Nature Journal Entries

My Nature Journal is a simple spiral bound sketch book that I added paper and then magazine pictures to to make it pretty.

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Nature Drawing and Journaling is something that I’ve been interested in for a while.  I don’t take the time often to work on my Nature Journal, but I do enjoy really looking at God’s beauty in creation and trying to recreate it in my drawings.  This past school year, we began going through Barry Stebbings Nature Drawing and Journaling in book and DVD form.  The DVD is probably my favorite as I am a visual learner, and he actually shows you exactly how to draw borders, and gives examples of his many Nature Journals.  It’s been fun creating the borders and then later filling in the pages with more drawings taken from nature and then adding poems, Scriptures, or some kind of writing to compliment the artwork.  Unfortunately, my children aren’t as interested in this kind of art and journaling, so though they do some Nature Study, they don’t normally make a Nature Journal.  This past year, for Nature Study we used NaturExplorers from Shining Dawn Books for studying nature.  They have some great ideas on how to study nature in some creative ways, and also some great living book options on the topics covered.  This fall, we will be using the Creation Illustrated magazine.  It has phenominal photos of nature, with nature stories from a Creation viewpoint.  And, it also has some lesson plan ideas to cover the nature topics covered in the magazine.  I’m looking forward to it!  Below are some of the drawings and journaling I’ve done in my Nature Journal.  Maybe it will inspire you to try it for yourself!

I enjoy adding poems to my drawings.  I use Favorite Poems Old and New as a resource when I do add them.  I also will add quotes I find that I like, as well as Scriptures.

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I actually drew the picture below while visiting the Anita B. Gorman Nature Center.  Then, later (a couple years later…lol) I added the mixed colored leaves border around the side and bottom using Barry Stebbing’s Nature Journaling and Drawing.

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This is one of my favorites!!  I LOVE Powell Gardens.  It is a beautiful place to visit.  There is always plenty of beautiful things to draw.  I began experimenting more with shading in this drawing, and I think it makes a world of difference.  I never said I was good at drawing, but I sure do enjoy it!

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This was done from one of Barry Stebbing’s recommendations.  It’s done in marker, and then at the end, I used blue marker on paper, dipped a paintbrush in water, and lightly “painted” around the tree.

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This is how I typically start my pages now…with some sort of border.  This comes from Barry Stebbing’s courses, also.  He does nice borders in his journals and then fills in with other drawings, and journaling.  I like to do that now, also.  This is unfinished, because I’ve not yet filled in the rest of the page.

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I hope this gives some of you some inspiration so that you will try Nature Journaling and Drawing for yourself.  It’s relaxing and fun!

I have been super busy getting ready for the upcoming school year.  Lots of Lesson Planning has been taking place, a partial basement purge occurred, and I hope to get more done soon, and then lots of summer fun is happening, too!  I hope to be finishing up the majority of my school planning soon, and then I’ll share what all we are doing.  It is going to be a fun and exciting year, I think!


This Year’s Art Projects


Major homeschool planning is underway, so in the mean time, I thought I’d share some of our art projects from this past school year.  We had fun working on them, and most turned out really great.  In fact, I didn’t realize how much I enjoy drawing and painting and using different mediums until I started doing it with my children during our school days.  But, when I did, I felt relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I am still learning a lot, and have a long way to go, but it’s been fun, and hopefully we all will continue to improve.  For art, we used Creating a Masterpiece.  And, this summer, the kids are taking some fun art classes from a local high school teacher who has just put together some art days for free.  They are having a blast with it.  This same art teacher won 1st prize at our Country Fair last year, and I loved what she did.  I’m trying to convince her to teach me how she did it!  (If you’re reading this….hint!  hint!  Hahaha!)  Below are some of the projects that we did!

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This is called The Lighthouse and was done in acrylics.

These were done in pastels.  The one on the right is called Baby Blue Bird.

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This was done in colored pencil.  It’s called Clown Fish.  The above pictures were done by me.  Below will be my two daughters…oldest (15) to youngest (9).

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The 15 year old claims she’s no good at art, but I think she did pretty well.  And, she definitely has an artistic knack for painting nails, and doing hair!  My 9 year old loves art, but gets frustrated when she doesn’t think her work is turning out well.  She stopped working on the clownfish for that reason.  However, I think she’s definitely a budding artist, and she’s definitely the crafty one in our house.

What keeps you busy in the summer months?

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend!


Balance….it’s not what you think


Balance.  We all need it.  It seems we are all searching for ways to get there, too.  It’s no easy task to live a balanced life these days!  The definition of balance is a means of judging or deciding and/or mental and emotional steadiness.  I’ve often asked myself, how do I balance it all?  With four kids ranging in age from 18 down to 3, it’s hard keeping up with all the activities, chores, homeschooling, Sunday School teaching, co-op preparations, a new Sunday night program I’m starting in August, husband pleasing, menu planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, etc., etc., etc.  That doesn’t even include the schedule or my times alone with the Lord.  I often feel frazzled, and it’s no wonder.  Busyness is taking over our culture.  If we aren’t busy, we question if we’re doing enough.

I seem to feel more “balanced” when I have a To-Do List.  I can’t seem to function without one.  Routines are also key.  Doing the same things every day in the exact same order. They don’t have to be a certain time, as long as they are in the same order. If I don’t have a To-Do List or follow my routines, I get nothing productive done.  I also have to set alarms on my phone for everything, or I’d forget.  Things like gymnastics, story time at the library, when to pick my kids up from events, trash day, etc.  Is this normal?  Or, am I just frazzled?  LOL!

I always thought that balance in life meant figuring out how to make everything in my day work out smoothly, without stress. It was something that I had to schedule correctly, work through, or make happen. I even thought that praying for a more balanced life was a good thing, and it is. But, I think balance is not exactly what I’ve been thinking it is.  I recently wrote this post about resources I have used to help me have a clean and organized home.  One of those resources that I’m reading through currently is a book called Unstuffed. It deals with our stuff/belongings, our mind, our schedules, and our spirits.  And, I’m finding out that balance really has nothing to do with what “I” do. I can’t do anything to become more balanced. I can only find rest. Rest is what keeps me balanced. Why did it take me SO LONG to realize this? I mean, it’s clearly laid out in the creation account of Genesis. God did all his work in six days, and on the seventh He rested. He didn’t need to rest, He was just giving us an example to follow. Yet, in this day and age, we don’t see that NEED for rest. We feel like we have to go 100 miles a minute, and keep pushing through to get just one more thing done.  I think it’s also making sure that after we get a full day of rest once a week, that we focus on four areas to keep us from that frazzled state.

  1. Spiritual – Remain steadfast in God’s Word and in a healthy prayer life.  Keep sin at bay by asking for forgiveness often and repenting or turning from the sin.  Forgive others as the Lord has forgiven you.  Be thankful in all circumstances and for all things.  We are truly blessed.  Serve others in love.
  2. Physical – Eat healthy foods and get active.  Whether that means walking or a full on workout.  Exercise is great for your body, but it’s also great for your mood.  Give it a try and see for yourself.  I enjoy water aerobics when the weather is nice, Pilates for strength training, yoga for stretching and relaxation, and I’m checking into T-Tapp which is something I’ve just learned about.
  3. Mental – Feed your mind.  Never stop learning.  I always have books on hand to read, and now we have blogs, and articles all over the internet.  Learn something new.  Keep your mind active.  Fill it with good things, and stay away from negative things that can cause a negative attitude or mindset.
  4. Emotional – Be a friend.  Stay positive.  Think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, and lovely.  Laugh a lot!  Do things that make you happy.  I’ve recently discovered that I enjoy doing art.  It brings me joy.  Make it a point to be in contact with people who encourage you, challenge you, and lift you up.

So, I believe to have a balanced life, we must REST.  It’s the key.  What are some ways you try to remain balanced?  Do you think REST is important?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I am planning to continue studying up on this.  I recently ordered the Bible Study called Living a Life of Balance (Women of Faith Series).  Can’t wait to get started on it and see what it says about having a balanced life!



Summer Projects

Since we homeschool, projects usually have to wait until summer break.  Things like painting, huge decluttering sessions, home improvements, etc.


A couple of summer’s ago, I refinished my oak dining room table.  Last summer I began the Kon Mari Method of decluttering and simplifying.  This summer is no different.  I have several things on my project list!  Here are some of those things, and I don’t know if I’ll even be able to complete them all!

  • Major Basement Declutter…this in and of itself is a HUGE job.  Our basement has become a catch all…and is really in bad shape.  I can’t wait to get it cleared out!
  • Move the toddler out of our bedroom and into her sister’s.  This means a new bed (hopefully a trundle) for them to share, and some rearranging of dressers and chest of drawers.
  • Potty training the toddler completely.  (Since the toddler was just mentioned, I figured I’d add this one in!  She is close to being finished, but still not 100%).
  • Kitchen Declutter, paint, and fix some minor cabinet issues.
  • Bathroom remodel (this one is mostly being hired out).
  • New Entry Doors.
  • Landscaping has been framed already, but now plants need to go in.
  • Make a head board for our bed.

Those are JUST the house projects!  Other projects include:

  • Sell baby items.
  • Price, list and sell old curriculum.  I also have a curriculum sale I’m going to that will help with this.
  • Purchase the rest of the curriculum for next year.
  • Write up lesson plans for our homeschool next year.
  • Make a working schedule for our school year.
  • Create a better chore system with earned money.
  • Create a better bedtime routine for the youngest children.

Something that I MUST do in the midst of all these projects is to remember to HAVE FUN on the summer break….things like swimming, going to the zoo, weekend getaways, summer camps, a family vacation, Royals games, and art days are planned.  Sometimes in the busyness of the summer projects, I can forget to stop the work, and have fun with the kids.  This year, I want to be different.  Memories are waiting to be made, relationships are longing to be built, joy is ready to be had.


What are your summer plans?  Projects you’d like to complete?  FUN you want to do?



The Battle of Weight Loss


When I was growing up, I was a skinny mini.  I never dreamed that I would become overweight.  But, honestly, shortly after high school, I started putting on a few pounds.  I even had to diet while I was engaged to be married so that I could fit into my wedding dress.  Thankfully, back then, I didn’t have much to lose.  But, after baby #1, I gained a lot of weight and though I’ve tried a multitude of diets, I’ve never maintained well.  And, now after 4 babies and 18 years of being overweight, it doesn’t get easier!

When I was young, I loved going to the pool and swimming for hours!  And, I loved bike riding.  I even rode the MS 150 one year with my dad.  It was so fun!  And, both of these are great exercises that burn LOTS of calories.  No wonder I was able to remain thin back then!  Then, you know, after marriage, work, and having babies, you don’t have as much time to do those fun things like swimming, or bike riding.  I guess they just got put on the back burner.  And, my priority became kids, homeschooling, and other things.

I have tried dieting on my own, Weight Watchers multiple times, Weigh Down, The Flat Belly Diet, First Place 4 Health, and currently I’m doing Trim Healthy Mama.  I’ve learned a lot through all these losses and regains!  Here are some things that I have learned:

  • accountability is KEY.  Lose weight with a friend or two!  Surround yourself with people who will support you and encourage you on your journey.
  • Any diet can work, IF you follow the plan.  Some work better than others and have more freedom than others.  Some are also more healthy than others.  Find something that can become a lifestyle.
  • Find exercises that you enjoy, and doing them with friends can even make it more enjoyable!  I honestly don’t like to sweat.  I know that’s bad to say, but I really don’t.  I love the water, because it cools me, and I love bike riding because if you can get your speed up, there’s a nice breeze (not to mention getting to see God’s beauty through creation as you ride).  I’ve also come to enjoy Pilates for the firming and shaping that results (however, I definitely sweat)!  I also enjoy yoga for relaxation, and I’ve come to enjoy intervals because of the help with metabolism and energy.  I’ve found mixing things up and doing something different each day keeps me motivated, and helps me not to get bored.  And, I honestly think it helps trick my body and trim it quicker because it never knows what’s happening to it from day to day.  Ha!  🙂
  • The more you eat healthy, the less you crave the unhealthy.  It’s amazing what I’ve come to love to eat, and be satisfied with.  Things I never would have tried before!
  • Journaling helps me.  I weigh once a week, and journal about how I did.  Some weeks are very encouraging, others not so much, but when I keep track, I know what to do to improve.

Currently, I’ve been struggling with a weight loss, a weight gain, a weight loss.  Sometimes it feels like this battle will never end!  But, I have to remain positive, and see where I’ve come in only about 18 weeks.  I’ve lost about 35 lbs.  The exciting part is that 35 lbs is the most I’ve ever lost in any weight loss program.  So, this time, I KNOW that I will pass that hurdle, and continue going!  I have about 100 more pounds to lose.  That seems daunting when I see that number, but I truly believe it’s possible this time.  I just have to remain focused on the goal and stop the temptations before I allow them to overtake me!

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

                                                                                                            1 Corinthians 10:13

So, do you have any weight battle tips?  I’d love to hear them!  I am determined to win this battle!  Someday, I may be brave enough to post my before and after photos.  Can’t wait for that day!



Birth to 18 in 30 Seconds

It is amazing how quickly time goes!  It seems like yesterday that I was holding my precious baby boy in my arms, and tomorrow he graduates!


I am very much looking forward to the ceremony.  A homeschool graduation ceremony is so much more personal, and we, as the parents, get to hand our son his diploma.  It’s exciting!

The most nerve wracking thing right now is the preparations for his grad party.  I have no idea what I’m doing…this is my first child to graduate.  But, I’ve been to lots of parties since my husband is a youth pastor, so I’ve gotten lots of ideas.  I think it will be fun!  One more stress is making sure our house is company ready!  As you’ve probably read before from this post, I struggle with keeping the house clean.  Things have been going well, and are being fairly maintained, but I want it to look extra special since lots of people will be coming.  But, I am going to pray that I’m more Mary and less Martha for my son’s sake.  When I’m Martha, I’m no fun, and get cranky rather quickly….not the way I want to celebrate my son’s graduation.

We will be displaying lots of past photographs in three open spaces in our walls, along with a buffet table that will have his senior pictures, a few scrap books of his young life, and extra wallet photos for guests to take.  We will be serving bbq brisket and bbq pork sandwich rolls, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, a sausage, cheese and cracker tray, a cheese ball, lots of cake and nuts, and lemonade and tea. Outside at our fire pit we are providing s’mores for the making. We plan to have outdoor games for anyone interested, also.  I think it will be lots of fun!

The color theme is blue and silver, so the napkins will be both blue and silver, and the balloons and tablecloths are also in those colors.   Most of the serving trays I borrowed or purchased and they are galvanized steal, which adds to the silver theme color.  My husband, the tech of the family, made a video of lots of pictures that will also be playing on our t.v.

The post is short this week because of all the preparations!  If you have graduates, congratulations!  It’s a big deal!  Enjoy this time.



Resources for a Clean & Organized Home

clean-571679_1280I have been doing pretty well with my routines, and things have been shaping up around my house!  Yay!  So, I figured that I would give you all some FABULOUS resources that have helped me.  I have learned to be organized, and keep a home, all while homeschooling!  It can be done!  So, below I will have a list of awesome resources that have helped me along the way.  They aren’t in any particular order, but I will comment on each.

  • Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley a.k.a. The FlyLady – This resource may be one of my Top Picks!  It is extremely practical in helping you learn how to start creating routines and helping you develop good habits.  There is also a daily email reminder list you can get if you like, but the book alone is a HUGE help!  It was often the only encouragement I would get, and it was so encouraging!  Marla truly cares for her Fly Babies (as we are called), and really wants to help people.  Find the website with all kinds of helpful information here.
  • The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark – This was another practical book that helped me to reorganize my home so that cleaning was not so difficult.  It taught me things such as keeping like things together so they are easily found, and placing bins in places that seem to collect messes.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – I wrote a review of this book last summer.  Here is that review:
    My REVIEW of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (BEFORE implemetation of her method}

    Well, to start off, I have to say that The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was something like I’ve never read before.  I’ve read many books about decluttering, cleaning, and organizing and this one was nothing like the others.  Not at all!  Obviously, by the amount of books I’ve read on the topic, this is an area that I struggle with and have struggled with for most of my life, if not all of it.  In fact, I am a huge fan and follower of FlyLady’s principles and have been for several years.  I have read her book, Sink Reflections, many times.  But, even with her ideas, I still struggle with the 15 minute decluttering sessions, and the detailed cleaning.  I have gone through some great periods of sticking to the daily routines, though, and I did like that part of FlyLady’s program, because if you follow it, it does work.  (But, again, I could never get past the DAILY routines to fit in the rest of the program!)

    So, when I saw some recent posts about the KonMarie Method, I was quite intrigued.  It is the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.  The posts and articles that I read were written by people who had read this book, and who had implemented the ideas or method into their own lives.  They were all very enthusiastic about it and even showed pictures and videos of some of the implementation.  It looked quite inspiring, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book and see if it would be something that would work for me. 

    Now that I have finished the book, I have mixed feelings about it.  I will detail those shortly.  I think some of the ideas are so different that they took me by surprise and at first I didn’t like them because they were so different.  But, as I continued to read, I came to understand more fully the reasoning behind them and think it might be worth a try to begin implementing them.  However, there were still some things that bothered me.  For instance, the almost worship like behavior of belongings.  That is not something I want to do or ever plan to do!

    So, I will start with the aspects of the KonMarie Method that I do like.  I like that she believes that tidying a little every day will cause you to be tidying forever.  I am not a naturally tidy person, so I would LOVE to not have to be tidying forever, and apparently if you use this method, you won’t have to ever tidy again.  (I do have to mention that her definition of tidying is not cleaning.  It is decluttering.  Tidying is decluttering, and if you do it her way just once, you’ll never have to do it again.  I LIKE that, I like it a lot!)  I also like that she believes that storage experts are hoarders.  That cracks me up!  I can definitely see her point.  I like that she suggests sorting by category, not by location.  I have always decluttered by the room.  I would start in the bedroom by sorting my clothes into keep, give, and trash piles.  Then, I would organize them back into the drawers or closet.  I would go through my entire bedroom sorting and organizing this way until the room was all the way decluttered and re-organized, then I would give it a good cleaning.  After I was done with my bedroom, I’d move on to the next room and repeat.  With the KonMarie method, you don’t go room to room, you go category by category.  Clothes are first, then books, and the list continues all the way to mementos or sentimental items.  At first this threw me way off, but I grew to really like the idea behind working in this fashion.  The next thing I really like is that you are to ask yourself when discarding, “Does this item spark joy?”  If it does not, you tell it goodbye; if it does bring joy, you keep it.  It sounds wonderful to only keep those things that bring joy.  It might become a tad tricky if your pots and pans don’t spark joy, but I do think the reasoning behind her having you ask this for each item makes a lot of sense. She says that if it sparks joy, you will take better care of the item, and therefore, it will last longer and continue to spark joy for a very long time.  I like that she has a particular order of categories to follow when decluttering.  I need help, and her giving the instructions with an order is very helpful.  I like that every item is supposed to be stored vertically.  This includes clothing!  Sounds absolutely crazy, but the pictures and videos I’ve seen are amazing.  This way you truly can see everything you own in a glance, and much less space is taken up.  It’s quite genius, actually!  I like that she says about books, “Sometime means never.”  If I haven’t read it, I most likely won’t read it.  It’s a hard thing to swallow as I’m a lover of books, but it is pretty accurate, I’m afraid.  She also says that the books to keep are those that belong in the Hall of Fame.  I have some of those books, and they are definitely keepers!  I like that when it comes to storage, she says that simplicity is best.  You don’t have to go out and buy expensive storage solutions.  I like that storage spaces are not to be scattered throughout the house.  I like that she suggests keeping things out of the bath/shower and kitchen sink areas.  At first, I thought this was crazy!  But, if you just get your bath/shower items out as you use them, and the soaps/brushes out as needed for cleaning dishes, how much simpler would it be to clean the shower and sink areas?  And, how much nicer and less cluttered those spaces would always look!  I also like how she says that we should appreciate the items we have.  It helps us to take proper care of them if we are thankful for them.  I have to agree.  These are many of the things that I liked about the book.

    Now I will share those things that I didn’t like so much.  I don’t like that photos are to be cherished for who we are now.  It seems like she is promoting getting rid of old photos and there are way too many memories in old photos for me.  Maybe if I stored them properly in a memory book, and that was an item I loved and brought me joy, I could see her point.  But, just discarding anything that is not current?  I don’t think so!  I don’t like that she says to forget about flow planning and frequency of use.  To me, there are some things that are conveniently located for a purpose (because of flow) and others that are placed where they are placed because of how frequently they are used.  So, this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Maybe when I begin implementing the rest of her method, it will make more sense, but it doesn’t right now.  Another thing I do not like is the recommendation to empty my bag every single day.  (She is speaking of your purse and/or briefcase).  Why would I do this?  It baffles my mind, even after she explained why, I still don’t get it.  The next thing I do not like is making the top shelf of bookcases a personal shrine.  Won’t do it.  Never will.  I don’t worship things, and that is definitely a cultural thing I will not be implementing.  I also do not like how often it is mentioned to speak to your belongings, greet them, thank them, allow them to help you, and the mention of good fortune that will come when tidying.  I do believe that we should be grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with, and maybe I can turn these suggestions into having a grateful attitude to the Lord rather than to the item itself.  It’s just all kind of creepy and it’s sprinkled throughout the entire book.  For those reasons, I’m not sure I can recommend reading the book.  However, there were many good ideas, and I do plan to try to implement them.  I’m actually anxious to get started and plan to re-evaluate my review after I’ve tried implementing the KonMarie Method in my own home.  Tidying may begin as soon as tomorrow! 🙂

    Now that it’s been almost a year since writing this review, I can give a small update.  I still agree with most all that I wrote!  I did end up getting rid of A TON of stuff!  I think it was approximately 20 boxes and 30 trash bags of stuff, and I was unable to even get to my linens or kitchen!  The one thing that I do disagree with is that once you do this tidying (decluttering) you will never have to do it again.  Because I am a homeschooler, books will always need to be paired down, and because I have kids, toys and kid’s clothing will always have to be paried down.  However, if I lived alone, this would be true!  My favorite thing that was implemented (besides the feeling I got from getting rid of so much stuff) was the drawer organization.  It has made a HUGE difference!  I love the way my drawers look ALL the time, and I can literally see everything I own in every drawer.  I hope to continue with the tidying this summer by finishing the kitchen, and working through all the stuff in our basement.  I can’t wait!

  • Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup – This is a book I’ve most recently been reading.  It is also a lot about decluttering, not only our homes, but our schedules and minds.  I am not completely finished with this book, but I already know it’s one I want to add to this list.

Okay!  There you go.  These are four of my all time favorite resources for helping me to get my home clean and organized.  And, when my  home is clean and organized, it also makes me a better wife, mom, homeschool teacher, and friend.  And, I am better prepared to serve with a joyful heart.  Which reminds me of one more book!  Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.  Check it out!

I hope these books can help you as they have helped me.  I imagine many of them can be checked out at a library.  Enjoy!  And, because I love to read, I’d love to hear of other great books that you’ve read on this topic!  Please share!

2016-2017 Curriculum Picks


Here are my curriculum picks for next year!  I’ll start with my oldest still in school and go down to my youngest.

Sophomore (10th Grader):

Memory Verses: Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Pack #4

Bible: TruthQuest Beginnings Guide           

Character:  Ourselves Book 1 by Charlotte Mason and Character First:  Attentiveness, Obedience, Honesty, Respect, Diligence, Thankfulness with Write Upon My Heart Character Curriculum (each for 6 weeks) and with 

Worldview:  Cat & Dog Theology Year 2              

History:  TruthQuest Middle Ages Guide and TruthQuest Renaissance Guide alongside Beautiful Feet’s Medieval Senior High Study Guide (only using portions) and with portions of 

Since TruthQuest also uses living books, these are the books I’ve chosen along with dvd’s:

Middle Ages and Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration Book & DVD List

(Plus order of use)

Middle Ages

Beowulf with Invitation to the Classics (Literature)

King Arthur and His Knights (audio by Jim Weiss)

Son of Charlemagne

The Arabian Nights with the Audio by Jim Weiss (Literature)

Leif the Lucky

El Cid (Movie)

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #2

Castle by David Macaulay with the online Video version from the library

Greenleaf’s Famous Men of the Middle Ages

Ivanhoe (Movie)

The Magna Charta

The Story of Robin Hood (Movie)

Cathedral by David Macaulay with the online Video version from the library

Stepping Stone Kit (Craft)

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy

Inspector General (Movie)

Morning Star of the Reformation

The Chaucer Story Book (Literature)

Joan of Arc

Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #3

The Black Arrow

Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland (library)

Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces (library)

Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting (library)

The Agony and the Ecstasy (Movie)

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #4

Martin Luther

Luther (Movie)

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

Martin Luther’s Defense before the Diet of Worms

Mosque by David Macaulay

Pilgrim’s Progress (Literature)

Greenleaf’s Famous Men of the Reformation

A Man for All Seasons (Movie)


God’s Outlaw (Movie)

The Radicals (Movie)

The Virgin Queen (Movie)

Under Drake’s Flag

SCM’s Shakespeare in 3 Steps

How Should We Then Live? (DVD 2) Episode #6

Johannes Kepler

Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (Literature)

Optional Spine:  Trial & Triumph

You may have noticed that I also included the Literature books for the year in the above list.  I will also be using Beautiful Feet’s An Anthology of Medieval Literature 

Geography:  Beautiful Feet’s Medieval Senior High Guide and The Medieval World:  An Illustrated Atlas 

Writing:  Written Narrations and Essays from TruthQuest’s Think Write Assignments and Beautiful Feet’s Guide as well as Written Narrations on each of the literature selections.  Notebooking from A Journey Through Learning for Middle Ages and Renaissance is also availabe through TruthQuest and I will be using it.

Math:  Life of Fred

Science:  ACE Paces Biology DVD Course 

Rotation Subjects:

Picture Study (Valesquez, Turner, and Rembrandt – 12 weeks for each)

Poetry (Robert Browning and Carl Sandburg – 1 semester each)

Hymn Study (1 hymn per month) and and

Composer Study

Nature Study and


and Shakespeare (As You Like It)                                                             

Electives:  Logic, Speech (through co-op), Piano Lessons, and Gymnastics detective&page=1 

4th Grader:

Memory Verses:  Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Pack #4 – same as 10th grader – see link above

Bible:  Long Story Short

Character:  The Young Peacemaker (Co-op) and Character First and 

Worldview:  Apologia’s Who Is God?                                    

History:  Heart of Dakota Bigger Hearts for His Glory 

Geography:  Beautiful Feet’s Geography Through Literature 

English:  My Father’s World’s Language Lessons for Today Grade 4 

Spelling:  Simply Charlotte Mason’s Spelling Wisdom 1 

Reading:  Heart of Dakota’s Bigger Hearts for His Glory Classic Literature Pack 

Writing:  Draw and Write Through History 

Math:  Life of Fred 

Science:  HOD’s Bigger Hearts Science and Apologia Astronomy and

Rotations:  Same as 10th Grader – See above

Electives:  Piano Lessons, Youth Theatre Academy, Children’s Choir

Preschool 3:

The Homegrown Preschooler

Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven              

I usually save throughout the year to purchase curriculum for the following year, and I sell the curriculum we are finished with.  It really makes no sense to me to save curriculum for the next child when each of the rest of my kiddos are 6 years apart.  I don’t like to use outdated material, and prefer newest editions in most cases.  I’d love to hear about some of your favorite curriculum choices!  Please chime in!

Our Homeschool Scope & Sequence


This next school year I will have a Sophomore (10th grade), a Fourth Grader, and a Pre-Schooler!  And, I am graduating my first in a few weeks!  So, I’ve done a lot of homeschooling, and a lot of curriculum!  I love to research and review all the different options out there, and then make the best decisions for my family.  I choose according to my teaching style, my kids’ learning styles, and our method of homeschooling, which happens to be Charlotte Mason Inspired.  I recently revamped my Homeschool Scope & Sequence which gives my picks for all of the homeschool years beginning in pre-school and going through 12th grade.  This is a guide I use, and can change depending on the child and our current life situations.  But, I do like to use it as a guide for planning for the future.

Take a look:

Homeschool Scope & Sequence




Use Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Packs and Memory Verse System

New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes MFW K MFW 1st Grade


HOD Little Hearts for His Glory HOD Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory


Bigger Hearts for His Glory

Character First along with Character Booklets from Keeper’s of the Faith

Big Thoughts for Little People

My ABC Bible Verses

The Singing Bible

Leading Little Ones to God

Hide ‘em In Your Heart CD

A Child’s Book of Character Building Book 1


A Child’s Book of Character Building Book 2 Character First

Wisdom and the Millers

WORLDVIEW Adventures in Obedience

(Cat & Dog Theology)

Cat & Dog Theology Elementary 1 Cat & Dog Theology Elementary 2
HISTORY American American American
GEOGRAPHY BF Geography through Literature
ENGLISH R&S ABC Books? English for the Thoughtful Child 1 English for the Thoughtful Child 2 MFW Primary Language Lessons MFW Primary Language Lessons
SPELLING All About Spelling Level 1 All About Spelling Level 2 All About Spelling Level 3 All About Spelling Level 4
READING/LITERATURE Lots of Reading Aloud!


Lots of Reading Aloud!


Pathway Readers Emerging Readers

Pathway Readers

Emerging Readers and/OR

Pathway Readers

Pathway Readers
WRITING A Reason for Handwriting K A Reason for Handwriting A A Reason for Handwriting Transition A Reason for Handwriting C
MATH Numbers 1-10 Horizons OR LOF Horizons OR LOF Horizons OR LOF Horizons OR LOF
SCIENCE Shining Dawn Books – Nature By the Season 106 Days of Creation

OR More Shining Dawn Book Units

Living Learning Books Science HOD Science

AND Apologia Flying Creatures


Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Studies, Shakespeare in Three Steps, Beautiful Feet Composer Study then SCM’s Music Study with the Masters, Hymns from a Kid’s Heart and Then Sings My Soul, SCM’s Enjoy the Poems and Favorite Poems Old and New and Poems for Memorization, Shining Dawn Books for Nature Study, Art – Creating a Masterpiece, Missionary Biographies

Poet:  Rudyard Kipling


Poet:  Lewis Carroll Poet:  Christina Rosetti

Picture Study:  John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Picture Study:  Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses

Poet: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picture Study:  John James Audubon and Pablo Picasso

CORE CURRICULUM A Year of Playing Skillfully ages 3 & 4

Little Hands to Heaven

MFW Kindergarten MFW 1st Grade HOD LHFHG HOD Beyond LHFHG HOD Bigger HFHG



BIBLE HOD Preparing TQ Beginnings TQ Beginnings Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

CHARACTER Prudence and the Millers

Character First

The Young Peacemaker

Character First

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends Beautiful Girlhood and Raising Maidens of Virtue Before You Meet Prince Charming
WORLDVIEW Apologia Who Is God? Apologia Who Am I? Apologia Who is My Neighbor? Apologia What on Earth Should I Do? A Young Historians Introduction to Worldview
HISTORY PHFHG with Draw Write Now Pilgrims, Pirates and Patriots and Draw Write Now Napoleum to Lady Liberty – World of the 1800’s and Draw Write Now Invention, Exploration & War – 20th Century TQ Beginnings with Draw Write Now Creation through Jonah TQ Greece with Draw Write Now Greece & Rome TQ Rome with Draw Write Now Vikings, Middle Ages & Renaissance TQ Middle Ages
GEOGRAPHY A Child’s Geography of the World by Hillyer OR Galloping the Globe Trail Guide to Bible Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to Bible Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to World Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to World Geography OR MapTrek
ENGLISH Intermediate LL 1 Intermediate LL 2 Intermediate LL 3 Winston Grammar Winston Grammar
SPELLING Spelling Wisdom 1 Spelling Wisdom 2 Spelling Wisdom 3 Spelling Wisdom 4 Spelling Wisdom 5
READING/LITERATURE HOD Book List HOD Book List HOD Book List HOD Book List HOD Book List
WRITING Begin Typing Continue Typing IEW Student Writing Intensive IEW Ancient

History Based Writing Lessons

IEW Continue Ancient and Begin Renaissance
SCIENCE Apologia Astronomy OR

Science in the Ancient World

Apologia Swimming Creatures OR

The Scientific Revolution

Apologia Land Animals OR

Science in the Age of Reason

Apologia Botony OR

Science in the Industrial Revolution

Apologia Human Anatomy and Physiology
ROTATIONS Poet:  Robert Louis Stephenson

Picture Study:  Cezanne and Pierre Auguste Renoir

Poet:  Robert Frost

Picture Study:  Giotto and Raphael

Poet:  Emily Dickenson

Picture Study:  Van Eyck and Fra Angelico

Poet:  Alfred Lord Tennyson

Picture Study:  Botticelli and daVinci

Poet:  Sir Walter Scott

Picture Study:  Durer and Michelangelo

Shakespeare:  A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

ELECTIVES Art:  Creating a Masterpiece OR Artistic Pursuits AND

Barry Stebbing’s Nature Drawing and Journaling


BIBLE Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

CHARACTER A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart Ourselves Book 1 Ourselves Book 2 Of Knights and Fair Maidens
WORLDVIEW How to be Your Own Selfish Pig

AND, Cat & Dog Theology Year 1

Cat & Dog Theology Year 2 Cat & Dog Theology Year 3 AND

I don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Athiest

Understanding the Times AND

Cat & Dog Theology Year 4


HISTORY TQ Renaissance, Reformation, Exploration TQ Age of Revolution 1 TQ Age of Revolution 2 TQ Age of Revolution 3
GEOGRAPHY Trail Guide to World Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to US Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to US Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to US Geography OR MapTrek
READING/LITERATURE Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart
WRITING IEW Continue Renaissance IEW US History Based Writing Lessons IEW US History Based Writing Lessons IEW US History Based Writing Lessons
MATH LOF LOF Financial Peace
SCIENCE Exploration Education Physical Science Biology 101 OR ACE Biology Chemistry 101 OR ACE Chemistry
ROTATIONS Poet:  Robert Browning

Picture Study:  Titian and Velazquez

Poet:  Carl Sandburg

Picture Study:  Turner and Rembrandt

Shakespeare:  As You Like It

Poet:  William Wordsworth

Picture Study:  Millet and Constable

Poet:  John Greenleaf Whittier

Picture Study:  Monet and Van Gogh

Shakespeare:  Taming of the Shrew


Creative Writing

Foreign Language

Foreign Language





Some of the typing transferred from Microsoft Word to blog world came out a bit strange, but hopefully you can make most of it out.  I will stop here this time….as this is A LOT to take in.  Next time, I’ll tell you what each of my curriculum choices for the 2016-2017 year are!  (Not all details of the curriculum types are listed in the Scope & Sequence, and as I said before, the Scope & Sequence is just a guide).

Do you make a Scope & Sequence for your homeschool?  What are some of the “Don’t Miss” subjects for your kiddos?

Until next time, Happy Planning!

More Chaos, Less Order


I am going to be completely honest here, and say that one of my all time biggest struggles is keeping a clean home.  Oh, I try to.  And, there’s been times in my life where I’ve done better than others.  But, it is truly a real struggle.  I don’t really know the reason why.  I think part of the reason is that I’m a perfectionist.  You may be thinking….”Well, if you’re a perfectionist, it would make sense that the house is always in perfect order.”  You would think so, however, I’ve found that my perfectionism also can cause utter chaos.  I rationalize that since I don’t have time to make it perfect like I want it, I might as well not do it at all.  It’s really pretty silly for me to think that way, because doing SOMETHING is certainly better than doing NOTHING.  But, sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed and almost paralized because I just can’t keep up with it all.  I have four kids, and with each addition, it seems to have gotten more difficult.  And, this overwhelmed feeling leads to much guilt, and feelings of failure.  It’s a pretty dreadful place to be.

I’ve read numerous books on cleaning and organization.  I’ve even implemented many plans.  I definitely have some favorite books I could recommend on the topic, and I may just list them at some point in case this is a struggle for anyone else.  But, the truth of the matter is….unless you put into practice what you read, and not just for a short time, but for the long haul, it will not stick.  It’s really quite a bummer.  I’ve often wished I could hire out help for keeping a clean house, but I am a stay at home momma, so I should be able to handle this!  I’ve had some great friends and family come and help me during some extra overwhelming times in my life.  They proved to be such a blessing, but the guilt returns once again when I’m unable to maintain what they helped me to create.

The longer I struggle with this, and the more I pray about it, I am coming to the conclusion that it’s really a whole lot about habits.  We get into these bad habits, like:

  • Leaving things out because we think it takes too long to put them away
  • Rushing to leave, so we don’t have time to pick up first (this is also a time management problem that seems to go along with the chaos of a messy home)
  • Spending too much time on screens….t.v., social media, phones
  • Sleeping in when getting up earlier would be a better choice
  • Staying up too late…then being too tired to accomplish much the next day
  • Procrastinating
  • Allowing things to build up to an overwhelming state
  • Not taking time out for recharging (I recharge by listening to Worship music, spending time in prayer and Bible Study, enjoying nature drawing and journaling, art, and date nights with my husband, or girls night’s out)
  • Not having a plan for meals…until the last minute
  • Not having a plan for each day

And, once bad habits are formed, they are VERY HARD to break!


I’m currently reading yet another book on clutter.  I do find that reading the books help me to get motivated to make the necessary changes.  Since begining to read this latest book, I have gone back to making daily To-Do Lists.  It really helps me to maintain good habits.  Right now my list consists of:

  • Making My Bed as soon as I rise
  • Getting Ready for the day (Shower, Dress, Hair, Face)
  • Making and Eating Breakfast
  • Bible Study & Prayer Time
  • Daily Chores
  • Homeschooling

After I complete all of these things, I add to my list other things I’d like to accomplish that I may or may not get to.  For instance, right now, I am preparing for my son’s graduation so I have on my list to get the address labels made for the graduation invitations.  I’m also in the midst of planning homeschooling for next year, writing lesson plans, selling old curriculum, etc.  So, I add those things so I don’t forget anything.  And, if I don’t get to those things, I just move them to the list for the next day.  Having a list has really helped me stay better on task each day, feel more organized, and accomplish more. It has also helped me to prioritize the most important things.  So, for me a list is really necessary!  I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop using one for awhile.  Chaos returns with a vengeance when I don’t!

The last couple books I’ve read have really focused a lot on getting rid of so.much.stuff.  It’s impossible to keep a home clean when the clutter is overtaking it.  And, not really just clutter, but any access items.  We don’t NEED all the stuff that we own, but we just keep bringing more in!  It’s especially hard with kids and toys.  And, homeschooling makes it tough, too.  But, I do feel so much better emotionally, when my house feels like it’s been cleaned out.  Last summer, I did a major declutter.  I went through all the bedrooms, closets, clothes, toys, books, etc, and packed up probably 15-20 bags to give away.  It felt awesome!  That was after the last book I read on this subject.  I’ve learned, though, that after almost a year, it is something that needs to be done probably quarterly.  Otherwise more stuff keeps coming in!  With birthdays and Christmas gifts, with homeschooling books and supplies, with new clothes and shoes, and growing children….the stuff justs continues to accumulate.  And, once again, I’m feeling the suffocation of an unorganized, cluttered house.  And, honestly, I’ve learned you really can’t organize clutter.  It’s nice to organize those things you love and are keeping.  But, I must get rid of the rest!

So, since realizing I once again need to purge….I’m planning to tackle what I didn’t accomplish last year.  That includes the linen closet, bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets, and revamping of the kids clothes, shoes, and toys, and the most dreaded of all….the BASEMENT…otherwise known as the dungeon.  I’m actually hoping to get my entire family on board for the basement, and hoping to tackle it all over one weekend.  I don’t know if I will be able to accomplish it all in one weekend, but I do think it’s a great goal.  So, hopefully I can post an update with the before and after pictures!  And, if I’m able to maintain by developing GOOD habits to replace my bad ones, I will share my awesome list of books I’ve used over the years that have helped me a ton!

So, do you struggle with keeping a clean home?  Clutter?  Disorganization?  Have you conquered these struggles in your life?  If so, I’d love to hear how you got from Chaos to Order!