Welcome to 1+1+1=1

First, let me welcome you to my little corner of the web. 1+1+1=1 is a blog that began in 2007 and has grown beyond my wildest dreams! If you are brand new, chances are you are a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to start! I hope this post helps you navigate through the gobs of information available here.

About Our Family

The best place to learn more about our family is here on our website. You can read all about us, what we do, our faith beliefs, why we homeschool, why I blog, and more! You can also peek at our About Us page here on the blog too. Much of the info is the same.

As for me, the one who actually writes this blog, I don’t like writing about that portion as much as I like writing about the people I love, but I know I love to read about {and see a photo} the other women online whose blogs I visit, so here’s a bit about who I am. My name is Carisa ~ yes only 1 s. This is me…

IMG_8548{my good friend Jolanthe took this photo of me while at the Relevant Conference in Oct 2010}

I am a 36 year old mom to 3, who you will read all about here on my blog, but I am also a wife of IMG_7784over 12 years to an amazing and Godly man {and also as beautifully imperfect as I am}. We have an interesting love story-in a nutshell we were engaged within 6 weeks and married within 11 months. When we left our suburban southern {typical American dream} life to become full time faith supported missionaries, we uprooted it all and replanted in the inner city within 6 months of hearing the initial call from the Lord. We move fast and it seems to be how God likes to do things with us. We seek the Lord together in all we do, both in things we partner on and in things we do individually. Although I write this blog, my husband is my accountability partner in all areas, I am so grateful for his support and wisdom as he guides me lovingly.


There is much more to who I am, but hopefully what you will see when you visit my blog is that God has given me things to share and I pray I am a good steward over what He has given me. This blog truly belongs to Him.

I use the same Avatar image for everything so it makes it easier for you 😉 This is the current “me” online…Carisa2010b

My Children

I do keep their real names semi-private. I use blog names for them in print, but yes, occasionally you may see their names in a photo or hear them in one of my videos. It’s not a do or die thing for us-just something we try to be mindful of mostly so their names are not searchable online. Online we call them: Pac Man {oldest son}, Krash {middle son}, and Ladybug {youngest daughter}. If you click on their names you can read a bit more about them!


About the Name of the Blog

Read all about how the name 1+1+1=1 came to be here!

History of the Blog

Ever wonder how I began my online life? Start here with The History of 1+1+1=1 ~ Part 1. In that post you will find links to the posts that follow and share the rest of the history of the blog and my other sites!

Main Sections

RRS125x125giveaways125behind the scenes sidebar150Sensory Bins educational iPad Apps 100 image

TotSchool125Tot School Printables 100 Preschool Packs 100 Totbookbutton150tottraybutton Tot School Ideas 125 

You Can Read Button 100 Word Play 100

RRRSP header copy RRSP Bundle Download  RRRSK header copy

 members only a

Although it’s not always Christmas, I get asked often about gift recommendations, I recommend looking through these posts, and you can always glance at my School Tools collection.

Gift Ideas.. Gift Ideas...moms Gift Ideas...preschoolersimage

I create many printables to share for free, here are several categories which are hosted on my website…

Calendar Connections Button 100 Clip and Learn Button 100 Montessori Printables 100 Pocket Chart Printables button 100

seasonal fun 100 Sin Along with Me Button 100 REad & Write the Room Button100

#1 Post

Ever wonder what the #1 MOST READ post is on my blog? It is…

Behind the Scenes ~ Tot School…Where Do I Begin?Tot School Where

Navigating Around the Blog

The best way to find what you are looking for is to use the top navigation bar…navigation bar

When you hover your mouse over any of the topics, a drop down menu will appear. Here is an example from the Behind the Scenes section…Drop down

When All Else Fails…

There is a SEARCH tool on the right sidebar right under the Sponsors section!

My Other Sites

I do have a few other websites and blogs, it can get confusing, I know. I get confused and I write them all!

  • 1+1+1=1 Website…this is where I host many printables and other extensions of the blog.
  • 1+1+1=1 Reviews & Giveaways…I host all reviews and giveaways on a separate part of this blog. This is so people who are uninterested in that portion can easily ignore it! It is also easier to navigate around the review/giveaway page with it separate. I always share about giveaways here on the main blog, you just have to go to the other portion to actually read the review and enter!
  • Totally Tots Blog…this is my team blog, which I lead with Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations and a team of writers.
  • Totally Tots Website…this is an extension of the Totally Tots blog.
  • Raising My Lil’ Ladybug…this is a blog that I began when my daughter was born. It has since died down for the most part, but there is tons of info on it {mostly about cloth diapering} and I do update it every now and then! Best thing to do is subscribe to it, that way you’d see if I randomly post to it!
  • 1+1+1=1 on Facebook…our FB page is pretty active, I often post over there about things that aren’t worthy of an entire blog post! If you are on FB, I’d love for you to join us there!
  • Pinterest…this is where I host the ideas I found around the web!
  • Twitter {@1plus1plus1}
  • Little Bits…this is a non-profit business that my moms runs to support our missionary work. I run the website/blog for her, but it is her business. ALL profits from orders come straight into our missionary account. You can follow the blog to see new products, and please pass it along to friends to help spread the word! She custom makes orders too, info is on the website for custom orders.


There are a few questions I get often! I do not mind answering questions for you, but I thought it would be helpful if I posted the information in one place so many could find the answers without having to wait to hear back from me via email or comment. Visit the General Blog FAQ here.

Getting in Touch with Me

I must be honest…email is a VERY hard thing for me to keep up with. It honestly breaks my heart to think that I leave anyone hanging. I know it must feel like I don’t care or that I am selfishly ignoring you. I promise-that is not the case. I simply just do not have the time to keep up with all of my email anymore. I read EVERY email and comment and reply to most of them. There are some that get filed in my “Need to Reply” folder and I get to them when I can {no rhyme or reason to which emails go there-mostly depends on when they come in and how busy I am at the moment}. I am sorry if you haven’t heard from me, if it is something very important, feel free to leave a comment on my Facebook page-I am usually better with that! See my email address and more info about contacting me here.

Want a Button?

I am honored to see any of my buttons on other blogs/sites. If you’d like to add any buttons to your site, I thank you in advance! You can find all of my available buttons and the html coding here on my website.

Interested in Sponsoring?

I do host ad space on my blog, along with providing reviews and giveaways {on a limited basis}. I have a media kit available to any business owners {large or small} who are interested. Please email me with a link to the business you are representing and I will get back to you ASAP! I only accept blog sponsors who are family friendly ;-).

The Bottom Line…

I am online because I feel God calling me to be here. YES, it takes up a lot of my time, and this is a decision I made along with my husband, who supports me fully. My goal is to honor God through this blog and my sites as I try my best to serve others by using any gifts and talents God has given me. At this season of life, blogging is a natural fit since I am home with my children and not feeling called in ministry outside of my home {which I did for years}. Will I always be here? I don’t know, but I do know I feel certain that God wants me here right now. It is my desire to let Christ shine through me…even as the sinful and imperfect person that I am. If you are a believer I welcome you. If you are not, I welcome you. If you want to know what I believe {in a nutshell ~ The Bible…all of it}, you can read more here, if you are seeking, I invite you to go here to a page we created on Totally Tots to help others with questions.

Thank you for visiting 1+1+1=1, I hope you enjoy your time here and that it helps you in some way!

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing! You can also join me on Facebook or Twitter!

The History of 1+1+1=1 ~ Part 2

The History of www.1plus1plus1equals1.pzn0ud6f-liquidwebsites.com

~ The History of 1+1+1=1~ Part 1 ~

~ Part 2 ~

The next big fork in the road on my blog was definitely Tot School. Here is the very first post I wrote about it, which was written in February 2008…just a few months after the blog began. Here was my 2nd Tot School post, where I first mentioned the possibility of a Linky ;-). Here is the first post with Linky, with a big whopping 3 linking up! All ladies that were “friends” of mine through Little Laplinks!

By March of 2008, the Tot School button was born…thanks to Valerie! image She created the button for me and kindly sent it to me. I was so excited and thought it was so cute—I still do! Valerie totally hooked me up as a friend, sharing her talents simply just to be nice. She inspired me to always try my best to be the same way online.

I wrote a post setting a few Tot School guidelines in April 2008, mostly for myself-so I would stick to a schedule. Tot School began posting weekly on Sunday’s then and I have never missed a weekly post! It continued to grow, and grow and evolve into the main portion of my blog. This certainly made sense and was a very comfortable place for me since I am college educated with a degree in early childhood education and am a certified Kindergarten teacher!

Soon I began getting emails and comments from readers, asking for my advice on early childhood issues. I was VERY uncomfortable with this at first. I struggle with pride and humility like any human, and it is something I really work on in my life. I NEVER want to be a know-it-all, and I was very hesitant to offer advice at all. Who did I think I was? But I prayed, talked with my husband and realized that maybe I could offer my thoughts and help someone. Here is the first time I did that publicly.


The invention of the “Tot Book” was the next milestone for this blog. image It was one of my crazy ideas that I went with, and it too has evolved into something much bigger than I ever imagined!


The infamous “Minute-by-Minute” Tot School post was written in August 2008, and was a post I am SO glad I did. I remember it was so hard to do, but I felt led to do it. It is an old post but one that is still a top-visited post here, as I know it helps show the reality that readers need. We are not as picture perfect as we may first seem ;-). I have plans to do another post similar to this one in the fall after we get going. I’d love to give readers a real glimpse into what a day is like balancing Tot School, Preschool, and 3rd grade!


Getting pregnant with Ladybug was another fork in the road for my blog. I opened up here with my post, I am not Supermom. Soon after that post, I had to write another difficult post, entitled-Not What We Expected, which shared the news of my husband being diagnosed with cancer. This blog took much more of a personal turn than I ever expected during the cancer season of our lives. This post was the one that really showed me the value of online friends. You all became VERY REAL to me and my entire family when we all saw the results of our Prayer Geography project. It is at this point that I really realized God had bigger plans for my blog than I ever anticipated. It wasn’t about numbers {for me it never was actually}, it was about people. People were real, even if I only knew them online. I have since met a few online friends in real life, but most of you I only know online. Even more of you feel like you know me, yet I don’t know you at all. I also feel that way about a few bloggers, so I completely understand that.


In December 2008 I introduced the series, “Behind the Scenes”, image

which has turned out to be one of my favorite parts of this blog. It is a place I can reach out in a more random way, either related or totally unrelated to homeschooling. I have since written many posts for this series and I love writing them. I am a nosy person myself and I love details. I write these posts for others who might be out there like me ;-). If you ever have a topic you’d like me to write about, please email me to let me know. I keep a running list of ideas and requests I get. Sometimes I get to them, sometimes I don’t, but I definitely like hearing ideas!

2009 was a big year of transformation for this blog and my online life in general, I will save that for the next post.

Part 3 coming soon {hopefully}…

The History of 1+1+1=1 ~ Part 1

The History of www.1plus1plus1equals1.pzn0ud6f-liquidwebsites.com

I often reflect privately on where God has taken this blog, as it honestly amazes me. I thought it would be something worthy of sharing as I know many of you are either new bloggers or contemplating starting a blog of your own. I share not only for others, but also for myself, as I remind myself of God’s mighty hand. HE has been at work through this blog for years now and I still stand in awe at what He has done and has yet to do. I always pray that I am used by Him online.

This is my story,

how 1+1+1=1 came to be,

how the twists and turns led this blog to where it is today…

I began as a blog reader. I was a reluctant homeschooler, and desperately desiring to feel connected to someone in the same position. I began Googling like crazy trying to find homeschooling blogs. Little by little, I stumbled upon great blogs and began to just soak in the information I found.

Awhile after being a blog reader {and never a commenter…I was most definitely a blog lurker}, I found Valerie. I can’t even remember how, but I found her. Back then she had a different blog, “Little Blots of Faith” and she was starting a new meme called Little Laplinks. This is the main reason I set up a blog. It occurred to me that I was taking so much from the blogosphere, that it would be nice to give back in some way. So, I set up this blog as a way to share our lapbooks. That was the ONLY intent I ever had with this blog. I joined in with Little Laplinks here with my first post in October 2007. I began to share whatever I thought might possibly help someone else. I met a few friends online, most of whom I am still “friends” with today. Most of my very first blogging buddies were Little Laplinks participants. Little Laplinks went on for awhile and then fizzled out {although I fizzled out before it did if I remember correctly!}.

I soon began sharing a few lapbook templates on a website I created quickly as a stem off of the website I ran for our church. I already knew how to build a website, and already knew Photoshop {I was a photographer} so creating was something I could do, and already having access to a website meant I could share easily. The name of my site was simply “Lapbooks by Carisa.” As I said, I never had any other intentions with this blog or the site! Needless to say, God had MUCH bigger ideas than I did!!!

Side note ~ the name of the blog was NOT a long thought-out process. It was a quick thought, which must have been totally from the Lord. I remember thinking, I wanted something that could make people think and wonder and then possibly lead them to inquire and possibly learn more about the Lord! At first I thought the name was silly {and I know some still do}, but I just went with it. I certainly never thought the blog would grow as it has, so the name didn’t really matter too much ;-). In hindsight, I am so glad I went with it, as I love the name and the symbolism of it. If you’ve never read what the meaning is, you can see that here. I also selected 3 colors I liked and made those my blog’s colors. I never have changed those, and probably never will-they are a part of who I am online ;-).

Read Part 2 here!