In Plenty and In Need

Last night my 12-year old daughter called me into her bedroom to say prayers. When I arrived she pulled out her secret box and then ruffled through some envelopes and pulled out $100. She had been saving this money from her birthday and other holidays so she’d have money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone in the family. I told her she shouldn’t spend the money other people had gifted on Christmas gifts, but she’d hear nothing of it.

This little precious has always had such a generous giving heart!

As I was thinking about her, I was reminded of Christmas 2012. In August of 2012 we left sunny California and moved to Chicagoland. This move was emotionally and financially draining on all of us. The stress got the best of me in September and I unexpectedly passed out after caring for one of our kids in the middle of the night. My husband found me unconscious in the hallway around 3:00am. He called 911 and I was transported to the hospital. After a few hour stay, tests, and scans, the doctors determined my body shut down due to stress. Who knew stress could be so impacting!?!?  This little middle-of-the-night trip found us with a whopping medical bill and due to the move we were in the midst of insurance changes and we weren’t sure how in the world we would pay for it. This was just the icing on our financial meltdown cake.

Following the collapse of 2008, we we were saddled with two houses that didn’t cash flow. Every month we’d dip into savings to keep these houses whole. To add insult to injury in 2012, we had a renter who decided to quit paying rent. For three months they lived in a newly built house without paying, then moved out unexpectedly. In the wake of the departure they not only left us with three unpaid months, but we discovered they had damaged much of the interior. We had to come up with the payments on our own along with thousands to repair the home for a new renter.

Medical bills, house payments, dental bills and the like seemed to keep piling up. We felt smothered and Christmas of 2012 was approaching. How could I buy gifts for our kids when we didn’t have extra money? I was doing all I could to raise extra cash. I was selling everything I could on ebay to try to keep up, but it just didn’t seem to add up to much.

Christmas of 2012 became our year of appreciating the little things and becoming a creative gift giver. I discovered I could create wonderful Christmas memories from the Goodwill. Our kids found a love for VHS tapes when we lived in Illinois. I know videos are archaic, but they became a huge hit in our home. That Christmas they received classic Disney videos along with videos of soccer highlights. My boys who are avid sports fans received Chicago sports teams t-shirts. It wasn’t until years later they discovered I purchased them at the Goodwill. My little girl who was a fan of purses, got a nice little collection of handbags. No one in the family knew how many of the gifts I purchased were preowned. I think they just felt blessed.

Christmas 2012 was one of my favorites, not because of the big gifts or fancy displays, but because we made the most of the season. That year we all received Goodwill gifts. Our kids found such joy from the sparse but thoughtful gifts they received. I held back tears as they opened VHS tapes and used clothing. We had know abundance, but life happened. It was in this season Philippians 4:12 meant so much to me… “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

If you’re in a season of plenty or in a season of need, I pray that you will find blessings around you.

A Lesson for the New School Year

I’m tutoring Challenge A this year with Classical Conversations and I came up with this object lesson for the students as we began the challenging year filled with subjects such as Latin, Lost Tools of Writing, Saxon Math and more. These subjects are tough. They take great effort to master and the students will have to invest time and energy to grasp the subject matter. I hoped through this analogy they’d see the importance of each subject to the whole of the program.


Couldn’t Ask For More

It was 1999. I rode along with my sweet hub of 7 years and our precious one year old son. After 5 years struggling with infertility, we were blessed with this inquisitive, ever-moving son who was the light of my life. On the radio, Edwin McCain, of Dawson’s Creek fame, sang out “I could not ask for more,” and my heart filled with so much joy I thought it would burst. All of my dreams had come true. After so much heartache and pain we were here. Three of us. A complete family. A mom, a dad and this amazing boy who was a little of me and a little of my sweetheart rolled into one. The struggle getting pregnant and the pain of repeated loss created a longing for this child. The void in my heart had been filled and all was right in the world.

How could I ask for any more than this?


A family.

A promise fulfilled.

In addition to this new addition to our family, we were expanding our skills as home builders. In 1998, we sold our 1910 character home and were in the process of building our dream home. Through construction we lived in a 900 sq. foot rental. We poured our hearts into this project. My hub worked long days and then spent his evenings working on the new house. I’d bring take out dinners and we’d balance our meals on five gallon buckets and dream of the life we’d have in this expansive home on the hill overlooking the bay.

It was on our way home from the new house to the tiny rental that this song came on.

Life was so good.

My heart was so full!

The love I had for our family expanded my heart in ways I never dreamed possible.

From this time, came the name of this blog. Life has changed and our family has grown so much. I started this as a memory for our kids and for our family across the miles. Though it’s never found a following, it is a journal of sorts for our kids.

Perhaps I was too careful, too unsure of what to write and my own insecurities limited what was shared, it is still a reflection.

Like all families, we’ve had ups and downs, heartaches and blessings. Some I’ve shared, most I haven’t, but all in all I can still say, I Could Not Ask For More.


Growing Butterflies

Processed with Moldiv

Change can be risky and the unknown can be frightening, but in life we need to trust that God will carry us through.



Last year, at this time, we moved into a new neighborhood. It wasn’t in the town I had hoped for, but it was a fixer-upper that we dreamed about and it fit our price range. My hub and I often marvel at the gift we found in this little slice of yesteryear in a super friendly neighborhood. Little did we know the blessings that were in store. We are surrounded by grandparenty-type folk who look out for us and care for our kids and our pup.

One of our grandparenty neighbors is an avid butterfly enthusiast. She takes great joy in inviting us over to observe nature. Last year she planted milkweed and true to the quote from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it (or plant it) they will come,” the butterflies came.  She invited us over to observe the various stages of development.

I think it’s every kid’s dream to watch a caterpillar turn into a chrysalis and then emerge as a butterfly. Is there anything more amazing? It is mind-boggling.

After watching our neighbor’s success with caterpillars, my girl decided this was something she wanted to try also. This spring we planted a number of milkweed plants and diligently waited for the caterpillars to find us.


One day we found seven caterpillars on one plant! WOW!

We brought a couple little caterpillars in the house to watch the metamorphosis up close. Initially, my girl would hold the mini-caterpilars letting them crawl up her arm while marveling at the sticky suction of caterpillar feet. She would gaze at the munchy munching of her little temporary pets. And in a few days they’d go from being about an inch long to inches long. Long and plump caterpillars eating their way to the next stage of life.






After our caterpillar plumped himself up and was so full on milkweed, he climbed to the side of our container for what appeared to be a rest. But what we saw in the change was amazing.  Our little caterpillar hung by its feet in a position that looked like a “J.” It stayed here for quite awhile. We tried to capture the change with our camera, but eventually we had to go to bed.

While we were sleeping the inside organs of the caterpillar changed into those of a butterfly. The change happened sometime in the middle of the night and took about 1 to 2 hours. Our new chrysalis appeared to be much smaller than our caterpillar. It is now a pale yellow-green color.

We read in My Monarch Journal that the chrysalis is very vulnerable at this stage. Even though we wanted to look at it, we tried to be very careful.

Do you see the fancy gold band on the chrysalis? We pretended it was REAL gold. Scientists don’t know exactly why the chrysalis has this gold beaded jewelry, but it could effect the beautiful color of the monarch butterfly.

If you’d like to read more about the Monarch Butterflies check out: My Monarch Journal by Connie Muther

Processed with Moldiv

We’re looking forward to what lies ahead as we watch our little friend grow!

Living With Bees

This saga is ongoing. And through it I’ve learned so much about our buzzing little friends.

A number of months ago a swarm of bees decided to make their home under our backyard shed. I cannot imagine there’d be much room between the dirt and foundation, but Miss Queen Bee spied an entry into the armpit of our yard and decided she would raise her brood and call that cramped space home.

One problem.

She didn’t consult with me first.

I love nature, and I love things that make this world more beautiful. I like bees. I respect their purpose and want them to live and prosper, but under our shed was not a good place. Definitely, not a good place.

So, I called my bee friends.

I love talking to people and finding out their passions and purposes. Then I log that information away in the archives of my mind until such a time arises when I need to know someone who is in need this or that and then I connect the people.

Well, I know a gal named Linda who has a passion for bees and bee survival. When the bees took a fancy to our shed, I called Linda for help. She first came over to evaluate the situation.

She suited up and I stood back, took photos and watched her in action. She is a budding bee enthusiast and I’ve watched her passion grow over the years.


She brought in a hive to see if our bees would join her bees. A mesh funnel was made so the bees could come out from under the shed, but they couldn’t return. In their frustration, they would join (or be adopted into) the other hive.

She smoked the bees to check the progress.

What we learned was this was just the beginning. What we didn’t realize was in a couple months, the scent of this group would be a draw in the next couple months when the REAL swarm moved in.







More to come….



A Gardening Heart


I come from generations of dirt people. If I lived 150 years ago, I imagine I’d be the thick, stocky woman strapped to the mule guiding the plow down the field. We are workers who find purpose turning over the soil, breathing in the scent of freshly added manure and celebrating squirming worms because we know they provide vitality and nourishment to the dirt. Women in my family do not possess delicate, manicured hands. We have weathered, wrinkled, leathery and sometimes cracked skin. Our nails are short and practical. We try to scrub the dirt away, but a remnant remains. We are proud of our strong, working heritage. We are not weak, but industrious. The words of Proverbs 31 describe generations of women in my family.


“She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her own hands she plants a vineyard. She is energetic, a hard worker, and watches for bargains. She works far into the night!”

We are known for our gardens and for feeding people. When we lived in Washington we had 2.5 acres of land and I worked as much of it as I could manage. I grew fruits and vegetables for our family and had a surplus to deliver to a local food bank weekly. I feel I had been unofficially commissioned to feed folks.

In 2009, we left our acreage in Washington and moved to a townhouse in Southern California. Leaving my garden was one of the hardest things I had to do, but when God asked me, “Do you love this garden more than what I have in store for you?” I agreed to follow Him. Our backyard in California measured about 10 feet wide and 20 feet deep. It consisted of flagstone pavers and a couple palm trees. There was no dirt. No dirt to plant a seed. I tried container gardening, but it just wasn’t the same.

Since my husband and I married in 1992, I’ve always found a plot of dirt whether we rented or owned, and I planted. Our first apartment was the downstairs of an early 1900s college-style rental home. The not-so-spacious one bedroom, 500 square foot space had a big backyard that faced an alley. The only problem with the backyard was it was a mess. It had been the dumping ground of too many remodel projects, but I saw possibility. Intermingled within the debris was an endless tangle of morning glories and weeds. For the record, I’m NOT A FAN of morning glories. They are one of my least favorite plants despite the brilliant purple color. Like mint, if one remnant of a morning glory root is left, it has a desire to take over.

My heart yearned to watch new life spring up in our little backyard.  We asked our landlord if we could clean up the disaster so I could plant a garden. Not surprisingly, he welcomed the FREE labor. He probably thought we were the strangest renters he ever had volunteering to improve a property we didn’t own. What they possibly didn’t realize is how much gardening impacts my spiritual, mental and emotional health. The conversations I have with God while I’m kneeling in the dirt are priceless! God time is my favorite thing about gardening. Seeing how He answers questions about life while providing perfect peace is what keeps me coming back.

Following our California move, I’ve been without a space to grow for over five years. Last summer we bought our own slice of Orange County and I now have a little plot. I may have been a little overzealous in my seed purchases this year, but I’m hopeful. I’m slowly learning about the Southern California climate and what grows and what doesn’t. I’m getting a crash course in consistent, moderate watering and how it can positively impact the plants. I have a lot to learn about growing in this climate, but I’m so happy to begin harvesting.

Here is our first harvest:


It is so good to be back in the dirt where I belong!

Freaking Out About College

Parenting is a tough gig. Even though people have been parenting since the beginning of life, it still proves to be challenging.

When our kids were little I stressed over what preschool they would get into. We asked around and found out about the most desirable programs. We researched the teachers. We signed up and waited to hear if we got in. Preschool moms, you know this is stressful!

Then it was to school or not to school. That was our question. We decided to homeschool and every year I pray we got it done. I stress about what our kids know or don’t know. Are they ready for what the world has in store for them? Did I accomplish what they needed? Did I ruin them?


These days we have a new kind of stress.



We talk about it.

What are we going to do? What school? Will he play baseball? How do we make the connections? How do we get on the list? How will he get noticed? What are we doing wrong? If we don’t know what we’re supposed to do, how do we do it? How in the world is this going to work out? Should I hold him back a year so we can figure it out? Maybe two?

OH.MY.WORD. Talk about a joy stealer!

Today our Big Boy played a great game of baseball. He had a beautiful hit out to right field. He had great plays at short stop. He scored runs. It was good.

Then on the way home we started talking. Talking too much about the unknowns can ruin a great day and a great game. Especially talk motivated by stress. The next thing we knew we were talking about all that is NOT happening in our college search and our joy slowly began to disappear. We were stressed about college wondering how to get him on the radar of some college coach and the conversation spiraled down from there. It was like the game never happened. The marvelous hit became a distant memory. Staring in our face at the wrong time was, “WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO COLLEGE?”

It was gross, if a conversation can be gross.

I felt we robbed him of the fun of baseball. We robbed him of his joy following a game well played. Our stress robbed him of what he loves.

Worst thing… I tried justifying it. I reminded him of all the things he hadn’t done yet. Did he email that coach? Did he compile a list of schools to contact? Did he realize people were asking me WHERE he was going to college and I don’t have an answer and he BETTER FIGURE it out!

Way to rob the joy, Mom!

A little while later, in my room, hanging up clothes, in the quiet stillness, God reminded me… “Have you prayed about this?”


I’M TOO BUSY FREAKING OUT TO PRAY! How does one get all quiet and holy while freaking out?

{Deep Breath}


God, You are right. I’m so worried about it not happening, I haven’t brought it before YOU, the One, who knows HOW it’s going to happen.

Humbly, I walked into my Big Boy’s room. He was making his bead. I said, “Can we take a minute? Can we pray?”

He agreed and we both knelt beside his half-made bed and brought the whole thing before the One who has the answers. I poured out all my concerns and questions and peace began to enter my heart. I felt like the Grinch who’s heart was growing. Trust grew a size or two today.

Amazingly, God continues to grow my trust. I SO WANT to MAKE IT HAPPEN, but I don’t have a clue. I don’t know the HOW and there doesn’t seem to be a manual to get it done.

So we will pray. And we will wait.

Afterward, I apologized to my precious. I confessed that I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to make it happen.

His response, “Mom, this is a good start.”


Homeschoolers, Hmmm….

The Look.

If you’re a homeschooler, you know THE LOOK. The look people give you when they ask where your kids go to school and you break the news to them that you homeschool. YOU WHAT?? How does THAT work?? How can YOU teach them at home?? How will they learn to be functioning members of society.

The LOOK is often followed by the QUESTIONS followed by, “I’ve never met/known a HOMESCHOOLER.” Perhaps meeting a homeschooler is along the lines of meeting a duck-billed platypus.

Freaks we are. Or so those who don’t know us think. We’re really not rare. And we’re really not shocking. We’re usually pretty normal.

That’s what people usually figure out. And later they share, “Your family is not what I was expecting.”

Yeah, we’re normal. Regular folks.

Last summer we moved into a new neighborhood. I reckon we’re the first homeschoolers to ever live in these parts.

We saw many raised eyebrows and heard many sighs when people asked where our kids schooled.

But now they’ve known us for a year and I recently got this letter:

Dear Kim,

Thank you for inviting us to your son’s graduation celebration (8th grade graduation party for our son’s class of homeschool friends). It was so much fun seeing such nice children’s accomplishments and talents rewarded. All of the parent-teachers are awesome especially you (how sweet!).

We now have a better appreciation of what home schooling is all about.

It is a real joy having all of you as neighbors.

I need your cake an penne pasta recipe, please!


Your Neighbors

Love that these words reflect some of my goals. Share love, meet your neighbors, share food AND give a new face to homeschooling.

Homeschooling Successfully, Some Advice

It’s summer. The birds are chirping. I have a peanut butter and chocolate coffee cake in the oven and I just read a Facebook post from a friend whose son, upon finishing his first year of school, is morose (isn’t that such a perfect word) at the outlook of 11 more years of education. I found the melancholy description humorous, especially because the antics of said young man keep his momma’s life exciting, but it also caused me to think about our homeschool journey. My oldest is heading into his senior year and we’re still plugging away at this homeschool deal. How did the time pass so quickly? We were just beginning and I was just figuring it out and now he’s looking at the last year. I’m a bit morose thinking we’re nearing the end. I still haven’t totally figured it out, but I’ve learned knowing you don’t know reflects wisdom. When I hear new homeschoolers tell me they know it all and have it all figured out, and don’t have any room for advice or suggestions, then I realize they walk in folly. We all continue to learn along the way recognizing each child is his/her own person with different gifts and strengths.

Every year, I ask my kids if they want to continue their education at home and every year they agree to continue homeschooling. I love our time together. It’s been good. Real good. It warms my heart to think they choose homeschooling over other options, because that feels like success.

If you’re starting out, you may be asking how to make it successful. First, I think you have to define your idea of success. For me, my first priority is to let our kids know they are loved above all else. Secondly, I want them to love to learn and so I set out to make learning fun. Kids want to do what is fun! Here’s a short list of 12 things that have made our homeschool career successful. This is not an exhaustive list, but a beginning.

12 Suggestions That Shaped Our Successful Homeschool Experience

1) Greet your kids EVERY MORNING with a smile, a hug, and in our home, when they were little, a warm cup of coffee juice (chocolate milk). I always wake up before my kids to get the day started. I get ready for them. Seeing them in the morning is the BEST way to begin my day! When they wake up, I look at them with new eyes. When the boys wake, they sleepily walk toward me and hug me (they still do). I tell them I love them more than sunshine. When my daughter wakes, I say, “Good morning Beautiful! I love you!” Speak love to your kids up when you first see them. It builds confidence.

2) I made a decision, sort of a declaration, that our homeschool experience would be more fun than any other educational option. Our family is all about fun. If the activity is enjoyable, we’re on board! If it is painful, taxing, or makes someone cry, then we’re missing the goal. In the activities and field trips I’ve planned, it was my goal to educate and entertain. If an activity/lesson struck me as boring or tedious, we switched it up and made it fun. Be creative!

When our kids were little, I began taking them to museums. Some kids roll their eyes when a field trip to a museum is offered. Creating excitement, mystery, and a game may spark interest for your child. Design a museum scavenger hunt, alert your children to the security, look for bad guys who may try to steal the art, etc. Pretend you’re on a mission to protect valuable art. Practice stealthy skills. Climb into the mind of a kid and  find the adventure.

3) I also decided early on that I was 100% committed. I didn’t keep my foot half-way into the public school doorway. I didn’t play games with my kids threatening to send them away to public school if they didn’t do what I wanted (by the way, that’s manipulation and I’m not a fan). I likened our decision to homeschool to marriage. We were in for the long haul.  No bailing out when it got tough. I planned to stick by our kids through thick and thin in their education. If they were on board and committed, so was I!

4) If a curriculum doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. I can’t tell you how much I’ve spent on curriculum over the years, but it probably ranges between $600-$1000 per year. What works for one child, may not work for the next or maybe it doesn’t work for any of your kids. Don’t push what doesn’t work, especially for the younger ages. Pushing a curriculum that doesn’t fit your child is like trying to fit a size 6 shoe on a size 8 kid. It will just make your child miserable, which defeats the purpose of learning alongside your child in a pleasant atmosphere.

5) Don’t try to recreate the classroom at home. This one was one of the HARDEST skills for me to grasp. My college degree is in elementary education and I know how to MANAGE a classroom. Our first year I had calendars, job charts, a “homeschool” room, desks, and more. We began our day with the flag salute and the day of the week.  I rang a bell for recess. We ate off lunch trays. We started so structured and stiff. I had a wise, seasoned homeschool mom share with me early on that breaking out of the trained teacher mold would be my hardest task. It has been. There have been so many times over the last 11 years that I’ve wanted to play school, but her words echo in my mind. We’re HOMEschooling. It’s not the same. Over the years, I’ve flowed with my kids. Some complete schooling best at the table, some on the floor, some on the sofa. It’s all good. Be flexible. I’ve learned to lighten up on the organized regimen reciting in unison. We’re a family learning together in a relaxed, enjoyable setting.

6) Read. Read. Read. My kids have grown up listening to my voice reading aloud to them. We started with picture books and quickly moved to novels, biographies, other non-fiction. We still read picture books because they delight us, but we’ve also tackled some classic, tough literature together. We discuss it and sometimes have to read the Sparks Notes in conjunction for clarity. Reading classic literature can be so rewarding!  Just this morning my 12 year old was reading Little Women and shared with me the definitions for blithe and fortnight. We have new words and she was thrilled to teach me! Read to your kids with enthusiasm. Literacy is a gift, not a chore. When I read aloud to my kids I like to transform into the characters. I add accents and emotion. One of our favorite read alouds is The Indian in the Cupboard. It is well written and you can easily portray the accents of the Cowboy, the Indian and the English characters. After we read a book, if it has a movie, we will watch the movie and compare which was better. After watching Indian, our youngest announced, “I didn’t like the movie! Their accents were MUCH BETTER in the book!” That was one of my most satisfying mom moments. They felt I read to them better than the actors read the lines. Make reading fun! Dive into a good book and bring the characters to life. We’ve laughed and cried over the years as we stepped into the lives of rich characters. We mourn the end of a well-written story and sometimes re-read it to experience it more fully.

7) Don’t stress the mess. Homeschooling is synonymous with organized chaos.  I dream of having a tidy home, but when the house is filled with kids and projects, it’s disastrous. Be okay with it. Your kids probably don’t care if it’s a mess, and hopefully your hub won’t either. When learning is occurring, it can get messy. I’ve found one way to tame the clutter is to periodically announce, “Everyone put away 10 (or 20) things!” And then we race! In minutes we’ve put away 40-80 things! It’s quick. It’s productive and in a short time the house is manageable again.

One of my favorite messy memories was when we were reading Farmer Boy and did a unit on popcorn. Do you remember the chapter in Farmer Boy about popcorn? We drooled as we read, craving fresh popped, white goodness. We measured our height in popcorn (rather than inches). We examined popcorn to the fullest. In our home, we prefer stove-popped popcorn. While in this unit, I suggested we watch it pop without the lid on. The kids were excited to see the exploding action. As the oil and popcorn kernels started heating, the kernels began to burst. Fluffy popcorn began flying all over the kitchen. Popcorn all over the counters. Popcorn all over the floor. Popcorn hitting the ceiling. The kids were squealing with laughter!! I was delighted! When it was over, I had popcorn and oil splattered on the walls, the cooktop, the backsplash, the ceiling and the floor. The mess was delightful. We laughed and created a wonderful memory! It doesn’t get any better than that! That’s what we’re about, remember? Fun.

8) Let your kids be kids. Our kids played when others were in school. It is no underestimation to claim we played A LOT! Most of their childhood was spent playing. Research shows little kids are good for about 20 minutes of learning so that’s what we did. We did some school related activity for 20 minutes and then they played. After about 10 or 20 minutes, we’d regroup and go another 20 minutes then play again. While they played, I folded laundry or cleaned up breakfast dishes. I made the most of my 10-20 minutes and they did kids activities: building Legos, playing store, running around outside, riding bikes, etc. We also completely finished “school” by noon until they reached junior high. Our semi-formal school day began around 9 and ended by noon. That doesn’t mean they quit learning. Kids are soaking up information ALL THE TIME. Don’t forget that.

9) Dirt time is learning time. This goes along with playing, but I wanted to reinforce learning away from the books. We spent countless hours gardening, walking trails, looking at insects, watching animals, etc. Your kids are learning. A worksheet isn’t the only way to qualify learning.

10) Don’t kill your kids with worksheets. Just because a curriculum has 30 problems and a worksheet every day doesn’t mean your child has to do it all. When our kids were young, if they mastered a concept, we moved on. We didn’t waste time pounding out worksheets. If they got it, they got it and we were thrilled. Move on!

11) Don’t panic if your child isn’t reading by 4. I get so tired of people saying, “My 4-year old is reading.” Who cares. Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should or shouldn’t. Kids are different. Allow them to be different and don’t put so much weight on things like reading at 4. Sooner or later, most of them level out and are in the same place. One of our kids was not a proficient reader until about 10. I just continued reading to him when he couldn’t. He didn’t realize there was an issue even though I did. Out of concern at about 2nd-3rd grade I had him tested to see if he was dyslexic. The problem with testing at this age is the range is so vast. Normal at 7-8 years old can be anywhere from a non-reader to a proficient reader. He did have some dyslexic reversals, but not enough to flag an issue. I just kept reading to him. I read every textbook and book. Somewhere around 8th-9th grade it all clicked. Now he’s an amazing reader. He reads books I never dreamed of tackling in high school. Don’t stress your kid about reading. Relax and teach him/her to learn to love books. Reading will come.


12) Don’t compare your school experience to public school. Comparing homeschooling to public schooling is not comparing apples to apples. They are completely different entities. Public schoolers make some quality accomplishments. Homeschoolers boast unique feats. Both groups are uniquely different. If your child doesn’t write a creative poem in 10th grade, don’t sweat it. He may have just completed a home remodel. If you don’t have the award winning science fair project, but have a flourishing garden and are taking food to the food bank weekly, you’re doing something commendable. Don’t compare. It steals the joy.

If you’re embarking on the homeschooling journey, there are so many paths you can take depending on the strengths of your family. I have so many nuggets of advice, but a dozen is enough for this morning. Most of all, I hope you gathered you should have fun. Fill your days with love and laughter and you will look back with fond memories.

Homemade Laundry Detergent for the Athlete


I come from a long line of mothers who believe what you make is better than anything pre-made or store bought. Knowing and trusting the ingredients I use to feed my family provides a sense of confidence I’m doing the best I can to provide for and care for my family. If I believe this about food, what about the products we use to clean our clothing and our home? Am I using the same care in laundering as I do in cooking?

Did you know?

The average family washes approximately 80 pounds of laundry per week—or 35 billion loads of laundry per year! This means that 17.5 billion cups of laundry detergent are being used every year in the U.S. alone. Not only can you come in contact with caustic chemicals via your clothing, from having been laundered in them, but you can breathe them into your lungs once they become airborne in the process of doing your laundry.

The detergent you’re using may contain a cocktail of potent cancer-causing chemicals, some of which the manufacturer doesn’t even have to list on the label. This loophole reduces the odds that you’ll ever discover what’s in there.

Four of the worst offenders are:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) 
  2. 1,4-dioxane 
  3. NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) 
  4. Phosphates 

Not only are these chemicals potentially damaging to your health, but they are also contaminating waterways and harming the environment.

Do you know what is in your laundry detergent?

This year Dr. Axe posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. His cost-effective recipe is great for the run-of-the-mill kind of dirty people, but we excel at dirtiness! My kids are dive-in-the-dirt, grass stained, sweat-up-a-storm kinds of kids. We have to pull out the big guns to clean their clothes, but I don’t want to cover them in the big guns of chemicals. We found this recipe works well for our large supply of dirty laundry.


2 bars Felsnaptha soap (this soap company has been around for 100+ years and is great for treating grass stains from baseball)

1 bar lavender Castille soap

6 cups Borax

3 cups Baking Soda

3 cups Biokleen Laundry Powder  or Arm & Hammer (optional)

15 drops doTERRA Lavender Essential Oil

15 drops doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil

Grate bar soaps and place in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and store in an airtight container.