Keeping Memories

This past weekend I was helping to sort out some sheds with Mr. Awesome. There were a ton of items with a ton of memories attached. However some things were decided to go for Yard Sale items and a few were given to me like this photo album…

How often do we take photos and print them out anymore? Do you still clip newspaper articles to keep? I know that I many things saved in my Bible but nothing recent. I also have a few photo albums from when my older kids were little but over the past 10 years or so I haven’t had that many photos to keep.

After finding this lost post I decided that this was something I was going to change, today. The world is so digital now that it is many times easier to keep the photos on your phone or computer. What happens if you don’t have them backed up on something and your phone is lost or destroyed? That is something I don’t even want to think about.

This past year I had some photos and other important items get destroyed because they had been improperly stored. It wasn’t intentional as the place they were stored was intended to be temporary but then LIFE happened and they never got relocated. I’ve shed my tears over those precious items but I am determined not to let that happen again.

Continue reading Keeping Memories

Finding Time With Routines And Schedules

I know how busy life gets and we all… ok, most us… feel like we need more time every now and then, right? Well, there are only 24 hours in a day and we can’t make more time no matter how hard we try so that means we just need to find ways to use our time more wisely.

First we need to get our priorities straight and make sure we are getting the things done that need to get done like feeding everyone and making sure they have clean clothes to wear. We should probably make sure we clean the house from time to time and if you homeschool you gotta have time for that too. Not to mention that there are so many other things like appointments, grocery shopping, and other obligations that happen everyday.

Click here to read about our our Google Home Hub has helped this busy Momma keep our routines and schedules organized.

Sometimes it seems like there is no time left for the fun stuff but I promise that routines can help. I have written many a post about our routines here. Our routines help keep us running smoothly most of the time. The routines work when we follow them and sometimes we don’t but we quickly realize how much we need them. As soon as we get back on routine our lives get less chaotic.

I have included some pics and screenshots of our different routines and schedules below but please don’t think this is complicated. Ours are far more complicated than most as we have a lot of things going on here and I need these to keep myself and my household organized. Every family is different and every set of routines will be different What works for us may not work for you but feel free to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines and/or schedules.

Continue reading Finding Time With Routines And Schedules

DIY Corner Entertainment Center

I guess its better late than never. As I was going through some of my drafts I’ve found a few posts that never made it to be published and this is one of them. I know I’ve shown a few pics of this little masterpiece before but here is the story of how it became to be.

Before the trip to PA last year we had been working on the house, as we have been doing pretty regularly lately, and had just finished up a new project:

I had been having a lot of trouble sleeping which leads me to writing or sketching in my notebook. This was one of the sketches I came up with.

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I must say that Mr. Awesome nailed it! Hopefully we will get around to completing some of our other many projects when we get back on track. Continue reading DIY Corner Entertainment Center

Hey Google, I’d like you to meet my friend…

So in a few of my past posts I’ve mentioned my new friend, Google, and I may have even shown a picture or two but I haven’t really introduced you yet. I have always loved Google as I can find answers to just about anything I need to know with Google but this Google is different.

So without further ado, let’s meet my new found friend and personal assistant…

ME: Hey Google, I’d like you to meet my friend…

GOOGLE: You’re the cereal to my milk. I like to think we compliment each other... she’s so funny!

ME: But seriously, Google, this is my blogging friend and I want to tell them all about your most important features.

GOOGLE: I have lots of powers and they are growing everyday… lol… I told you she was funny.

Continue reading Hey Google, I’d like you to meet my friend…

Freezer Cooking Made Me Cry Yesterday

Hey ya’ll its been a few days since I’ve checked in with you. I hope everyone is doing well. We are finally getting over these colds that have been passed around and around and around… you get the point. I’m tired of being sick and tired and of being around whiny kids who are sick and tired… yeah not a fun week at all but it has been productive even though I ended up getting this post out a day late… Oops!

We have been sticking to our goals and our Plan of Action that I made earlier in the month. The kids are listening and behaving better, well for the most part, even thought they’ve not been feeling well. We’ve been working on keeping the noise level down and I’ve found that my little friend Google has been AMAZING at helping me with this. I have been asking Google, ‘Hey Google, can you play me some music please?’. Note that I do use my manners  and she really appreciates that. When the kids can’t hear the music they know they are getting way too loud.

Continue reading Freezer Cooking Made Me Cry Yesterday

The Easiest Boiled Eggs Ever!

Let me tell you guys about this awesome new trick I learned for ‘boiling’ eggs. Well, first it may not be new to some of you and if you don’t happen to have an instant pot or power cooker than it might not be an option but I was so excited and it is really gonna be such a game changer here.

Continue reading The Easiest Boiled Eggs Ever!

Wishes To Reality Update

As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.

My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve went over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.

I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!

I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!

Continue reading Wishes To Reality Update

A New School Routine For The New Year

This was our first week back to school and as I mentioned in this post HERE we started a new school routine which has worked out rather well so far. We will be doing our Group studies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays with Mondays and/or Fridays being left for their independent studies and/or completing assignments they didn’t finish with the group.

We are also using Mondays & Fridays to do the majority of our household cleaning & chores, running errands, etc. This has helped out so much being able to dedicate a big chunk of time on projects that I’ve been wanting to work on and just haven’t been able to get to lately. This included getting our house back in order after the holidays… it was such a MESS! If you don’t believe me you should see the pics in this post.

After getting the bulk of the organizing finished up on Monday we were FREE to FOCUS on our school work with minimal interruptions. No pausing to check laundry which normally meant a 15-20 minute interruption. No waiting for stragglers to quit lollygagging around with chores as we have a set time to get them finished or they just wait until the school work is finished. I mean a few dirty dishes or crumbs in the floor won’t kill anyone, right?

Continue reading A New School Routine For The New Year

Keeping Up With The Bills Free Printable

It’s the 3rd already! Where has time gone? I’ve not been feeling up to par the past week or so and today it dawned on me that I need to pay bills… Oops… I apologize to my creditors in advance. When I finally sat down to get to work I realized that I needed a new sheet printed off. (See this post HERE if you missed my post last year about how I keep track of my bills.)

Well, that was easier said than done as my worksheet was saved on my old laptop… the one the kids killed last year. I had worked on it a bit last January and gotten it to come back up but I have only used it 3 or 4 times during the past year and each time was tricky as the laptop doesn’t act right and still shuts down frequently. Luckily for me (and you) I was able to get to the files I needed and get them saved on my portable drive (which was originally another laptop that a couple of the kids killed a few years ago)… yeah, lesson learned as they are no longer allowed to play on Momma’s laptop.

If you haven’t read the ‘Keeping Up With The Bills‘ post you may want to check it out so you can see how I use these worksheets to keep our bills organized and paid on time. Since I know that many of us have made resolutions to get more organized I am including links to FREE printables for anyone to use.

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Monthly Bills PDF

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Monthly/Yeary Subscriptions PDF

Happy New Year!



A Look Back On 2018

So I’ve been posting quite a bit about my goals for 2019 but let’s not forget about all the good times we had in 2018. Sure, there were some sad times and some hard times but remembering the good times can help ease the pain of the not so good. Here’s a quick peek back on some of our pictures, posts, and activities from 2018:

Continue reading A Look Back On 2018

A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

So a few days ago I posted about my goals for 2019. I’m not waiting until the New Year to get started because there is no time like NOW to get started on these goals. You don’t have to wait either and you can follow along with me on my journey to finding a simpler, happier, and better functioning lifestyle here in our little cabin.

It’s so easy to get discouraged with LIFE at times, I know because I’ve felt myself falling into a HUGE pit of discouragement lately. It feels like I just keep hitting walls in so many areas of LIFE and I just don’t know how to get past them. The one thing I do know is the GOD is in control and if there is something in my way HE can help me overcome it.

I also know that a lot of times our failures come from inside of ourselves. We get unhappy with things and want to change them but sometimes the change must come from us first. This can be hard to do and sometimes it can be hard to admit that we aren’t PERFECT.

Over the holidays so many people are posting pictures of their families. Many of these pictures seem to show PERFECT homes and families but behind the scenes can be a different story. In reality LIFE is MESSY in so many ways. I can tell you that my LIFE is MESSY for sure with so many kids and special needs not to mention that we HOMESCHOOL and LIVE in a TINY CABIN. Boy can it get MESSY. Don’t let those pictures get you feeling depressed or down. You can follow along with me, a normal (well, somewhat normal depending on you definition of normal) Momma, as I tackle some of this crazy mess we call LIFE.

Continue reading A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

My 2019 New Year’s Goals

As you read the title you may be rolling your eyes because we all make resolutions but many of us, myself included, don’t quite keep to them or just never even start them. I know last year I had some really great ones that were not so specific but somehow they managed to slip away from me.

Part of the blame falls on some major life changes (big sister moved away/death in the family), an illness that took me a while to recover from, and LIFE which seems to get busier everyday. When you combine all of those with the fact that we had recently downsized and moved (from 2,000 sq ft to just barely over 600 sq ft) its no wonder I didn’t accomplish everything I had set out to do but I did manage to make a little progress in each area.

SO what are some of the top resolutions for 2019? According to an abc news article they are as follows:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Save money
  3. Travel
  4. Make new friends
  5. Get a new job or hobby
  6. Find love

Hmm… some pretty interesting resolutions. Have you thought about yours yet? I have given it a bit of thought and here are my goals for the upcoming year in no particular order:

Continue reading My 2019 New Year’s Goals

My 5 Fav Slow Cooker Recipes You Can Make in Your Instant Pot (+ 40 More!)

Were you lucky enough to get an Instant Pot for Christmas? If so you may be wondering just what the heck to do with it now. Did you know that you can make things like BBQ ribs, chili, and even cake in your Instant Pot?

Check out this affiliate link for many, many easy recipes to start cooking today!

https://sl290.isrefer.com/go/ipslowcook/happy2bmyownboss/

Is Food Causing You to be Depressed? What You Didn’t Know About How Food Affects Your Mood

Have the holidays got you depressed? Well, it might not be just the holidays… Check out this affiliate link for more information and find out how to use food to fight depression!

https://sl290.isrefer.com/go/depressionfood/happy2bmyownboss/

Soaked Apple Cinnamon or Cherry Almond Baked Oatmeal Recipe (A Make-Ahead Breakfast!)

Do you need a quick and easy make ahead breakfast idea? One that’s simple and healthy? Well, then have I got the recipe for you! Check out this affiliate link for a recipe that may soon be a family favorite in your house!

https://sl290.isrefer.com/go/SAO/happy2bmyownboss/

It’s All About The Fudge!

**This post contains affiliate links for products we use. These links don’t cost you a thing but help to support our blog and our family when a purchase is  made through a link we’ve posted. Thank you!

Yes! It’s that time of year when I make a lot of FUDGE! I’ll probably be sick of Fudge this time next week but it’s good stuff and everyone loves it so much that they request it every year.

In case you haven’t tried your hand at making Fudge or if you are just needing a couple of good recipes I’m reposting the links to our favorite varieties down below.

I’ve tried a lot of Fudge recipes in the past as we always loved my mom’s Fudge. When we moved to Florida we weren’t as close to my mom as we once were and I had to figure out how to make it for my family… well, it was either that or spend a fortune in gas driving to visit grandma everytime we got a hankering for Fudge!



The kids and I went shopping today for supplies and I’ve ordered a few really cute tins to put the delicious treats in. As soon as the tins get here we will get started in the kitchen.

I promise that these recipes are fairly easy to make and we always have great success with them. I love that the base recipe can be changed for different flavors and this makes it one of my favorite candy recipes ever!

Here are the links to some great Fudge recipes:

My mouth is craving some FUDGE! We hope you enjoy these as much as we do! If you have a favorite Fudge recipe or Christmas Candy recipe please leave a link in the comments below as we’d love to give it a try!

Treat Yourself And Make Housework A Little Easier

**This post contains affiliate links to products we use.

I’m always so excited when I see my box from Grove Collaborators  come. This month was a small order as we are pretty well stocked up on supplies but I wanted to share with you what we did get:

Since we are in the midst of the Christmas season I thought it only fitting to get the Peppermint scented soaps. We got one Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap and two of the Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap. We really love both of these products and when we use the Walnut Scrubbers they make dishwashing a breeze.

The cleaners come in a wide variety of scents and I really enjoy trying out the different scents depending on the season.

Continue reading Treat Yourself And Make Housework A Little Easier

Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I know most of us are probably not ready to think about the New Year as we are in the midst of holiday choas right now but with as many kiddos as I have I am always looking ahead. There are doctor appointments, dentist appointments, birthdays, and so many other events that I need to keep organized.

Our calendars keep our day to day activities running smoothly and help to keep us prepared for upcoming events. They are vital to keeping this Momma sane!

What features do you look for in a calendar? I know I like it to have enough room to write things in the blocks. I also like to have the moon phases and holidays on the calendar.

Do you like the stickers or not? I kinda like the idea of stickers and it helps me to tell at a glance what we have coming up if there are stickers on it.

While I absolutely love my Cozi mobile app and I always have it pulled up on my laptop. I keep everything from appointments to recipes on my Cozi calendar and my family members all have access to it as well. I still like to have a wall calendar as well so that I can refer to it quickly if I’m on the phone or if Mr. Awesome needs to double check something he can refer to it as well.

This led me to check out Amazon for some new planning calendars today. There is such a selection to choose from I’m really not sure which one I want to get yet but here are a few of the ones I’ve found:

Continue reading Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Just Like Grandma’s Chocolate Pudding

I don’t know if this is actually the recipe that my Mom-mom used but it is close. If you don’t like the ‘skin’ that cooked pudding has then simply place a piece of plastic wrap over the warm pudding so that the wrap touches the top of the pudding. When cool you remove the wrap and the ‘skin’.

Just Like Grandma’s Chocolate Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 4 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2-1/4 cups milk
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium size saucepan whisk together the first four ingredients. Slowly stir in the milk.

Cook this mixture over medium heat until it boils. Stir constantly and boil for about 1 minute.

Remove your pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

Pour into a serving bowl and chill for about 2-3 hours.

For Pie:

I usually only use 2 cups of milk and then pour this into a baked pie shell or a graham cracker crust. Chill for 2-3 hours. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

 

Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!

**This most may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. These links are provided at NO EXTRA charge to you, and in some cases they may offer a special discount or offer, but we may receive a small commission from any purchases made through these links. 

This might sound a bit scary to some of you as it did to me, at first. Last year I started doing a few ‘Click n Pull’ orders from Sam’s Club  and I loved the ease and convenience of the whole process. Not to mention the time (and $$) it saved me by not walking the whole store every time I needed something. (Don’t you hate it when stores move something and it takes FOREVER to find it? I’ve found that stores have been rearranging EVERYTHING for the holidays and I spend so much time trying to find our ‘regular’ items it’s not even funny!)

Well, some of you may already be familiar with the Grocery Pickup service offered at some Walmarts but I hadn’t had the chance to give it a try although I really wanted to. After shopping with all of the kids last week and realizing how hard it is to get around some of the stores this time of year I figured now is as good a time as any to give it a go. Continue reading Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!

Little House On The Prairie Adventure Weekly Guide Links

Click Here for Little House On The Prairie Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links Only.

How we use these lesson plans:

Our school week is usually completed in 4 days. We use a Loop Schedule where we work for a designated amount of time on each subject before moving on to the next. After their work is completed for the day the kids are allowed to have independent studies were they can study whatever their little hearts desired.

Our 5th day is an optional day that we use to complete unfinished work or for other activities as we choose.


Please click HERE for a list of resources that we have purchased from Amazon and other suppliers.

Click on the links below for the series you would like to view/use. I will update these links as we get them finished.

Tip: If you want to go to a certain week/chapter or topic simply push the ‘ctrl’ and the ‘F’ button down together and a small bar will pop up. Type in the week number or chapter number you want and it will take you to it.


1. Little House On The Prairie Adventure Week 1 Lesson Plans

Continue reading Little House On The Prairie Adventure Weekly Guide Links

My Routines Helped Me ‘Survival Mode’

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

First I want to say that I’m not a psychiatrist and the only psychology background I have was a class I took in college many years ago.

Second I can only tell you what my experience has been and offer a few helpful tips that have allowed me to get through some difficult times.

Maybe you’ve experienced some traumatic event, illness, death or some other loss, or maybe it’s just a burnout from stress. Whatever the reason your body will do what it needs to do to protect you and sometimes we find ourselves in survival mode.

I’m not talking about your plane crashing in a remote jungle… even though sometimes that might seem like a better place to be… I’m talking about the struggle to get through your day to day activities.

Most of us can handle a certain amount of grief and stress but there comes a time when a switch flips and your brain says enough. That’s when we go into survival mode. If we aren’t careful it could send us into a deep depression.

Some of us are pretty good at hiding the fact that we are falling apart inside. Some of our friends and family may try to help but they just don’t know what to say or do. Others may just tell us to ‘Snap out of it!’. This is easier said than done.

I’ve had several events happen over the past few weeks, months, and years that have totally changed my life. The most recent was the passing of my Mom-mom (grandmother). That hit me a lot harder than I expected it too.

A lot harder. Continue reading My Routines Helped Me ‘Survival Mode’

Weekend Warrior Project: Old Window Transformation

**This post contains affiliate links to products that we use. These links help to support my family and our blog.

We have been working a lot around this little house just trying to make it feel more like ‘HOME’. It’s been a little over a year since we moved and we are finally starting to really get settled. I feel like I can finally relax and put my feet, at least every now and then. This past weekend was not one of those times.

When I was doing my major cleaning this past summer I had thought of the idea of doing a faux stained glass window in the kitchen but haven’t found the time to do that yet. I did however decide to do something with this one BIG window that we have in the main room. It is so dirty on the outside that it has been driving me completely BONKERS!

I’m sure some of you are thinking that I should just get out there and clean it and trust me I would if I could. This window is over the pond and I have no access to it of any kind so cleaning it is IMPOSSIBLE right now. The inside has been cleaned and cleaned but it hasn’t helped a lot as the window is OLD and has seen a lot.

Before we moved in the window had been boarded up for many years, I guess someone else didn’t like the dirty view either. After we built the sleeping loft and got rid of the bukbed that had been in front of the window we couldn’t ignore how dirty it was. Then comes the fact that I moved the dining table in front of the window and we now had to see it a few times a day. Mr. Awesome didn’t really like the window and wanted to cover it up again but I like light, lots of light, and I wanted to have the window clear so that it would help to illuminate this rather dark little cabin.  Continue reading Weekend Warrior Project: Old Window Transformation

Learn How To Plan Your Homeschool In 15 Minutes Or Less Per Week!

**This post does contain affiliate links which help to support my blog and my family. 

As a Momma of 9 I am constantly looking out for my kids. I worry about them, like all moms do, and try to be there for them any way I can. I am also constantly looking for new ways to encourage them and keep their curiosity and eagerness to learn alive.

They really do love learning however sometimes they get bored with what we are learning or the way I am teaching it. I admit I get bored sometimes too but I love homeschooling because I am learning right along with my kids. Seeing the look on their face when they finally ‘get’ something is priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

On the other hand I often feel frustrated and tired because things don’t go as planned. We also experience A LOT of interruptions in our day to day life and that can cause some frustrations too as I feel like we just aren’t GETTING ENOUGH DONE in our day.

Not to mention how exasperating it can be when you plan a lesson or activity only to have your kids totally HATE IT! Hours and hours down the drain on what you thought was going to be such a FUN LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

Planning and learning can happen on its own, and the results are mind-blowing!

Continue reading Learn How To Plan Your Homeschool In 15 Minutes Or Less Per Week!

Little House On The Prairie Pioneer Journals

Oh my goodness! We have been having so much fun with our Little House on the Prairie Academic Adventures. One of the projects we recently completed were these Pioneer Journals.

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These were so easy to make and I kinda got the idea from the old book covers we used to make in school to protect our textbooks.

You will need:

**affiliate links below.

  • brown paper (paper grocery bags, wrapping paper, or packaging paper)
  • tape
  • scissors
  • tacky glue
  • pictures of kids
  • marker
  • spiral notebooks or composition books

Continue reading Little House On The Prairie Pioneer Journals

Weekend Warrior Project: A Little House Sleeping Loft

Wow! Where has time gone? I’ve been meaning to get around to this post but time has really gotten away from me lately. With school starting back at our home, those posts are soon to come as well, square dance classes starting up, and so many other things going on life has been a blur lately. However we had some plans get cancelled out on us this weekend so I have a little bit of time to get to my blogging.

I better get to work on telling you about what we did because its already late and I have been taking a screen free break on Sundays. This project actually took us two weekends to complete and it has made such a BIG difference in our little house. It might not be practical for everyone but we are loving it and so are the kiddos!

As many of you know we moved into a small cabin last year. We went from about 2,000 square feet of living space (plus a huge storage shed) to a little over 600 square feet with practically no storage except for a small area that we had tarped off on the porch. We have arranged and rearranged furniture so many times and we were making this little house work but we really needed a little bit more living space. Continue reading Weekend Warrior Project: A Little House Sleeping Loft

5 Tips For The Best School Year Ever (from a Momma of 9)

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

Every year that passes is another one that gives us more experience in life. I know that the past few years have really changed the way I look at things especially our homeschool. This year is going to be our best homeschool year ever because of the routines we have in place. Continue reading 5 Tips For The Best School Year Ever (from a Momma of 9)

Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links & Guide

**Although I try to provide as many FREE resources as possible this post may contain affiliate links alt no extra cost to you. We may earn a small commission, if a purchase is made through these links, which helps to support our blog and our family. Thank you!

Click Here for Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links Only

How we use these lesson plans:

Our school week is usually completed in 4 days. We use a Loop Schedule where we work for a designated amount of time on each subject before moving on to the next. After their work is completed for the day the kids are allowed to have independent studies were they can study whatever their little hearts desired.

Our 5th day is an optional day that we use to complete unfinished work or for other activities as we choose.


Please click HERE for a list of resources that we have purchased from Amazon and other suppliers.

Click on the links below for the series you would like to view/use. I will update these links as we get them finished.

Tip: If you want to go to a certain week/chapter or topic simply push the ‘ctrl’ and the ‘F’ button down together and a small bar will pop up. Type in the week number or chapter number you want and it will take you to it.


1. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 1 Lesson Plans

  • Language Arts:
    • Read Chapters 1 & 2
    • Discussion
    • McGuffey Primer Lesson
    • Vocabulary
    • Writing Activities
    • These week we learn about fiction vs. nonfiction
    • Make a Pioneer Journal
    •  Mother Goose Phonics: Pat A Cake
  • Math:
  • Geography and History:
    • State Study: Wisconsin
    • Research Pioneer Life
  • Science:
    • Learn about Bears
    • Learn about Panthers
    • Research Microbes and Bacteria
    • Learn about Density
    • Bonus: Why does fire burn different colors?
  • Life Skills:
    • Research Pioneer Chores
    • Making our bed
    • Interrupting
    • Memory Work
    • Fun activities: Make Butter
    • Bonus Skills: Memorizing the books of the Bible, Archery, and/or Baking
  • PE, Health & Safety:
    • Stranger Danger
    • Play Little Brown Bear
  • Music, Arts, and Crafts:
    • Crafts: Hog’s Bladder Balloons, Corn Cob/Husk Dolls, Snowflakes, and Paper Dolls
    • Art: Bulldogs, Jack Frost
    • Music: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Butter Churning Song

Continue reading Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links & Guide

Loop Scheduling Made Simple With An Easy DIY Post It Note Loop Schedule

**Although I try to provide as many FREE resources as possible this post may contain affiliate links alt no extra cost to you. We may earn a small commission, if a purchase is made through these links, which helps to support our blog and our family. Thank you!

Instructions for the Easy DIY Post It Note Loop Schedule at the end of the post.

Many of us have started back to school and some of us started and then quit…errr… well, maybe I’m the only one that did that but I am happy to say that we are well on our way to getting back on track. The big project I have been working on is finished (YAYYYYY!!!!) and I am hoping it will be ready to post this weekend so keep an eye out for it.

In preparation of our new school year I pulled out our old Loop Schedule so I could change it out for this year. What a better time to show you how I do it?

Last year one of the sanity savers I used was this Loop Schedule. You may have heard of Loop Scheduling and I thought it was something new but actually it was something I had already been doing and you probably have too!

I always start the year out with all kinds of fun activities, games, and ideas for us to work on. Before our Loop Schedule I was always trying to make sure we got the ‘meaty’ subjects like Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science finished before we moved on to anything else. If we didn’t get those areas completed we would just not do the other areas.

(These links will update soon and take you to our first Kirby’s Kids Academic Adventure!)

I always felt like we weren’t getting everything done that I wanted to get done. Our days got so BORING! We would be doing the same things over and over and never had time for the fun activities that I had planned for us to do. There’s only so much time in the day so what is an overwhelmed Momma to do? Continue reading Loop Scheduling Made Simple With An Easy DIY Post It Note Loop Schedule

Grade By Grade Learning Objective Links

Worried about not teaching the right things? Check out these links for various references about what to teach and when. (Most links are Pre-K through 5th Grade)

You can use these to incorporate lesson ideas for your child(ren) to individualize each child’s learning experience.

Grade by Grade Learning Objectives

HSDLA What Should I Be Teaching?

HSDLA Homeschool Laws In Your State

Grade by Grade Learning Guide via Planet12Sun.com

PBS Kids Grade by Grade Learning Guide

I use these as a guide so I can be sure not to miss anything important while teaching my kiddos.

Happy Homeschooling

 

 

Global Forgiveness Day

*This post contains affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

Global Forgiveness Day is a day to forgive and be forgiven. It is celebrated on August 27th. Click here to learn more about this holiday.

Below are some of the activities I found to celebrate this day:

(Use at your own discretion.)

Also check out:

Homeschool: August on Pinterest

Forgiveness for kids on YouTube

 

Love and Respect! A Kids Book About Love and Happiness: Help Your Child Understand Love and Friendship, Faith, Joy and Forgiveness in This Book on Love for Children (Faith Alive)Blotch: A Tale of Forgiveness and Grace

New School Year, New ABCmouse: ABC Mouse Upgrades!

**This post does contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

A few days ago I posted about why I (temporarily) quit homeschooling my kiddos. Things have been more than a little crazy here and we are still working on getting the house, and our lives, back in order. Progress has been slow but steady and I look forward to getting back into the whole ‘school routine’ shortly.

One of the many programs that we use in our school routine, and almost every day in between, is ABC Mouse. I’m sure that you’ve seen numerous commercials on TV about the program and while I once thought that this was only something that ‘rich’ people could afford I was wrong.

The price is actually quite affordable and often times you can find special deals like the one you can get when you click this referral link below. They also send out deals via email for previous/current customers.

CLICK HERE FOR A SPECIAL DEAL ON ABC MOUSE!

ABC1.jpg

Benefits Are Priceless

I couldn’t see the benefits that the program had to offer because I was looking for something FREE. Yes, there are plenty of FREE programs but nothing quite compares to ABC Mouse and my kids love it. My special needs children need a lot of extra attention and sometimes they just ‘don’t get it’ when I try to explain things. When they use ABC Mouse it helps to fill in those gaps of misunderstandings and often they bring me their tablets to show me something that they’ve mastered and the look on their face is PRICELESS.

Continue reading New School Year, New ABCmouse: ABC Mouse Upgrades!

Why I Quit Homeschooling My Kids

**This post may contain affiliate links to certain products we use in our home. 

It’s true! I’ve quit homeschooling my kids… at least temporarily. We’ve had a busy hectic schedule here and everyone is off routine which means total CHAOS here. We originally planned to start back this past Monday, and we did, but things just didn’t ‘feel’ right. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so stressed with everything going but I am just not in the right mindset at the moment.

Missing Materials

I didn’t have time to plan like I had wanted so Monday and Tuesday felt so ‘rushed’ and ‘chaotic’ that I was ready to cry several times. We had planned a ‘First Day of School’ video but that didn’t turn out well either as partway through the video I realized we were missing some important pieces to our ‘Morning Table Time’. Sigh… it wasn’t pretty as I went digging through drawers and folders to find everything and then trying to find a place to put it back up was another matter.

I do have most of the first few weeks planned out on our Homeschool Manager app but I still had a few blocks that I wanted to ‘fill in’ with some fun activities. If I couldn’t find something I wanted to use I had planned on making a couple of things. Well, with my trip to PA that hasn’t happened. I just really haven’t felt like doing much of anything since we got back and it has really shown this week. Continue reading Why I Quit Homeschooling My Kids

A Trip Down Memory Lane!

I survived my first plane trip and wanted to share a little bit about my trip down memory lane with all of you! Be prepared because as my Pop-pop would say, ‘This might take a while’.

Last week proved to be one of the most stressful weeks I can remember. I have been trying to refocus my life in so many areas. And on top of the everyday stresses of a large family and back to school worries I got the call that I really needed to head back to my childhood home.

While I call Florida home right now I was born in Pennsylvania. I grew up about an hour from Philadelphia in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square.

mushroom

Funny the things you didn’t know, huh? We were also very close to the Amish and Mennonite communities. In fact several of my siblings were delivered by an Amish midwife.

amish.jpg

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash Continue reading A Trip Down Memory Lane!

You’re Invited To Join Our New Tribe!

Cover Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

Hey y’all! I am excited to announce that we’ve just created our very own Tribe on Tailwinds. What is a Tribe? Well, it is a new Pinterest tool that allows people like you and me to meet others with similar interests. We can use this tool to share our experiences and grow our blogs/businesses.

‘Tribes is Free for anyone to get started, even if they aren’t using Tailwind already!’

I’m so excited to start our Kirby’s Kids Homeschool Tribe and would like other homeschoolers to join us as we help each other on this journey. I know I don’t have a lot of homeschool support close to me and I am always looking for ideas and solutions to problems we encounter. If I am looking for these things I know others are too and I just wanted to make a place where everyone is welcome to post ideas, tricks, and tips to that they have found which may help others.

As a member you can share up to 3 posts per day with the request that you will repin/reshare 3 posts (or more) from other members. Feel free to share anything related to homeschool, parenting, or anything else that might help a busy mom keep it all together. I look forward to seeing all the great tips and advice as well as watching each member help another to grow and learn on our journey.

If you join our Tribe right now you can get a very special surprise when you join with this invitation link right here.

Continue reading You’re Invited To Join Our New Tribe!

Don’t Forget This Back to School Essential!

**This post does contain affiliate links at no charge to you. These links help to support our blog and our family!

This is one part of the back to school adventure I do not miss at all. It never failed that when my kiddos went back to school the girls would eventually come home with those dreaded head lice. EWWW! I would always get a bit paranoid when one of them would start to scratch their head for any reason.

I am gonna spare everyone the description of what head lice are and how they infest anyone around them because I really hate thinking about them. 

I can vividly remember many a time combing through long thick hair with that little metal comb trying and trying to get all those pesky little buggers and their eggs. It would take several comb-throughs before I was satisfied. Even after being very meticulous with the treatment they would often have a reinfestation.

My girls would be in tears because those metal combs really hurt!

I can’t tell you how much money I spent on Lice Killing Shampoos. I tried everything I could get my hands on. They smelled nasty and made me wonder how safe they were. I even tried some of the home treatments like the mayonnaise treatment. Yuck! It left their hair so greasy I didn’t think it would ever wash out.  Continue reading Don’t Forget This Back to School Essential!

Homeschool Organization. Simple. Flexible.

This post is sponsored and includes affiliate links, yet the opinions are my true opinions, as always.  We really do love using this program in our home and I feel that you will too!

‘Scheduling and planning that’s flexible and organized.’

Has the idea of keeping track of lesson plans and schedules got you feeling overwhelmed? The thought of keeping records for report cards, transcripts, and attendance can be enough to make anyone second guess their idea to homeschool.

Just a few years ago I was overwhelmed with the task of record keeping for my large brood. I had one child who needed transcripts and several others in multiple grades with different needs. I was suffering from an informational overload trying to sort it all out and make everything work together without losing my sanity.

Then on October 8th of 2015, with the help of my friend Google, I found the perfect app for our family. It was Homeschool Manager. It sounded so easy and I decided to give it a try.

They had me at the Free 30 day – No Card Required – Trial period which was more than enough time for me to know that this was just what we needed. This one tool IMMEDIATELY brought order to the homeschool chaos we had. (Our Cozi app keeps the rest of our life running smoothly.)

Homeschool Manager completely changed my life and has allowed our homeschool to be the productive and fun learning environment I had envisioned!

Homeschool Manager also gives us the flexibility to adapt and reorder our school year as needed when life throws us an unexpected curve ball or two. We can also easily rearrange our schedule to fit in time for new learning experiences that pop up. We have been able to be more spontaneous and have had the ability to incorporate so many more spur of the moment activities into our homeschool which has allowed our children to have a much more fulfilling and enriching learning experience.

Portfolios are so EASY with Homeschool Manager!

Continue reading Homeschool Organization. Simple. Flexible.

Top 5 Back To School Worries For 2018

It’s almost time for many of us to get those kids ready to head back to school. Well, my kids have never left…lol. That’s a plus to homeschooling but sometimes it can be a downside too because this Momma just needs a BREAK every now and then. If my kids can see me then I am ‘on call’. In this tiny house that is pretty much 24/7.

We are gearing up to get ready to start a fresh homeschool year which will be our 5th year! Wow! Where has time gone? Anyway I am so excited to be using the PRAIRIE PRIMER this year. We have enjoyed reading the biography which I had hoped to have finished by now but we aren’t quite there yet. I have pretty much gotten our first four weeks planned out. I still need to look through a few activities and plug them into a few gaps.

1. Learning Disabilities

I am also going to look through some of the new items that we purchased for William. His learning disabilities mean that we do have to practice some things more than others and I really try to keep things interesting. I know I get tired of doing the same thing again and again. When William gets tired of repeating something that usually ends up in disaster. And I realize I am off topic… Oops, sorry guys! Continue reading Top 5 Back To School Worries For 2018

What is Financial Freedom And How Do You Achieve It?

Cover photo by Jayson Hinrichsen on Unsplash

**This post does contain affiliate links which help to support my blog and my family.

What is financial freedom?

That doesn’t seem like a trick question but it can mean so many different things to so many people. Financial freedom is a goal for so many of us. For a lot of people it may include things like:

  • not living paycheck to paycheck
  • not having to work overtime to make ends meet
  • being debt free
  • having a significant amount of money in savings
  • having money set aside for college
  • having money set aside for retirement

For others, including myself it not only includes the above but also things like:

  • having money to plan for future events
  • having money to help others
  • not having to worry about bills
  • not being afraid to check your bank account
  • not having to worry about unexpected financial emergencies

Sound almost impossible doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. I promise. I haven’t made it there yet but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It does require a lot of work and some sacrifice on your end. Continue reading What is Financial Freedom And How Do You Achieve It?

Have You Grabbed This Amazon Count Down Deal Yet?

**This post does contain affiliate links that help to support my blog and my family.

Did you know that I have a couple of cook books on Amazon? Both of them are full of family favorite recipes that we enjoy eating again and again. I had planned on having another one out last year but with the move and the hurricane that just didn’t happen.

breakfast

Starting today you can get 31+ Breakfast Ideas And Recipes ebook for just $0.99! (That’s a 67% savings!) Yes, less than a dollar and you can have some really great breakfast ideas on your tablet, phone, laptop, or other device. These will come in so handy when the back to school morning chaos hits!

It is available as a paperback as well, if you prefer to have a ‘hard copy’ at home. This deal only lasts until August 6, 2018 and then the price will increase to $1.99 and then back to regular price after August 10, 2018.

What are you waiting for? Grab yours today.

While on Amazon you can also check out my other cook book, Kirby’s Korner Blog: Top 40+ Family Favorite Recipes ebook or paperback, by clicking either of these links.

40

 

You can also get both of these books for FREE (and about 1 million others) if you have Kindle Unlimited. Try it FREE today!

Sisters Day

*This post contains affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

Sisters Day celebrates being or having a sister. Click here to learn more about this holiday. It is celebrated on the first Sunday in August.

Do you sister who could use a little encouragement? Here are some gift ideas for them.

Below are some of the activities I found to celebrate this day: Continue reading Sisters Day

Dancers Wanted! Learn to Square Dance!

via Dancers Wanted! Learn to Square Dance!

 

Dancers Wanted!
No Experience Needed!
Numerous Benefits!
Inquire at a square dance club near you!
Or Message Us For More Information!

Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

**This post does contain affiliate links which help to support my blog and my family.

Chocolate Chip Cookies are always a favorite around here. Did you know that August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Be sure to share a link to your favorite recipe in the comments below.

Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 12 oz packages of chocolate chips
  • 1-2 c. chopped nuts, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.

Cream together the butter, sugars, and vanilla.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.

Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by Tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheetI love these pans!

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool 2 minutes and remove from pan.

Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk!

 

We Have A Brand New Website!

Check out this new site for one of our local square dance clubs!

Mandarin Marauders Square Dance Club

Hey everybody! I just wanted to check in with everyone as I’ve been missing you all but I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve been on the mend and busy working on this new site for our awesome club. I’m happy to say that it is up and running now and I want to invite you to come check it out.

Hopefully we’ll be adding even more new and exciting information to it soon as well as some pictures from the upcoming Florida State and Round Dancing Convention this weekend! I’m hoping to see you all there!

Be sure to tell your friends and family about the new site and invite them to follow our blog and our Facebook page so they can see all the fun we are having!

Talk to you soon and I hope to see you in a square!

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Time Out, Please Press Pause

This is another one of those posts that never made it to be Published so please forgive me as this is a little bit late…

Have you ever just wanted to find the remote for LIFE? Maybe just press the PAUSE button for a bit. We could fast forward through some parts and go back to others and replay them again and again. While this would be such a great idea it’s not possible.

The past few weeks and month have felt like some parts have went by in fast forward while others have been going in slow motion. I would love to go back a replay a few parts over and over again. There are definitely others I’d like to skip completely but I can’t.

In August I made a trip to PA to see my Mom-mom (grandmother) and Pop-pop (grandfather). My Mom-mom had been in and out of the hospital and was in the nursing home when I went to visit. She was dying and it was hard to see her knowing that it was probably going to be our last visit together.

She was in good spirits when I last saw her and she was still trying to make sure everyone else was taken care of. She also made it known that she didn’t like it where she was and that she really didn’t like her view out of the window, especially the fence. While there were times she understood why she was there she would still ask to go home. Other times she talked of ‘going home’ in more spiritual sense.

That last visit is one that I have replayed in my head so many times. What more could I have said to her? What more could I have done? I wish I had been able to spend more time with her and I really wish my kids had known her better but there isn’t a thing I can do about that now.

Fast forward to September 27th when I got the call. I already had a feeling and was ready to call my mom but she called me first. Life stood still for a moment and I had a good cry. Then I know it was time to take a DEEP BREATH and make the calls I needed to make. Once the calls were made I had to decide whether I was going up or not. I had already been talking about going back but just hadn’t set a date. That call set the date for me.

I didn’t tell many people of our travel plans. This was partly due to the fact that I didn’t want drama and partly because I wasn’t even certain that we would be able to make it there. Up until the time we actually left I wasn’t sure if I was going alone or taking the whole family.

The 15 hour ride was a blur. Much of the driving was done at night and went fairly well. The morning we arrived I had actually spoken to my mom for over an hour and hadn’t told her we were just a couple of hours from seeing her. When we finally arrived at our destination we suprised everyone.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if there would be a lot of family there already or if they would even be at home. My aunt was in the driveway and I said a quick ‘Hello’ before going in the house. I met my cousin inside and went in search of my mom and Pop-pop. I looked downstairs, out on the back porch, and listened for their voices at the basement stairs.

With a quick phone call I asked my mom what she was doing. She told me that she and my sister-in-law were changing sheets upstairs. I quietly went up the stairs talking to her on the phone. I was spotted when I reached the top of the stairs but put my finger over my mouth, Shhhhh!!!!

The look on their faces when I walked in the room was priceless. I wish we could have caught it on video but we didn’t. She was so happy to see me but I told her there was a bigger surprise waiting downstairs. Seeing her grandkids was the ultimate surprise for her as she hasn’t seen them in a while.

Then Pop-pop came down to see what the fuss was about and he was totally surprised as well, once he figured out ‘which one’ I was… lol. The kids really helped to cheer him up and made my heart happy.

The next couple of days were a bit of a blur also. The funeral service was beautiful and she looked so beautiful and peaceful. The funeral home had put together a DVD of family photos which was a wonderful reminder of the long blessed life she had and the multitude of lives she has touched. I had been running on autopilot up until we arrived at the funeral home. When the word cemetery came out of the director’s mouth I lost my composure and everything I had been holding in started to seep out. Even now I am tearing up thinking about that day.

The time spent with family will be a memory that we will replay again and again and even though these were some very sad memories and they bring tears to my eyes now I am glad that I have these memories.

Get Ahead Of The Holiday Game!

Check out this page for links to fun and unique monthly holidays and fun ways to celebrate. Go ahead and add some ideas to your family calendar and make Life a little more fun this year!

Holidays

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.if a product is purchased through one of our links.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe that we found in the United States Cookbook under the state of Georgia. The original recipe was called ‘Peanutty Peanut Butter and Banana Bread’ and was baked in a loaf pan for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350. Our recipe has some variations to the original ingredients but would probably be just as good baked in a loaf pan as well and would probably be even better with a sprinkle of chocolate chips added to the batter.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1 c. peanut butter (we used chunky and the kids loved it)
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 – 1 c. chocolate chips, optional
  • 1/2 c. crushed peanuts, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray your muffin pan or loaf pan with nonsitck spray.
  2. Mix the oil, eggs, bananas, sugar, vanilla and peanut butter together in a bowl until well blended.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together in another bowl.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the first bowl just until blended.
  5. Spoon or pour into your greased pans.
  6. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Family, Faith, Food, Fun, & Freebies

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