Category Archives: Uncategorized

Veritas Press Courses are on Sale!

At the Back-to-School picnic with our homeschool support group on Sunday, one of the dads asked Eli about his favorite subject.  It only took a second for him to decide.


We are now starting our third year using a Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course (we’ve made it to the 1815-the Present course!), and the boys still enjoy it as much as they did when we first discovered these fantastic programs.  They love the review games that make it feel like they’re playing video games for school, and I love how much they are learning in process.  Win-win!

If you’re looking for something your kids can do independently for history, I highly recommend these Veritas Press courses. They even have recommended literature to along with the online portion, with the books broken down into daily assignments to help students know what they should be reading that after they complete their lesson. (We like to do these as family read-alouds.)

We’ve also done two of the Bible courses and they were equally well done. All the self-paced online course are on sale right now, so it’s a great time to check them out!

Kwik Stix are now available at all BJ’s Wholesale Clubs!

I’ve mentioned before how much we love Kwik Stix for coloring. You get the bold, bright colors of tempera paint with ease of crayons or markers (and without the mess of regular paint). Now you can buy them at BJ’s Wholesale Clubs!  (They are also available on Amazon or at Toys R Us.)  All my kids enjoy using them, especially my 3-7 year olds.

These would make a great gift, and the smaller sets could even be stocking stuffers.  I know we’re still a few months away from Christmas, but I like to spread out the expense of gifts over a few months, so it’s about time to start thinking about these things!

Setting Up for Success… My Summer Organizing Spree

As I shared earlier this week in my review of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner, I have learned over the years that the more plan and organize in advance, the smoother our school year seems to go.  This week I took advantage of our break from school work to bring a bit more order to our home, knowing that once we get back into our regular routine I’ll be really glad I took the time to set myself up for an easier time.

There are so many areas where organization helps me maintain my sanity, but this week I just focused on two: the boys’ clothes and the playroom.

The boys’ clothes

With four boys, I have made it my policy to accept any hand-me-downs offered.  My older boys are so hard on clothes!  Jeans never make it past one kid, and shirts rarely make it past two.  Plus I’ve noticed my older boys have very different tastes, so while Ian may only want to wear long pants, I save the shorts in his size because that’s what Elijah prefers and will wear when he gets a little bigger. So we gladly receive whatever friends give us and I keep everything in tubs ready for the next boy who will need it.

This week I was sorting through several bags of hand-me-downs, getting them into the correct tubs.  I also had the boys go through their drawers and pull out anything that they don’t wear, either because it’s too small or just because they don’t like it. If I didn’t have enough room in a particular tub, I went through all the clothes for that size and picked out just the ones that had the most wear left and put the rest in a bag to give away.  It felt like a massive project, but it felt good to get it done, and now when any of the boys need new clothes, I know exactly what we have and they will be easy to find.

The playroom

We are blessed with a little outbuilding that currently serves as a play room for the older kids.  All the Lego bricks, K’nex, and other tiny little building toys stay in that room, out of my house and out of the baby’s reach.  As a general rule, I don’t make the kids keep it tidy.  I rarely go in, and since all they do there is play, it’s not that important to me to keep it picked up.  However, I do store my clothing tubs in that room, so in order to tackle the clothes project, I wanted to be able to walk safely there.

I offered to take everyone (including my two nieces, who are visiting) for frozen yogurt if they would sort all the little pieces into tubs (yes, I have an abundance of tubs in my life) and get the floor all picked up.  I should have taken a “before” picture, because it’s hard to appreciate how nice it is to walk in this room now.  It was completely covered with tiny plastic pieces, now all tucked away in their proper places.  I was able to get all my tubs put away, and I put together Ian’s Playmobil castle for them now that there’s room for it on the floor.


It’s a good start…

There’s still a lot more I’d like to get organized before we start back to school.  I need to go through Arianna’s clothes to get rid of the ones she’s outgrown as well.  I still have a couple boxes of books that haven’t found a home since we moved last summer.  My school plans for next year still need some work.  And I’d love to give the house a thorough scrubbing since it just gets little touch-ups once things get busy.  Still, I’m SO glad I was able to accomplish at least this much this week.  Every hour I put into getting things organized now will save me countless hours of stress as we move forward.

Do you use the summer to set yourself up for the next school year?  What helps you the most?

Exploring the Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad Resources
Drinking Gourd

Summer schooling for us often just means following rabbit trails.  This one all started when we began reviewing The Book of Astronomy, which led to talking about constellations, which led us to review a literature guide for The Drinking Gourd by F.N. Monjo.  As we’re going through it, we’ve been having fun finding other ways to learn about the Underground Railroad.

Here are some of the resources my 4-8 year olds have found interesting along the way.


Who Owns the Sun? by Stacy Chbosky (a Five in a Row book)

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter (Part of Five in a Row Vol. 2)

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford (This is a beautiful Caldecott Honor book that is essentially a long continuous conversation between Harriet Tubman and God as she travels the frightening and dangerous road to freedom.)

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (This is another Caldecott Honor book based on the true story of a man who had himself mailed to freedom in a shipping crate.)

  Follow the Drinking Gourd  Moses  Freedom-Box

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson

Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson

The Secret to Freedom by Marcia Vaughan

(The three stories above all talk about the role of quilts in helping slaves find their way to freedom.  I hope to revisit them when Arianna is older and we can do a quilting project to go along with our study.)

BC-Sweet-Clara-and-the-Freedom-Quilt  Under the Quilt of Night  Secret to Freedom

Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold

…If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma

Harriet Tubman by Catherine Nichols

Aunt Harriet  ifyoulived  Harriet Tubman


Adventures in Odyssey: Race to Freedom, video on Amazon Prime

Harriet Tubman from the Inspiring Animated Heroes series

AIO Race to Freedom  Harriet-Tubman-DVD


Adventures In Odyssey episodes #314-316 “The Underground Railroad” (audio)

AIO Underground Railroad

Online activity on the Underground Railroad from Scholastic

“Road to Freedom” printable game

Happy Mother’s Day!

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a mom.  After I had grown up, it was one of the strongest desires of my heart.  I remember the tears of my last Mother’s Day with empty arms, and I am overflowing with thankfulness at the Lord’s blessings in the the years since then.  One in heaven, five on earth . . . beautiful abundance!  My hands are full, and my heart even more so.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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A Chance to Breathe… Our School Year’s Done!

No more weekly wrap-ups for a while–we are officially done!  Well, kind of.  We just finished up Week 34, which means only 170 days of school behind us (“only”), but since the boys’ writing class is continuing for a few more weeks, plus we have a couple other educational days planned, I’m celebrating a little early.  Ian got through his final his history and math lessons this past week, and the kids Friday music classes are over for the semester.  That means all of our scheduled curriculum for the 2015-2016 school year has been completed.

So what now?  Do the kids just roam wild and go crazy in front of screens for the next few months?  Nothing like it.  I wouldn’t consider us “Year Round Homeschoolers,” but we don’t ever completely stop.  Summers for us are a chance to breathe, to explore more non-traditional studies (like our astronomy course), and to spend lots of time in constructive play.  We’ll continue reviewing various products, drilling facts on, and I’m sure several trips to the Natural History Museum are on the horizon (where we have a pass this year).  Apart from that, I expect to see lots of creative building projects and many trips to the library.

EverBlocks 1 EverBlocks 2

The Everywhere God – Fire Tablet GIVEAWAY!

The Everywhere God Giveaway

This giveaway will have 4 winners. The grand prize winner will receive a new Fire 7″ Tablet loaded with the Kindle edition of The Everywhere God.  The Fire tablet includes:

  • Beautiful 7″ IPS display (171 ppi / 1024 x 600) and fast 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. Rear and front-facing cameras.
  • All-new Amazon Underground, a one-of-a-kind app store experience where over $10,000 in apps, games and even in-app items are actually free – including extra lives, unlocked levels, unlimited add-on packs and more
  • Enjoy more than 38 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, apps and games
  • 8 GB of internal storage. Free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire devices. Add a microSD card for up to 128 GB of additional storage.
  • Updated user interface – Fire OS 5 designed for quick access to your apps and content plus personalized recommendations that make it easy to discover new favorites
  • Up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching videos, and listening to music
  • Stay connected with fast web browsing, email, and calendar support

Three more winners will each win a print copy of The Everywhere God.

The Everywhere God is a book about hope for children of all ages. Written for his young granddaughter during a particularly difficult time, the late Pastor Bob Nelson wanted to be sure she knew God was with her no matter what else was happening. Despite people and circumstances, his message is clear, God never leaves or forgets about us and His love never ends. Upon it’s completion, he knew it was something special and wanted to make it a children’s book. Unfortunately, time passed and things never fell into place for his vision to come to life. He passed away in 2008 before he could see it happen.

More than 20 years after it’s original writing, Bob Nelson’s daughter remembered this treasured poem and like her father, felt it needed to be shared with the world. For many years she kept this special story in the back of her heart and always dreamed of making his vision for a children’s book a reality.

To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter below after reading the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to The Everywhere God email list.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!  You are a blessing to your family, and I pray God blesses you in a special way this weekend as you reflect on all it means to be a mom.

I was blessed to spend the morning celebrating motherhood with a bunch of special ladies at church, but this little one is my favorite.  I’m so thankful for my Arianna (and all my boys who spent the morning hiking with Daddy).


Mama’s Retreat: Refill, Refuel, Recharge

RetreatThis weekend I’m getting away with a group of fellow homeschool mamas for a little retreat, and boy, am I ready.  This mama is running on fumes, limping through the days, struggling in so many ways.  My patience has grown thin.  My temper has grown short.  I’m constantly irritated by normal childishness and daily life, and it’s coming out in my words to those around me.  My children are getting the worst of it since they’re with me all the time, and that makes me really sad.

Yesterday a friend posted this “Mother’s Prayer” on Facebook, and it reminded me of why I am going on this retreat.

Oh give me patience when wee hands
Tug at me with their small demands.
And give me gentle and smiling eyes.
Keep my lips from hasty replies.

And let not weariness, confusion or noise
Obscure my vision of life’s fleeting joys.
So when, in years to come my house is still
No bitter memories its rooms may fill.

— author unknown

I am in desperate need of some time to refill, refuel, and recharge for the sake of the precious little ones entrusted to my care.  I’m looking forward to a weekend of not just fellowship with a group of amazing women, but prayer, worship, and most all, quiet rest.

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