Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homeschooling when you have a Small Space

We live in a fairly small house(3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and about 1000 square feet.)

It works for us in this season of life we are in, as we try to pay off student loan debt and save money, but there are certainly times when I find myself drooling over friends homeschool rooms.

Thankfully, though, now that we have been homeschooling for a couple of years we have figured out a few things that work for us.

We don't have a lot of closet space, and what closet space we do have is used for clothes, toys, and bedding. For awhile, I would keep all of our school books in one big tote on the floor of the pantry in our kitchen. 

Yes, I just said on the pantry floor of my kitchen..I can't believe I just admitted to you all that I actually did that....have I mentioned that organization is not my strong point?!

Obviously that method didn't work very well. Not only was it frustrating trying to find all the papers and books that we needed every day, but also random food crumbs(among other things) would occasionally fall into the school tote.

If you have ever looked into homeschool curriculum you know that it's not cheap, and that food is one of the last things you want all over your books(especially if you're like me, and plan on using them at least five more times in the coming years!;)

Thankfully, my husband was blessed with the organized, type A personality genes, and happily stepped in and helped me figure out a system that works. The first thing he did was install some shelves in our room.

Then with some baskets we already had, we designated each basket to a subject. Right now, since I'm only doing "official" school with Anna and Jack I just keep their books together. Each basket has their math, spelling/english, and history. I also keep a stack of books for science and art next to the school books.

One of the harder things about living in a smaller house when you homeschool, is that often the entire house gets messy, and needs cleaned up every day. Case in point:

But, then again, one of the benefits of living in a smaller house is that it gets cleaned up pretty fast, too. Especially when you have five willing helpers. :)

Most of our actual school work gets done in the kitchen. Which works really well for us, since I spend a lot of my time in there anyways.

I keep a marker board and some old windows hung up in the kitchen, and write on them with dry erase markers for our calendar, scripture memory, and copy work sentences.

And about every other week, I order a huge stack of books from the library that have to do with whatever we are studying that week. Which keeps things budget friendly and cuts down on the clutter around here.

It's definitely been a process figuring out what works for us, and learning how to utilize our space, but I'm so thankful we have figured out some things that work well for us right now.

If you homeschool, I'd love to hear how you "do school" at your house. Do you have a school room? Do you just use your kitchen? I'd love to hear!

Monday, December 15, 2014

All Because of a 2.00 Jar

Sunday afternoon found me roaming the aisles of Trader Joe's. Going to Trader Joe's is definitely a rare treat for me since it's about 30 minutes from my house...and also because, while admittedly the prices are better than most grocery stores, they aren't what, say, Aldi's prices are. And since I'm feeding a small army here, Aldi is almost always where I do our grocery shopping.

But I digress.

So, Sunday afternoon, after spending a fun afternoon in the city with my husband and kids, Erik suggested we stop by Trader Joe's and see if we couldn't get a few things. I happily agreed, gave myself a budget of twenty dollars, and ran in to see what I could stock up on(and promised myself I wouldn't spend it all on cookie butter!)

Just as I was finishing up I stumbled across some masala sauce. I love Indian food, and since I had enough money in my 20.00 budget I decided to buy it.

Later that night, as Erik and I were finally sitting down to eat dinner, an idea occurred to me.

"Tomorrow night is going to be Indian night!" I declared. "Tomorrow we will learn about India. We will have the kids dress up like people in India do...and maybe we can find a recipe for naan!"

And that's exactly what we did. We talked about what continent India was in, and discussed the Taj Mahal.

We looked at pictures of people who lived over there. We listened to the type of music they might listen to over in India during dinner.

We made Naan.

Before dinner we prayed for the people in India, and for the missionaries over there. Which allowed us to briefly talk about different religions, and how not everyone has heard the gospel, and about how not everyone believes in Jesus.

And, perhaps the best part- at least for my girls- was dressing up. Especially since dressing up in traditional Indian garb meant wearing a lot of jewelry.

Lily was so proud. Max was happy for her, but wanted nothing to do with changing out of his dragon costume. :)

Just a sheet, some scarves, and all of mama's jewelry. And, of course, your little brother dressed as a dragon looking out for you.

And what would Indian night be without some henna tattoos?

Such a fun, simple, and educational night. And it was all because of a $2.00 jar.

Linked to Titus 2 & The Modest Mom 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Thanksgiving that Almost Didn't Happen


I woke up to this song early Thanksgiving morning, being sung(loudly) by my six year old daughter. Smiling to myself I rolled over wondering how much longer I could stay in bed before Anna's song woke up the rest of the house.

Right as I was having that thought, though, Jack came running into our room, sobbing saying he had just gotten sick, and was about to be sick again.

Lily(who had been sleeping on the floor of our bedroom) shot up, cheeks flushed with a fever, and immediately started crying that she was about to be sick too.

Luke, who had been up all night sick with a fever, was in his crib screaming for someone to come get him.

Max- who wasn't sick- was pulling Erik's arm to get up and "come have Thanksgiving."

And Anna was in the next room declaring her undying love for Thanksgiving.

As Erik was getting out of bed, I couldn't help but giggle at the chaos going around us. This was going to be an interesting day, to be sure!

But first, let me back up a bit, to the day before. Wednesday morning, I woke up to something very strange.


Like, no one was awake. And it was 7:30. This never happens in my world.

I crept out of bed, wondering how much time I had before little heads started peaking out of their rooms asking for breakfast, but decided to take a chance and try to drink a cup of coffee before the day began. And it was going to be a crazy day. We were suppose to go to the store, finish up Christmas gifts that we were making for my sister in law and her family, and get everyone packed and ready to go for our road trip to my inlaws house, where we were suppose to be spending Thanksgiving.

Erik was just as surprised as I was that no one was up yet, and on his way out the door he made the comment that he hoped no one was sick.

Sick? On Thanksgiving? No way. I mean, Anna had been sick on Sunday. And we had taken the kids to the Magic House over the weekend. And the grandparents had been in town and taken them to McDonalds for lunch. But. Still. This was Wednesday. Anna had been fine since Monday, and no one else had acted remotely sick.

But, as you probably have guessed, that didn't matter. As kids started staggering out of their beds, it seemed like maybe everyone had just been tired, but when Jack still hadn't woke up-despite his two younger brothers whom he shares a room with getting up- I finally tried to get him to wake up, and sure enough he had a fever.

As the day went on, it became clear that Jack was definitely sick, and that there was no way we could take him to my inlaws Thursday. So the next thing we had to decide was, whether or not we were going to try and have a thanksgiving dinner just our little family. What if more kids got sick? What if we got sick? Would we even be able to find a turkey this late in the week, and also I know nothing about cooking turkeys.

But being the holiday junkie I am, I told Erik I wanted to try. And being the wonderful man he is, he took my list, Anna, Lily, and Max, and ran all over town getting all the food we needed- and if you've ever been to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving, you know that's love. :)

The girls and I made some pies Wednesday night. The kids finally went to bed around 10 that night. But a couple hours later Luke and Lily were up sick.

But you know, even with all the sickness, even though things didn't work out the way I had planned, we still had a nice day together. The kids stayed in their jammies, and Erik introduced the kids to the cartoon version of the Hobbit. Erik got to carve the turkey for the first time, and I got to experience cooking a turkey for the first time-the kids decided to name it beasty. :)

We had plenty of food, and have been enjoying the leftovers for the last few days so I haven't had to cook anything since Thursday, which is always nice. When the Thanksgiving dinner was over, Lily and I snuggled up in my bed and took a long nap, then watched the pioneer woman on Netflix.

So yes, thanksgiving wasn't a total disaster. It was actually really nice(despite the sickness.)

But, still, the week before Christmas we aren't going anywhere. ;)

Linked to the Modest Mom & A Wise Woman Build Her Home.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mommy's Always With Me!

My wonderfully talented and creative husband painted this picture of me a few years ago. For the last couple of years it has hung in our hallway, but today in the chaos that is mornings around here, it fell.

And since my house tends to be ridiculously loud(what a shock, right?!) I didn't even hear or notice that it wasn't on the wall anymore. 

That is, until Anna came and got me. She started excitedly pulling on my hand, begging me to come with her to her room so I could see her new "decoration."

I followed her into the girls room, where she proudly showed me that she had hung my picture right next to her top bunk(there was a nail already there, I did not let my six year old hammer a nail into the wall...just throwing that out there.;)

I told her I thought it looked great, and then I asked her if she wanted me to move it back to the hallway later.

To which she said,"Oh no, mommy. I want your picture right next to me, that way I don't ever have to worry about having bad dreams because now you're always with me!"

Goodness, she's cute. :)

HeartFELT Truth Advent Calendar Review

Christmas came early to my house this weekend.. and we were all thrilled that it did!
Recently HeartFELT Truths sent my kiddos and I one of their beautiful advent calendars to review. Since I am always on the look out for kid friendly, Bible based items, I was thrilled to get the opportunity. All the materials are made of felt, and based on the Christmas story from Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2. The idea is to read a small section of the Christmas story each day from December 1 through December 25 to your children. Then when the reading is over have one of you kids place  a new character that they just heard about on the felt board. By the time December 25 arrives, your children will more than likely be able to retell the entire Christmas story back to you!

Read the rest of this review over at Raising Homemakers!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anna Turns 6!

Ok, I think my mama heart has had just about all it can take with birthdays. Seriously, basically having at least one birthday a month from February-August is crazy. Who even does that? ;)

And not only that, but man is it hard to watch your babies grow up and realize that all those comments about kids growing up so fast are true! However, I will say that even though it's hard, it's also a lot of fun watching them grow into their own personalities and start developing their own interests.

All this to say is that my sweet Anna, my first daughter, and my second child, crossed over into bigger kid territory last Friday and turned six.

The night before her birthday we made some birthday cake cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, regular cake, and decorated. When she woke up this is what she was able to see when she came out of her room:

Yes, we continued the new tradition of writing on the balloons all the things we loved about the birthday person. It was pretty cute because Jack kept reminding me to do that, and even asked to help. :)

For Anna's birthday party we went to a local splash pad(it was HOT that day) and met up with a few friends. I was pleasantly surprised to see that these cupcakes looked quite a bit like Frozen themed cupcakes. :)

After a busy day at the splash park, we all came home for naps/rest, and then once Erik got home we took Anna out for her much anticipated birthday present...getting her ears pierced! All she has talked about for the last few months was wanting to get her ears pierced so Erik and I told her she could get it done on her birthday. We warned her that it would hurt a little bit, but she was too excited to really care about that. Poor Jack got really sad when it was time for her to get them done, though. He was afraid Anna would get hurt, so Erik took him on a walk around the mall so that he wouldn't have to see it happen.

After getting her ears pierced and eating some waffles for dinner, we had birthday cake. I've mentioned before that I'm not much of a cake decorator, but making a purple cake and sticking some My Little Pony's didn't prove to be too difficult for me. :) 

Happy sixth birthday, sweet Anna! I can't wait to see how God uses you and works in you life...but if you could stop growing up so fast that'd be great too! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thoughts on Homeschooling Last Year

I can hardly believe that we've already finished two whole years of homeschool, and that we are about to start our third year in this crazy adventure.

I really thought by this point I'd at least have a little bit of wisdom to offer, and that I wouldn't still be such a major curriculum junkie. Or at the very least, that I'd have a good routine for it down.

Unfortunately, though, I can't really say that I have accomplished any of those things. As much as I believe that our family has been called to homeschool, and as much as I love the idea of being with my kids and learning along side them day in day and day out, I'll admit that it doesn't always come very naturally to me.

However, I will say that this past year of homeschooling was much(MUCH) better than the previous. Apparently being new to an area and having a baby in the middle of the school year can be stressful(who knew?)

This past year we used My Father's World for both first grade and kindergarten, and then we supplemented in the spring semester with classical conversations. I can't say enough about how much I love both of these programs. And more importantly, Jack and Anna both really loved them.

Classical Conversations is great because you get to be around other homeschooling families, and your kids get to be around other kids their own age. It also takes care of the science experiments and crafty stuff that I might not always make enough time for at home.

My Father's World turned out to be exactly what I had been looking for at the beginning of last year. I really felt like I needed something that would tell me what to do every day, and that's exactly what MFW does. It also gives a lot of cute ideas for crafts(which is not my area of expertise) and provides some wonderful book choices.

Most importantly, though, it's very Bible centered. And not only is it Bible centered, but they make  it so that the kids really enjoy learning about the Bible. Every day this past year, Jack had a Bible and a Bible notebook that he wrote in, and he never complained about it, in fact he really enjoyed doing it. He tells everyone that the Bible is his favorite book. :)

My main struggles with homeschooling this past year was keeping the younger kids entertained while we did school(there were many days I'd give up trying to keep Lily and Max entertained, and tell them to go play in the kitchen sink until we were done), and sticking to a routine. Some weeks we'd do great sticking to one, and other weeks...we... wouldn't do so great.

I'm really looking forward to starting school again, though. We've had a nice break this summer, but now I'm ready to get back into it. And, of course, the break has been long enough that I keep envisioning perfectly beautiful school days with Max and Luke sitting quietly on their blankets playing with their special toys while I patiently teach a math lesson to the older kids(ha!)

Maybe it would be more realistic to do school during the little boys nap time? However, if that vision ever becomes a reality, I'll be sure to let you know and share all my secrets. :)

Linked to the Modest Mom.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Birthdays Week

Last week is known as "birthdays" week around here. My birthday was on the 24th(I turned 29, in case you were wondering) and Jack's, gulp, seventh birthday was on the 25th.

Seven seems way too big in my opinion. Wasn't he just turning 4, like, yesterday?

For my birthday, I took the kids to the park and picked up my free Starbucks drink that they give you on your birthday. The kids were so sweet, trying to make sure I had a good day. They kept telling me they were going to throw me a Duggar and shopping birthday party since I like those things so much(ha!) Jack kept telling me,"Mama, you should really go shopping today! Don't worry we will go with you!"

And as much fun as it sounded taking my five crazies to a shopping center, we opted to just go to the park instead. :)

They kept bringing me flowers, and exclaiming,"Happy birthday, Mama!" Then when Erik got home, we dropped Jack, Anna, and Lily off at Vacation Bible School, and took Luke and Max with us out to dinner.

By the time we got everyone home from VBS and settled into bed, it was after 10, and I still had to decorate the house and bake cupcakes for Jack's birthday the next day. 

Jack loves all things baseball, especially anything to do with the Cardinals, so I attempted to make these cupcakes look like baseballs. I am so NOT a cake decorator, but with Erik's help, I think they (finally) started to look right. 

My original plan for these balloons was to make them look like baseballs, but that idea sort of flopped. Instead, we just blew up the package of balloons and then wrote on each one something we loved about Jack. Even though I definitely didn't think of it until the last minute, I have to say that this is my new favorite birthday tradition.

We met up with some of our good friends at the Science center, and then took a picnic out to a nearby park to celebrate the birthday boy. Anna really loved this skeleton at the Science center. :)

Such a sweet group of kids. :)

Happy 7th birthday, Jack! Your love for the Lord has really shown through this last year, and your kind and sweet heart makes being your Mom an absolute delight. I pray that your love for Jesus will only grow with each year, and that you'll always keep your joyful personality.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Glimpses of Summer

Picture, if you will, me jumping high up into the air, pumping my fists, and exclaiming, "It's summer!!!!"

I remember back in April talking to other homeschool moms, and telling them that I planned on doing "some school" this summer. You know, a little math, a little phonics, that kind of thing. I mean, afterall, what would we do all day?

But then one day it clicked with me. It's summer. We have been doing school since last September almost daily. This past winter I was so discouraged from being cooped up in the house, and doing the same things every. single. day. I realized I needed to take a little break, spend a little more time just being with my kiddos, and refocus. So that's exactly what we are doing.

We have been swimming, splash parking, going on hikes, and just spending lazy days at home playing outside and watching movies.

Here is Lily making some fireworks in a jar last week.

I've been able to spend a little more time reading these last few weeks, and I just finished this book. It is so, so, so good. If you're looking for an encouraging and truthful book, I highly recommend it(although, don't buy it yet because I'll be giving it away hopefully this week on the blog!)

And of course I've been reading a little about homeschooling too. I am almost finished with the Charlotte Mason Companion. I have heard a lot about Charlotte Mason over the years, and I've read bits and pieces of this book before, and I've always sort of aligned our school after Charlotte's teaching, but this is the first time I've ever read this book in its entirety. I can't believe it's taken me this long either, because it is fantastic! 

I also ordered the Spell to Write and Read program, after hearing so many great things about it. But to be honest I've only read a few pages so far. Here's hoping I'll get motivated soon! :)

I've so been enjoying watching the little man learn to walk and talk. He's such a happy little guy, and he's growing up way too fast!

How's everyone else's summer going? Do any of you other homeschoolers take summer off, or do you do school year round?

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Linked to the Modest Mom.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Max turned 3!!

Photo: He's very serious about turning 3 today . :)

Last Tuesday, our wild and sweet Max turned three! In some ways I can hardly believe he's already three, and in other ways I feel like I can't remember life without Max, and it's almost weird to me that he's "only" three years old.

We started the day with some birthday cake cinnamon rolls(which were in fact as ridiculously amazing as they sound) and then headed to the St. Louis Science Center to meet my mom and dad and explore the dinosaur exhibit(Max loves all things monster trucks, race cars, and dinosaurs.)

Almost as soon as we had parked the van we saw some huge displays of dinosaurs that the kids were allowed to play with.

They were so cute and excited. :) 

Some sweet friends had let us borrow their family pass, so we were able to check out the planetarium while we were there too. I wasn't sure how the kids would do there, but amazingly they loved it. Luke even fell asleep in my dad's arms(he has the magic touch when it comes to getting babies to fall asleep!) 

We headed home late in the afternoon so that Max and Luke could get a decent nap in before his birthday party started. We had about 15 kids under the age of six crammed into our 1000 square foot house that night. Thankfully they all did great, and no one seemed to mind the close quarters too much. :)

At least no one minded until I fed their kids this sugar laden, vanilla, oreo, and chocolate doughnut cake right before bed time.:)

Max turning three was a gentle reminder to slow down a little more and enjoy this season of life I'm in. Summers are sort of hard on my mama heart because three of my kids have birthdays, so summer especially reminds me to slow down and enjoy my kids. 

And I realize that this probably goes without saying, but I'm so thankful to God for blessing us with Max. When he was born he was our fourth baby in three years. To say that I was nervous when I had him would be a huge understatement. 

But when we brought him home from the hospital he was so...easy. I still remember the first night we brought him home how he just slept in the bassinet next to our bed, and Erik and I looked at each other like,"Well, I guess if he's sleeping we may as well sleep too."

While I'm not sure if laid back would be the word I'd use to describe Max anymore, he's definitely a delightful little boy. He's a ball of energy, and loves all things loud. He loves his sisters and brothers(even if he still only refers to Luke as "baby") and looks up to Jack a lot.

We pray everyday for Max to grow up into a man who loves Jesus with his whole heart. We are so thankful that God has entrusted this little guy to us.

Photo: Not the best picture but maxs face cracks me up like he can't believe we are crazy enough to be standing next to a dinosaur. Lily was standing behind us gazing up at the T. Rex and Anna didn't want to get anywhere near the dinosaurs.:(

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Met Michelle Duggar!!!!!

Warning: You're about to see how crazy I am.

Yesterday morning started out like this:

Yep, an exciting morning of grocery shopping at Aldi with the kiddos. I hadn't taken the time to put on any make up or take a shower that morning, so of course I ran into several people I knew at the store- one of whom wanted to take our picture(it was my best friend's sister, and she wanted to send it to her.) After seeing this picture, I think I kind of understand why we get so many stares and comments when we're out. :)

By the time we had finished shopping, I was pretty worn out and feeling less than awesome about myself and my parenting skills. I happened to notice that the friend who had taken our picture at the store had tagged me on Instagram. I almost put off looking at the notification, since I figured it was just this picture, but I went on ahead and checked it anyways, and to my disbelief one of my friends had posted that the Duggar's were at the St. Louis Zoo.

I was instantly trying to figure out if I could really justify a trip to the zoo that day. We were already planning on going later this week, and I had been planning on having a normal homeschool day. Besides, I had a car full of a weeks worth of groceries, parking is kind of a nightmare over there, I wouldn't have any help with the kids, and what were the chances that  I would actually see the Duggar's once we got there?

I tried to put the thought out of my mind, but by the time I made it home with the groceries I decided I had to take the chance. I quickly unloaded the food, had the kids change into cooler clothes, and changed my shirt because in my excitement I had accidentally spilled coffee all over the front of it. Ahem.

When I told the kids we were going to the zoo, and that we might get to meet the Duggars, I was met with great excitement(although Lily kept telling me that the Duggar's were just pretend. When I assured her that they were real she got very excited about the possibility of meeting the little girls.)

We made it to the zoo, parked approximately a million miles away, and started walking. And walking. And walking. But almost as soon as we entered, we saw Jim Bob and Jinger Duggar! I'm pretty sure I just gawked at them, but they did stop and talk to me. Jim Bob made some comment about me having a" nice looking little family."

A little further into the zoo, I saw a huge crowd of kids, and sure enough it was the Duggar clan. There was a small line of women waiting to talk to Michelle, so I just sort of stood there taking it all in. Jack, Anna, and Lily were all running around in the same group as the Duggar kids, it was a little surreal. :)

By far though, the best moment for me was getting to meet Michelle Duggar. She was so gracious, and even though she had just finished talking to several women in front of me(and no doubt had talked to many other strangers that day) she just acted like she had all the time in the world to talk.

Photo: This just happened!!!!

She gave me a signed picture, encouraged me to keep loving on my husband and babies, and to keep pointing their hearts to Jesus. 

Needless to say, it was a great day. :)

Linked to A Mama's Story , A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Modest Mom

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Testimony

I have been blogging in this space since Jack was two and Anna was one. I have shared my various opinions on things, cute stories about the kids, and other details about my life with you all for almost four years.

If you look at my profile, or my about me tab, you'll notice that I say that I'm a Christian, and hopefully you'll have been able to tell some of that from some of the things I post here.

But I realized I have never really shared, how or when I became a believer.

My conversion story really isn't all that "dramatic." At least not in the way some people's are. I never did drugs. I didn't have premarital sex. I loved my parents, and never went through a terribly rebellious stage(although, I was far from perfect!)

On the outside I was a "good kid."

Beyond being just a "good kid" I was also a preacher's kid, so I grew up in a wonderful Christian family.

But to be perfectly honest with you, the fact that I never did anything all that "bad" made me think I was actually pretty good. I didn't think I was bad. I didn't think my heart was full of sin. I thought I was pretty good. I wasn't perfect, but in my mind I can remember thinking that my sins weren't as bad as other peoples.

I remember very clearly thinking,"Of course God loves me, I'm a good person."

But I wasn't a good person.

A few months before I received Jesus(I was 18 at the time), I can recall becoming very aware of this fact. I can remember being so frustrated that I knew that I wasn't making wise decisions(mainly when it came to guys, but also with wanting to fit in and have fun.) I remember telling myself that I wouldn't repeat the mistakes I was making, but I always did.

One night, my best friend and I decided to go to a church in the next town over. We had randomly heard about a bonfire they were having, and thought it sounded like something fun and different to do. We really didn't know anyone who went to that church, but we thought we'd go and meet some new people.

I don't remember much about what was said that night, or what the youth pastor talked about, all I know is that my heart was changed after that night.

My struggles with wanting to please people and getting involved with wrong relationships didn't disappear, but it was different. The Lord had changed me, and suddenly I wanted to learn all I could about God, and strive to do what the Bible taught.

That night was over ten years ago. I still have my struggles, and I sin and make mistakes every day. I have learn every day to die to myself, and follow the Lord. But the Lord is so faithful to forgive. To redeem. He shows his love for us in so many ways. And He is a good, and Sovereign God.

To learn more about the gospel click here:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday

Yesterday morning I woke up early completely on my own, and could not fall back asleep.

This never happens. I can always go back to sleep.

But it was so nice because I was able to actually drink a cup of coffee, eat some breakfast, and spend a little extra time in the Word before the troops woke up asking for their food. It truly was a wonderful way to begin Easter Sunday.

This year we decided to try making Resurrection Rolls for breakfast. I wasn't completely confident they would actually turn out(I have a special talent for ruining even the simplest of projects), but I figured at the very least the kids would enjoy eating marshmallows for breakfast.

While we waited for the rolls to bake we acted out the Easter story.

Anna is pretending to be Mary mother of Jesus, Lily is Mary Magdalene, and Max is suppose to be the angel, but he wanted to anoint Jesus's body with ketchup, so I went with it. :) Oh, and even though they look sad, it's just because they're pretending to be crying because they think Jesus is dead. Don't I have such wonderful actors living in my house?

Finally it was time to eat the rolls, and much to my delight most of them turned out right. Plus the ones that didn't turn out still tasted good. :) Later I found out that Anna thought she had wrapped the marshmallows with cheese, not crescent rolls, and that the women were going to the tomb to anoint Jesus's body with sprite instead of spices.

Apparently I need to remember to explain and enunciate things better. ;)

After church and naps, we had an Easter egg hunt and then headed to the park for the rest of the evening since it was an incredibly beautiful day.

How was everyone else's Easter? 

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

What We've Been Up To

Sick, sick, and more sick. That's how I would describe the last month. It feels as if every Monday afternoon for the past few weeks, at least one of the kids is coming down with some sort of illness and then usually by Wednesday all of the kids have caught the sickness too. Poor Luke seems to be the one who gets the brunt of it, which has been really hard for me(him too, of course!) It's so sad seeing your babies sick, especially when they can't tell you what's wrong.

Thankfully we've been able to avoid antibiotics(my preference is to treat illness naturally, although I'm not against using medicine if the need arises) and hopefully soon everyone will feel better. In the meantime we've been enjoying a more relaxed routine, extra baby/toddler/big kid cuddles, and getting as much sunshine as possible.

Speaking of sunshine, it is finally starting to feel like spring here in Illinois! Last week we had a couple of beautiful days, and we took some "spring" days. I mentioned on my facebook page that we didn't take any snow days during the winter, so now we can take a few days off from school work and enjoy this beautiful weather. Last week we went to the SIUE gardens and spent most of the morning and early afternoon playing out there.

I also went to my first homeschool convention a few weeks ago, and oh. my. word. was that place amazing. So many books, so many vendors, so much curriculum to look at. Thankfully, I have a pretty good idea of what we are using for next year so I wasn't completely overwhelmed, but definitely would have been if that hadn't been the case. I also scored this book that I've been wanting to read for a long time.

Oh, and I was so excited to tell you all that I was recently asked to become a monthly contributor to the website Raising Homemakers. I actually posted over there last week if you'd like to go check it out!

How are the rest of you doing? Has anyone else read Large Family Logistics? 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

5 Awesome Things about Having Kids Close in Age

"What on earth are you going to do when they're all teenagers?!"

"How are you going to pay for college for that many kids?"

"Your poor older children. They never got to be the baby for very long."

These are just some randomly rude comments I've heard in the last few weeks alone, from strangers. I'm never quite sure how I'm suppose to respond to any of it, I mean, do they even expect me to give an answer? Quite honestly, a. It's none of their business. and b. my older children seem to be doing pretty well, so far. :)

As I've thought about some of these comments, I've been reminded yet again that while it's definitely not easy having so many little ones underfoot, it's also got some benefits.

1. They are each other's best friends. Sure they have their little arguments, and sharing issues, but they all love being together and playing together. Especially when I look at Lily(my four year old) and Anna(my five year old) I can't help but think how much fun it must be to always have your best friend around.

2. They are all on a similar schedule. Obviously Jack's daily routine is different from Luke and Max's, but they all still have an afternoon "quiet" time, and they all go to bed at the same time. The kids typically go to bed at 7:30, so we get to relax a little before heading to bed ourselves.

3. They have similar interests. For example, we can go to the park or the transportation museum, and everyone will genuinely have a good time. When we have family movie nights there really isn't any arguing over whether or not something is a "baby" show.

4. They are used to babies. The kids love babies, and there isn't usually too much jealousy when we bring a new one home(although it's not perfect.) But the children are already used to seeing Mommy and Daddy with other kids, so they don't generally get too worked up when they see us holding a new baby. Plus, they just think babies are cute and love playing with them.

5. It teaches you to relax. I always smile(well, sometimes I cringe) to myself when I think back to when I just had one child. I would stress out about every little thing and make myself sick with worry reading What to Expect in the First Year(Is he smiling enough? He's not clapping yet, what are we going to do?!) I had a strict bedtime routine and nap time routine for him, and heaven help the baby sitter who went even the slightest bit off of that schedule. That's not to say bedtime routines are bad, but really I don't think it matters if your child's grandma wants to rock the baby to sleep one night when you usually prefer to let your baby go to sleep on their own. Having multiple children, can certainly help you get a little more confident and relax.

Maybe I should print this list off and hand it out to the people at the grocery store who make these comments...;)

What else would you add to this list? 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cultivating Thankfulness

There was a time in my life where I would spend hours reading and studying my Bible in the quietness of my room. My journal pages were full of heartfelt prayers. Sometimes I would even look up different verses in different translations of the Bible, just to gain a better understanding of scripture.

It was wonderful, and I will always look back on that time in my life with fondness.

But now I'm a mother. I don't have hours upon hours to quietly study scripture. In fact, most of the quiet hours that I do have, I'm asleep!

While I do still try to keep up a journal, I'm definitely not as consistent as I once was.

Nowadays most of my prayer time feels like I'm constantly sending out flares.

"Jesus, please help me speak with a kind voice."

"Lord, give me grace to not snap in anger towards this child."

"God, I can't do this, I'm so tired, please give me the strength and energy I need to get through this day."

I'd venture to guess I'm not the only mom whose prayer life looks like this. It's praying without ceasing at it's finest.

Something I've been thinking about, and convicted of is that my prayer life is almost always centered around requests(mainly requests for help.) While I should be constantly asking God for help, and relying on his grace to get through the day, I've also been feeling led to remember to thank God for the random things that happen throughout the day.

"Jesus, thank you for this precious baby with the adorable belly laugh."

"Lord, thank you for allowing me to be home with these children, and for giving me the opportunity to point them to you. Thank you for blessing me with a hardworking husband."

"Oh, Father, they are so cute writing stories! Thank you for their imaginations, and for allowing them to be such good friends."

The amazing thing is that the more I strive to be more intentional with being thankful, the more joy I start to have. The more joy I have, the more peaceful our home is.

And isn't that the kind of home we all long to give our families?

It's a beautiful thing to show our children not only how dependent we are on Jesus, but also showing them how thankful we are for them and the things around us.

Be sure to enter the giveaway for ABC Say it with Me!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Raising Arrows, Walking Redeemed, Raising Homemakers, Modest Mom

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Moore Family Films Review & Giveaway

The television and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. When I'm able to have self control, and only use videos for special occasions then I'm completely fine with letting my kids watch movies every once in awhile. Honestly, I'm in the camp that thinks that television can be a great tool when used in moderation.

Unfortunately there have been many times that I haven't used television in moderation with my kids and eventually one show would turn into another, then another, and before I knew it I had kids who didn't enjoy reading, were having trouble keeping good attitudes, and would have melt downs over little things. Couple that with the fact that some movies(even some geared for young children) can have some scary scenes in them, it's enough to make me want to give up the television for good.

So when Moore family films offered to send me a copy of their new video, ABC Say it with me, I was excited but a little unsure of what to expect. Thankfully, any concerns I had were put to rest as soon as I watched it. ABC say it with me is an excellent video to have on hand. Not only does it help teach my children scripture(I've talked about it before, but memorizing scripture is one of my primary goals for my children right now), but it also helps reinforce the values that my husband and I are teaching our children.

If you're looking for a movie that presents your kids with the gospel, helps them memorize scripture, and reinforces the values that you're trying to teach at home I would highly recommend ABC Say it With Me.

If you would like the chance to win a copy of ABC Say it with Me, Moore Family Films has generously offered to giveaway a copy to one of my readers. Just enter below!

Good "luck!" ;)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Trains, Planes, and Birthdays

This past weekend was Luke's birthday weekend, so my family came in town to help us celebrate. Friday morning we decided to drive into St. Louis and check out the Transportation Museum. 

The kids had a blast walking through trains, seeing old cars, and getting to take a train ride. 

Papa and his little buddy. :)

Saturday was Luke's birthday. However the poor boy was so worn out from Friday's adventure that he slept through his birthday party. ;) Seriously by the time he finally woke up, everyone was gone(my mom and dad had a four hour drive ahead of them.)  It was all right, though, the kids, Erik, and I still had fun celebrating with him. 

Really, though, the main thing with a first birthday party is seeing the new one year old smash into his cake.

Here he is, not quite sure what to think about all of this sugary goodness.

And here is, apparently not impressed. :)

Oh well, something tells me he won't always be so sad when it comes to eating cake.



1. Finish up The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. My heart is so happy that my kids have been enjoying this one so much. Start in on Wisdom and the Miller's.

2. Exercise 3 times this week.

3. Go through our clothes and start giving stuff away either to friends or goodwill. I'm feeling the need to get rid of stuff!


Breakfast- Oatmeal, Granola, Eggs and Toast, and bagels

Lunch- sandwiches, salads, and leftovers

Dinner- Leftovers, pancakes and eggs, tacos, Bacon wrapped maple chicken with sweet potato fries and broccoli/salad, cheeseburger soup, ham with mashed potatoes and carrots

How was everyone else's weekend? Anyone else been to the Transportation museum in St. Louis? 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for the book How to Build a Strong Christian Home!

Linked to Titus 2 Tuesdays

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