on NCIS  just a charge of disorderly conduct. The defendant was an older man, silvery hair and hearing aids in both ears. He sure didn’t look the type to be involved in disorderly conduct, but I know that any verdict has to be based on the evidence presented, not on how the accused looks. He was pleading not guilty because of self-defense. From some of the questioning done by the attorneys, it appeared to be a case of neighbors violently disagreeing over something.

The prosecuting attorney was very direct and succinct with her questioning. She didn’t come across cold or unfeeling, she just didn’t go off on any rabbit trails while questioning the jurors. She did pause a lot while speaking, I’m not sure if it was for the benefit of the court reporter (shout out to my favorite Army Sargent, Sandi Coast! Thought about you during all of this!) or if she was thinking of what to ask them.

The defense attorney was a whole different story. He was a hand-talker, and rambled on and on about a whole lot of I-don’t-even-know-what-this-has-to-do-about-anything. So much so that he didn’t even get to question all the jurors because he ran out of time. I’m sure I saw the court reporter and bailiff exchange some looks at least once. Juror number 16, who sat right beside me, quietly groaned and said under his breath, “we’re never getting out of here.”

Public Domain Licensing By Ammodramus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Since they were only selecting a six-person jury and one alternate, I ended up not even being considered. They chose the seven jurors from the original 14 that went into the jury box. The last time I was called for jury duty, I at least got into the box, I just did not want to do it. This time, I really wanted to but no dice. I won’t be called again until 24 months have passed. I wonder if you can volunteer for jury service?

I was only there for about 2 1/2 hours, so I didn’t get to see much. The defense attorney didn’t like that there were trial witnesses in the gallery seating while the questioning of the jurors was going on, so they got escorted out. That was all the “drama” I witnessed. The one man looked kind of like a “hot head” and I imagined that was the neighbor with the dispute, but I really have no idea. He could have just been mad because he had to miss work to testify at a trial.

Even though I didn’t get to actually serve on a jury, I still enjoyed getting a chance to see how our justice system works and still very much appreciate the freedom we have in our nation to have a trial by our peers.

Have you ever served on a jury for a really exciting trial? I’d love to hear about your experience!


The SockKids Meet Lincoln – Author Interview: Michael John Sullivan & Susan Petrone

20130913_184531 In my recent review of The SockKids Meet Lincoln, I mentioned that I had asked the authors some questions. Their answers were terrific and I didn’t want to truncate them, so I decided to write a separate post. If you haven’t yet read my review, you can do so here. You can also download a copy of The SockKids Meet Lincoln here on Amazon.


1. How long have you been writing?

I knew from a pretty early age that I was going to make my living with
words. My mother worked as a writer and editor before she got married. My
father was a musician, and the two of them wrote the Christmas shows for
one of Cleveland’s big downtown department stores. (If you’re a
Clevelander of a certain age, you’ll know Mr. Jingeling.) And they also
wrote a musician based on the life of St. Augustine, which was produced
several times. Creativity was a family value, so the idea that I wanted to
sit down and write stories wasn’t looked at as a questionable decision.
I’m grateful for that.

2. I love the idea of time traveling socks, can you share what inspired you?

I’ll let my partner, Michael Sullivan, answer that: “If you need an answer
for how was I inspired to think of the concept, it was because I became
frustrated that I could never find a matching pair of socks. I am a stay
at home dad so I did laundry often. So while at dinner, I started making
jokes with my daughters on where they might go. I love time travel so I
utilized the concept on that they were taking good care of other humans in
different points of time. It was at that moment on a hot, sunny day in
August of 2009 that I first developed the concept.”

3. How can parents and educators incorporate your books in their learning times with children?

In The SockKids Meet Lincoln, Stretch, the oldest SockKid, travels back in
time and ends up on President Lincoln’s foot during the Gettysburg
Address. The 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address is November 19 of this year, so the book is a natural tie-in learning more about Lincoln and the Civil War. I think a book like this can be a starting point to a
bigger learning opportunity. Read it together and then listen to the
questions your kids ask after reading it. Maybe they’ll be curious about
Lincoln. Maybe they’ll want to learn more about Gettysburg. Or maybe
they’ll just be curious about how clothes were washed in the 1860s.

4. Are there more adventures planned for the Sockers?

Absolutely! The illustrator is working on the drawings for the second
book. It’s tentatively titled The SockKids Go Dancing and we hope to have
it out before Christmas. This one deals with sibling rivalry in the sock
drawer. And more books are in the works. Please check or
follow us on Twitter (@SockKids) or on Facebook (The-SockKids) to get news of upcoming titles.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We’ll be offering The SockKids Meet Lincoln as a free e-book download the weekend of November 8-9. It never hurts to have the kindle loaded with
some great kids books! (And the paperback is also available through
Amazon.) We hope you’ll take a little trip in the spin cycle with The
SockKids! Thanks for reading. 🙂

It was so great to meet Susan at Bloggy Conference, and I wish her and Michael all the best as they continue in their SockKids adventure! Can’t wait to see the next story! Thanks, Susan and Michael for sharing a bit of yourselves and your work with us!


Blog Conference! BloggyCon 2013

monkey bloggers

My friend The Homesteading Hippy and I hit the road and headed to Cedar Point for BloggyCon 2013! As a busy homeschooling mom who is venturing into the world of serious blogging, this conference meets three specific needs:

1. ADULT CONVERSATION. Before we even left my town, Heather astutely observed my obvious lack of opportunities to converse with grown-ups. I guess I was talking non-stop or something. Hey, I’m excited to be out of the house for a few days, what can I say? I love my family, but even a mama needs a vacation now and then!

2. VALUABLE INFORMATION. I’m really looking forward to hearing from some top bloggers such as Amiyrah Martin from Four Hats and Frugal and Dan R. Morris from  how I can improve my blog. I want Oh Sweet Mercy to be a place where real, everyday women can come to find encouragement, information, help for whatever life has thrown at them, and a camaraderie with other women who don’t always have it together, either.

3. RELATIONSHIPS. The kick-off party was outside near the lake and I had to walk back to the hotel room to get my jacket (55° and windy by the shore of Lake Erie!). On my way back, I met fellow conference goer Susan Petrone from The Sock Kids who generously gave me a copy of her book to read and review (so watch for my review of The SockKids Meet Lincoln – if you’ve ever wondered where those lost socks go, apparently they time travel!). I was able to help her find where she and her family needed to go and learned a bit about her. I also met Doree from Top Notch Mom, she seemed super nice and was wearing the coolest boots! I’m excited to meet other bloggers and hope that  we can all find ways to help promote each other’s blogs as well as make new friendships.


doree me heather
Doree from Top Notch Mom, myself and Heather from The Homesteading Hippy at BloggyCon13!

 This is the first time I I’ve ever been to a blogging conference, so I’m not sure what to expect. You can expect an opportunity to win something, though – we received some pretty great swag in our BloggyCon bags at registration and I plan on doing some giveaways to share the love!





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