Fitness Goals/ and how I make time to workout with 5 kids!

Monday, May 16, 2016



At the beginning of the year I made some practical goals for myself. I am usually a pretty motivated person(depending on what mood I am in) so I knew these wouldn't be too far out of my reach but would push me a little further then maybe I would go on my own.

I shared with you how I set out to master my goal of meal planning and have been posting my 2 week meal plans and some of our favorite meals. Now that I have that goal under my belt I feel it's high time I share with you my fitness goals.

I honestly have come to love working out. I really like being fit and in shape. I get depressed when I start gaining weight and am not able to fit into my clothes. I also really like to eat. Exercising has not only been a way for me to feel healthy and fit into my clothes, but has been so great for my state of mind and sanity.

I know not everyone feels this way and I want you to know I am not just saying this. I really do thrive on working out. My intention is not to make you feel bad if you don't but to hopefully inspire and encourage you if you have been wanting to start. It is possible!

I really started getting into fitness after I had my first born. My kids have been my greatest motivation! I wanted to lose the baby weight so I started running with him in the baby jogger. Over the years I started running on my own, as you can't fit 5 kids in a jogger and I really just needed a break from them. My husband has been so great to watch them when I go running and has been very supportive.

Though I loved running, I felt like I was missing something and joined a bootcamp. I absolutely loved it! I wished I had started it a lot sooner. I have always been competitive and loved a challenge. It was just what I needed to push me further then I would have pushed myself. The addition of weights and and different exercises brought me to a whole new level.

So I was doing pretty good till last Christmas and that's where I kind of got a little off track. I was still running and working out but not as much as I should. I also started noticing that my metabolism was slowing down. Boo hoo! I couldn't just eat what I wanted anymore and burn it off. I guess that's what happens when you get in your 30's. I was hoping that would never happen but reality set in...in my hips and other places!

So here are my fitness goals that I have been implementing this year:

*Go to Bootcamp regularly and workout at home or run on off days

The bootcamp I attend meets everyday at different times. I have been going to the ones in the early morn at 5:30 am because it gets my day off to a great start, doesn't take away from my family and my husband can always watch the kids;) It meets at those times 3x a week.

On the days it doesn't meet I try to go run on my own or with a friend. I usually do one long run(6 miles) once a week, 4 miles with a friend in the middle and maybe 2- 4 again by myself. We also run usually a mile or 2 every bootcamp.

If I don't make it to boot camp or get to run I usually put in a workout video/ or watch some workouts on the internet. I really like fitnessblender.com They have some great workouts that are either short or long, and they are free! I also have been using the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and some of her other workout videos. I still have to get up early to do these at home because it is pretty much impossible when my kids wake up, though I do it when I just have to. If I haven't gotten in a workout early in the day I might go outside with the kids and bring my weight and mat out there. Since I have worked out so much I usually can just wing it myself, but it is always nice just to have someone to tell you what to do.

All this to say there are many days when things don't go as planned, I feel unmotivated, I just need to sleep in and the circumstances of life take precedence.

 On those days I give myself grace and try to jump back in and start where I can. The thing about exercising that can be frustrating is that if you don't keep up with it, you will fall behind and sometimes feel like you have to start all over again, which is why I really want to focus on maintaining my weight and being consistent.

* Eating more smaller portioned meals and less sweets

Along with what I am doing with my body I know that what I am putting in it is just as important. As my metabolism has been changing I have been trying to cut back on foods that trigger weight gain for me...like ice cream and sweets. I have such a sweet tooth. I don't deprive myself completely but I have been trying to replace treats with a yummy smoothie or shake instead.

I also have been trying to eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 big meals. I find it's better to eat when I am mildly hungry instead of waiting until I am starving. I also find that eating late is a no no for me. I always feel so bad at night when I eat after 7. My husband and I always have loved noshing after the kids go to bed while we watch our favorite show but I know if I want to stay at a good weight I have to change my bad habits. Thankfully my husband has been trying to eat better also so it has been much easier to kick this habit. If we do want something we usually make a smoothie.

Staying fit can be such a great and hard thing to do. Add to that having children and it can be even harder but also greater. I have found that making time for myself to not only exercise but have an outlet, has been key to giving me strength and sanity to do what I have to do as wife and mom. I never ever regret getting up early and working out, but I always regret when I don't.

I hope to share more in depth soon about my love for running and some things that keep me motivated to keep my fitness goals.

Did you make some fitness goals at the beginning of the year?

How do you find time to workout with kids? 

Do you love or hate working out?


Linking up here!

Why I don't want a day off from Motherhood

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Mother's Day is right around the corner and everyone is busy thinking of the perfect gift to get their mother, wife or grandmother or how they are going to spend their day in luxury.

I honestly haven't given it much thought yet because I have been kind of  busy with well...umm...being a mother. Of course I want to do get something nice for my Mom and Mother-in- law and show them they are appreciated but I don't have huge expectations for myself this Mother's Day.

My husband and kids will I am sure get me something nice and write me some sweet cards which I will treasure forever.

I know a lot of moms are expecting big things. No cleaning, no cooking, no changing diapers, no referring sibling fights. In other words a day off from motherhood. Though a day off from doing these things sounds divine, when it comes down to it I don't really want a day off from motherhood.

 Read the rest of the post over at Creative Home Keeper.

Linking up here!

Finding grace as mothers in a world full of pressures to perform

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


There is a lot of pressure on mothers these days to fit into a certain mold.

Do you feel it?

Now more than ever with the rise of social media, our lives are all under scrutiny and judgement. It's unavoidable, unless you are hidden away under a rock somewhere.

Some mothers are confident in who they are and their calling and don't really care what others think and others constantly feel the pressure to attain the unattainable supermom status.

Most mothers fall into 3 categories...

To read the rest of this post I would love for you to hop over to My Joy Filled Life!

Linking up here!

Encouragement for the mom who feels overwhelmed and unqualified/With free printable

Friday, April 29, 2016


It's been a particularly hard day.

The amount of whining, crying, fighting has been at an all time high.

Everything my children do seems to annoy me more then usual.

I had been looking forward to some outings this week but had to cancel because the kids had colds. I am sure that didn't help my sanity to be in the house with the kids all week.

Most days of motherhood are filled with a mixture a pure insanity and pure bliss. I think it will always be this way. Even though today was hard and I wanted to cry and pull my hair out at moments, there were also moments that I wanted to keep in my memory forever; that made me laugh and smile.

I often don't feel qualified for this job that I have been given, and question why God would choose me when I am not always the best at it.

I was reminded today of a day like this, a couple of years ago when I was having a hard day also. God spoke to me in such a real and powerful way. It came out in this poem that I want to share with you for this upcoming Mother's Day. I hope it blesses you and reminds you that even though you might not always feel like you are doing a great job or being appreciated for all that you do; you are doing an important job... a much needed job.

--->Download your free printable HERE!

Reading this again, I have tears welling up in my eyes. We all need to be reminded of the important, eternal work we are doing as mothers.

We might not always feel qualified or equipped but God will always give us more then we need as we look to him. There are many days that we will feel like quitting and giving up, but really we wouldn't trade it for anything.

Have you been feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, unqualified and ill equipped in your role as a mother?

Remember that God has created you for this, and you are the only one who qualifies for the job!

If you were blessed by this free printable and post, I'd love for you to SIGN UP HERE to receive future encouragement and resources!

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When you are tired of waiting. Plus free printable!

Monday, April 25, 2016


Have you ever felt restless and tired of waiting?

And no matter how hard you try to be patient, just can't sit still?

You can't focus on anything but what you have been waiting for to happen?

That's how I have felt lately.

There are so many things on my heart and mind. Things that I have been waiting to come to pass for a long time. I don't know about you, but I really don't like waiting.

I want things to happen right now!   Pronto!   ASAP!   Yesterday!

I am sure if you have experienced as I have; things don't always take place when you want them to.

Though I don't like it at the time it usually turns out to be a good thing.

God has a way of stretching us beyond our physical and mental limits to do what we thought we could never do.

He grows us and teaches us through the process of waiting on his perfect timing. As we wait and are tested to our limits, we only grow stronger in our faith and trust.

I like to compare this process to working out or running. When you think you can't go any further or lift any more weight, you find that extra ounce of strength to push yourself a little bit more.This is where the muscle is built, this is how you get toned and in better shape than you were yesterday. You are able to run farther and lift more than you did before, as you have persevered and become stronger.

I have to confess I have not felt like waiting another day. I have waited long enough. I have prayed for these things on my heart, not for days or months... but for years. I have been patient and content for long enough. I have struggled, fought and persevered. Don't you think God should answer my prayers by now?

The truth is that I can't see what God can.

I don't know what is best, he does.

I am limited, he is not.

Most importantly, even though I don't always understand...I trust him. I know that he loves me and always, always has a much better plan than I do.

I had to add in this quote from Timothy Keller's book Jesus the King, that I have been reading. I will probably be quoting it in every post because it is just so good. The chapter I have been reading is aptly called, "Waiting". It was obviously so timely for me!

"Timing is relative. And everybody has a sense of  'this is the right time but not this.' God's sense of timing will always confound ours, no matter what culture we are from. His grace rarely operates according to our schedule." - Timothy Keller (Jesus the King)

Looking back at my life I am so thankful for those prayers that God didn't answer when I wanted him to, and for those times when I didn't think I could wait another second, but found out I could.

God truly is not limited by time and does not depend on our sense of time. He is working in us beyond the boundaries of time and will ultimately do things his way and in his time.

Maybe you have been waiting and praying for unsaved loved ones to come to the Lord, family or friends to be healed, relationships to be restored, financial hardships to be resolved, or desires and dreams to be fulfilled.

Whatever you are waiting for, know that God hears you, he sees your situation but is waiting for his perfect timing to reveal his answer.

In my daily Bible reading I came across this verse in Psalms. It so encouraged me that I quickly went and made it into a printable so that you could be encouraged as well. I know each day that I wait, I am going to need to be reminded of these powerful words.


Be strong my friends.

Let your heart take courage.

As we wait for the Lord!

Have you been waiting on something a long time? Are you getting tired of waiting?

Do you feel like your prayers are going unanswered?

Have you seen how God's timing is always on time?

Linking up here!

How I lesson plan for a Kindergartener/ 3rd grader and 5th grader - Plus what curriculum I use.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


You're searching through your curriculum trying to figure out what you are going to be teaching today.

Your children are running around wild because you haven't given them any instructions and they don't know what is expected of them.

You are working with one child but the other school age ones are fooling around because you didn't have any independant school work set out for them.

The day is already almost gone and you feel like you have nothing to show for it. Does this sound familiar? If so, know that you are not alone. It's not easy homeschooling one child let alone a few.

Believe me I know!

With children ranging from 10 to 2 I know the all too well the stress of trying to educate and care for them all. But I am learning with a little planning and a lot of grace and patience on my part, it can be done. I don't have it down perfectly, but as I desire to be faithful with all God has given me to do I have seen his faithfulness to give me what I need to accomplish everything  I am called to do!

I started lesson planning last year and it has drastically helped our school days and my brain run much more smoothly. Granted there are weeks I don't get to it. I mostly know what we need to be doing but it really makes a huge difference when I do lesson plan.  When I lesson plan I feel like I have a good grasp on what we are going to be studying, and putting in more prep time allows for a more cohesive learning experience for us all. Of course there are those weeks when I do lesson plan and nothing goes as planned. I am learning to give myself and the kids grace and not get bent out of shape when my well laid plans are thrown to the wind.

When I first started homeschooling I scoured the web; searching for anything that would tell me how to homeschool...exactly. I wanted every detail. Just tell me what to do, because I don't know what I am doing! I found a few blogs and sites that were helpful but most posts were vague. Because really there is no one fits all way to homeschool.

If you are like me and want all the guess work taken out for you then please read on. Of course you will have to fill in a lot of blanks and I won't be able to tell you exactly how to lesson plan, but I hope by sharing what we do, it will get your creative juices flowing. I don't know about you but I need all the help I can get. I feel like I have made a lot of progress the past couple of years, but I still have a long way to go.

This is what is working for me now, but is by no means perfected. How I lesson plan might not work for you, but I hope you are able to come away feeling a little less intimidated by lesson planning if it has been weak point for you.

Lesson Planner

First things first. You need a lesson planner and of course there are a million different ones out there. I have a hard time when there are so many choices. If I see one that strikes my fancy then I just go for it and change it if I need to. Right now I am using Alicia Hutchinson's Lesson Planner. If you go to my post on it you can get a discount! I like it because it is simple yet has everything I need. It has a calendar, library list, notes, unit studies calendar, attendance sheet, month at a glance, weekly schedule, ideas and plans, quarterly pages and 3 different choices of lesson planning pages. It  is only a couple dollars and once you download, you can make as many prints as you need.


Gather all your books

I like to take my planner to our school room and then book by book, look and see what chapters we will be on and what we will be studying. I thought I would show you what curriculum I use to make it easier to see how I plan what I do.

Start Planning

How many children you have will determine how you will lesson plan and what kind of planning page you will use. I use the combined student planning page of my planner to write an overview of all that we will be doing for the week. At the end of each day I will write down exactly what we did, because sometimes we don't get to all I planned or we add in other things.  I use a separate planning page for Ellie and a combined one for the boys. I use little sticky notes to get to the pages quickly. I try to leave some room for creativity and run with ideas when they come. Having it written all down solidifies it in my mind and takes a lot of stress off of me during our school week.


Kindergarten

I usually start out with planning Ellie's school first. I use My Father's World and really love it. Each week is a different letter that goes along with a verse and unit study. We are really having a lot of fun with each week's subject. Sometimes I make it into a unit study for the boys as well. This week is F for frog.

Bible- her verse is "I use my tongue wisely" based off of Proverbs 21:23

Math- we will use a leap frog math game we made/ a math workbook/ Adding with dice/ game of war/ writing number words/ counting by twos/ play store with $/ Number cup

Reading- I use The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading which I love. It tells you what to say and do and I have used it for all my kids and they all know how to read! What more could you want? I also use Bob books and whatever else she wants to read.

Phonics-  I use Explode the Code. It has been a great supplement to go along with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading. She just finished Explode the Code 1 and is now onto Explode the Code 2. I also use the phonics workbook pages that came with the My Father's world Kindergarten set.

Handwriting- I use Handwriting without tears/ My Father's World Sheets and D'Nealian Handwriting and writing notebooks from the $ store.

Science- We cover a lot of science in our My Father's world unit studies and she also participates when I do science and experiments with the older boys. Every other week we have a library day and get books out corresponding with what we are learning in our unit study.

History/ Geography We just finished The My Father's world Exploring Countries and Cultures Cycle which Ellie also did with the older boys. Now we are using The Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times

3rd and 5th Grade

For my boys Israel (almost 11) and Judah( almost 9) I use a lot of the same curriculum just different age levels. I do a lot of work and reading with them individually when the other is doing independent work. They also do a lot of school work together.

Bible- We just finished the book of John and are on to Acts now.  I or the boys read, I ask them questions about read, we pray together and I pick a verse for us to memorize for the week. Ellie does this with us as well. The two little boys usually play while we do this and often distract us. It can be hard to get them to all sit down together but they are learning to be better behaved the more we do it.  I love hearing their prayer requests and it has been such a testimony to them to see some of them answered; even after years of praying.

Math- I use Singapore Math  2B for Judah and 3B for Israel. We also supplement with a lot of hands on games. Math races and speed drills. Singapore offers a free test at the end of each book.

Language/Grammar-  I use Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 2 for Judah and Level 3 for Israel. I love these books! They are also by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington who wrote The Ordinary Parents Guide for Teaching Reading. Like that book it also tells you everything you need to say to your student and is in such a great format that you can do most of your work through memorization and copy work in a notebook. These are so ideal in a big family as I can use them over and over again.

Reading- I help the boys pick out books that they are interested in reading and then we are reading a book together. I then have them narrate back to me what we read, they also read out loud and then I dictate to them a paragraph that they write out. I immediately go over what they wrote and have them correct and errors in punctuation and spelling. This has really been working well for us as it's usually like pulling teeth to get my boys to read and write. They have really come a long way!

Writing- For writing I use Writing with Ease which has helped me to know how to teach them and use other reading books to help with their skills as well. My boys are not always motivated to write so I try to have them pick out subjects that they are interested in and write about them. We also get really inspired from Games for writing.

History/ Geography- We are using Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times which I supplement with a lot of online resources. I really like this post that goes through the whole book and has links and ideas for each chapter.

Science- We are using World of Science from My Father's World. I love that it has a Biblical perspective and has experiments that you can do along with each chapter. We also try to watch any shows on Netflix that correspond with what we are studying. If the kids are really enjoying what we are learning we take a little more time and do more of an in depth study. For instance last week we were learning about simple machines so along with it the boys picked out their favorite invention/ inventor and did a little report about it/them.

Computer- We don't really use computer a lot but from time to time I will have them do a learning or typing program or lessons. We do use it a lot to search for information or watch an informative youtube video.

Nature Journal- We love to go out and explore a lot at the beach and parks in the area. We always bring along our nature journals and write about what we saw and draw pictures of what we are studying.

                 "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." -Benjamin Franklin

Planning it all out

I am pretty comfortable now with all of our books and know what we will be using each week. I start by going through each book and writing down what Chapters and lessons we will be covering. I try to have the boys do a lot of the same things to keep it easier but tweak it to make it at their individual levels. I then add in any activities that coincide with what we are learning and problem areas I know they need to work on. I keep a list of games and hands on learning activities for each subject. I also have a lot of pins on pinterest that I reference. For instance since I am doing a unit study with Ellie/and the boys about frogs I will look up all the unit studies I have saved about frogs and add in what we can use.


Sometimes we will not do everything that I have planned and  sometimes we add in different extracurricular activities and that's okay. I think it's important to find that balance of structure and flexibility, which I am learning day by day.

I also write out a weekly schedule of what subjects we will be doing each day. We usually do not do each subject every day. I would rather really focus on each subject and have quality learning time instead of trying to rush through it and have them not really grasp what we are learning.

My lesson planner also comes with a weekly schedule that I use for this. I place it somewhere the kids can see it like the fridge(excuse my dirty fridge;) or corkboard so they are not constantly asking me what they are doing next. I find they really like to know what is expected of them for that day. Of course there will be days when things will change and they and I need to learn to accept it and not let it derail our day. I generally tweak it every week as I find what works and what doesn't. Ideally I would love to finish school by 1:30 but in real life this doesn't always happen.

I also try to keep a schedule of their chores out where they can see so they have no excuse to say we didn't know what we were supposed to do. They usually know what they have to do but always need reminding. Any time I teach them how to do a new chore i.e. laundry, cooking, cleaning. I add it in my planner as a life lesson/skill they learned. They also do a lot of activities with their Dad i.e. fishing, hunting, carpentry, gardening, beekeeping; that I are a very important part of their education that are worth recording.


Now that I have gotten into a good routine of doing this every week, it has gotten easier and easier and only takes me about 20-30 minutes. In the long run it saves me so much time in the upcoming week. Instead of wasting time trying to get everything ready and figure out what each child needs to be doing. I can look at my lesson plans and get right to it and writing it down helps me remember it better also.

In the state of Florida our only requirements are to keep track of what we are doing every day and get an evaluation each year of our school work, so I try to be very thorough in this. I know in each state it is different. I do some tests myself to see where they are at and also some chapter tests but for the most part I don't really grade them. I do keep an attendance record of how many days we do school.

I typically lesson plan Friday afternoon or on the weekend. Right now Luke my 2 year old is sleeping, Ellie and Simeon are watching Netflix and Josh is out with the big boys fishing. I could not imagine a better time to be lesson planning. It's a miracle! I know that it's not always possible to have a quiet house but it is definitely more ideal to find some time to do your lesson planning when you will not be interrupted.

If you have been struggling with lesson planning or lack thereof,  I hope this gives you some ideas and helps you to plan your way to a more joyful and smoother running homeschool week!

Ultimately we have to commit even the littlest of plans to the Lord and ask him to bless them. You can have the best lesson plans and school schedule but still lack joy and peace if you are not laying everything before him.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3 NIV

"Many are the plans in a person's heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Happy Planning!

Do you lesson plan?

What planner do you use?

What areas do you struggle in?

What have you found that helps you lesson plan? I would love to hear!!

Linking up here!



7 ways to get motivated to start cleaning

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Somedays I feel like all I do is clean.

I easily get burnt out from cleaning messes that never seem to stay clean.

Are you with me?

We all could use a little boost of motivation to keep our homes in order and from becoming confused with a land fill. I don't have a perfectly clean home by any means, but I have found some ways that help me stay motivated when just don't feel like picking up another mushy cheerio or cleaning another spilled drink. If you need some extra motivation as well, I would love for you to check out my post over at ---->The Creative Home Keeper. I am excited to be joining the contributor team to bring you encouraging and informative posts to help inspire you as the keeper of your home!

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