Teaching Textbooks

When the Doubts Creep In (and I Feel Like I’ve Ruined My Kids)

This past week we spent a whole lot of time doing nothing. A little bit of cleaning and organizing here and there, but otherwise it was rest and refocusing on what is coming in the last six weeks of school.

At one point a friend texted me something that hit a wee bit of a rawness in me, because it echoed many of the doubts that have been circling my mind the last few weeks. 

Do you ever feel like you’ve ruined your kids? Having one of those vulnerable moments.  Sometimes I feel like I haven’t involved them in enough.  And I tell myself it’s not too late and that they’re pretty solid kids.  But yeah, sometimes those doubts.

My answer. Yes. I do. Even during the last week of rest there were moments when the doubt crept in. Should I be doing more? Less? We could be doing more. Maybe we should get them involved in _____. Perhaps we need to step up our work in another area. The list goes on and on. 

Yes, there will likely be gaps and things I miss, but honestly, that’s ok. I can’t be everything and the end all. I’m NOT everything and the end all.  I still need to do my best, but I can’t worry about every little detail or I will drive myself crazy. We take things one day at a time and as opportunities arise. Sometimes they are a great fit for where we are in life, and other times they need to be put aside in that moment. 

Many of the books I’ve been reading lately (and there is good reason for it), have focused on scaling back. Focusing on what is important and knowing what we want in our home and family. All timely reminders for me (and maybe you too). 

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the cycle of having everything “perfect” on paper – lesson plans, making sure we are doing all the right stuff academically. We’re trying to involve them in some sports. It’s hard not to compare and see what other families are doing or involved in. But we’ve also made the decision as a family to try to simplify in some areas and not overextend ourselves. 


While reading The Magnolia Story this past week, one section really stuck out to me. In trying to create perfection in her home, Joanna Gaines realized something: 

…my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter — and that made all the difference…It all came down to a mind shift in which I asked myself, ‘What am I going for in life?’ Was it to achieve somebody else’s idea of what a perfect home should look like? Or was it to live fully in the perfection of the home and family I have?”  

As we finish up the rest of our school year, the one thing I want to ensure I’m doing is putting my energy into enjoying what we are doing — wholeheartedly — and FULLY enjoying the family and homeschool that we have been blessed with. While my family and school may not line up with what others are doing, that’s okay. We will finish well and in those moments of feeling vulnerable, I will focus on the task in front of me and remember to trust God in all that I am doing. Including my kids’ education.

Creating Lasting Friendships – #NeverUnfriended

This last week I’ve been reading through Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker and am truly in love with it. It’s one that has been traveling around the house and errands with me so I can grab and read during spare moments.

Friendship can be a huge risk – putting yourself out there, being honest and raw at times, and truthfully, it can also be one area that causes pain (trust me, I know). But friendships can also be a source of huge encouragement, joy, and laughter. Those moments are ones we cherish and cling to during tough times and those friends are with us in our toughest times.

Beyond face-to-face friendships, it’s easy for things to feel (or appear) out of whack with the many different venues of social media at our fingertips. We feel slighted when someone doesn’t respond quickly or ‘like’ something. Feelings get hurt. Friendships become fragile. 

As a mom who stays home and is surrounded by kids all day, there are times when I know I do not do enough to grow my friendships, but I also sabotage relationships as well by all the second-guessing, comparison, and plain old craziness. 

I (heart) this quote from the book because it truly sums up my feelings: 

I want to be the kind of woman who makes other women feel welcome. Where they feel seen, valued, and safe. That means that whether or not we have close friends is entirely in our own hands. We simply have to be willing to start.  – p. 84,  Never Unfriended

My heart here is to encourage you all not only in your homeschool walk, but also as you live life everyday. Having the support and care of close friends is so important – and I truly feel this book is one of those “keep on your shelf” for a long time to come. 


Special Pre-Order Offers!

Lisa Jo is offering some beautiful pre-order gifts to anyone who orders the book, either through her website or through Amazon and would like to start reading now. Here’s a little peek at what is in the gift box: 

  • A beautiful, distressed clipboard with 37 art prints PLUS 12 exclusive Never Unfriended quotes from the book (ships to US addresses only)
  • Digital printable of the 12 exclusive Never Unfriended quote cards
  • The Never Unfriended Promise – Digital Download
  • First half of the book (digital download)

Don’t wait for release date. Start reading right now!

If you’ve already pre-ordered (WOOT!!!), you can claim your freebies HERE. Just scroll down and click on the “Redeem Pre-order” form to claim them and you can enter in your information! 


Note: I was sent an advanced copy of this book to read, but have already purchased a copy for a friend. Because I absolutely love it. And I may have wanted the freebies as well. :) 

Some Days You Just Need a Snow Day

When the local school system decides to take a day off, one of the bonuses to homeschooling is we can keep going (and finish our year up early). But some days – some days it’s nice to jump in with both feet (boots on) and roll with the weather. 

Our area hasn’t had a lot of snow this year. Flurries at best and overall it’s been rather disappointing. With the threat of a (potentially) lovely storm coming our way, I decided to be preemptive and say “yes” to a snow day – and we called it before in the local school systems did (grins). Two friends were invited to share in the fun, spend the night, and take full advantage of any snow to come our way. 

Zero school. Just fun and playing in the snow and enjoying our time with friends – IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK, no less. Rebels that we are. For me, it was definitely a moment to stretch myself. Because typically I would be trying to squeeze in a few of our subjects and get it all done. My challenge to myself was to stop and just embrace the day for what it was – a snow day and rest. 

Were there things we could have worked on today? Absolutely. Will we find a way to work it all into the rest of our year? Definitely. Is this a day the kids will remember – building silly snowmen with their friends, drinking hot chocolate after playing outside and getting soaked, goofy pictures, and making snow cream. 

Sometimes, despite the schoolwork and stuff that needs to be done, you just need to say “yes.” The day of rest (and fun) to enjoy what is right in front of you might be needed as much as anything else.

Schoolwork will be there tomorrow, but the opportunity may be gone – all too soon. 

Our Homeschool (and Life) Happenings via Vlog

The last few vlogs have been a lot of fun to share with you all. :) While I recently shared our middle of the year updates for all of the kids (see links below), here is a peek into the last six weeks or so of life. Feed readers can click here to see the video. 

Here’s the sum-up: 

  • We are on a six week on, one week off schedule – which means a break for us next week. (Happy dance here!!)
  • The weather has been crazy back and forth. Part of me wishes we would go ahead and get a good snow already, but then the warm weather comes and I wonder what I’m thinking. Either way, I wish it would make up it’s mind, because snow one day and 70 degrees the next is CRAZY!
  • Swim team is officially done, so no more back and forth nights with practice. I am much relieved. 
  • We had a new baby join the family (nephew) in January and my mom’s hip surgery went well (eventually). The first few days were really rough, but she is doing much better now – thanks so much for your prayers!
  • The days our oldest is struggling health-wise make me ever-so-grateful we homeschool (much more about this in the video). 
  • Hardest part for me the last 6 weeks has been dealing with diet restrictions and a complete revamping of the ‘familiar’ tried and true recipes/menus we had in place. I’m a creature of habit, so having to re-think everything has been quite a bit of a challenge. I’m also an all or nothing girl, and baby steps have been h.a.r.d. for me to take. Just sayin’. 
  • Incidentally, THIS BOOK is fabulous. Cannot say it enough. 
  • And a dog. A cute dog is sometimes what I need to see and snuggle with. And yes, she needs a haircut. You all were cracking me up on Facebook thinking I posted a picture of a skunk. 😂

That’s about it for us – how are YOU all doing. 


A few links for you: 


3 Things I’m Loving This Week

Just to have a little fun, here’s a little vlog update on the last few weeks and the three things I’m currently in love with. :) 

  1. Meal Planning Master List – I’m creating an alternate master list for Laurianna’s restrictions (as we try to see if a diet change will help with some of her health issues). It’s making it easier for her to have a quick reference list of what she can/can’t grab when she is hungry. I may feel like I’m losing my mind every now and then. 
  2. My Instantpot – oh my word. I’m in love. I was scared to death I’d literally blow up the thing, but I’ve used it every day since last Thursday and love how easy it has been to use. Yes, a learning curve like anything, but so far, everything has worked great, and some things I’ve just guessed on – so YAY!!
  3. This book – having such a hard time putting it down! So far (I’m about half way through) and as it loops between the present and past, tying in the lives of two ladies, it is sucking me in – enough that I’m in bed early to spend some extra time reading and hauling it with me wherever I go in case I can sneak a few pages. (Updated to add: there isn’t any language, but once one of the characters is married there are a few parts you may want to skip over like I did.) 

That’s it for this week. Hope you all are getting back into the groove of school and would love to hear what you all are loving right now too. :) 

The Week That Got Away

Initially I had plans to share a few things this week here, but some fun (and not-so-fun) life moments stepped in and instead I chose to be a part of each moment. 

The fun…


  • a multitude of Christmas parties – I love celebrating with friends, and laughter over a sad and hilarious white elephant gift that just keeps showing up is MUCH TOO FUN (it’s been almost 10 years now for this lovely rabbit).
  • baking and more baking – hello, sugar overload
  • a movie with the kids!! (They couldn’t wait to see the newest Star Wars, of course.)
  • a JOYOUS wedding celebration of two people very dear to our hearts. So many tears of joy, and a great excuse to get dressed up with my hubby! 


The not-so-fun…

  • STOMACH BUGS. Just blech. Fortunately, only 1/2 of the house was hit. While it was short-lived, everyone in the house spent time laying low and it may be the quietest our house has ever been with all six of us awake at the same time. And lucky you all – no pictures for that one. :) 

Around here we are finishing up last minute Christmas shopping (those stockings – whoops), watching endless Christmas movies, cuddling on the couch, and relaxing – and I hope you are as well! 

Other than the Preschool and Kindergarten linkup this Friday, it will quiet around these parts until next Monday. Have an AMAZING Christmas with your families. 

Hugs from our family to yours!