Homeschooling is a beautiful thing.

It’s effective, creative, flexible, and fun.

This Christmas season we decided to do our group studies in the mornings,
where our independent studies usually take place.

Mostly, because the kids are excited about our Christmas Cross Hunt.


My kids are easily getting their chores done in the morning
because they love looking for the Christmas Cross.
Here’s ours:


Each day I write the ‘Verse of the Day‘ on the back,
based off the lesson plans from Truth in the Tinsel.
We then do our Scripture reading, followed by some copywork.

Next we take a link off our countdown advent chain to help figure out the ‘Word of the Day‘.


I found a resource that gives a riddle to the ‘Word of the Day‘,
so we pasted a riddle to solve to each chain link.
The answer is then inside the chain link.
Then we thoughtfully think of how that word applies to our scripture reading and how it relates to us today.

Which leads us to the ‘Craft of the Day‘.


We then paste our craft to our “Journey to the King” tree.
Lessons so far include….
Jesus is the light of the World
Jesus is the King
Angel Gabriel foretells the birth of John the Baptist.

Active Advent‘ wraps up our lesson for the day with physical activity!

The mornings are joyful and go quickly,
and the kids seem willing to do their reading and math after lunch
so that we can watch our ‘Christmas movie of the Day‘ for our down time.

All the lessons are flexible to use how we wish,
which I find helps our day run smoothly.
We will add in a few afternoons of baking,
making Christmas Cards,
and wrapping a few presents,
along with a few opportunities to do some volunteering.

Merry Christmas should be a verb (an action),
not just a word to say, but His Word to live. 
So let’s get out there and spread some cheer,
especially starting with our own kiddos,
then our joy will spread out to our peers,
and on earth we shall share peace and good will towards all.

It’s that time of year!
Are you excited?

Let the Christmas festivities begin….

So, for this month, I have decided to flip flop our routine.

Our Morning Group Study (aka family time)

We will open our mornings to intentionally reflect on the journey to Christ.
Last year I did my own winging it style of lessons that I called Journey to Jesus.  I had fun coming up with crafts and such; however, this year I’ve chosen to use some resources to outline our plans, because, well, I’m kind of busy, and I like organization.  I will share in a separate post what our mornings will look like.

Afternoon Independent Studies

Katie- continuing Little Women
TJ- continuing Red Badge of Courage

Katie- all things decimals
TJ -exponents and ratios

These basic subjects will be followed by Quiet Time of watching a Christmas movie together.  Can I admit I look forward to crawling up into a couch with my kiddos to enjoy some downtime during this often busy season?!   Woo hoo… let the JOY begin…


Character Training

What exactly is Character Training?

I think it is to guide a child’s behavior and attitudes to make morally just choices.

Being homeschoolers leads to the often asked question of…
“What is the best character training resources?”
Now, admittedly, there are many, MANY awesome and amazing resources out there,
and people want to know what we use.

The Bible.

Yep, that’s it.
We already own it.
It doesn’t cost additional money.
It doesn’t take up much time.
It has all the answers…

In all honesty, we do not read our Bibles daily.  We seem to go in phases. 
A lot for a while, consistent for a little while longer, then a bit of a dry spell,
before journeying on again.

I do have to point out that the best character building is probably to be in the Word daily.
To let the Lord’s wisdom show us direction, truth, and compassion. 
Communication would be a close 2nd. 

Character Training is a team effort.

Which is why communication is important.
If we can’t practice patience, grace, compassion, honesty, forgiveness, and the like, with those whom are closest to us, how does it become a natural part of our personalities?

Typical conflicts in the home is the best lesson on character building.
Let’s face it, if there is more than one person in the home, then you have to think of others, right?

Discipling vs Disciplining

Discipling is teaching by action.
To walk the talk.
To live and breath what you believe.
Jesus set the ultimate example.

Disciplining is the correction of undesired behavior.
That is what most folks are referring to when discussing character traits.

such as…
how can I get my children to get along?
How do I have my child not ignore me?
What can I do about lying?
(you get the gist)

Here is our approach:

What ever undesirable behavior is being displayed,
have the child look up verses that define the opposite trait.

such as…
Anger; look up peace.
lying; look up honesty.
rudeness; look up respect.
hitting; look up gentleness.
(you get the gist)

Reading such scriptures is a kind reminder.  If one needs a stronger reminder, then the child (or adult even *smile*) could write out the necessary verses.  If it is truly an area of struggle, then it is time to memorize them as well.  We all need words of wisdom stored in our hearts as to guide our behavior and attitudes to make morally just decisions.

How about you?  What guides your integrity and builds character?

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;
tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Teach them to your children,
talking about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.”
Deuteronomy 11:18 & 19

I’m all about being honest.
so how did last month’s goals go?

We never did get to our literature books like I had planned.
Life seemed to be much of our lessons this past month.
*We ended up with 2 puppies that took some time to acclimate to each other.
*We are talking about moving in the near future (yes, again; details later),
in which the opportunity to open Daycare once again is a possibility,
thus organizational skills are being fined tuned in our house. 
*We seemed to have a nutritional-based learning interest that included learning about the dangers of MSG, sugar & saccharin, which somehow lead to us being interested in how to prep for disasters,  which led to talking about minimalist and how to live small.   (simply going on rabbit trails I tell ya, *smile*).

~November Goals~
*edited, to cross out the goals we didn’t complete.  What I hope that we complete and reality don’t always align.  Thought I would share just what that looks like.

new testament


The Bible for Young People by Josephine Pollard
I love that the words in this book are broken into syllables to enhance the reading ability of younger readers but still holds the quality of scriptures within its pages.  My hopes is that we can read through the New Testament now til Easter, with a strong understanding of Christ’s birth to his death to his resurrection to his message for us to spread the Good News.  *reading, but slower than I had envisioned.

Our Hero General Grant

Astrophysics- black holes, binary planets, and gravity are all topics this month.
We will include experiments to these lessons as well as building our own solar system model.

Nutrition & Fitness month  *reality is that Thanksgiving was this month, so I hope that we can revisit this one in January!

continuing our food lesson, including food, drinks, dishes, and utensils.

Sign Language:
ditto; foods, thirsty, hungry, hot/cold, etc…


Across 5 Aprils (Civil War)
*didn’t even crack this book open… postponed til January

TJ- Red Badge of Courage
Katie- Little Women

English Grammar:
Appositive phrases,
commas and apostrophe review.

TJ- Algebraic Phrases, perimeters/areas/volume
Katie-  Fractions- mixed, improper, addition/subtraction



We began A Child’s Story of the Animal World.
We opened up with talking about kingdoms;
The Animal Kingdom and The Plant Kingdom.
I am loving this book already!
*great book, full of detailed knowledge, a book to take in very slowly for my younger kiddos.
Possibly will assign this book next year for my daughter (13) as a biology study.

Andrew was interested in compasses so I thought we’d pull out our old Geography book from homeschoolfreebieoftheday.


Our Read Aloud:


This book is 100 yrs old.
The Twin series is a fabulous read on a variety of cultures!

Here is our study table:


Our math flashcards of the day,
counting money (a daily equation)
Our McGuffey Readers on top of our crayon/marker/pencil trays,
for reading, spelling, grammar, and copywork.
Currently introducing abbreviations such as used with days and months.

On a side note:

I have Shane, a sophomore I tutor, come join us on Mondays for our science lessons & experiments,
as well as poetry, and lesson reviews for the week.  That has been working out well.

…and Little Adelaide is finally getting enough hair to play with!


Welcome to November. 
Think we shall we work on our attitudes of gratitude this month.
How ’bout you?

Those were the words in a comment, that stood out to me, while reading through a facebook post on Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween.

Me?  I started cracking up laughing.
I guess I never really thought of us as a Weird Christian before,
but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true!!

Now, obviously, I know we are different because we do not celebrate Halloween like most of our Christian peers.  After all, there is a popular compromise; do the fun stuff, avoid the evil stuff.  right?  ‘cept what I see is a gray line that is constantly able to waver.

We (my family, especially us parents) are known for Living our Faith Out Loud.
We choose to walk our talk, so to speak.

This makes us Weird. 
We commonly do not fit in,
even within our Christian Community,
and we are ok with that.

We judge not others, but we are responsible to respond to the Lord’s convictions for our family.

We love our fellow Christians as well as our hometown community of non-believers.  We interact well with them, work alongside them, cheering on games side by side, chatting at the local grocery stores, playing at parks, and all that small town stuff.  However, we are weird.  I admit it.

Weird; to be strange… abnormal… unusual.

That fits us!

Funny enough what we (my family) thinks is normal, is exactly what is abnormal about us.

Swearing, as an example.  We just don’t do it.  I wouldn’t swear in front of Jesus, and since His presence is always with us, well, the conviction is not to do it.  period.  However, my older children (adults) often see even youth pastors swear in casual conversations with them.   Is that bad?  Well, what does the Bible say about foul language?

Drinking… ah yes, this is as tricky as the Halloween controversy, eh?  Is it a sin to drink?  no.  Is it a sin to get drunk?  yes.  That seems black and white enough, right?  Nope.  Again, we are the rarity of people who choose not to drink alcohol, at all.    Why?   A couple of reasons.  One is draw a clear line for our own kids; drinking is not necessary.  Two, who are we to cause another to stumble, for we don’t really know who struggles with alcohol and/or addictions, right?  Three, because Jesus is enough.

Media/movies…  language, suggestive behavior, lewd humor, and shows that portray dad as stupid and mom as overtly sexy are all avoided.  Do you happen to know of that childhood song “oh be careful little eyes what you see” , and what you say, and what you hear, and what you do?  yeah, that pretty much sums up our perspective.

At church we are unusual.  and oh, we so love our church family!  They are some amazingly beautiful beings!  However, we are still weird.

My family likes being together, not segregated into different groups.  My teens would prefer to sit with us in service.  My younger kiddos will go to Sunday School, but they really wouldn’t mind sitting with us to hear our lesson either.

and Home Groups aka Life Groups?!

We really kinda don’t fit in there either!  Are you surprised?  LOL, yeah, me either.
So what’s different there?  simply just life style.
We have many kids.  Honestly that makes it hard to just crash someones house that’s already full of people for the Life Group, right?
We have littles, middles, teens, and adult children… a 20 year stretch from 1st child to last.  So our friends often either have young children or teen/adult children… so which Life Group should we choose?
Also, our kids like hanging with us, which is awkward to most adults.  We have a life group, and maybe a great conversation about baptism going on… my kids would love to sit and listen to that rather than run wild outside, be put in front of a movie, or simply stay home.  Is that strange?

So we may not be of the world, but we are most definitely in the world.  We are called to care, to love, to share, to shine His Light… and we embrace those who come across our path.

There is much wisdom in Matthew 7.  Starting out with “ Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.    Yes, we are one of those weird Christians, we live our faith out loud, doing what we are called to do…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment. 

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

October at a Glance


Fall is in full swing.  We live in the woods.
The serenity of the season echos somewhat silently;
leaves change, branches shift, the breeze whistles,
the animals scurry, and the rain begins…

The Pacific Northwest at its finest.

Katie turns 13!


Such a sweet disposition she is.
Curious at what life has to offer,
Godly convictions, truth seeker,
compassionate heart, joyful,
logic-filled with a drive to self-educate.
Yep, that’s my girl!

She has recently tested out of one math book, and is currently devouring the next math book.  Her goal?  To finish that book in 3 months.  Can she?  Most definitely!  Will she?  time will only tell, but she is randomly doing about 3 lessons a day, often before bed, so her motivation is clearly there.  Did I mention she is a bit precocious?!!

IMG_3136[2] IMG_2088IMG_2938

Here’s a few of Katie-girls recent creativity;
The basket weave, the zipper braid, & the 11 strand brand.


Katie-girl’s newest hobby?  Sewing!
I have an amazingly kind friend who will be teaching Katie how to make Maxi Skirts.

On that note, I must say God has blessed me with several friends who all have unique gifts that nurture Katie’s curiously creative personality;
One whom laughs and loves a lot, and allows Katie to explore the beauty of babysitting, and inspires her interest in Spanish.
Another who shares holistic health which includes essential oils, natural beauty products, and crunchy living.
and yet another who provides artistic encouragement such as sewing, crocheting, gardening, & photography.
Funny enough, these younger mamas think I am lovely and encouraging, when really they are the true gift.


The puppies!

Yep, 2 of them.

Echo (on right) is now 5 months old.
A pure blue nosed pit.  Amazingly calm.
No barking (pretty much at all).

Meet Recon (yes, that military term for exploring an area).
He is our rescue pit.  half pit, that is.
The other half is something of a definitely.not.aggressive.breed.
4 months old.  He seeks to please.
No need for a leash, he follows without command.

Both are surprisingly mellow for pups.
They have not really chewed up anything.
They snuggle with their human-child companions,
and are already gentle around babies.
They absolutely love playing with each other.
Tug-o-war is the most popular.
They eat and drink out of the same bowl at the same time,
without a care in the world.
We do have to calm Echo on occasion as she gets so excited to play with her newest buddy, but that brick house body structure can plow him over.  Of course the minute we settle her down, he sneaks over to nudge her to play again.  They definitely act like a brother and sister at times!

Chanelle's new family

Chanelle moves out.

Chanelle is on another adventure,
following life where it leads her.
We got the chance to meet ‘her new family’.
We had a great day hanging together.
She’s missed, but we still see her every few weeks.
They will all come join us on Thanksgiving;
I look forward to the visit!

and since I mentioned about moving…

it looks as if we will be moving in the not.so.far.off future.
The house we are in is up for sale.
We have a lovely landlady who recently married, and is moving to another state, thus they have chosen to sell the house.  As much as we have enjoyed this house in the woods, I am not really ready to commit to living here permanently, with forever in mind.  Looks as if God has already provided us a place we apparently will move to.  It’s just a matter of timing.  We will be heading out of the country hills, and back into the small town of nowhere.  We are content with it, and I see some changes in the process of it all.  I will share more as events unfold.

How was your October? 
Discover any small treasures? 
Experience big changes?
Embrace the season? 


color me rad

I haven’t updated on my health journey lately.
It has become a bit of a stale-mate.

Hiking the hills and then trying to begin a running journey has, in turn, given me a set back.  A knee injury. 

So for weeks I was more like a slug than a marathon runner wanna-be.  I learned some patience, and how to put myself in 1st gear.  Apparently, on a daily basis, I’d say I am at a constant 3rd gear, just simply going, going, going…. well, not.so.much.now.  In the meantime, my amazingly encouraging cousin signed me up for the Color Run 5K.  How exciting!  Amazingly enough, my knee healed up just enough to walk that run, cautiously mind you, but I did it.  And I got some fun hot pink sunglasses to boot!


Now I have another set back.  The same knee injury.  Oh, the 5k actually was great, but the puppy, however, is like a wrecking ball.  Pure muscle and speed, and well, a puppy.  So puppy and my knee had a collision and I am again learning patience and how to slow down.

In the meantime, my amazing daughter is joining me on a nutritional journey.  She likes to cook and make meals, and I feel a bit like I have my very own healthy chef.  I love that girl!

So, what are some challenges you have been facing lately?  How do you stay encouraged? 
Me?  I surround myself with people who care.



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