Confessions of a Scared Homeschool Mom

Monday, August 26, 2013

Every school year I start to panic... how am I going to teach my children; keep up with my house and all my other responsibilities??

I am blessed with an 8 year old boy,6 year old boy, 3 year old girl, 21 month old boy and another boy due in November... though they are the joy of my life you see why I might have some reason to panic?

Most days I am happy if I can get them all clothed, fed and keep the house from being condemned.

I know that homeschooling is not for everyone and that God calls us all in different directions for our family, there is no one right way. So every year I cry out to God and my husband asking them if this is what is right for us. It's not that I don't want to homeschool it's just that I don't know if I can. But deep down I know that God has given me such a gift to be able to stay home with my children and be in control of what they are learning. So though I might be kicking and screaming I figure if God wants me to do this He will stretch and pull me to do what I can't.

In a perfect world I imagine smooth running mornings: breakfast, devotions, cleaning up without any resistance, opening books, little minds ready to listen and learn without any fight, littler ones playing quietly and contentedly while I sit with the older ones explaining vowels, math facts,ecosystems, Christopher Columbus and places called India.

My children happily obey my instructions and easily grasp what they are learning. Their eyes light up and they become excited to enter this world of facts, problem solving, history, experimenting, numbers and words.

A crash of toys, crying and the screaming of my name given to me by birthing these little people awakens me to the reality that all will not go as I always envision. While I try to control myself from screaming back and losing my patience which I am not very successful at; I attempt to soothe hurts, make peace and discipline where needed.

My perfect little world of learning will not always be perfect. There will be squabbling over who sits where, complaining that the pencils don't work, a constant need of snacks, hands too tired to lift up said pencil, eyes unwilling to open and read, minds not comprehending a word I am saying, bottoms not able to sit still, the sudden need to go to the bathroom, nap times not being respected, .... and here is where I start to panic and get scared and confess to God that I can't do this.

Again he confirms to me that no, I can't and reminds me that:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

He really must want his power to be made known...because I sure am weak!!!!

As I have cried out to him in my weakness and have been transparent before him, he has been so faithful to show me that he will be my strength and will give me exactly what I need. Yes, things might get hairy at times and I might feel like throwing in the towel but most of what I fear is in my mind. Giving up control, letting go and not giving in to fear is what is key.

As the dreaded start of school was soon to be upon me, God clearly spoke to me and encouraged me once again through his word:

" His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who has called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

He will give me everything I need! I don't have to worry!

So today was our first day of school and guess what?? It actually went really well! Yes, there were a few melt downs and unwilling scholars at times, but it went way better then I had anticipated! I even was able put Simeon down for a nap and I was so excited when I didn't hear any noise coming from him, but when I went to check on him  2 hours later he was  actually just playing quietly in his crib with a big poop in his diaper... but hey, at least he was being good..poor guy.
Wow! they are actually sitting still!

Hard at work

fun with letters

Whatever God has called you to do this year; know that he will give you everything you need, to accomplish what he has called you to!

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Need I say more??

I am always looking for better snack options for me and my family. Fresh vegetables and fruits are always the best but sometime we need something that is full of protein and will satisfy our sweet tooth also. These granola bars fit the bill.

If you have kids I am sure you have discovered that they don't stay full very long. After I make mine what I thought to be a filling , nutritious meal I go to heave a sigh of relief that I don't have to feed them for a while but I am cut short by the sound of my children telling me they are still hungry!!!...and they want something sweet!!!

We are getting ready to leave for Georgia tomorrow for our yearly vacation and I can't stand the thought of eating junk food along the way. So I decided to make our own food and snacks to not only save us money but save our guts also.

Even though we will be sitting in our van the whole way up I have a feeling my kids will have an even bigger appetite then usual. So along with fruits, vegis, cheese, crackers and sandwiches I made a batch of these filling and finger licking bars.

                {Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars}- makes about 20

1. Make your granola{here is my recipe}
2.Melt 1/2 a stick of butter(1/4 c.) in a sauce pan
3. Pour in a bag of mini marshmallows{ I know marshmallows have the appearance of junk food but they are necessary, trust me}
4. Once marshmallows have melted add 1/2 a cup of natural peanut butter
5. Mix until smooth
6.Pour cooled granola into marshmallow mixture and mix until well combined
7.Pour into a 13x9 cake pan that is covered with parchment paper or has been buttered
8. Spread mixture out, put butter on your hands to press it out evenly
9. Let cool
10.Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzle or spread over cooled bars{ you could eat the bars as they are with out the chocolate but why stop there?}
11. Let cool, I put them in the fridge to speed the process
12. Once cooled; cut into bars of your desired size. I like to cut them into squares
13. Store in airtight container;separate layers with parchment paper{I keep them in the fridge}

Mine are all ready to go. I am going to keep them in our cooler.

I am looking forward to a quiet trip up; while hungry mouths are silenced with these yummy bars!

Last years trip. We made it to the overlook!

Hopefully we will have enough left for when hunger strikes when we are hiking.

I am also planning on making smoothies and freezing them, since unfortunately we don't have room to bring my favorite kitchen appliances like our blender or ice cream maker;)

What do you like to bring on long car rides that are a better alternative then McDonald's and gas station food???

10 Tips To Get Your Day Started Right

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mornings are the most hectic time of the day, at least in our house. With school starting soon they are going to get even crazier. 

Here is a sample of what my mornings sound like:

 "Mom, I am hungry... where's my shorts? the bills...stop whining... I have to go potty... he hurt me... I love you... somethings burning...where are the scissors?...the baby stinks...your phone is ringing... feed the chickens... can I watch t.v.?... I don't want to clean my room... who clogged the toilet? I have to do school?... can we go somewhere today?

I know I am going to have to get more organized with my time in the morning if I don't want to go completely crazy!

There is no perfect "secret formula" and for every family it will be different but here is what has helped me and my family make the most of our mornings:

1) Wake up early!!!

At least an hour or two before everyone else. Sometimes this means like at 5:00 am.( No I am not kidding) Yes, I know this might sound impossible to you and it has to me. When I hear that alarm go off its so hard for me to find the will power to even move, but the thing that helps me is thinking how much better I will feel once I do. Its true, I have never regretted getting up early; I always regret sleeping in. I share my struggle here in getting to this place. There will be days when of course you need to get some extra sleep but if you are like me and its hard to find time for yourself during the day, try to just start with a day or two a week... believe me you will be glad you did!

2) Spend Time with Jesus!!!

More then anything else this is the key to starting your day right. We need Jesus' strength to do ANYTHING!!! With out him we can do NOTHING!!! When I don't seek him first my day just starts out all wrong. I feel frustrated and empty. He is so gracious even when I don't but I feel so much better when I choose to put him first. Spending time with him for me usually looks like: Reading the Bible, praying, journaling, listening and worshiping to worship music.  Just don't sing out loud with your music if you are out because people will think you are crazy and you won"t sound that great to everyone else. Whatever you find that helps get you in that secret place with him... do it!!!

3) Exercise
I keep my mat, weights and i shuffle in the car so I am always ready to run out the door

 I love to stay physically fit so I don't have to starve myself... I will not diet! It also helps me not only fit into my clothes and feel strong but keeps me emotionally stable.... really. I have found the best time for me is in the morning. I even incorporate my time with the Lord in it. While I am running or walking I pray and listen to my favorite worship music. If you are in a bad mood or feeling down its amazing how your spirits can be lifted by just moving your body! It truly has helped to keep me sane and has been a great way to get my day started as I share here.

4) Eat Breakfast

It's amazing to me how many people don't eat breakfast!! As I have shared here it is one of my favorite meals of the day and as I am sure you have heard the most important! It helps to give you much needed strength for all that you are going to face during your day, it helps you have a healthy metabolism, helps you concentrate and it helps me not be grumpy! Its better to eat a doughnut then to eat nothing at all!

5) Make sure your house is in order before you go to bed
 I have struggled with this for a long time. I would just be so tired some nights and think, "Oh I'll just do it tomorrow", but I would end up feeling so overwhelmed  in the morning by all I had to do. So I have tried after dinner to make sure all the dishes are done, the kitchen is cleaned and the house is at least decently picked up before I sit down on the couch to relax with my family before going to bed. Believe me you will thank yourself in the morning when you wake up to an empty sink and clean house.

6) Make your bed and get dressed

 Making your bed might seem obvious but for the longest time I would put it off till I never even got to it  during the day and my room always felt messy. If you do it right after you get up its amazing the difference it makes!

 Getting dressed also might seem like a no brainer but if you are at home a lot like me, you could stay in your jammies most of the day and know one would even know. But I find I am much more productive and feel better when I get dressed first thing and put myself together, a little makeup sure helps too especially if you don't want to look frumpy for your hubby when he comes home.

7) Assign you kids chores
I hate having to tell my kids over and over again what they need to do in the morning. I finally made charts for them so they wouldn't have any excuse and at the end of the week give them a prize to motivate them. It has helped so much to not have to sound like a broken record all the time and to have them help clean up the messes that they predominately make. Here is a chart that I have found to be helpful.

8) Clean up after breakfast

So many times I have been in a rush to get our school started or go somewhere that we would just leave the house a mess. I have found that I can not function or think with a messy house, so I have determined right after breakfast to make sure the kids and I do our chores and not leave the house until it is at least looks decent. I hate coming home all tired and have to clean up. Its so nice to come home to a clean house.

9) Wash a load of laundry 
I don't know about your house but there is always laundry to be done here. It never stops!! Its like the "Neverending Story"!! So it helps to get a head start on it first thing in the morning before you find yourself lost in a world of laundry.
lol! I found this on pinterest.. so true!

10) Be Flexible
 When things don't go as I have planned I can tend to get all bent out of shape. I like to be in control!! I am learning to give me and my family grace just as God does and not sweat the small stuff...too much. Even if I follow all 10 tips perfectly my day will not always go perfect, my kids won't always listen, my plans will get changed, I will fail miserably, I will lose my patience, I will be a bad example, the toilet will overflow, we will get sick, I won't be able to find something, tantrums will be thrown by the kids and me, my children's stomachs will always be bottomless pits, there will always be dishes to do, messes to clean up....but its okay... I can not possibly control everything... but I can trust the One who does and who has mercy for me every morning!!!
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Homemade Mosquito(pest) Repellent

Saturday, August 10, 2013

There has been an unwanted visitor pest stalking us this summer... in our yard, in our house, in our car...wherever we go, its there!!! We have tried without much luck to close our doors in its face, to refrain from going where it likes to hang out, we have even stooped to the level of spraying ourselves with toxic substances that not only are not good for our bodies but don't work!!!

Bzzzz...bzzzzz.... bzzzz... the sneaky little mosquito with the giantly annoying noise and  itchy bite must be dealt with!!! They seem to have figured out that the best place to attack us is in our home when we are unprepared and unaware of them. They wait in some hidden place and then launch their quest for our blood while we sleep. I hate finding bites on my children after they have been innocently and peacefully sleeping in their beds. The worst is when I have finally found time to take a nap myself and have just drifted off to sleep only to hear their buzzing sound around my ears like miniature war planes getting ready for their assault.

I finally decided after much frustration to find a peaceful way to fight back without compromising my integrity and skin.... a natural mosquito repellent!! I wanted something that I didn't have to spray and lose any of the product but could lather on our skin and wouldn't have the smell that reminds me of when I was 12 at summer camp. Also I wanted to feel good about putting it on our skins... not bad. Most insect repellent contains DEET which in case you didn't know is a registered pesticide!!! Yuck!!...come on think about it... I don't know which is worse...mosquito's or pesticides on me!!??

I went to work researching and looking for a good recipe that wasn't to complicated or required too many ingredients. I found just what I was looking for at: It contains coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax and there are variety of essential oils you can use. You simply melt ingredients in a double boiler and then pour in container!

If you make anything natural at home chances are you have most of these products on hand, if not they are not hard to come by, you can order them online at natural product websites like: or go to your nearest health food store. I luckily had them on hand. The more essential blend of oils you use the better. I only had lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary and tea tree oil but it still worked fine.
I put it in this cute little container and keep it handy in my purse, for an unexpected attack!
This recipe makes about 4oz. or 1/2 a cup.

We tested it out by going to an area the kids like to go that is near a creek and infested with the little buggers. I suited the kids and myself up with the mixture, which is similar to lotion and smells really good! The areas we left unprotected were bit but the parts covered were kept protected!!!
They especially seem to love Ellie, so she was my main test model

mosquito free play!

Yay!!! I think we are on our way to winning this battle. You will want to continually put it on if you are outside for a longer period of time, just like sunscreen.

Now that I have tackled fighting the bug culprit naturally and effectively, my next mission is the sun!  I hope to update you soon on what  I can make  myself that will combat our greatest enemy and friend here in Florida!

Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup

Friday, August 2, 2013

Growing up my soup of choice was believe it or not... Ramen Noodle Soup. These days I love making my own more sophisticated soups. It's hard to go wrong with soup and there are so many choices. You put it all in the pot and don't have to do much else and leftovers are the best.

My kids love going to Panera's and getting their Broccoli Cheese soup, but I can make a much healthier and cheaper version at home. I make it a couple times a month... because I know they will eat it! It just does my heart good knowing they are eating something that is nutritious and yummy! (and I don't have to force them)

Here's how I make mine:

-1/2 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 big head of Broccoli
-2 carrots, chopped
-4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
-4 Tbsp of flour
-2 cups of milk (1/2 c. mix with fl.)
-2 cups of grated cheese
 -salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 tsp nutmeg


-Saute half an onion and 2
cloves of garlic in 2 Tbs of butter
-When they have softened add 2 containers of chicken broth( or vegetable) about 4 cups.
-Add 2 carrots, 1 big bunch of broccoli  all cut up
-Cook over medium low heat till vegetables are tender but not too mushy
- Add chicken stock

-Here is my sneaky secret for getting vegetables into my children: put soup in blender or use immersion blender till smooth and they can't even tell they are eating onions and carrots. If you like to see your veggies don't blend it all. I like to use the least amount of appliances as possible so there is less clean up, but this is worth it! They never have to know!

- Pour everything back into pot.
-To make it thick and creamy I mix about 4 Tbsp of flour with 1/2 c. of milk and add it in.
-Add another cup and a half of milk, salt and pepper to taste and for a little kick I add nutmeg.
- Add 2 cups of kids love helping so I put them to work grating the good stuff.
I love adding some grated cheese, sour cream and cilantro to the top. If you want to go really over the top... crumbled bacon! To make it really complete eat it with some home made bread. This soup is really good anytime but to experience how truly good it is; a cold, rainy night is perfect.

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