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!

The Temptation of Pride

I am a long time follower of Jesus.  My relationship with the Lord began when I was a child, and I learned to study God’s Word as a teenager.  I’ve had lots of ups and downs in studying God’s Word through many different periods of my life.  I think all Christians do.  However, I’ve recently discovered that sometimes long time Christians who’ve read parts of the Bible over and over again can become numb to the words.  So, in considering this, I asked myself: “Why is this?”  We become numb to it, or feel like we aren’t getting anything out of it, even though the study time began with prayer and we’re reading our Bibles daily.  Surely I’m not the only one that feels this way.  We are so busy in this day and age.  Myself included!  Sometimes I think we are so busy that we just can’t slow our minds down enough to ingest what the Lord is wanting to tell us.  So, in our rushed minds, we also rush through our study of the Bible and feel nothing.  We just have a common routine of being able to check our study off our daily to do list.  Does this mean we shouldn’t have this daily routine, especially if we feel we never get anything out of it?  Absolutely not!  Good habits are sometimes difficult to maintain, so making it a priority to even open the Word is important.  But, I think when we feel we aren’t getting anything out of it, we are really just forgetting to open our hearts and minds, and to slow the pace within us.



I know this has been me, more often than I’d like to admit.  Often times I have my To-Do List that is always considerably longer than I’m even capable of completing in a day’s time lingering in my mind, and I feel like I have to hurry and get things done, including my time with the Lord.  This is the ‘Martha’ in me, and not the ‘Mary’.  (See Luke 10:38-42)  I’m more worried about what gets accomplished than I am about hearing from the Lord, and growing in His Word.  God’s Word tells us in Isaiah 55:10-11, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  So, if God’s Word is true, and I believe it is 100%, then we are meant to receive something from the Lord EACH and EVERY time we open His Word.  So, why do so many people NOT feel like they do?

I know this has been me, because when I really, truly, deeply within myself am hungering for growth, the Lord shows me something new; something that’s been there all along, mind you, but I was too rushed to see it and soak it in.  I’ve also read the same passages over and over again, reading the words like I read a story, and not really thinking much about what I’m reading.  So, I come away ‘knowing’ the story, but not really the message behind the story.  One such story that I know I’ve missed messages in, or didn’t understand the complete message was the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32.  I always thought the whole story was about the son that took his share of his inheritance, squandered it in wild living, and then came to his senses and returned to his father, who was waiting for him with open arms. I also always felt the older brother had reason to be upset!  So, I tended to side with him.  However, in really studying the passage, I came to realize that passage has a lot to say about the older brother.  In fact, nearly half of the story is about the older brother.  And, I realized that the older brother really had a heart problem.  He felt he’d done no wrong, and didn’t understand why his ‘naughty’ brother was getting all the attention.  The Lord showed me that the older brother was in fact wrong.  He had a prideful heart!  He felt as though he was better than his brother.  But, Jesus takes us as we are…..good, bad, and ugly.  Another story that I had read multiple times was the story of Mary and Martha (mentioned above).  I felt Martha’s pain!  I couldn’t understand why the Lord rubuked her when all she wanted was some help.  But again, it was a heart problem.  Mary had chosen relationships over regular duties.  Martha was probably worried about cleaning the house, and preparing a meal.  But, Jesus wants our hearts much more than our service.  How did I miss these messages for so many years?  I believe that it’s a prideful heart that causes us not to hear from the Lord.  We think….I’m doing the right thing, I’m spending time in His Word and in prayer.  But, deep down we think we’ve heard all of this before, that what we’re reading is boring or doesn’t apply to our exact situation.  So we try to go at this life on our own figuring we can take care of whatever we happen to be going through on our own.

Thank You, Lord, for putting up with my pride.  Create in me a clean heart and a humble spirit.  I want to feel what Hebrews 4:12 says:  “For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

May we all slow our pace, get rid of our pride, and really desire to grow in His Word, and in better relationship with Him.

2016-2017 Homeschool Planning Underway


So, it’s that time of year again!  My favorite time!  When I start evaluating how our current year of school has gone, and start looking ahead to planning the next year.  I am naturally a planner, so I love, love, love this time of year.  Choosing curriculum is like choosing Christmas gifts, and getting the boxes in is like opening the gifts on Christmas day!  It’s so much fun!  I think anyone who loves homeschooling would agree.

I am an eclectic homeschooler, but my method has grown more fully Charlotte Mason as the years have gone by.  I knew I loved the method and wanted to incorporate it as soon as I began reading about it, but it took YEARS of studying about it before I was able to finally make a schedule that truly is what I imagined a Charlotte Mason Education would be.  Yet, just like growth in anything, there’s always more to learn and changes to be made that can improve on what was already good.  That’s where I am now.

The 2015-2016 school year has been my 11th year of homeschooling.  This year I will graduate one of my kiddos.  I can hardly believe it!  And, next year, I will have a sophomore, a 4th grader, and a preschooler.  Each of the rest of my children are 6 years apart in age, so though early in my homeschooling days I was able to combine some subjects for my oldest two (only 3 years apart), I can no longer do this except for what I call “Together Time”.  This is first thing in the morning where we study memory verses together and do our “rotation subjects”.  (Rotation subjects are usually only done once or twice a week on different days and include:  Poetry, Hymn Study, Composer Study, Picture Study, Nature Study, Art, Character, and Shakespeare – if we are studying a play that year).  So, now that we only do these things together, it has become increasingly important for me to schedule our day so that I can devote one on one time with each student where they need it, allow independent work where they are capable, and breaks where they interact with the preschooler and/or go outside.

I have several other decisions that I have to make at this time of year, also.  Choosing curriculum is the most fun!  I’ve already chosen the curriculum I will be using next year and will talk about that in a future post.  I also have to decide what activities we will be participating in, whether it be a co-op, music lessons, drama, sports, etc, and what field trips we want to take.  I like to plan field trips that somehow relate to what we are learning.  I will admit, these decisions are the most difficult to decide, because if I include too much, it thwarts the learning and cuts into our regular school days.

I pray a lot during the process of this planning season.  I pray about what curriculum to choose; that my children will not only learn and connect with it, but that it will cause a love for learning deep within them.  And, I pray about what activities we should be a part of that will add just the right amount of enjoyment to their year.  And, then, I pray that I will be able to write lesson plans that will challenge, but not frustrate.  There’s a lot of praying going on for sure!  And, right now, I’m in the midst of much of that prayer, seeking His face and His guidance for our year.  I know that my time in prayer is the most important, because it’s in the waiting that I listen and go forward with what I feel He is leading.  However, I have to admit, sometimes I’m not the most patient in the process of the waiting, and that, in the past, has caused me to make decisions that ended up not being the best choices.

The Homeschool Conference season is just around the corner, and I’m so excited!  It’s such a blessing to go and sit through the classes and be reinspired, refreshed, and ready to face the upcoming year.  And, then to have the added benefit of browsing all the curriculum at the Curriculum Fair.  It is often true that I will have chosen two different types of curriculum for the same subject, and then after being able to see and hold each one in my hands at a fair, I am able to make the best decision.  Seeing and touching firsthand is the best!  So much fun!  And, now that one of my daughters is old enough to volunteer at the Conference and Curriculum Fair, we make an entire weekend of it by renting a hotel and really enjoying a mini get away!  It’s such a blast!  And, to be able to share it with my daughters is an even bigger bonus!

So, how do you go about planning your homeschool year?