20 Best Tips

Reader Survey and a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

For years I’ve been creating printables for our family and you all, many of those largely based on the preschool and younger ages. But – our kids are growing up! (Don’t worry, there will still be a sprinkling of early learning printables here and there!)

Every now and then I share posts about what our older children (grades 4 – 7) are doing, but the day in and day out learning of a middle schooler isn’t as colorful or exciting as the life of a preschooler.  Several of you have emailed me with questions about our older kids, but I would love to know:

What would YOU like to see more of here? Would you be willing to take a quick survey, answer a few questions, and let me know your thoughts? I’d love to hear!

If you don’t have time to complete the survey, please feel free to leave a quick comment with your thoughts. I love to hear from you all!


Complete the reader survey HERE.


When you’re done, don’t forget to enter the $50 Amazon gift card giveaway below! (Because every mom needs a little Amazon!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PDF Downloading and Printing Problems

PDF Printing Problems

One of the most common emails that I receive has to do with PDF downloading or printing errors. Maybe you’ve experienced them when trying to download a file on my site or somewhere else. Just today, I’ve received six emails that said essentially the same thing.

I’m trying to download and print one of your files, but it keeps telling me the file is damaged/corrupted every time I try to open it in Adobe. Can you help?

You are not alone! BUT the problem is typically very simple to solve. Here are a few things to try the next time you run into the problem. The first one on the list solves the problem 99% of the time – I promise!

  1. Try using a different internet browser. If you are a Chrome or Safari user, the problem seems to pop up the most in those two, so try using Firefox or IE instead. That typically does the trick!
  2. Be sure that you have the latest version of Adobe Reader installed. Don’t ask me how the file knows that there was an update, but those files can be picky. Adobe Reader is free and takes just a few minutes to update.
  3. Are you a MAC user? You may want to set Adobe Reader instead of the Mac Viewer as your default for opening files. That could be causing the glitch.
  4. Is the text in the file printing as ‘gobbledygook’? Images look ok but the fonts are unrecognizeable? Look under your ‘advanced’ settings tab when you click print and chose the ‘print as image’ option.
  5. If you are having trouble printing directly from your browser, try downloading a copy to your desktop and then opening the file and printing directly from the file.

Have you ever had trouble downloading or printing PDF files? What trick worked for you? Please share any tips you have in the comments.


Jolanthe Signature

Teaching Your Child to Read

teaching children to read

Several times a week I get emails from readers asking about tools for teaching children to read. With our oldest two children we didn’t use a set program, although we did work on spelling rules {using All About Spelling} and that set a fabulous foundation for both of them.

Our boys, however, have been a different story – more hesitant in their reading. Different teaching methods were needed as well as a more hands-on approach than our girls had needed. To say there were moments of frustration for me would be an understatement.

All About Reading

When All About Reading released their Pre1 reading program, we began using it and are now working through the levels with our boys. We have loved it as a step-by-step program for teaching children to read.

As a mom {and the teacher}, I love the hands-on approach to teaching reading and the pre-planned lessons that walk you through the reading process with your child. We’ve used all three levels that have been released and I really can’t say enough wonderful things about All About Reading. If you’d like to learn more about the program, you can read my reviews on All About Reading here.

Even though our family uses {and recommends} All About Reading, there are some other fabulous bloggers who have put together some reading programs and guides for parents and I wanted to share them with you as well.

You Can Read!


You Can Read is a sight word program for younger readers created by my wonderful friend Carisa from 1+1+1=1.   The printables in You Can Read are based on the Dolch Pre Primer & Primer Sight Word lists, as well as a few I added in, for a total of 72 words. It is geared toward children ages 4-6 {Kindergarten age} and includes 18 units for you to use with your child.

I Can Teach My Child to Read!


Recently, Jenae from I Can Teach My Child has a book that she recently released called I Can Teach My Child to Read that is an ebook specifically for moms. This ebook walks you through the basic fundamentals of teaching your child to read and you will walk away from the book with things you can do right away with your child – a great resource for $3.99!


Those are just a few resources that I wanted to share with you all – do you have a book or resource that has been a help to you in teaching your children to read? Leave a comment and share!


Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Apologia Educational Ministries ~ producing resources to help homeschool families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith.

Printable Printing Issues {Reader Questions}

Over the last few weeks, I have received NUMEROUS emails that all have a similar theme:

“I am trying to download/print one of your files. When I try to print it, only the first page is showing up and I can’t see the rest of the file. Is the file corrupted?”

The files are all fine on my end {after a period of my heart stopping and panicked phone calls for friends to check} and usually the issue can be resolved rather quickly by trying one of the following:

  1. Try opening and saving the file using a different browser. If you use Chrome {most of the issues have come via Chrome}, try either Internet Explorer or Firefox. This has resolved the issue for the majority of readers. Firefox is my personal favorite and the browser that I use.
  2. Be sure to install the most recent Adobe Reader update. Don’t ask me how your computer knows that it’s not up to date…but it knows.
  3. Are you a MAC user? Instead of using the standard Mac PDF viewer, switch over to Adobe. Many times, this will solve the issue right away.
  4. Save the document directly to your desktop and then open it from there, rather than trying to view/print via your web browser.
  5. If none of these solutions help, check out this Facebook thread that Carisa from 1+1+1=1 shared ~ there are some other great tips from readers!!

I really hope that this will help you all out and I’m sorry if you’ve been one of the people having an issue. If you have a solution that has helped you and don’t see it listed above, leave a comment and let us know!


How to Read Kindle Books without a Kindle Device

Many days I post any free Kindle books I’ve found on my Facebookkindle page. Frequently though, readers comment that they wish they could read the books ~ but they don’t own a Kindle.

Guess what? You do NOT need to own a Kindle to download the free Kindle books or to read them! How wonderful is that news?

Reading Apps for the Kindle

While I LOVE my Kindle e-reader that was purchased a little over a year ago, Amazon offers several other options for reading the books without owning a Kindle device. Here are a few:

~ Kindle app for your iPad, iTouch or Droid
~ Kindle for your PC or Mac
~ Kindle Cloud Reader 

Why I Love My Kindle

Aside from the convenient size of my Kindle {it fits in my purse with room to spare}, the biggest plus for me is the lack of backlighting. I have a hard time falling asleep after too much ‘screen time’ and the fact that it is much like an actual book page helps me out so much. In the summer, the text also shows up great in bright sunlight. 

Looking for a Kindle E-Reader?

If you are in the market for a Kindle there are several different options available for you to choose from, ranging in price from $79 to $189 with free s/h {I’d recommend the ones on the low end!!}. Although I have a Kindle without the special offers, I actually added them to my Kindle because they occasionally have some great deals.

~ Kindle e-reader w/ Special Offers {$79} or Kindle w/ wifi only {$109}

~ Kindle Touch w/ Special Offers {$99} or Kindle Touch w/ wifi only {$139}

~ Kindle Keyboard 3G w/ Special Offers {$139} and Kindle Keyboard w/ wifi and 3G {$189}.

~ Kindle Fire with backlighting {$199}

Note: There are other options for the Kindle as well, these are just a few of them.

Looking for Free Books for the Kindle?

On my blog No Ordinary Moments, I have a widget with the latest free Christian books for Kindle to release as freebies.



Although I check daily and pull books off when they are no longer free, please be sure to check the price before you add it to your cart.  New books are updated daily on my Facebook page, but you may want to visit my blog at least once a week since I will be update it several times a week!

Note: Many of the Kindle freebies are also available as free downloads from Barnes & Noble for Nook readers also. I just typically spend most of my time on Amazon {ahem}.


Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Visit these great companies!

Using 2 Part Cards from the Printable Packs {Reader Questions}

I was just wondering how to use some pages on your preschool packs. I think generally they are pages 3 and 4, they look like flashcards, but one page has a line separating the word from the picture.  I haven’t know how to use these pages, so I’ve just been letting my 3 year old practice her cutting skills :) But I’d love to know what their actual intention is.

vocab collage

Each of the printable packs that I’ve put together typically has 2 different vocabulary pages that look similar to the above pages. One of the pages shows an image with the word underneath it and the other page shows a line dividing the image from the word.

Here’s a look at how we do the 2-part vocabulary cards in the packs. The first few days we review the words and their beginning letter sounds and have Kaleb point to the word as we say it. On the third day, I cut apart the 2-part cards and slide the words into our table top pocket chart {I love that we can prop it right up on the table next to us and work together}. Kaleb then picks up the pictures and slides them behind the right picture {usually based on looking at the beginning letter sound}.

20110810-IMG_1198  20110810-IMG_1199

Basically, this is just an added ‘boost’ to help children understand that there is a relationship between pictures and words and that letters make sounds.

If your child isn’t quite ready for this step, you can also play a matching game. Lay out the vocabulary cards that are not separated with a line and have your child match picture-to-picture and then see if s/he can match the words together as well.

Hope that helps!!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Visit these great companies!