Friday, April 27, 2018

What Matters (5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma)

Welcome back to the 5 days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma.

Today I am, once again, going to send you to another blog.

This time it is the Homeschooling With Heart Blog. It is the blog for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I happen to be a contributing writer.

The post I wrote was in honor of my friend, Mindy. She went to be with Jesus just a few months ago.

She was 40 years old and had 4 sweet kiddos.

Another time, I will talk more about Mindy...for right now I want to encourage you to treasure the relationships in your life.

When it gets hard and you get tired of dirty laundry, empty milk cartons, half-finished workbook pages and sassy-mouthed preteens...hug them all close. That dirty laundry will wait. Just put those half-finished workbooks in the assignment pile once again and kiss that sassy-mouth teen right in the middle of the forehead.

Or burst out into spontaneous song in the middle of the Dairy Queen. Might I suggest Every Breath You Take by The Police? Nothing like a song about a stalker to remind your teen that YOU SEE ALL!

Talk about the things that are important to you and live out your faith in front of them.

And, above all, laugh. Laugh with your whole heart.

That's all any of us can do.

I am joining my friends from the Homeschool Review Crew this week. Check 'em out!

Coming Soon ... 2018 Annual Spring Blog Hop

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Rest is Not a Dirty World (5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma)

Welcome back to my 5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Mom.

So on the first two days I talked mostly about stuff just for you. How you need to keep hope alive and I shared with you an awesome post written by my friend, Julie. I also talked about taking care of YOU and told you about the routine I have at the end of those really hard days.

You might notice that this blog hop is called 5 DAYS of Homeschooling..... For the first time in my doing this bi-annual blogs, I am not going to blog all 5 days.

I really did have a nice, little practical post all lined out for you. It listed a few of my favorite "school-type" things to do when I was run down or worn out.

And I do really need to finish it...but it won't be today.

I have had a week filled with Physical Therapy appointments, dentist visits, ministry meetings and some sort of stomach bug.

This morning Josiah took a live computer coding class and I stayed in my nightgown.

My stomach still feels like I have Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing a little dance inside. There is an extra refrigerator in my kitchen (long story) and I am pretty sure I am down to my last clean pair of underwear.

And I am tired. So very tired.

So today I am putting myself in timeout. I am only doing the things that are absolutely essential. For example, I took my meds. I petted my cat. I greeted my son with my usual "Good Morning, Sunshine" and told him to help himself to some white bread and creamy peanut butter.

There are some things I am willing to die on a hill for.

White bread, wearing appropriate clothing in the middle of the afternoon and answering my phone today are not those things.

Sometimes we just need to stop. We have to say "no" and take a day or a week and do something different than what we have been doing.

I personally think the idea of "rest" is horribly neglected in our culture. We feel guilty for a morning spent with a cup of coffee and a puzzle.

My goal is to build a time of rest into my week. It's a work in progress.

My post today is not intended to list all the benefits of rest on the human body or the mind. You are grown people. You know that your body is telling you that you have been burning the candle at both ends. You know that you are exhausted emotionally and that you are snapping at the people in your life far too often.

It's time to take back your time by releasing some of it to rest.

So, my dear friends, are you taking your rest? Are you carving out a time during your week that you are structuring your family life so that those same family members can do the same?

I'm joining my friends all this week. Take a bit of time and sit down with a cup of coffee! Be encouraged!

Coming Soon ... 2018 Annual Spring Blog Hop

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Beke's Quick Recipe for Self-Care (5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma)

Welcome back to my 5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma!


Yes. I need to take my own advice.

Recently, there have been many trips to Taco Bell. Too many late nights. Not enough time for rest.  Not enough water.

Yup. I'm talking Self-Care.

If you have some time, go check out a post I wrote a few years ago.

It's called Handle with Care. 

And truthfully, I need to revisit it this week. There are things I'm not doing well.

When you are weary it is MOST important that you take care of yourself. I get it. If you are a the momma of a new baby the most self-care you are getting is a shower.

If that is all you can muster, just be sure you are using some of that good smelling body wash.

We have to get our kicks somewhere.

There are a few principles I would like you to wrap yourself up a fuzzy blanket.

We have to remember that most situations are temporary. However, the habits and self-care practices you put into your life will help you through those crisis moments.

Sometimes it feels like we are just fighting fires and jumping from one crisis to another. It's especially important during these times to focus on the important things. And, yes, YOU are one of those important things. Don't become a martyr at the altar of busyness.

Don't feel as if you can't provide yourself some "ME" time. I have had to learn this the hard way.

Another important principle to remember is that you are a survivor. Think back to all the things that God has brought you through in your life.

You have learned to praise God in the "whatevers."

It's also time to be intentional with self-care. Make taking care of yourself part of your daily schedule. This perhaps has to be one of my greatest failings.. I find that when I have a lot going on or I am particularly stressed I will do things like not take my medicine when I need to or eat right.

Something else you might not have considered is that you are modeling self-care for the youngin's in your household...especially those little women.

And we women are notoriously bad for treating ourselves poorly.

What I am about to reveal to you now is the secret formula passed down from generation to generation in my family...give or take an essential oil or murder mystery. It is what you need to do for yourself at least once a week and possibly more.

If you can't manage the whole shebang, at least take what you can do...nobody ever died from sipping on a cup of chamomile.

Undoubtedly you will have "those days." It's during those days that you feel like giving up. "Those days" can suck the life right out of you. It's especially important that you have a plan to regroup and re-energize and relax at the end of one of "those days."

So here is Beke's Quick Recipe for Self-Care. Or Things My Momma Might Have Told Me.

Don't underestimate a good soak in the tub. Especially after a hard day. In fact, go run yourself a tub. Dump in a good portion of Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts.

Immediately after leaving the bath, lather yourself in a good moisturizer. Whatever kind floats your boat.

After my bath, I like to brew myself a cup of hot tea. If it's close to bedtime don't make it a caffeinated tea. You'll thank me later. Drop in a bit of honey if you are so inclined.

Now here is another important thing. Chose some kind of something to do that will help you unwind. Try and stay away from anything homeschool related. Turn off the news. Stay away from Facebook.

Those people in your feed only make you nervous.

I like to read a good book or watch something completely mindless on youtube. Sometimes I get really weird and watch a ballet or some kind of interesting documentary. Interestingly enough, I enjoy a good mystery. Nothing like a 'whodonit' to take the edge off.

If you are an oily kind of gal, now would be a good time to diffuse your favorite. I also like to put some in my bath or rub them on the bottom of my feet when I need to relax. Dr. Axe has a good article on the best kind of oils for dealing with anxiety.

Before going to bed here are a few things you need to remember. Be sure you turn off the lights and your devices at a reasonable time. Tell all your people that you love matter what the day might have held.

Sleep sweetly, my friends. And remember...You are loved.

I'm joining my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew this week. Take some time to read their posts. I know you won't regret it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Finding Hope in Your Journey (5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma)

Welcome to my 5 days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma!

This morning I opened my planner. 

And about passed out. 

Could my life get any busier right now? 

Frankly, I just need a week or two holed up in my bed with some hot tea and Netflix. 

Now that I think about it, a week or two in bed might do me good. 

And then there is this whole homeschooling thing. It can be overwhelming to be responsible for the education of our progeny. 

My progeny happens to be 16 and growing a wispy beard. He wore a dirty t-shirt to church this morning. If I were more on my game, I would do something about that. I am also fairly certain that he hasn't completed his history assignments in two weeks. 

Tomorrow, my husband (who I fondly refer to as The Studly Muffin) and I have to go out of town for a class we are taking especially for ministers. Did I mention we are pastors? Then there are the doctors appointments, dentist appointments, church commitments and these people in my house think they need to eat. 

And then there is this. 

I don't feel good. For nearly the entirety of my adult life I have been struggling with a life-threatening chronic illness. And I have been living with orthopedic limitations because of a debilitating car accident I suffered in my early 20's. 

I've been doing this for a long time.

There are some seasons of life that have been easier. I've been healthier. I've had a better grasp on my life. I haven't been in the middle of a crisis. 

Now is not one of those seasons. 

You understand. Some of you have a similar health story. Some of you are dealing with a devastating crisis or event.  Some of you are experiencing a season of life that is just plain overwhelming. Maybe you are starting your homeschooling journey and are just plain scared. 

I get it. No matter what the reason, I am here to tell you that you have people who love you. We are cheering for you. 

So first things first.

Remember how I told  you that I've been doing this a long time? I want to encourage you in what I've learned. And trust me, I am going to be taking my own advice this week. 

For one, I am going to point you to some ladies who have meant a great deal to me in my own personal life. I am going to share some of their words. 

Last week, I got caught up with my friend Julie's blog. I have known Julie since we were both 20. That's been a few years. I am not sharing anything shocking, but I happen to be one day older than Julie and we both turned 46 back in March. 

Julie and I have had eerily similar journeys. Her health battles have been different and she doesn't homeschool her teenage boys, but she is also a minister's wife and has used her own experiences to reach out to women all over the world. 

On her blog this week she talked about HOPE. And isn't that we all need? His HOPE? 

Your assignment for the day is to go read this post on her blog.  It is appropriately titled "Infused with Hope." 

Go read it!  It gave me HOPE! And I was encouraged to praise Him...despite how my body feels. Despite my busy, crazy week. Despite all the things I have scribbled into my planner. 

For now, my friends....find your rest in the Savior. We can't do this without Him! 

Tomorrow I want to talk to all of us about self-care! 

I am joining with my friends at the Homeschool Review Crew. I encourage you to sit down with a cup of something hot and be encouraged with all the wisdom and advice they have to offer.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

5 Days of Homeschooling for the Weary Momma

You would not believe the irony of the timing for this Blog Hop.

And if I needed to take my own advice about anything NOW IS THE TIME!


Today I wanted to just start off the week with some encouragement. You need someone to speak life into your day. You are tired. You are sick. There might be trials in your life that you aren't prepared for. You might have a mountain to climb.

I want you to know that you are not alone. There are sisters all over the world that have struggled with feeling like they are enough. Me included.

I don't know where you are in your faith journey, but I want you to know that God sees you. He sees your situation. He is more than able to carry your load and bring you peace.

I like this verse in Psalm 55:22. I am sharing the New International Reader's Version.

Turn your worries over to the Lord.

    He will keep you going.
    He will never let godly people be shaken.

Just Stay tuned! I'll come back and make sure I link up the articles in this series as they come.

Day 1 - Finding Hope in Your Journey

Day 2 - Beke's Quick Recipe for Self-Care

Day 4 - Rest is Not a Dirty Word

For now...just be blessed! 

Coming Soon ... 2018 Annual Spring Blog Hop

Thursday, April 19, 2018 (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Sometimes, we as homeschool teachers/parents need all the help we can get. One resource I've used in the past and really enjoyed is This time around I received a one year subscription to HelpTeaching Pro.

A Pro Subscription is available for families with materials appropriate for grades Pre-K through the 12. These materials include printable worksheets, tests, games...even the capability to create ones own tests and worksheets. There are lessons available for a variety of topics and subjects, as well.

Josiah is in High School and I have really narrowed down what he needs. He is dyslexic and I think it is so important give him extra help with reading. However, digging up that extra help can become quite time consuming. I have found the HelpTeaching site to be very easy to use and valuable in Josiah's goal to become a better reader. 
Before I show you how we use HelpTeaching, I do need to tell you that site LOTS of subject material. There is a little something for everybody. My best advice is to go roam around and take advantage of the free membership before investing in the Pro Subscription. I think it is WELL WORTH IT! 

As I mentioned before, I've been using it primarily to provide Josiah some extra help with reading. I'm about to show you a crazy amount of screen shots. The beauty of this site is that I can either download and print the materials or I can assign Josiah a lesson and have him read and take the test or complete the worksheet online. 

The above worksheet talked about comparing two works of fiction and has some comprehension questions at the the end. We did have a bit of a "funny" with this one. I'm not sure if it is a typo or what, but one of the main characters in the Harry Potter books was referred to as "Fobby." Harry Potter fans will recognize this character as "Dobby." 

In any event, the quiz was super easy to take online.

And provided Josiah with immediate satisfaction. 
 Along with the reading, I also took advantage of some of the premade quizzes. This one on Taxes came at an opportune time. There are answer sheets available...I actually let Josiah check his work with this one. 

Another little set of worksheets I liked really well were to help improve reading speed. I didn't give Josiah a goal to reach, but let him compete with himself each time. He really enjoyed these. 

Something I found really helpful was how easy it is to find what you need. You can see from the picture below that I can chose an assignment on word count, grade level or genre. I have just given you the High School levels here, but I certainly have used assignments from every grade level. I think it's important to use a variety of difficulty. 

This is a picture of one of the High School lessons. There aren't as many of those available as there are with the younger grades, but we did enjoy this one on "Phrases from Shakespeare." 

A really nice feature is the Text Maker. You can see that there are a lot of ways to use it. 

I chose to create a quiz on some important Life Skills we are working on. There were pages and pages of premade questions I got to chose from. 

Here is a picture of the very last question on this particular quiz. Can you tell I'm trying to reinforce something here? 😀

There is also a cute little Game & Puzzle Generator. Josiah enjoys Word Searches so I've taken advantage of that! 

This is really one of those products that I use over and over again. I have found it to be so practical and useful in this season of life. If I can't have more hours in the day at least I have HelpTeaching! 

You can connect with via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. You can see how other homeschoolers used the site. 

Help Teaching Pro. { Reviews}
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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Princess Cut (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

We are certainly a movie-watching, movie-loving family.  Recently, we had the chance to spend a nice evening hunkered down together (complete with popcorn) with the movie Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures.

Princess Cut The Movie

About the movie

Princess Cut is set in a small farm town in the Carolinas. Our protagonist, Grace Anderson, is a beauty with big dreams. She comes from a tight-knight farm family and working towards a degree in interior design. When the movie begins, we see Grace preparing for a big date with her boyfriend, Stewart. Grace is certain that after 15-months of dating Stewart he is about to propose.

I don’t want to give anything away, but it could just be the most humiliating night of Grace’s life.  

She soon starts seeing a young man named Jared and starts, once again, to navigate the choppy and uncertain waters of dating. We are also introduced to the steady neighbor, who also happens to be a doctor.

How does a young Christian woman find true love? Will Grace find the one God has for her?

My Thoughts

You first need to know that our family unit consists of myself, My Studly Muffin (of a husband), our 16-year-old son, Josiah and Princess, the Siamese Cat.

I need to tell you that Princess the Cat was ambivalent about the subject matter and, for that matter, the movie. She was more concerned with dozing on a lap.

The Studly Muffin is the true romantic. He would rather watch a romantic comedy than about anything….except for a good ballgame.  The Boy has no experience with dating and I am more than anxious for him to have some good influences and role models in his life.

Princess Cut was a sweet movie. It is certainly not star-studded feature…though little brother, Drew stole the show. There was a hilarious story line of Drew putting an ad in the paper, advertising his sister. Now that was funny.

In truth, Grace kind of irritated me in the beginning. This could be because I was atypical teenage girl. Thankfully, I was self-possessed enough to have certain ideas about relationships. However, I can see “Grace” in the majority of young women around me.

I always felt that I could never and should never depend on a man or another human being to fill that God-shaped hole in my life. A husband or boyfriend CANNOT meet the needs in your life.

I think Grace finally got there, but it took following some wisdom her parents laid down for her.

I think many will find the movie old-fashioned and conservative. I honestly don’t have an issue with this. I do believe it is necessary to have many conversations with the young men and women in your life on the matters of marriage, life and love.

The rest of the family enjoyed the movie as a whole.  It is also something I would consider showing to a group of young people at church.

Watchman Pictures

You can connect with Watchman Pictures via the following social media outlets. Don’t forget to click on the banner to read more reviews

Twitter:      Tag:   @PrincessCutFilm    Pinterest:
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Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Our Favorite Movies on Youtube! (At least 5 of them!)

I don't know where you live, but we have had the looonnggest winter.

I'm not kidding.

And every time we have a bit of sunshine and a warmish day, I get a little hopeful....only to have those hopes and dreams violently crushed between winter's evil death grip.

Yup. Beke needs some sunshine. ASAP!

We've also had lots of rain the past few weeks. It's been that kind of rain where you start seeing the neighborhood critters lining up two by two. Somebody better be building an ark somewhere!

As I type this I can see the snow flying outside of the living room window. Yikes! It's time to bring in reinforcements.

For us, this comes in the form of some good old-fashioned movie watching. We do have a good collection of favorite movies. And we have a a subscription to a couple of popular streaming services.

But...I am currently obsessed with Youtube. I have been using to to make Josiah watching current event programming. I am always on the look out for tutorial on how to make or create cool things.

Not that I ever get around to it...this homeschooling stuff keeps us busy! 

Anyhoo. Did you know that you can find lots of neat old movies on youtube? 

Take a look at some of our favorites. These are all very family friendly. 

The Little Princess (1939) - Starring Shirley Temple

A little girl is left by her father in an exclusive seminary for girls, due to her father having to go to South Africa to fight in the Second Boer War.

Life with Father (1947) - Starring William Powell, Irene Dunne & Elizabeth Taylor

A financier from New York rules his numerous family, consisting of his wife and his four sons, with the meticulousness of a bookkeeper.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) 

Tom Sawyer and his pal Huckleberry Finn have great adventures on the Mississippi River, pretending to be pirates, attending their own funeral and witnessing a murder.

Seven Alone (1974)

A frontier family crosses the U.S. by wagon train, hoping for a better life in the Oregon Territory.

Heidi (1937) - Starring Shirley Temple

A plucky little orphan girl gets dumped abruptly into her gruff, hermit grandfather's care, then later gets retaken and delivered as a companion for an injured girl.

Do you have any favorites? 

What Can We Do When It's: too Hot, Cold or Raining? {Homeschool Link UP}

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Creation Illustrated (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I have to say that I enjoy a good unit study. In fact, it is probably my most favorite method of teaching anything. I blame the former kindergarten teacher in me.

Creation Illustrated recently sent two Nature unit studies for us to review. I received the unit study on SNOW, but given our oversaturation of SNOW this winter I was ready to focus on the study on PINE TREES.

Both products are intended for kiddos in grades 5-8. They came in the form of a digital product and expand on articles found in Creation Illustrated.

Before I talk about the unit study, I want to talk a little about the Creation Illustrated magazine. I was unfamiliar with the publication…but what a gorgeous little magazine!

Readers have referred to it as "The Christian answer to National Geographic!” It is entering its 25th year of publishing and uses Christ’s method of teaching through the things He made.  

The magazine intent is to find how creation is illustrated “in Nature, “in Scripture,” and “in living.” I found it to be a wonderful balance of each. I also think it is especially friendly for homeschoolers.

Right now you can subscribe to Creation Illustrated quarterly, but the digital editions will be available soon. It is great for all ages!  

For my review I recieved access to the Winter '18 Digital Edition  and the Fall '17 Digital Edition

Back to the unit studies. As I mentioned, both the studies I received correspond with an article found in the Creation Illustrated Magazine. I was also thrilled to see a whole page of extra links included so that we could enjoy a variety of multi-media experiences.

I am now obsessed with a tree named Methuselah. Like his namesake, Methuselah’s claim to fame is the length of his years. He happens to be a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine located in California. And he happens to be over 4,000 years old.

So very cool.

Along with the extra spiffy links, the unit study contains a variety of activities. For example, there is a list of vocabulary words AND spelling words.

A section I was especially excited to see was the Bible Study on Pine Trees.  In addition, there is a great geography activity and even Pine Tree math!

I grew up in the Ozark mountains.  When I was younger we lived in the woods of North Central Arkansas. Tall pine trees surrounded our little woodsy farm.  I now know the majority of those were short-leaf pine trees.

Of course, a good nature unit study isn't worth its salt unless there is a writing AND art project included. And don't despair....the study also includes a answer key for parents. 

Josiah and I had a good time with this study!

I can’t recommend these products enough. They are thoroughly researched and produced. They are perfect for extra work or those times when you just need a break from the usual hustle and bustle. And there is something extra special about exploring God’s beautiful creation!

Here are a few more things you might want to know. Right now you can access print subscriptions, back issues, products, and FREEbies (including another Sample Digital Back Issue, a Sample Unit Study on Fragrance, a character-building lesson, and more) at:

The Spring issue of Creation Illustrated magazine is now available. Subscriptions to the Ad-free quarterly PRINT editions of Creation Illustrated are for 1 year and available for 25% off at:
The Creation Unit Studies are available to download at 30% Off at:

You can connect with Creation Illustrated via the following social media outlets. Don’t forget to click on banner below for more reviews.

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}
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