winners of the homeschool conference tickets

Congrats to our GHC family registration winners!!! You should be receiving an email soon! :)

Here are the two winners:
We have never been to a homeschool convention!! This is our 2nd year and I find myself all too often ordering too many things, not knowing enough about them.. It would be fantastic to be able to see all different curriculum's in one area. Plus the speakers look so amazing, my husband will even be excited to attend. This would also be a great opportunity for my kids to realize that there are more homeschoolers like them all over the country and even get some penpals!! Thank you!! 

First year homeschooling here! I would love to go to this!! 

If you're interested in going to one of these, you can find more information over here!

BF weekend: Lilla Rose and L'Bri Giveaway {and big sale!}

Oh, I have a fun little Black Friday weekend giveaway for you!! Even if you're not shopping this weekend, you might win something! ;)

Joy from Artful Homemaking {fb page} sent me a couple of her favorite products to try out and giveaway!! :D I was given the chance to choose an item for free from her Lilla Rose website, and if you know me, you know I chose the headband without hesitation. :D

The coolest thing about the Lilla Rose hairbands is that they're adjustable to fit you! Here's the one I picked:

I was surprised at how well it held my hair without giving me a headache! I love how it looks too- not too girlie:

And the best news for you?  You get the chance to enter to win a product of your choice {up to $16}, and all of the Lilla Rose products are on sale this weekend only! So right now, their headband is only $12 instead of $17, and their very famous flexi-clips are on sale too!

{Wouldn't they make great presents?} :D
I like this one.

November 29 and 30, Lilla Rose has 20% off all items for two days only, 25%-50% off select items, and Free Shipping over $50. The sale ends November 30th at midnight.

Here are more special Lilla Rose sale details from Joy:

If you are a new Lilla Rose customer (you've never placed an order or registered with a consultant before), I'm having a New Customer Sale!  If you place an order of at least three items (including sale items!) at my website, I'll send you a coupon for another item valued at $16 or less!  So, you buy three and get one FREE!***

To take advantage of this sale, you must be on my website, though.  You should see the following:  

Hi, I'm Joy. Welcome to my website!
I fell in love with Lilla Rose the very first time I tried a Flexi Clip. 

If you see another consultant's name and greeting, that means you're on another consultant's website. Please stay with your consultant as the Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale is only for new customers. After you place your order for three or more items, send me an email (at artfulhomemaking {at} gmail {dot} com ) and let me know, and I'll send you the coupon for your free item!

And the pot gets even sweeter for you- Joy's also giving away this $18 L'Bri holiday glamour mini makeup kit. It's so compact, it will fit in your purse!

And it has 18 fun eyeshadows, powder, 3 blushes, and 4 lipsticks with a mirror. They look bright, but they all seem to go on very lightly and smoothly so they look more natural than you'd think! It would make a fun stocking stuffer! {I especially love that middle color of the blush!} 

To enter to win one Lilla Rose item of your choice and this makeup kit, go and check out her Lilla Rose website and tell me in the comments below which item under $16 you'd choose if you won!! 

This giveaway ends Sunday night, December 1, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Must reside in the US or Canada to win. Please be sure to leave your email so I can contact you if you win! :D

disclosure: I received the two products above for free to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

ultimate healthy living bundle is back for black friday!!!

Ahhh! :D Remember that special Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle with 86 ebooks for 35 cents each and $150 in bonuses and free stuff???? Did you miss it the first time it came around? They've heard from so many people who were disappointed they missed out the first time around, that they've announced the Encore Flash Sale for Black Friday weekend only! And even better, 25% of these proceeds go to four non-profit charities!! {listed below}

I'm excited to be their affiliate because I get to share that the bundle is available again from Friday, November 29 to 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, December 2, and then it's gone forever! 

Here's all the info! :D

What's in the Bundle?

Get Educated 
 We took 86 eBooks (plus 1 eCourse) by popular bloggers on topics like real food & recipes, green living, natural cleaning and beauty, mental and emotional health, fitness, herbal remedies and more. 

  Get Mentored 
 Then we added the brand new "Coffee Table Conversations," a 12-week series of author mentorship through interactive online conference calls and private support groups. 

  Get Equipped 
 We finished it off with 9 bonus sponsors offering you $150+ of incredible products and services to help you along your way. This includes bonuses like $25.98 of FREE eco-friendly laundry detergent from Dizolve (because we all need clean clothes). This bonus nearly makes up for the entire cost of the bundle!

How Much Does the Bundle Cost?

Ultimate: Maximum; decisive; conclusive. The best or most extreme of its kind.
We wouldn't call it the "ultimate" bundle if it wasn't true. As our hard-working team pulled together the Ultimate Healthy Living 2013 Bundle Sale, we had 3 basic goals: to put a comprehensive health library at your fingertips, to offer something for everyone, and to provide so much value for an itty-bitty price that it would be irresistible. In a nutshell? This bundle is brimming with more than 80 ebook and ecourse resources, from authors and bloggers known as authorities in their fields. For less than $30, you can pick up your own bundle complete with more than $800 of ebooks, $67 of interactive "coffee table conversations" with their authors, and $158 of products and services to help you on your way toward healthier living. That's over a $1,000 value!

 Additionally, 25% of this flash sale's proceeds go to a few of our favorite non-profit organizations... Shelter Box (specifically for Philippines relief aid), Compassion International, Hope for Women, and Love146!

But you don't want to wait! 
This bundle is available for only 4 days, from 
8 a.m. (EST) on Friday, November 29 to 
11:59pm (EST) on Monday, December 2. 

After this time, this bundle will never be available for purchase again. Get yours now for just $29.97! (Psst... did you know that you can add on two extra bundles for the price of one? Just choose the bonus 2-for-1 option during checkout!)

Buy Now

What's Included in the eBook Library? ($800+ value)

Real Food Cookbooks

Allergy-Friendly/Special Diets

Menu Planning/Meal Prep

Natural Skincare

Natural Health

Healthy Lifestyle



Green Living

Special Health Concerns

Healthy Kids & Babies

Learning About Real/Whole Foods

What are Coffee Table Conversations? ($67 value)

For 12 weeks starting in January 2014, we'll offer a series of weekly one-hour live conference calls, where you can join in and ask your questions on relevant and timely healthy living topics to a panel of eBook authors. We'll look at issues like allergy-friendly cooking, fighting fatigue (and finding energy!), eating well on a tight budget, an introduction to alternative health and herbal remedies, and tips and tricks for making real food in less time. You'll be able to listen to authors converse with each other on any (or all) of the 12 calls that you choose to take part in, and get answers to your questions in real time! We'll also provide a private Facebook group, where that week's "mentors" will pop in as often as they can and chat with you on the topics at hand. Talk about up-close and personal learning!

What are the Healthy Living Bonus Offers? ($150+ value)

  1. Dizolve—A FREE 128 Load Twin-Pack of Dizolve Natural Laundry Detergent. Dizolve laundry detergent strips are an innovative, phosphate-free way to clean your clothes. ($25.98 Value. Standard shipping rates apply. Limited to the first 5,000.)
  2. Bulk Herb Store—An instant download of their instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 1 for only 1 cent. ($14.95 Value. No shipping restrictions.)
  3. Wise Choice Market—A FREE $15 store credit to be used at Wise Choice Market on the Finest Real Food around, including traditionally-made bone broths, organic fermented vegetables, wild salmon, sprouted breads, and many more. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates and restrictions apply.)
  4. Fit2Be Studio—A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio (for new members) where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are TummySafe™and particularly target Diastasis Recti. Current members may apply the coupon code for $20 off a 1-year membership. ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.)
  5. Jenuinely Pure—$15 off any $30 order at Jenuinely Pure on the beautifully-crafted natural skincare products. Make the switch to natural skincare with Jenuinely Pure. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  6. Plan To Eat—A FREE 4-Month subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes scheduled when you want them — and they make your grocery list! ($19.80 value. No shipping restrictions. New accounts only. Offer expires Dec.15)
  7. TrilLight HealthFREE $15 store credit to be used toward Trilight Health's Fast-Acting, Great Tasting Liquid Herbal Formulas, or anything else in their store. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  8. List Planit—Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Trial Membership to ListPlanIt, where you can organize your life with hundreds of lists that you can create and manage at home or on the go. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)
  9. Cultures for Health—A FREE sourdough or kombucha starter from Cultures For Health PLUS a $5 credit to put toward anything else in store. (up to a $17.95 Value. Both the starter and the $5 credit can be used in the same order! Standard shipping rates apply.)
All bonus offers are available for redemption until December 16th, 2013. Buy Now

Important stuff you might want to know

  • Read the fine print. {The details matter. :)}
  • Check out our Frequently Asked Question page, particularly to learn about file types, how downloading works, transferring to eReader devices, redeeming bonus offers, and all that good stuff.
  • Remember, this bundle is available for only 4 days, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Friday, November 29 to 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, December 2. After that, this particular bundle will never be available for purchase again.
  • Affiliate disclaimer: I'm partnering with the UHB as an affiliate, which means if you do decide to buy this bundle through my link in this post, {bh} will get a percentage of the sale. Yay!! 

women living well book study: ch. 16-18 discussion + new study guide {on homemaking, and imperfection}

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

Let's jump right in to this week's discussion, shall we?

Chapter 16: Juggling Homemaking, Ministry, and Work

I loved hearing Courtney's story, didn't you? It's always fun to learn how others have walked before you knew them! I was married at 19 1/2, graduated from college at 20, worked full-time for a few months, and then we had our first baby 3 days after I turned 21. I went from college girl to career-girl to stay-at-home mama in 5 months!

Staying home was hard at first! I was used to life at high speed, and then, suddenly, I was a full-time mama working part-time one day a week. The early days were sweet though- we never realized how quiet and easy they were until the rest of the kiddos came along! :P

In the next five years we had three more kids. So that meant we had 4 kids 5 and under! It was by far the craziest time of our life, especially when #4 was colicky and needy. We thought we had this parenting thing figured out until she came along! :)

I started teaching at our gym when the youngest was around 6 months, and have been teaching a few hours a week ever since. Then I added in a blog that takes many hours each week, and a newborn later this year... and well, sometimes it gets crazy around here! :)

The more kiddos we have, the more messes we have for sure... but we find the older they get, the more they can participate in the cleaning process! :D The boys are 10 and 8 now, and still need supervision, but they can fold and put away clothes, wash dishes, unload the dishwasher, organize and clean up all of the toys, sweep the floor, and clean their rooms, and the little girls can do the same. They are all good helpers when they're monitored. ;)

free chore cards
We've used chore cards, as well as cleaning zones, and now that the kids are older, the cleaning zone system works better for us. Our house is always a little messy, but since the newest baby came and we all stay home every day, it's messier than it has been in the last couple of years. It's a bit more chaotic, but it's livable for sure. ;)

I have had to let my internal standard of perfection go, especially in the last three months. We pick up the house at night if we have time, and sometimes the dishes stay in the sink for a couple of days. {we can't go longer than that because we run out of room, LOL!}.

Figuring out the new life we have this year has been a challenge for sure- with full-time homeschooling, a new baby, working, blogging, church, meeting with friends, Bible study, birthday parties... it's kind of a one day at a time thing! I know it is a short season though- someday I will have a perfectly clean house, but only because there will be no kids living here. And that will be it's own challenge {one I'm not looking forward to!}.

Chapter 17- Making Your Home a Haven

Okay, so did you feel like you lived in home #1 {distant and distracted} and home #2 {engaged and enjoyable} at the same time? {p. 173- 174}

I think blogging brings a big challenge for me- I feel like I'm on the computer many hours of the day {often too many}, and yet I'm supposed to be there too. It's a hard, weird place to be for a mama. It works, and I love that I'm with the kids almost all day long, yet there are things I know I'm missing because I'm distracted by the computer or my phone.

With the last few weeks of being sick and having a new baby who wakes often, my head feels like it's spinning from being exhausted and pulled in so many directions, so I've been forced to take a step back from working so much at night after dinner.

It's been so good to step back a little, rest, and read books more after a long day of homeschooling, blogging, cleaning, cooking, and exercising. And this week, I've been surprised at how often my patience lasted and I could speak softly! It could only be the Lord giving me the strength because I've not felt great physically! I love the tips on using peace-filled words on page 177.

We put on the music at dinner time and usually clean up together, and then the kids play games at night before bedtime. We have a family night every week where we watch a survival show and eat pizza on the floor {it's the only time food is ever allowed in the living room, so it's extra special, :P}.

Chapter 18- Routines that Bring Rest

Do you have a routine in place at your house? We have before, and we have an unofficial one now for sure, but we generally are fairly unstructured with so many little variables running around. ;) I like to make plans, but hold them loosely for sure. We never know when someone might be sick or break an arm, or our dinner plans may change. :) Since my husband mostly works from home, we are almost always together as a family, and that makes life sweeter than ever.

Like I mentioned before, I've found that Sunday morning preparation {p. 189} is essential when you have to get out the door for church. I've been failing miserably at it for the last 7 weeks or so, and we've been winging it almost every Sunday morning {which makes us late!}. But the days I'm organized are so much better for my attitude, even when we still don't get to church on time. I know preparing beforehand really does and has worked for us in the past. ;)

So I have to tell you- all of these little homemaking/mama/wife imperfections I know I have tend to add up in my mind, but somehow God has been good to not let me dwell on how many things I'm not doing as well in this season. Grace is there, undeserved, and I am thankful for it.

I remember how much more efficiently I did things before we added #5 to the mix, but that ease pales in comparison to the joy that little man brings our family. Who needs empty laundry baskets every day? There will be a day for that, soon enough. Right now I'm enjoying lots of baby snuggling and that perfect gummy grin. :) Oh, what a blessing he is to all of us!

Expecting chaos, trying to plan for it, not making plans sometimes, having more messes, relaxing when we can, being late every now and then: that's life with 5 kiddos for us, and I'm okay with it {most of the time!}. It's not perfect- and it's not easy, either- but it's wonderful. We all have so much fun together. It's a precious time in our lives, and I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Right now, like Joy said so well here, I've found that peace in my home starts with my heart. My contentment with the state of things in my home and with my children makes such a difference in how I act and react to my family, and how they act toward each other.

I do get lost in the piles sometimes, but my purpose here has to be the same, no matter my circumstances or how messy or clean things can get. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

I want to glorify Him with the things I'm good at, and the things I'm not doing well at right now too. Excellence is great, but our weaknesses are where Christ shows His power because we are humbled and need Him the most! :)

And being a homemaker, wife, and mama is sanctifying in so many ways, but thankfully God never forsakes us. And you know what? Our homes could be perfectly run, but without the love of Christ, it is empty work. He brings the glory and the calling and ability to love our families through His power- not our own! And you can believe He can and will work in and through our imperfections. I am! :)

Isn't that incredible? :D And the best news ever?

It's not about us. It was never about us.

It's always about Him.  :)

Thank you Jesus, for giving us the chance to stand before you. Thank you that we do not have to do that work that we could never do. Thank you for calling us before we were born to be yours. We praise you for this job that you've given us to do- please give us the strength to look above the tasks to set our minds on things above, and to serve you with all of our hearts in whatever we do. We love and praise you, Father- you are so good to us, and we are so thankful.


Questions for discussion- I'd love to hear your thoughts!!! {feel free to answer others as well!}

What kind of homemaking season would you say you are in right now? Difficult, easy? {little ones around, bigger ones, grown kids, etc.?} What do you feel good at and struggle with at home?

How do/did you include your family in your everyday chores?

Does your family have a time set aside as time together like family night too?

big giveaway: 2 family registrations to Great Homeschool Conventions + a freebie!

I think you guys will love this giveaway! It's huge! :) 

Great Homeschool Conventions* is giving away a family registration to TWO lucky winners plus a little freebie for everyone! :D I would totally love to go to this convention, if only to hear Dr. Ben Carson and Matt Walsh speak! :)

About GHC:
Hosted in Greenville, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ontario, California in 2014, as well as expanding to Texas in early 2015, Great Homeschool Conventions offers hundreds of workshops and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit hall available!

Outstanding speakers such as Dr. Ben Carson, Heidi St. John, Dr. Jay Wile, Michael Medved, Cheryl Swope, the crazy-popular Matt Walsh, plus dozens of other speakers will be joining Great Homeschool Conventions in 2014. For more information, hop over to the Great Homeschool Conventions website or follow them on Facebook.

the giveaway:
GHC is giving away a free family registration to two winners!! {winners' choice of location, value $50 each).

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post below and tell me whether you've been to a homeschooling convention before.  
{****Please make sure you leave your email in your entry so that I can contact you if you win!}

The giveaway closes on November 27, 2013 at 11:59 CST, and the winners will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, November 29, 2013!

Can't make it to one of their conventions? There's still something for you! :D

the freebie:
And...GHC is also giving away a freebie to everyone through 11/30/13:

Everyone gets a The First Thanksgiving ~ Pilgrims, Puritans and the Founding of America download from Michael Medved for free!  {It's just in time- just yesterday, my kiddos were asking about the reason we have Thanksgiving, and we were about to do history research!}

I can't wait to hear your entries/homeschool convention experience! Any tips for a first-timer? {I really want to go- I've never been to one before!}

*fun affiliate links included in this post :)

my favorite thanksgiving freebies this year + one yummy recipe

I can't believe we are only a week away from Thanksgiving, can you? It's still 60-85 degrees here, so I'm having a really hard time believing it this year. ;) I guess it's time to start planning what I'm cooking and baking in just 7 days! 

I was doing a little holiday research today, and thought I would share some of my favorite Thanksgiving freebies from around the web! :D {oh, and if you happen to pin them, please head to the original post and pin from their source, if you can :D}

2. This week I really want to do a thankful tree and leave it up through Christmas. Lia Griffith has a gorgeous tutorial and free printable leaves!

3. We are already using these Thanksgiving Bible printables for kids:

4. I thought this was a fun idea- it's just a sheet of paper folded into this super easy printable utensil holder:

5. I thought this printable coloring sheet would actually make some very pretty frame-able art!

6. And this set is all over Pinterest but I had never seen it before this week! Here is the most amazing printable collection I have ever seen from the TomKat Studio:

7. And lucky number 7...oh my stars, this has nothing to do with free printables, but I think I'll be making these apple pie bars for Thanksgiving! They look heavenly:

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? 
We've never done a thankful tree before, but some years we go around the table and tell what we are thankful for. I'm excited to try the tree with the kids, and we might incorporate the silverware holder to inspire conversations with our guests! :D

Link to your best pumpkin pie recipe?
True story- I have hated pumpkin pie all of my life, and the other day at the store I tried a sample of a store-bought one and loved it. Maybe I was just starving, but it was sweeter, creamier, and less clovey than ones I tried before. So the pumpkin flavor I like, just not too much of the "spice" flavor. :D Now I want to try to make one!

What's a good price for a turkey this year?

women living well book study: ch.13-15 discussion {on parenting mess-ups, the schooling decision + more} + study guide

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

Oh friends, parenting is one of the things I feel least qualified in. I see mostly where I mess up in this area. It's incredibly hard to be a mama. It really is, but I'm so thankful God "doesn't call the qualified, but He qualifies the called!" I'm thankful that my God is bigger than my mistakes and sins, and that He forgives me when I fail {every day!}. You know what I mean? :)

Chapter 13: Motherhood Mess-ups

I was so encouraged by this chapter. My 10 years of parenting has been full of mess-ups, so I was glad to know I'm not alone! ;) I've had moments when I just wanted to give up completely, to throw up my hands and stop trying altogether.

I remember when I first had Elijah- it was like my entire world shifted and I was the only one going through it. I was the first of all my friends to have a baby, and when I graduated, married, got a job, moved out of the city, and had a baby in a year {at barely 21}, I found myself going from a whirlwind of activity and people to suddenly completely alone at home with a tiny infant all day long. It was such a lonely time of my life.

I didn't regret the choices we'd made, but I was surprised at how different my life became. I could no longer just hop out at a gas station or go into a store without carrying a load of stuff and a stroller. 30-minute feedings and multiple clothing and diaper changes had to happen before I could even attempt to leave the house. :)

But looking back, though it felt so very long {the days felt like forever!}, that season of just babies was actually so short! It wasn't long before I found out I was pregnant for the second time, and things changed in our house all over again. Soon I found myself with two little toddler boys who loved to tag team and destroy everything in sight! ;)

oh, they were so little!! I can't believe I couldn't see it then like I do now.

Like Courtney mentions on page 136- the best thing was that as my boys were growing up, so was I! All those tantrums in the store and that time I had to chase Elijah around a friend's yard because he wouldn't obey when it was time to leave... those times were sanctifying and humbling, and made me realize that I could never be a perfect mom. All those great ideas I had B.P. {before parenting} of how I would never make separate foods for picky children, or how I didn't want my kids to ever play video games... they all kind of flew out the door over the years when I had real children living in my home. :)

Somehow, though, the Lord has been merciful to me and allowed me to grow in His grace. I'm so, so, soooo far from being a perfect mom, but over the years the Lord has gently nudged me and I yell less and love more than I did when I started, and most of the kids are growing up and out of their tantrums too. :P

Growing older always seems so sad, but it's really not- it's a wonderful thing to see how far your children have come, and how far you've come yourself too. It always seems like we aren't making progress, until we look back and see {thanks to our Father alone} that we've come a long way! And it gets better and better. :)

I think this was my very favorite quote from the chapter:

Training takes so long though, doesn't it? It seems to me like character training and potty training have a lot in common: they have to be the right age to understand, it doesn't usually happen overnight, and there are a whole lot of mess-ups. I can't just tell my kiddo how to go to the bathroom and expect them to know what to do. I have to teach them, and then train them how to do it over a period of time.

Both kinds of training may bring a few hard days, but they both are necessary, and their rewards are lasting and so worth it. :)

Chapter 14: I'm Gonna Blow My Top

Talk about a chapter every mama can relate to!

Oh, man. I know I have lost my cool a hundred more times than I could ever remember. I am ashamed at how I've yelled and lost it so many times. I wish I could say I have it all together and am entirely patient now but it would be such a lie. By God's grace, I've been forgiven, and it's gotten better, but I know I still have a long way to go.

I'd say over the last 10 years, unnecessary messes and setbacks have triggered mommy meltdowns for me the most. Oh, I remember getting so mad when the boys {3 and 2 at the time} ripped all of their wall paper border off the walls in tiny pieces. It left a huge mess on the wall and wasted so much money and time, and now I laugh at the story, but oh, that DAY. I was not a happy mama! ;)

I am so thankful that the Lord forgives me, and the Holy Spirit convicts and reminds me when I've sinned against my family. It's only in the last year or so that I've even been able to really notice and apologize to my children for losing my cool. The Lord keeps working on me, and I'm so thankful.

I found keeping calm is so much harder for me when I'm exhausted, and outright disobedience and ugliness often triggers anger in me too. Right now, Sunday mornings are one of the hardest days ever, and ironically, right before we go to church is the time I lose it the most often. The mornings I get up earlier, pray for peace and the Lord's help, have all of the clothes ironed, breakfast ready, and have the children bathed already are the good mornings! Why don't I remember that every week? Unfortunately, I like to postpone the work all too often.

When I'm more organized, I don't need the children to do as much on their own in a short time, and that helps me be a better {less irritable} mama. I was encouraged by this chapter to spend more time in reducing those kinds of triggers. Realizing my part in it is so helpful, and I am thankful for that conviction this week.

Chapter 15: Schools of Thought, Schools of Choice

The big schooling decision is a hard one to make. It has been for us, anyway. I loved how she starts out with this quote from the chapter:

"There is no cookie-cutter approach to schooling, because each parent and child and family is knit together uniquely with a unique set of challenges and skills." {p.151}

That has been very true for us! So much changes between each year!

Some years we have done full-time homeschooling, and two years we've done part-time school and homeschool combined. I don't think there is just one way that works for everyone. Really, we are blessed to have so many options for our children, aren't we?

Thanks to the many sacrifices of my parents, I went to Christian school for 10 years, and the other 3 were homeschooling years. I loved going to school, and still do. :) My brother and I learned so much of the Word of God in those years!

This is crazy: in my 8th grade year, my teacher had us memorize over 250 verses of Scripture, and in two years, we could quote 500 verses aloud continuously! {I have no idea how we did that now! My memory is foggy these days... :)} Every subject was taught in light of God's Word, and we had teachers who really loved us and prayed and poured into our lives. And I still remember many of those verses!

When Rob and I had children, we really wanted them to be raised in the same kind of environment I was blessed to have- one where their love of Jesus would be encouraged and sought after every day. We also wanted them to be close to us for the majority of every day, so we've done private Christian school and homeschooling both since they've started, and have really enjoyed both. This year, we originally thought we would do the part-time school again, but the Lord led us to do something different, and though we miss their little school, homeschooling full-time again has been so good for us.

Homeschooling is hard, but regular school is hard too. This is just my observation, but it seems like no matter which option you choose- most days your children will spend time working on school work at home, so homeschooling is something we all do at some point! :) Every family is different though, and I love how the Lord leads us in different ways!

And Courtney's chapter closing was so good:
Regardless of which school choice we make, our job as parents is to teach our children to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).  
What are the most important things when it comes to their education? Teaching them to love God and love people. So true!

Thank you God, that you lead us and teach us how to teach these little ones, because I'm not worthy to do it! I prove over and over that I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and I need your help to lead these little ones to you. I pray that we can seek after you with all of our hearts, and that your Spirit will lead us as we go about our day so that we can shine the light of the Gospel into the hearts of our little ones. Please help us in the name of Jesus, for your glory. We love you, Father. Thank you for loving us.

Let's discuss! :D

What were your thoughts on these parenting chapters?

Do you ever feel like parenting is too hard too?
{I think it is supposed to be, because it makes us turn to the Lord for help! We can only do it through His strength!}

What has been your most challenging season as a mother? 

do, read, learn, be goals + menu plans this week

I feel determined to at least make a list first thing this week {even if it doesn't get done! :P}. I started it last week and never even looked at it again. So here are my goals for this week:

  • nurse baby every 2.5 hours, hold him 75% of my waking hours, and change 10 diapers a day {not on my to-do list but I decided it totally should be so I can cross it out!}
  • make butter with kids as an experiment- we will use the mixer and do one jar by hand for fun
  • make 5 minute artisan bread to go with the butter :D 
  • sort through final bin of winter clothes from the attic
  • work on blog project
  • answer emails waiting 
  • exercise 5+ hours/teach fitness classes
  • help husband with a DIY project {this includes me moving stuff out of his way so he can work... because I'm not skilled in the saw/hammering dept.... hahah}
  • pray for people to invite to our feast
  • print pictures for frame
  • take vitamins every day


  • Proverbs 15:1: I already know this one but we are all learning it together:

print it here

soft-spoken: I want to make an effort this week to keep softening my words. I've definitely worked on this in the past, but it comes back and I have to do it all again, you know?  Some days I feel like I am barking orders and I want to be able to be less sharp in my speech with my family.

I've felt extra tired over the last couple of weeks and I've had some kind of respiratory bug that I've been fighting, so it's been more difficult than normal to be patient. We're also in day 44 of homeschooling so school is getting more intense too- all more ways to show me I'm in need of help in this area. :) I know the Lord is good, and the Holy Spirit will help me do it! :D

free printable drlb worksheet

menus this week {I try to keep it really simple around here!}: 

beans and rice x 2
food network lemon basil potatoes
freezer meal
fish and lemon basil red potatoes {new recipe to try this week- I have basil I need to use}
meal out
grilled cheese sandwiches and soup
quick and easy veggie chili and rice

sandwiches, carrots and pita chips
chicken and rice {me}
easy dog pizzas


I'm so thankful that I get the chance to make dinner for my family. I'm so thankful to be able to afford the foods that we have and that I can live in a warm house. It is a sweet gift from the Lord. And getting to make goals is like icing on the cake. :)

What are your goals this week? :)

Ever tried basil potatoes?

Do you have any tips for making homemade butter?