The Things They Say

As I continue my quest to finalize our school for next year…


I am sitting in the family room with children. Jonah is on the brown recliner. Abi is ensconced at the student computer with headphones on her head and math on the screen.

I am interviewing Jonah… finalizing his move to Saxon 54 next year. I seek advice from Abi on a certain point of needed information.

The discussion moves to the Saxon Teacher CD-Roms we use to support learning.

My girl holds up the disk set and admonishes her brother firmly- (in the same vein as she has been admonished by me although the number of students changes depending on who I am talking to! ¬†ūüėČ ¬†)

“And you better be careful with these!

– ’cause there are four other people after you who have to use them!”


The Things They Say.

Beyond The Mask

In April, Todd and our three oldest went to see Beyond the Mask at a local theater. They had a wonderful time and LOVED the film. I asked for pictures… to mark the memory.

This is what I got. ūüôā

It was a wonderful experience and fun to be out supporting our local homeschool community with everyone.


My children’s deep interest, encouragement, and delight are prime motivations that keep me blogging. Recently, one of them requested I blog more milestones with a bit more detail. He wanted to be able to “look back” and find our memories.

So, with this in mind, I am going to try to be more faithful in recording such things.

In April, our oldest turned 15. 15! I am navigating new waters with teen-agers in my midst. It is exciting and challenging. We celebrate Micah with great joy!


15 facts about Micah (in no particular order)

1.)He measured in just over 6 foot 2 for his 15th birthday. Originally- I measured him at 6’3 but that was incorrect.

2.)He is a 1st class Boy Scout- working diligently

3.)He is a cake-maker extraordinaire, wonderful cook, and baker

4.)He loves the Lord, books, basketball, and music

5.)His Favorite books at this time –¬†Lord of the Rings and Eagle of the Ninth also Eragon, Dune, His Majesty’s Dragon (these three are read with caution and might not be appropriate for some. We do not go beyond the first book in the Dune series. We did use white out on His Majesty’s Dragon in a couple of places- just a fyi!)

6.)Favorite Song- Ready, Set, Go by Royal Taylor; Favorite Worship Song- Soul on Fire by Third Day


7.)Favorite Food-Bacon Pizza (made by Todd), Sausage, Rice, Pork Roast

8.)Favorite Movie- The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

9.)Favorite Day of the Week- 2nd Friday of the month

10.)Favorite Place he’s been- Fun Factory in North Carolina

11.)Favorite School Subject- History and Literature (tied for favorite)

12.)Favorite Drink- Coca Cola

13.)Favorite Christian Books- The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

14.)Favorite Chirstian Artist- Third Day, Casting Crowns, Capital Kings

15.)Favorite Scripture- Psalms 46: 1-3

Psalm 46 English Standard Version (ESV)

God Is Our Fortress

46 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.


16.) one to grow… He plays piano and guitar… he has been playing piano for at least 6 years- maybe 7.

I am sure you can tell how very proud of him I am. Love him. Proud of him. Trust him.

Happy 15, my son!

The Grid (post #2 homeschool planning series)

The first post in this little series is titled Curriculum Choices and found here!

This is post #2. The Grid.

The Grid is my name for a plotted out on paper schedule. I call it¬†The¬†Grid¬†because it works better for my family. Calling it our schedule brings on a lot of condemnation for us as we have many interruptions that cause us to have to divert.¬† We call it “falling off The Grid” or “we have to get back on The Grid.” The Grid keeps us focused and alert to the¬†tasks at hand and¬† move ever onward. It is The Grid because it is the backbone of our school. It is the structure that supports our endeavors.

So, using a grid is one key way I organize my large family homeschool. The Grid is simply a spreadsheet with 30 minute time blocks. I use this to plot out a realistic “order of events” for every member of our family from me down to the baby. This helps me see at a glance at any given time what someone is supposed to be doing. It helps prevent two children or more! needing to use the computer or the piano at the same time. It provides direction when one or more of our heads gets in the clouds and we don’t remember what we are supposed to be doing! This idea is based loosely on Managers of Their Homes by The Maxwells. They have some helpful resources you can utilize if you work through their book.¬† You can also read about this type of scheduling at Large Families On Purpose. These are helpful resources- but for me, the best thing is just to take the blank sheets and begin filling in what we already do. Little by little. Working with each student one by one. I will say that working ten people on such a path is complex.

I am moderately relaxed with our grid. I have to be. However, my children are very diligent and focused about moving through their tasks every day in the same way. I highly encourage this. They build their own personal routines and everyone except for the little girls (not in school yet) helps build their own path on The Grid sheets. They own it.  In this way, I come alongside them, helping them to manage their time and their duties. We flow much in our house.

Without this, the day quickly gets stressful and I quickly have several children at once trying to practice piano, typing, spelling, or some other subject that is one person only.

-In His Grace,



Breezy Tulip Giveaway Thru Teach Them Diligently

I just saw this this morning and wanted to share!

Today is the last day to enter a giveaway to win a free large chalkboard art print of the beautiful Deuteronomy Scripture passage: Teach Them Diligently… this print is by Breezy Tulip. This is thru the Teach Them Diligently Convention which Todd and I went to last year. We loved it.

I love love love the artwork of Breezy Tulip and have several prints I have been longing for- for a long time now!

Here is a link to enter: Teach Them Diligently Art Print

Blessings on your day!

Curriculum Choices (#1 in the planning series)

This coming school year, I will have been homeschooling for 11 years. I “officially” started homeschooling my oldest son at age 4 with kindergarten materials. ūüôā Although, really, I have been homeschooling since my children were born. When my first wee baby was just itty bitty, I would hold him and read him tiny board books. I would stock his play pen with books. I created a read aloud rhythm. So it began. I bought Baby Einstein Animal Flashcards (so beautiful) and we would play with all that interesting beauty.

I am right in the midst- actually almost complete- with all my curriculum¬†planning and selections¬†for next year. My new state is very intense. I got an email last week, maybe two weeks ago,from my oversight- urging us all that now is the time to purchase next year’s curriculum. How my heart started to pound! Even though I have already been in the midst of this endeavor for awhile now. So-

What I do- with my large family- in order to keep track of everything:

I take a composition notebook and label a page for each student with their name and grade across the top. Down the left hand margin, skipping space, I label their required subjects. For high school, I label everything required for the diploma program my children are in with extra space for electives. Then I begin filling in subjects as I make decisions. I check with the children to see where they are at with certain books in order to make the right choices. As needed, I make notes on the bottom right hand portion of the page.

As I begin to make decisions and fill this in- I take this book with me to the computer. I pull up Rainbow Resource,, and curriculum publisher websites. I start putting items in my Rainbow wishlist. All the while pondering and praying.

Once each child’s planning sheet is filled in, I can see at a glance that I have met all my state’s requirements or if I haven’t made all the decisions, I can see what is needed to focus on.

I work through each student one by one. However, I will leave a student incomplete- and work on someone else for a time and then go back until all is complete.

How I make book and publisher choices-

I pray a lot and research a lot. I have tried and true favorites that I have used again and again with the children and I keep students moving through these levels each year. I have also tried a lot of different curriculum over the years and things change as our family has grown and changed. I also take serious account of my personality. I have burned myself out and on with curriculum that is draining or stressful for me personally.

In just a few months, I will have to fill out a goal sheet for each child with notation as to where I plan to be in all their books at certain marker points of the school year. This I submit to my oversight and this year I am remembering to copy it for myself as well!

Organizing Resources for my Large Family Homeschool (a mini- series)

I use four key tools to organize my homeschool. This coming year, 2015, I will have six full time students and two in preschool (age 4).

These tools are:

1.) Curriculum choices (and using a composition notebook for planning)

2.) The Grid

3.) Notebooks (personal planners)

4.) Bookshelf and School Bin organizing

I thought I would share a little about these tools. They have been mulling around in my mind for awhile and I began crafting a Notebook post in March or so.  So- to clarify my own thoughts and in the hopes that perhaps someone else might also benefit I present: A mini homeschool planning series!


May Daybook


Outside my window…

A delicious thunderstorm…

I am thinking…

about this blog, and all the many things I want to share on it…

I am thankful…

For finally having true peace and confirmation about our church home. Sometimes things make sense in the Spirit that do not make sense in the mind.

In¬†the kitchen…

Beef Enchilada Bake. I seem to make this around the time I craft these posts… Hmmm.

I am wearing…

Bright pink cardigan, purple tunic, black skirt

I am creating…

a photo book….little by little. Blog posts. Book lists.

I am going…

to read aloud from How’s Inky? to my little boys as soon as I finish this post!

I am reading…

His Majesty’s Dragon. I recently listened to the Read Aloud Revival podcast on Teen-agers. I shouldn’t have been one¬†bit surprised to¬†realize how many of the things talked about in that session are things I do intuitively all the time. Like reading His Majesty’s Dragon. At a son’s strong request. So we can share it and discuss. This is one way reading aloud morphs in the teenage years. Read the same book. Discuss.

I also recently read Harry Potter. Yes, I did. Not because I wanted to, mind you. But that is another story.

I am hoping…

to make all the right choices for our school

Around the house…

Some frames to hang in multiple different places…

I am pondering...

Homeschooling curriculum choices

A favorite quote for today...
“You know, if you’re going to have any integrity in disproving this man, don’t you think you need to read his book?”- Carol Joy Seid from Homeschool Made Simple Dvd.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Schooling, baking for a fun Memorial Day gathering, lessons, activities.

A peek into my day…
These two darlings set up their supplies right next to me. I was working on curriculum planning. Take note the purple composition book! This is featured in a soon to be published post.

Donut Day

Donut Platters for Easter Weekend

A Donut Experience….

Note: There is absolutely nothing healthful, diet friendly, or nutritious about this post. But it is full of love, memories, blessings… and wholehearted rejoicing in the Providence of God. A special feast day… a once a year experience.

It all started way back in 2007…

I made donuts for the first and only time (until Easter weekend 2015) in 2007 when we were living in our rental house in North Carolina. It is noteworthy because my children have been asking occasionally ever since- when will we have donuts again?? My first endeavor was before we had egg back in our repertoire‚Ķ those 2007 donuts were pumpkin donuts. The recipe was found in the FAAN Allergy Cookbook. Some I glazed and some I rolled in cinnamon sugar. The memories are vivid. For me, I remember talking to my sister on the phone and her all happy- delighted with my baking and home-making skills- I’m making donuts! Me, feeling like‚Ķ why am I involved in such a long cooking process with these little ones all around me?

And for one little boy, in particular, the memory of the donuts bobbing in hot oil, then piled on plates… has never left his memory. And that boy just happens to be Asher.

So, I decided to make donuts for my family. I took a poll and showed the children photos. I picked three kinds to prepare. I wanted this to be a memory and experience that would live on in their hearts and minds! Because it is an involved endeavor, I determined it would be a holiday feast experience. A once a year delight! Because of our family’s journey with severe food allergies, almost all of my children have never had donuts- except for those fateful 2007 pumpkin donuts. One son (13), just this year, ate a donut out at an event he was at… for the first time. So, as you can see- very, very rare occurence for us. I knew, because I can cook with eggs, I stood a very very strong chance of actually simulating a true, donut shop experience. And, indeed, I did! I went all out- sprinkles, frosting, chocolate chips, glaze, jelly filled. The works for my darlings. And they were amazing!! The joy I felt at the platters I created… I wanted them to have the true experience- when you look upon a large variety of pure deliciousness and have to hem and haw to finally pick the one you you truly want- while looking longingly at the ones you had to leave behind. And so it was.

I am confident I blew that old memory out of the water as I replaced it with a true donut experience!

Above- what will be jelly- filled, rising.

For the future…

Glazed Donuts

Chocolate Donuts with Glaze

Donuts with White Frosting and Sprinkles

Donuts with Chocolate Frosting and Sprinkles

Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Chips

Donut holes in various toppings

Cherry filled Donuts rolled in Sugar

Blueberry filled Donuts rolled in Sugar

Donuts 2015!