Thursday, April 30, 2015

Using Checklists for School Assignments

In the past, I used an itemized checklist (a separate list for each day) for our eldest's schoolwork. However, with his increasing workload, my attempts to continue with that model this year produced a huge and lengthy document that wasn't too practical.

Thus, this year I am going to try the chart method. The concept is the same, but the tightened format allows me to use only one sheet per week. 

I know that I will spend the first few weeks (months?) making tiny changes to this sheet as we find out how best to make it work. But here's how it looks as we prepare to start our school year:

Here are a few quick notes:

* For English and math, I will write the lesson number in the day's box so that the 8yo will know specifically which lesson to do each day. Other items will just be checked off as completed.

* I've decided to try Erika's Character First curriculum plan. We'll do it weekly on Wednesdays. I'll let you know how it goes!

* For Bible and handwriting, I've decided to use timed assignments ("work for 10 minutes") rather than discrete assignments ("read one chapter" or "do one page") in an attempt to work toward quality rather than work done sloppily to get through faster. (Not that I know any children who would do that.)

* Some things are still undecided, like history. Details to come.

* The "Working for God" section is an idea that I got from a sweet Catholic mama who was a speaker at a homeschool seminar I attended several years ago. It's just a simple way to get children thinking outside of themselves and practicing positive character. Again, I'll let you know how that goes.

* The 8yo already reads a minimum of 30-60 minutes per day automatically, so I'm not sure if I should include that on his checklist or not. Another thing to decide.

* I also just learned that our English curriculum (Christian Light) includes a modest amount of penmanship. I'm not sure if we need additional penmanship curriculum or not - another "to be decided" item.

I know that this year is going to have a steep learning curve, and it will be a challenge. All the same, I'm looking forward to it!

Feel free to leave questions!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 29th

When He Takes the Baby Back - A must-read piece on motherhood, fertility, and baby-loss. Applicable to all mamas, not just those who have lost little ones. (Made to Mother, Guest Post by Cheryl at Treasures from a Shoebox)

A Home Filled With Laughter Is a Fun Home - Good reminders. (Always Learning)

When You Feel Like a Cockroach of a Mother - This is one that I've printed off to read often. A million times YES. (In the Nursery of the Nation)
Also check out her post The Imperfect, Interrupted, and Beautiful Life. I need (badly!) to internalize this post. 

Choosing Thankfulness - Oh, my goodness. So much good information. Printing this off to read often! (Large Families on Purpose)

Postpartum Anxiety - How I Am Coping - Excellent information on the physical and spiritual aspects of postpartum anxiety and depression. (Raising Arrows)

The Homebirth of Sophia Diane - Caroline of The Modest Mom shares the story of her little one's entrance. I love her raw honesty about the difficulty of this birth. (The Modest Mom)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 21st

Witness, Winsomeness and Winter - Excellent thoughts regarding the future of the church in the United States and the Western world. Sobering, but vitally important. (Think Theology)

"I spent the weekend with my friend Andy McCullough, who leads a church in a large Middle Eastern city. Amidst all the exciting stories of church growth, baptisms and Muslims coming to faith through dreams, be brought a sombre perspective as well: where I come from, he said, we’ve gone through the whole cycle – winter (0-150), spring (150-300), summer (300-600), autumn (600-1400), winter (1400-2000), and we’re now (God willing) coming back into spring – whereas you guys are in autumn, and may need to start getting ready for winter. Are you ready for that? Or are you living as if an Indian summer will continue forever?"

What My Children Have Taught Me (This Year) - I love lists like these - I'm constantly accumulating lists like this of my own. (Growing In His Grace)

Cultural vs. Biblical Standards - As always, Headmistress hits the nail on the head. (The Common Room)

Mom - At Home - "I have had seasons of outside adventure in the past.  Someday new seasons will arrive. For now, though, I will keep home." (A Fly on My Homeschool Wall)

Study Links Birth Control to Brain Cancer - Was I the only woman who was told none of the health risks when going in to get a birth control prescription? Nope, didn't think so. (Titus 25)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Super-Quick Update

Hello, dear readers! I hope that each of you has had a wonderful month and a blessed Easter!

I'm not blogging much right now, for many reasons!

  • I'm preparing for the start of our school year (in two weeks!).
  • I'm working on improving sibling relations
  • The terrible threes are upon us, and they are super-challenging. This too is a work in process. I can feel the Lord growing me as a parent on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis. I am so thankful for this, difficult as it is. 

I have read several blogger/authors who said something like, "My child only had one tantrum because I corrected him properly and it never happened again."

Sisters, I will never attain that level of awesomeness. Just tellin' you the awful truth.

But I am diving into the daily challenges and trials and giving it all of my effort. That is the best I can do, even though I will never attain the above-mentioned parenting nirvana.

"I, throw a tantrum? Why, never!" 

Real life (diapers, meals, chores, illnesses, etc.) is mixed in with all of this. Thus, as always, we're quite busy around here!

Lately I have been deluging you all with blog posts, but I am actually just working through lots of posts that have been sitting in draft form. I would like to get them published so that I'll have a clean slate for new posts soon.

Obi-Wan with his faithful sidekick. 

Time for blogging is rare at the moment. The urge to write (once acquired) does not go away just because one has no time for it, however! Thus, I'll still be around. I'm eager to share some of the ideas we'll be trying this year, and I love to interact with you all.

Here are a few mini-projects we have going at the moment:

Composting - Yes, after a spectacular composting-fail last year, I am trying again! I met with a sweet friend who is a composting master, and she gave me the scoop. Here are a few things I learned:
  • Banana peels - Just say no.  
  • Water - Compost piles in Arizona must be watered. That's probably why I ended up with a dried up hulk of spider-infested yuck last time!  
  • Leaves - That whole nitrogen/carbon balance thing. I needed to add dead leaves. Got it. 
  • Burying scraps - Food scraps should be buried in the compost to avoid flies, etc. 
  • Turning - Turning, mixing, aerating, etc. Who knew?
In a few months... we'll see! I love the idea of composting, so I'm hoping that it will go well.

Restarting the VLC Diet - I've done this at least fifteen times in the past month. In other words, I'm off and on the bandwagon at least once to twice a week. I need to work on consistency here, but carbs are soooo tempting - especially with summer fruit in season.

Spring Cleaning - It's that time of year, but I am oh-so-busy with getting ready for school! My goal is working 15 minutes a day on any given project. Right now it's happening about three times a week - meaning that I'll be at this for several years! Improvement needed.

Working on MESSES - Sometimes you look around and think, "Man, something's gotta change around here." That has happened to me lately - and here are some of the changes I'm trying to implement to improve things:

  • Shoes off at the door - It's a hard sell, but I'm determined to make it work - because children simply do not notice the five pounds of mud that they are tracking in with their outside shoes. 
  • Table manners - So that the floor doesn't look like a hog wallow after each and every meal.
    • "Eat over your plate."
    • "Forks, not fingers." 
    • "If you're eating or drinking, you must be sitting down at the kitchen table." (i.e. not trailing crumbs all over the house)
  • Washing hands after meals - So that toddlers don't leave a greasy handprint trail behind them everywhere they go. 

It's all about how self-disciplined I want to be in enforcing the rules in order to see change happen. Parenting is an exercise in self-growth!

The adults in the family may or may be not enjoying
his new birthday present as much as (more than?) he is. 

Babies and bath time call, my friends! Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Have You Heard? (Walmart Delivers!)

Have you heard about Walmart's new shopping and/or delivery service?

We love it!

Walmart is now providing two services:

  1. They will shop for you! You order your groceries online, name a pick-up time, and then drive to the side of the store for pick-up. This service is FREE.
  2. They will also deliver (from some locations). There is a fee for this service, though it is supposed to be free for the first three months when you sign up. 

We have used the order-and-pickup service three times now, and it has been superb. The website is very user-friendly, and I felt completely at home with it within five minutes (unlike some websites that take years to understand!).

Here are some of the other perks:
  • Ordering from the comfort of your home (i.e. without having to spend an hour shopping with a gaggle of children in tow)
  • Seeing price breakdowns (they provide the per ounce/unit prices) and being able to compare prices between brands and sizes
  • Free upgrades. If they don't have the generic you ordered, they'll give you a name brand. If they don't have the size you ordered, they'll give you a bigger size. All for free. 

This service applies to groceries only (as far as I know), so it covers food, laundry products, toiletries, baby care, etc. - but perhaps not lawn care or automotive. 

I am not a fan of grocery shopping, so this service is heavenly for me. My husband enjoys shopping more than I, but even he prefers a quick 10-minute trip for groceries instead of the 90-minute ordeal in a crowded store. 

If you sign up, please use my referral link so that we can both get a discount! 


Friday, April 17, 2015

These People Crack Me Up

Random conversations around our house:
(These are recorded purely for the purpose of humor, so please, no indignant rejoinders.)

Meanwhile, (overheard) back at the ranch...


"Stop dying, or I won't kill you!"

- The 8yo, displeased with the 3yo's premature fall-down-and-die performance during a battle scene


A month or two back, I told the 3yo that I was going to throw him into a pit seething with rabid crocodiles (i.e. put him to bed). One time was enough to create an implacable routine. Now I do not dare put the 3yo to bed without going through the whole crocodile routine, complete with the grande finale of the 3yo being eaten alive (i.e. tickled). Should I forget it, the whole household hears about it.

"Cwocodile! Cwocodile! Me want cwocodile!"


Myself, after a particularly difficult day a few weeks ago:

Husband: I'm going to the kitchen. Can I get you anything?
Me: Yes. A vacation.
Husband: Sorry, but it's your doom to stay here and be a slave to your family forever.
Me: Well, pioneer women used to die young. Maybe I can hope for that.

To say that I was in a pessimistic mood may be a bit of an understatement. 


The 8yo sighs wearily and says, "You know, I work harder around here than anyone. I hope you'll never know how hard I have to work."

Remind me to quote this to him in another twenty-or-so years. I suspect that we'll have a good chuckle over that one.


"When I grow up, I'm not going to get married and have children. If you have children, you have to do a lot of dishes. I'm just going to live comfortably in a hole in the ground."

- The 8yo, who may or may not have been reading a lot of Tolkien recently

"Me dwagon."

- The 3yo, whom the 8yo has taught about Tolkien, in explanation of why he is going around spitting (i.e. breathing fire) on everything


My husband and I, while I worked through my angst about history curriculum:

Me: I just can't figure out whether to use textbooks or unit studies!
Husband: Well, why don't you just keep doing unit studies for another year while you think about it?
Me: No, please, not more unit studies!
Husband: Um, I think you might have your answer.


A few weeks back, a sweet and well-meaning friend laid a concerned hand on my arm and said, "You know, you're looking really, really awful. Are you feeling okay?"

I had been feeling fine. But now, suddenly, I felt overwhelmed. Overworked. Exhausted. Depressed. Likely to die of a mysterious illness in the immediate future.

I moped around the house for an hour or so, before finally going to my husband and asking, "Do I really look that bad?"

He rolled his eyes and said, "You look just fine."

Immediately I cheered up and went about my day.


The 8yo: Mommy, if we'd lived during the Civil War, which side would we have been on?
Me: Well, which side would you prefer?
The 8yo: Well, which side won? That's the side I want to fight on.

The moral compass is obviously finely tuned in this child.


And finally:

"She's a Christian, but she wears glasses."

- An acquaintance's child, regarding a new playmate at school

Gotta watch out for that kind, for sure.


Have a great day, everyone! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 16th

How Much Sugar Is Recommended Per Day? - Good stuff, and the comment section is great too. (Mark's Daily Apple)

Seven Reasons We Hate Free Range Parenting - This just makes me sad. I hope and pray that we can sometime see a major push-back against our current CPS-happy culture. (Bloomberg View, hat tip to

Character Training for Children: A Core Aspect of Discipleship - One of my favorite bloggers talks about character training for homeschool families. Haven't read this yet, but have it up to peruse - it looks awesome. (Large Families on Purpose)

Delighting in Death - "The giddy, grinning delight which the Gloria Steinems of this world display concerning abortion is driven by more than just the desire to stop rape victims having unwanted children. It is powered by the grotesque thrill which holding power over life and death brings with it." Fascinating insights here. (First Things)

Ten Blessings That Come With a Large Family - We don't have a large family (yet?), but these were fascinating to read. (In the Nursery of the Nation)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Three Months Later: Reflections on Pregnancy and Birth

This post was written several months ago, which will account for the time discrepancies. 

Hello, dear readers!

Our newest little one just turned three months old, so it's time to sit down and reflect! I would like to spend just a few minutes with you processing my thoughts regarding our last pregnancy, including hyperemesis research, our pregnancy, and our birth experience. Some of this will be a repetition of material already covered, but I will ask your pardon and go ahead anyway.

The Pregnancy

Our newest little one was born from our fifth pregnancy, the previous four including one baby lost in a miscarriage and three live-born children.

All of you know that I have put in hundreds of hours over the past five-or-so years researching hyperemesis, a devastating condition that manifested during our first term pregnancy and has been with us ever since (actively during pregnancy and between pregnancies in residual nausea). This was the first pregnancy in which I fully utilized my research findings, including:

(1) Use of the very-low-carb diet, both pre- and post-conception.
(2) Use of a wide range of lacto-fermented foods. 
(3) Various supplements.

To say that this pregnancy was successful in our aim to avoid hyperemesis would be an understatement. I went from my normal state, which is uncontrollable nausea and vomiting plus high levels of medication, to a pregnancy in which I did not throw up once (except during labor!). No medications, no vomiting, no incapacitating nausea - though I was still very nauseated and remained nauseated till the day of birth.

Additionally, with this pregnancy I have dealt with zero residual nausea. Usually residual nausea is somewhat of an issue for the long-term, but this time the nausea disappeared completely on the day of birth and has not manifested again, even for a moment. This too is a huge improvement.

I thank the Lord for this amazing blessing, and I pray that it continues with future pregnancies. I am already back on the VLC diet and am getting back into supplements and lacto-fermented foods. I do not want to play around with the possibility of recurrence, and I intend to maintain constant vigilance.

Here are the problems (or difficulties) with the experiment I conducted:

(1) Sample size n=1.

Enough said. Even repeat-hyperemesis mothers sometimes have a non-HG pregnancy.

(2) Confounding variables

While I was testing the VLC diet, I also was using the fermented foods method. That's a confounding variable. Additionally, baby is our first (known) girl, and HG mothers do sometimes report differences between boy pregnancies and girl pregnancies (though any differences are not usually as drastic as the difference between active HG and non-emetic pregnancies)

(3) Severity

In the HG world, I'm a minor player. I am not a severe, hardcore HG mother. My HG, comparatively speaking, is mild. Thus, I would really want to see what I did work for someone who experiences hardcore HG (though I have heard of it happening).

It will be interesting to see where this goes from here - both with me and with other mothers who elect to try this.

Three points:

(1) One interesting observation was the fact that our newest little one did not get any baby acne (the normal acne that usually breaks out within the first day after birth). Since my hormones were healthier this time around, could that mean that her hormones were healthier too... and thus no baby acne? An interesting point to ponder.

Another interesting change (more hormones?) with this pregnancy was the fact that I was able to nurse our toddler throughout the pregnancy with almost no pain - as opposed to the excruciating pain that I usually experience while trying to nurse while pregnant.

(2) I am so thankful that this pregnancy went so well... and now I'm looking for more things to improve! I would love to work harder on improving nausea levels (which were still very, very difficult in a non-HG way) and also work on improving my health so that the nausea doesn't last the entire pregnancy. There's still so much room for improvement!

(3) Another interesting point is the simple fact that if going very low carb worked so well for me, think how well this could work for women with normal morning sickness! The message that is currently preached to mothers struggling with nausea is "Eat lots of simple carbs!" - but I believe, and others have agreed, that simple carbs often make things worse (much, much worse) over the long run. How much better could women feel during pregnancy if we switched that to "Skip the carbs and eat protein and fat!"

Newborn exam.


I've now had three months to process our birth.

This birth was unusual in several ways. Depending on how you look at it, it was either our longest labor (over 20 hours) or our shortest labor (less than 15 minutes). It was also our first accidentally unassisted birth.

I have always heard it said that super-fast labors are not desirable - that they can be rather traumatic. I did not find this to be true. Granted, this labor was perhaps a bit sudden. But... it was also awesome. Believe it or not, I'm not a fan of childbirth. And I'll take my ten-minute super-fast labor any day over the long, drawn-out kind any day. In fact, I think I'd like this type from here on out. (If only we were able to order them as simply as that!)

We love our dear midwife and our sweet doula. We would not plan an unassisted birth intentionally. But I am no longer afraid of unassisted birth, and I'll be okay with that eventuality if we ever have another super-fast entrance.

One thing I did learn is that I really do prefer to labor alone. I plan to talk with our midwife to see what can be done to arrange solo laboring at future births.

Additionally, I am going to be absolutely certain that I am in steady hard labor before I call out a midwife again. This time, I didn't actually call my midwife out - she just happened to be in the area and ended up staying. But my main feeling during her stay was one of humiliated embarrassment that I wasn't getting anywhere and was wasting her time, and I think that that could have hindered my labor in and of itself. I adore my midwife - but I felt uncomfortably watched, even though she wasn't in the same room. Call it performance anxiety, I suppose! Next time I will not be calling out the birth team until I am absolutely 100% sure that it is the real thing.

Three days old.
Additionally, this labor taught me something I already knew (in head knowledge!) - that labors can be very, very different. My three other labors were quite similar to each other, and I unconsciously expected a similar labor progression with our newest. Not so! It's a good lesson to expect the unexpected when it comes to childbirth. The best laid plans of mothers and midwives gang aft agley, and all that.


What can I say? This has been an amazing year. So many new experiences. Getting to see the fruit of so many years' work on hyperemesis has been wonderful, and I thank the Lord for it.

Where does the road lead from here?

Good question. Most likely, a new little one will not join our family for quite some time - going by our history, for at least a year or more. I plan to spend that time researching, continuing the VLC diet, working on my supplement plan, and bulking up on lacto-fermented foods and healthy fats.

Only time will tell if the diet will work on a repeat basis to avoid hyperemesis. And only the Lord knows if we will ever be blessed with another little one. Time will tell on both of those.

In the meantime, my life is full. I am creating a home, nurturing and disciplining and teaching our children, serving my husband, growing as a believer, doing a crazy amount of chores and housework, and throwing in a few minutes of blogging when I have a chance. Life is good.

This has been an amazing year. We have seen God's faithfulness to our family in so many different aspects of our home and family.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next couple of years unfold.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beginning Our Fifth Year of Homeschooling

It's hard to believe that we are about to begin our fifth year of home education. I feel that we are very much still at the beginning of our journey, but looking back I can also see how far we've come. Although the end still looks impossibly far away, I have come to contemplate the possibility that perhaps I, too, may make it (alive, even!) to the finish line.

Here's how our home education journey has looked so far.

2011-2012 - A Year of Beginnings
We began too soon, bought a super-expensive boxed curriculum that didn't end up working out, and quit halfway through the year. Hmm.

2012-2013 - A Year of Beginning Again
We simplified, cut out the boxed curriculum, went back to the basics, and did kindergarten again.

2013-2014 - A Year of Really Overdoing It
I hit the ground running at top speed, did everything that a Good Homeschool Mom (GHM) was supposed to do, and had a lot of fun - but also ended up with some fairly substantial burnout.

2014-2015 - A Year of Recovery
Due to both burnout and morning sickness, we ended up taking the year much more slowly - and enjoying it much more. We finally saw some substantial progress in math and writing with our second-grader, and I also began to learn more about our family's style.

What's in store for the 2015-2016 school year?

Only God knows that for sure.

But from my perspective, I am hoping that this school year will be a year of finally settling into our family's true educational style.

When we were beginning to home educate, it was really hard to know what style of home education would work for our family. I think many home educators face the same dilemma in the beginning. You may read about all of the different styles and try to make guesses, but the truth is often that you don't know what will actually work. Oftentimes we are drawn to things that sound attractive but do not fit our families or our life circumstances. Perhaps unschooling sounds attractive, but it drives you batty when you try it. Or you want to try classical education but find that it completely overwhelms you. In truth, the only way to find out is to try out many different ideas and find by trial-and-error what works and what doesn't.

As our fourth year draws to a close, I find that I am finally beginning to understand the style of home education that works for our family. Don't get me wrong - I am many years away from a full knowledge of our style (and know that it will also vary slightly by child) - but I'm starting to get an idea. For example:

  • Workbooks work beautifully for us, especially those with discrete daily assignments. 
  • Checklists work beautifully for us as well. 
  • I need an organized and clean environment and schedule to survive and thrive.
  • Our educational environment will be filled with both real books (for the joy!) and textbooks (for organized learning and keeping my sanity). 

It will be interesting to see what the year brings. I'm hoping and praying that it will be a year of growth and learning, of maturing (for the children and for myself) and of seeing God move in our family in powerful ways.

Here are some things that I'd like to see happen this year:

- I want to get the 8yo writing more easily, and also accustomed to a bit heavier school load.

- I want to figure out our history curriculum (again).

- I want to make substantial progress in how I schedule and steward my time.

- I want to make progress in the area of assigning, checking, and raising standards in the area of chores.

- In our family, I want to pray toward and work toward a peaceful home, a clean and organized home, and improved sibling relations.

It's going to be a challenging year, and only the Lord knows what other factors will come into play (illness? new babies? unexpected life circumstances that will jolt us around?). But I'm thankful to be where we are, and I know that the Lord will use this coming year to mature our family and bring us closer to where He wants us to be.

I'm looking forward to getting started.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 13th

Why America's Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous - I have seen and puzzled over the same preoccupation amongst homeschoolers as well as in my local community (STEM! STEM! We need more STEM!), and I agree with this author's analysis. (The Washington Post)

Sex, God, and a Generation That Can't Tell the Difference - "If you have a sexual ethic more solid than your average Jello mold, you’re free game for Millennial judgment. Millennials are incredibly judgmental when it comes to sexuality—if you’re not doing something you’re a loser, and if you have convictions you’re a bigot." (Millennial Evangelical)

What I Learned the Hard Way: How I Protect My Family on Instagram - I've never been on Instagram, but all of this applies to social media... and to blogging. (Deseret News)

Theological Black Holes - I think we've all seen this happen to individuals and ministries - many, many times. (

The Inerrancy Summit Videos - In case you missed seeing this year's Shepherd's Conference live, the videos are now all archived. Check it out! (

Should Singles Live Alone? - Good thoughts here (on a question I never faced, but many do). (Growing in His Grace)

Whining Whiners, and How to Cure Them: A Checklist - One of my favorite bloggers tackles a perennial problem. I like to review this article every so often. (Like Mother, Like Daughter)

A Disciplined Home is a Joyful Home - "Model discipline to your children. Keep your home neat and tidy. Show respect towards your husband and allow him to lead.  Don't waste your time on the television, Internet and iPhone, if your home is in disarray."

Okay, so maybe I should get off the computer now. 

Have a wonderful afternoon, dear readers!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time to Party Like It's 1982

Lately, my mum has been wanting me to take pictures of our newest edition in some baby girl clothes that she had saved from my infancy (and some from her own). This morning I girded up my loins, recruited the help of an old sheet and an unused iPhone, and went to work!

Here are the results! (Age - almost 5 months)

The family was thrilled. I am notoriously bad at taking pictures, so this was a big improvement on my usual "I'll get around to it sometime!"

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 10th

Marriage and the Supreme Court: A Call to Prayer - "The price of getting marriage wrong is steep, and as in the rest of the Sexual Revolution, children will foot much of the bill. It matters tremendously to our nation and to future generations that we agree with God on this." (

To My Newborn Baby, With Love from Mama - Beautiful. (The Modest Mom)

Children Are a Blessing (Film Review and Give-Away) - We loved this film - make sure to sign up for the give-away! Cindy also has lots of great things to say, so make sure to check out her review as well. (excerpt below). (Get Along Home)
"I am glad that Moore Family Films contacted me to see if I’d review Children Are a Blessing, because their little film blessed my heart. Not only does it make me feel a little less alone, but as it takes us through the birth of one of their own new blessings, it does the double duty of being a winsome revelation for those who don’t already understand the deception that the contraceptive culture has perpetrated on the church. 
"Really, just a few Margaret Sanger quotes shine enough light on the faded whitewash covering the “family planning” facade to call into question everything we’ve been taught about marriage and family. But when the Moore family further reveals their own difficult journey from secular to Christian thinking on the subject, there’s really not a lot left to say except “God, forgive and save our selfish culture!”
(Read the whole post here.)

Because: A Poem Honoring Cesarean Awareness Month - The author beautifully captures all of the various emotions associated with cesarean birth. (Science and Sensibility)
On the same topic, check out the post Recovering from a Cesarean (Surviving the Difficult Days). Excellent material here! (Raising Arrows)

When Did We Stop Liking Children? - "We have been served this ideology that children are to be taken care of by “experts.” We have been fed this thought that diapers can be changed, and noses can be wiped by anyone. Why would a capable and intelligent woman forfeit her potential to stay home and do the mundane, the ordinary, the grunt work? How can we as women be satisfied in being ONLY a wife and mom? I mean any woman can do that, right? That’s what we have daycares for." (Deep Roots at Home, Guest Post by Susan of The Modern Mayflower Blog)
On a related topic, see the fascinating post No Babies, Please, We're European. So much good material there. (The American Conservative)

How to Take Care of Your Gut: Primal Flora - This new probiotic from Mark's Daily Apple looks fabulous. (Mark's Daily Apple)

4 Reasons NOT to Have a Homeschool Room - Good stuff. (My Joy-Filled Life)

~ Have a wonderful week, dear readers! ~

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Holy Week and Easter

Last week, I posted a plan of all of the activities I had put on the calendar for Holy Week. Here's how the week actually went!

On Monday, we planned to make Resurrection Rolls and do our Resurrection Egg activity. BUT just before we started, we found a fledgling baby dove hopping around on the ground outside. At our house (the stomping grounds of four voracious semi-feral cats), a wee birdlet on the ground means one thing - lunch. In short order. We ended up spending the rest of the day working on Project Dove Rescue, and both Holy Week projects went out the window.

On Tuesday, I started again on the Resurrection Rolls. But the yeast wasn't proofing, and I ended up burning my hand (twice!). Reading the writing on the wall, I gave up and we made Jello eggs instead. A good thing, as the morning ended up being extremely stressful, and the rolls really would have sent me over the edge.

With his new birthday present - a big-boy water bottle. 

Wednesday was April Fool's Day. Out of five planned April Fool's Day projects, I completed one. (Yay!) Then we ended up being super-late for our homeschool Park Day due to the fact that I vastly underestimated the time that it takes to pack, load, and travel with four children. Yowzers! From now on, I need to allow a full hour of prep time to get our family out the door. Thankfully our park day was a success.

On Thursday, we did our Watercolor Crosses craft. Yay! Finally, something went as planned! The children spent the rest of the morning building an outdoor tent - and more importantly, did so with a minimum of sibling bickering. Mmm.

Whoever thought up this craft deserves a reward. Easiest craft ever! 

On Friday I made Hot Cross Buns, we did our Resurrection Eggs activity, and we all attended church for Good Friday services. 

For the past few years, we have made Holy Saturday our "Easter" - so much easier than trying to cram in an egg hunt and a big dinner on an already-busy church day. This year we continued the tradition.

Thus, on Saturday, we had our Easter egg hunt and Easter dinner (ham, fruit salad, asparagus, chard, crockpot scalloped potatoes). A success!

We finished the day with Key Lime Pound Cake - the last piece of which is currently calling my name. Mmm. I think it's time to draw this blog post to a close.  

On Sunday, we attended church and enjoyed the rest of the day with family. 

And a couple additional baby pictures from the week:

Yes, I know. She's dressed like a boy. However, I have been thoroughly lectured on the subject by indignant family members, so I have promised to repent and reform, even though that means... shopping. Argh.

Happy Easter, dear readers! He is risen!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tidbits for April 7th

Too Bad We Can't "Ban" Accreta: The Downstream Consequences of VBAC Bans - "[W]hat most people do not consider is that VBAC bans translate into mandatory repeat cesareans, and those surgeries expose women and babies to a condition far more life-threating and difficult to treat than uterine rupture: placenta accreta." (Science and Sensibility)

Through the Eyes of Spurgeon - A two-hour documentary, free for watching online. (Hat tip to

Introducing.... The Long Way - Cheryl of Treasures from a Shoebox announces a new blog specifically geared toward the needs of girls, mothers, and their families, co-written with her five daughters. I can't wait to read this, especially since our family recently welcomed our first girl. (The Long Way to Go)

The Two Truths - "'Most secularists are too politically savvy to attack religion directly or to debunk it as false. So what do they do? They consign religion to the value sphere—which takes it out of the realm of true and false altogether. Secularists can then assure us that of course they “respect” religion, while at the same time denying that it has any relevance to the public realm.'” (
"We have to understand that the Bible describes a way of looking at the world that is perfectly unified, where both facts and values flow from the same Source and achieve the same great end. Today more than ever, we must be people who know and love and live the Word of God. And then we must be prepared to stand on, and suffer for, what we know is true."

Praying Over Your Husband's Career and Work Ethic - I especially loved this one. Make sure to catch the whole series (in process). (Growing in His Grace)

Remembering Baby - "Here is my answer to her [question]: 'How did you memorialize your babies?'" (Contentment Acres)

Recipe Corner

Key Lime Pound Cake With Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting - Yes. Oh, yes. It was divine.

Scalloped Potatoes in the Crockpot - Made it for Easter, then again for Easter church potluck! Fast, easy, delicious. For church, I cooked it overnight on low.

It's that time of year - Palo Verde blossoms!

Have a wonderful week, my friends!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Homeschool Curriculum Round-up 2015-2016

In May, we will begin our fifth year of home education. Last year we discovered some great curriculum, so I assumed that this year would be a simple continue-what-works process of curriculum selection.

Not so.

In fact, the past three months of curriculum planning have been a sticky, messy, and anxiety-producing process - and we're not even completely finished.

However, our curriculum has been ordered, decisions are made as far as they can be right now, and we're moving ahead. I'm really excited to be so close to starting our school year - and I'm even more excited about being done with agonizing over curriculum!

Below is the quick-and-dirty run-down of next year's curriculum, and further down are the details.

Enjoy! Feel free to leave comments and questions!

~ Third Grade Curriculum ~

  Family Time (see notes) - Bible, Bible memory, catechism, prayer,   calendar, safety skills, manners, missionary biographies, poetry, 
  poetry memory, skills training.

  Bible – Daily Reading

       Penmanship - Memoria Press Copybook I
       Grammar and Spelling – Christian Light Grade 2
       Reading – Daily Practice
       Composition – Composition Notebooking

  Math – Christian Light Math, Grade 3

  Science – Informal plus one weekly experiment (see notes)

  Literature - Daily read-alouds and personal reading

  History and Geography – *Still undecided* plus Maps Book D

  Piano – Lessons and practice

  Art – Ambleside Online picture study

  Field Trips, Group Activities, Etc. (see notes)

Family Time
Our morning couch time involving all of the children. This includes:

Daily activities
  • Bible reading - Usually a chapter a day from a book of the Bible (chosen by Daddy).
  • Bible memory - One verse per week. We are planning to move this to breakfast time using this method. 
  • Prayer - We have a list of people and issues to pray for, and we cycle through that list. 
  • Poetry - We read a couple of pages from whichever book we've selected. The children love this - it's usually a struggle to move on from this.
  • Poetry memory - This is new for us (started a month or so back), and it's worked well so far. We are using a system in which twelve poems or Bible passages memorized means a special trip for an ice cream cone with Daddy. It's proving popular!
  • Catechism - One per week. We use the Catechism for Young Children
  • Character Books - This year we'll begin with Mary Borntrager's "Ellie."

Weekly activities
  • Manners
  • Safety Skills
  • Skills Training
  • Calendar
  • Missionary Stories (*new this year!)

We are assigning one chapter per day of independent Bible reading for the 8yo, which will be his first foray into the subject of independent Scripture study. We will adjust this (more? less?) after we see how it works.

I'm in love with Christian Light's Bible Light Units, but we did not want to overload the 8yo at this point. We're considering them for the future.

English (penmanship, spelling, grammar, reading, composition)

We made the decision to deviate from Handwriting Without Tears - not because we don't like it (we do!), but because (1) our 8yo is not ready for cursive, which starts in the third grade HWT book, and (2) we did not want to confuse him with using both the two-lined HWT paper and the three-lined paper in his other work 

We are considering Pentime, both by a friend's recommendation and by the website samples. However, I cannot look at this in person until the AFHE convention in July. Thus, in the meantime we will be using Memoria Press's Copybook I, for the profound reason that we happen to have one that we got for free at a curriculum exchange. It is excellent quality, and if we fall in love with it we will consider using the series. 

Grammar and Spelling
Christian Light Language Arts, Grade 2. (This also includes some penmanship practice.)

As this is the 8yo's first year in formal language arts (and he is not particularly strong in writing), we chose to begin with Grade 2 rather than Grade 3. 

We will continue with daily practice reading aloud. (We plan to continue this through sixth grade.) Our 8yo is far beyond grade level in reading skills, so this is one area that doesn't need a super-structured approach.

Our plans are still sketchy, but we are planning to give our 8yo a composition notebook and use short writing prompts. We may begin with oral narration (he speaks, I write) and then move to copied narration (he speaks, I write, he copies) and then eventually to independent writing.

Christian Light Math, Grade 3. We found it, we love it, we're keeping it.

We will keep science informal this year (i.e. loads and loads of library books). This method is working extremely well - score one for unschooling!

My husband has volunteered to do a weekly science experiment with the 8yo, so that will be fun. (I'll be responsible for finding experiments and gathering materials.)

We are considering Noeo Science for next year or the following year. 

Daily reading time with mama, plus lots of free reading. We also love audio books and use lots of those! Audio books are an excellent way to get in more great literature, and we have discovered many that we love.

History and Geography
For map skills, we will be assigning Modern Curriculum Press's Maps, Charts and Graphs Book D. Why not Book C? Because I got a screamin' deal on Book D, that's why! In all seriousness, these are easy and I don't think we'll have a problem skipping a book. If I find Book C around in the meantime, we'll go back to that. (Or we may just wait for the convention to buy Book C and start it later in the year.)

For history, I've had quite the time deciding between the unit study model and the textbook model. Textbooks won, and the textbook that I am favoring right now is Rod and Staff. I nearly ordered it, but my husband has cautioned me against piling up too many new studies at once on the 8yo. We will look at Rod and Staff's second grade and third grade history at the homeschool convention, and possibly buy one or both - either to start part-way through the year, or for next year.

Starting as soon as I get my act together - hopefully in the next week or two.

Picture Study by Ambleside Online. Also occasional arts and crafts. 

Clubs and Groups
Contenders for the Faith club, which includes meetings, monthly field trips, and badge-winning activities. 

Fellowship Groups
We belong to three homeschool groups:
  • A large homeschool group, which offers a monthly park day, a monthly field trip, a monthly moms' night out, and a great email group.
  • A smaller homeschool group which offers twice-monthly park days, a monthly field trip, and holiday events.
  • A group which is solely for field trips. 

We try to attend nearly all of the events offered (except the expensive ones!).

The Not-Happening Category
Subjects we will not attempt to cover this year include foreign language, typing, and formal P.E.


As you can see, there are still several unmade decisions in the above plan! I have a lot of research work to do at the homeschool convention, which unfortunately is still several months off, and we have a lot of prayer and discernment to do regarding our family's future path with home education.

However, I am feeling better now that our major decisions are made, and I'm very much looking forward to next year.

Dear readers, I can't wait to see your curriculum plans! Feel free to leave comments and questions!