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Enjoy Your Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Grateful Verse

This year is a bit different for our family with one of our girls far away across the ocean and in Africa! Our typical Thanksgiving day feels a bit off, but I have a feeling we are on the cusp of an entirely *new* season. Different yes. And a good thing too.

Meanwhile we have rolls fresh out of the oven, a turkey creating an amazing aroma, and we are waiting for friends and family to come hang out and enjoy a bit of a feast. 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

I’ll be back this Friday to share some GREAT Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with you all (who says homeschoolers can’t take part in all the sales and specials?), so be sure to subscribe by email and get all the coupon codes delivered to your inbox.

Until then – ENJOY your time with your family. Cuddle up with those kids. Take a nap or two.

Relish in the many blessings that we have – and give thanks for it all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

{Giveaway #4} Home Science Tools: Magic Penny Magnet Kit and SomeBody Game


Day four of the science giveaways from Home Science Tools  is here! We still have one more BIG giveaway coming, so stay tuned and check back Monday for that one. 

If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the end of the post for links to the past giveaways and take a moment to enter before they end. Over the next several days, I will be sharing some MORE giveaways from Home Science Tools to both get your family thinking of science-related gifts for Christmas and to put some tools in your hands that will make science even more enjoyable!

Today’s giveaway features TWO products and both are described a bit below, but I’d encourage you to visit the Home Science Tools website and check out their science gift guide as you begin your second semester planning and holiday shopping.

Magic Penny Magnet Kit

Have fun learning about the properties of magnetism with the Magic Penny Magnet Kit ($24.95). Perform 32 amazing magnetic experiments with the two powerful bar magnets and 24 British pennies in this kit. Create arches, “airplane wings,” bridges, balancing shapes, and even a levitating pyramid of pennies!

The Magic Penny Magnet Kit comes with:

  • 2 extra-strong magnets encased in stainless steel
  • 24 newly-minted British pennies
  • 1 US penny
  • activity guide

——–> Learn more about the Magic Penny Magnet Kit <———-


SomeBody Game

Working on a human body unit? Be sure to check out the SomeBody Game ($28.95). Children will enjoy learning the major organs, muscles, and bones of their bodies and how these parts fit and work together as they play this game, collecting colorful body part stickers and attaching them in the right places on their game boards. Includes reusable stickers, game boards, cards, and more. Ages 6-10, 2-4 players. 

——–> Learn more about the SomeBody Game <———-


Download the 21 Winter Science Experiments Ebook

Home Science Tools is offering my readers a FREE ebook: 21 Winter Science Experiments, which includes some great projects to work on in the upcoming months, including DIY Hand Warmers, Poinsettia PH Paper, and so many others! Download it HERE


Enter the Giveaway!

Ready to enter? All you need to do is follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway is open to those with a US mailing address only. Giveaway ends on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 11:59pm.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway



A Little Homeschool and Life Update

Let’s face it – I’ve been a bit remiss sharing anything a bit more personal over the last few weeks. Life has been busy with shuttling kids back and forth all over kingdom come, we had a big swim meet, and then trying to stay on top of school and do it well – that can suck the life right out of you. 

So, I tried to do a quick video sum-up here, but below you’ll find the SUPER bulleted version of what’s happening with each of the kids. 

  • Laurianna – We are still waiting to figure out what in the world is going to happen with Mercy Ships. She has been accepted and at this point we are anticipating a July departure once she is “plugged into” her position, but there is a possibility she may be leaving earlier based on a need they have to fill another spot. So…we wait. (I am trying not to think too hard about this because it will mean she could be gone for over year to a place VERY FAR AWAY). 

  • McKenna – This past weekend, McKenna passed her driving test and is now officially able to be behind the wheel all by her lonesome! She is working three mornings a week and balancing school with her social life (ha!) and newfound freedom. Work = car and gas money.
  • Zachary – In the fall we told Zachary that if he qualified for the Florida meet, he could go (mind you, we assumed he wouldn’t qualify – cough). I promise, we weren’t trying to underestimate him. This past weekend, he qualified with AAA times in not only 1, but FIVE events. We are now making hotel reservations and eating our words.
  • Kaleb – We are scaling back in some subject areas and really pushing our reading and spelling time together hard. Over the last several weeks we have also been working on Beyond Five in a Row books with one of our friends (currently Homer Price) and having fun learning about so many different things as well as reading a lot together. 
  • The Parents – This weekend our church is launching a new campus, closer to our house, and we are helping with various aspects (Rick is heading up the sound team on both of our campuses). It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I’m also preparing for the upcoming Teach Them Diligently convention in Nashville at the end of March. 

That’s the sum-up for us – how are YOU doing? 

5 Day Get Active Inside Challenge

If you have young children, I know you’ll be interested in this activity challenge a friend of mine is giving us!

Especially if you’ve noticed your kids going a little… stir crazy.

This time of year is always hard — cold weather, gets dark early… and the kids are stuck inside for far too long… not being able to move the way their bodies should be moving!

This challenge is a 5-day Get Active Inside Activity Challenge from my friend, Jamie of Hands On As We Grow. It starts on Monday, January 14th.

Best part? It’s FREE!!

Want to participate? Click the “I’m In!” button above or sign up here >> https://room.handsonaswegrow.com/get-active-challenge/?ref=243

By the end of this challenge, you’ll work off some of that crazy amount of energy your kids have and create memories that will last a lifetime.

But, here’s the genius part — she does this without it being ‘work’ for the kids or you! There are 5 fun days of activities that engage your child, get them to put down their iPads and get all that cooped up energy OUT. Plus, her activities use basic supplies that you’ll have on hand (she’ll send you a supply list too to check).

Here’s a peek at the schedule: 

  • Day 1: Have fun and get moving!
  • Day 2: Concentrate while moving.
  • Day 3: Let’s create when we move!
  • Day 4: You can even learn a little on the move.
  • Day 5: Move move move! And keep on moving for days!


If you don’t know Jamie, let me give you a quick intro — she has this knack for simplifying activities down so they’re so easy to do, you have no reason not to do them. She also makes sure to use supplies that you have in your home, so there’s no time wasted running to the store getting the things you need. And she’s all about the fun!

I’ve had the chance to go through some of her past challenges, and they are such a simple way to keep your child busy and entertained — and stop all the fighting and whining. It’s a perfect way to spend some time getting the wiggles out in January.

Ready to sign up for this Get Active Inside Activity Challenge? Sign up for FREE here >>   https://room.handsonaswegrow.com/get-active-challenge/?ref=243

You’ll get a supply list from Jamie right away just to make sure you’re ready to go by the 14th.

That’s it! Here’s to starting the year off – and burning some energy off at the same time. :) 

My Top 10 Favorite Books from 2018

This past year I set a goal of only 15 specific books for the 2018 year. Overall my reading goal for 2018 was 75 books, specifically 15 non-fiction (since those are hardest for me) and then a whole lot of fiction. Out of those 15, I completed 14 of them – and then (as typical for me), added in a few that weren’t on the original list. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I was cramming in the books the last few days of the year since we have some downtime without school and it’s rare that I can just curl up and do nothing.

My book count total for 2018 was 85: non-fiction – 17 and fiction – 68. You can see the full list of books I read here on Good Reads. 

Many of you have asked how I manage to read so much. My goal is one non-fiction a month and I try to set aside 20-30 minutes each afternoon to rest and read. At night, I literally fall asleep with a book (or Kindle) in hand. I’ve been like that since I was a little girl and don’t see it changing anytime soon. :) 

Top 10 Favorite Books from 2018

There are ten books that I especially enjoyed reading this past year and would highly recommend. The list is a mix of both non-fiction, fun reading, and even a book I found hilariously delightful as a read-aloud with the boys. 

1. Raising World Changers in a Changing World

One of the things I love most about Kristen’s writing is she doesn’t shy away from sharing about the struggles that exist in situations – she is real. Authentic.

Something I struggle with (and many other families do as well) is finding that balance in protecting/sheltering our kids and preparing our kids to do GREAT things – and be in situations that are tough. At times that means going against the “norm” in making a difference.

Throughout the book, Welch offers practical advice and activities for family members to get started serving (and get out of your comfort zone) to make changes in the world around you. The books doesn’t leave you with an overwhelming feeling of judgement, but rather inspiration.

Raising World Changers is a book that will leave you mulling thoughts, revisiting passages, underlining a lot, but most importantly – raising world changers.

2. Just Open the Door

So many words of encouragement and gentle nudges to help us get over our fears of inviting others into our spaces and sharing the gift of hospitality. It doesn’t have to be a scary and overwhelming thing!

Jen shares practical insights, each chapter is full of heartfelt advice and ways to “elevate the ordinary” in our hosting adventures. I love that it is chocked full of honest looks into their family (mistakes and laughter), making it relatable and do-able. So many great ideas and ear-marked pages and inspiration to invite others in.

3. Before We Were Yours

Oh my heart, you all. This book was both heartbreaking and engrossing. Having never heard of Georgia Tann and the scandal with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, this was so saddening to read at times.

The overall story is fictional but based on real-life happening of children that are essentially stolen from their families and then adopted/sold to other families in the late 1930s-1940s. It is unbelievable to realize how many lives were impacted by one woman and her reach, and even more that it went undetected for so long. (5/5 rating)

4. Fierce Hearted

I’ll confess – when I started, it really took me about eight or nine chapters to get into the book. For a few weeks I had picked it up, read a chapter or two, and put it back down again. 

I finally picked it back up, flipped forward a few chapters, and decided to just get it over with. And then I went back and read the chapters I skipped. Underlined and dog-eared pages. 

While it isn’t a sequential writing, per se, it’s written in short snippets with various life lessons focused on in each chapter. Gerth shares life stories and weaves in lessons of faith into each one, encouraging women to embrace who we are each created to be, as we already are. Hugely encouraging.



5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Oh MY WORD. Written with so much humor, description, and at times sobering views, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society gives readers a glimpse into a post WW2 community after a German-occupied English island shares their stories with Juliet, a writer contemplating her next book topic. As the letters travel back and forth between the members of the society and Juliet, readers are drawn into life on the island as well as the back stories of the various characters. 

I honestly had no idea what to expect reading this book, but as I finished it I found myself wishing the story would continue. Literal laugh-out-loud moments while reading. Also, Netflix has a movie now based on this book which is worth the watch. 

6. Godspeed

This book still has me mulling over so many things. The overarching theme is that we are called to “mission” in our lives – and it doesn’t necessarily involve a going out all over the world, but can mean little things (mission vs. missions). It isn’t that it is super earth shattering, but it is practical and presents topics in a way that you really stop and re-think the why behind some of your beliefs. Honestly one of my favorite books read to date. This book has been the basis of several of our small group discussions and given so much food for thought. 

7. The Wednesday Wars

There are read-aloud books we enjoy and then there are ones we LOVE. This is one that I absolutely adored as a mom. Set in the Vietnam war era, the book follows a 7th grade boy as he has to stay behind every Wednesday with a teacher in his school while the rest of the class heads to their various religious instruction (he is the only Protestant). 

His teacher focuses on reading Shakespeare with him and studying the themes – and meanwhile we get a peek into the lives of his family, life at the time, and are subjected to all out hilarity. It literally had me both laughing and crying. Such a great read!

8. A Family Shaped by Grace

This was one that came up on Amazon and grabbed my attention. I had no idea it was written by the dad of someone I know personally, which made it so much better once I realized that. 

The beginning years of this family’s life was truly rough. The dad grew up in a very dysfunctional family and their family legacy was only changed by the grace of God. This isn’t a step-by-step solution to a peaceful home, but gentle leading/nudging and encouragement that is well-worth re-reading and keeping on hand. 

9. Love Unending

Absolutely loved this 21 day challenge – it’s one I would highly recommend to moms (targeted more toward that group) – either young or married for quite some time. 

10. Blessed Are the Misfits

Hansen writes in such an approachable way that his books are easy to read, digest, and apply practically. So much food for thought in this book – and even if you aren’t sure you are a “misfit” – it’s likely you are. So many dog-eared pages in the book I need to go back to and re-read.


Honorable Mention: Shadows Over England series

I’d be remiss not to mention another series by Roseanna White that I absolutely loved. The first two books had already been released and I finally got around to reading them at the start of the year and couldn’t wait for the last one to release. 

The series follows a family of thieves who help England during the war by putting their “skills” to the benefit of their country – but along the way each is reformed and finds love. White is not a “fluff” writer and the facts and details she injects into her stories are truly interesting. The three books are A Name Unknown, A Song Unheard, and An Hour Unspent

That’s it for 2018! What have you read this year that you would recommend for others to read? I’d love to hear from you and add a few more books to my 2019 pile! 


Need a Few More Suggestions? 

In case you’re interested, check out My Favorite Books of 2017 in the post below: 

A Learning Event for You (and a First for Me)

The next few weeks I am stepping out of my comfort zone by quite a bit, but it will be ALL good, because:  

  • it will be with two ladies I love immensely and who have become dear friends in the last ten years (Jodi and Carisa) and
  • it will be on a subject that I absolutely love – essential oils (and kids)

For three weeks, Jodi, Carisa, and I will be sharing OILY KIDS learning events focused on ways that we have found to help the kiddos in our lives by using essential oils. I really am excited to be a part of the classes (and teach a few), because our family has learned so much over the last five years. 

Here’s the thing: my kids aren’t perfect (I’m guessing yours aren’t either), but through all the ins and outs of day-to-day life, there are oils we’ve discovered that help us in a variety of areas – and I do want to share that with you. 

How to Join Us

Through Facebook, we have set up a public recurring event hosted by all three of us. Over three weeks, one of us will be there to share every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday starting March 19 at 1pm EST! The lessons will be a surprise, filled with either LIVE or pre-recorded videos, some graphic-based tips, and several fun PDF downloads!

ALL are welcome to attend, even if you aren’t on our Young Living team, but please know this event will be specific to Young Living products, and only positive comments will be allowed!

Topics that will be covered {all centered around KIDS}: Focus, Sleep, Emotions, Wellness, Moms, Cleaning with Kids, Healthy Bodies, & more!

Join us on Monday, March 19th as we launch the fun with the topic schedule, downloadable note taking guide, and giveaway. T fun will begin at 1pm EST and posts will appear throughout the day, closing up by 9pm. Be sure to pop over on the 19th so you don’t miss the giveaway and PDF download!

Starts: Monday, March 19th through Friday, April 6th

When: 1pm EST every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 

Ready to Participate? 

Click “going to” the event using this link (or clicking the image below), and you will be able to access all of the recurring events. We’d love to have you join us live, but you will still be able to view the videos if you can’t make it at the designated time (YAY!). 

Not on Facebook? 

Currently this event is only running via Facebook. If you aren’t on FB, please email us for more information. We do hope to create different versions of this event (off FB), but currently this event will only be in our FB group. 

Hope to see you there!