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!

30 meals that your family will want to eat over and over again

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Do you struggle with figuring out what to make for dinner for your family? I know I do! That's why one of my goals for this year was to meal plan. I am happy to say that by the grace of God I have kept up with it consistently since January! Meal planning can be tricky enough but actually making the meals is a whole other mountain to climb.

I have been trying to share here every two weeks what I have been making. I really hope that it has been helpful to you and has given you some great meal ideas. Though I try to add in new recipes to my meal planning every week, I have realized that many of the meals I make during the month are ones that I make over and over again, because we never get tired of them. Instead of sharing my 2 week meal plan this week,  I thought I would share our favorite family meals.  

These are the recipes that I have made numerous times and keep coming back to because I never get complaints. After slaving over a hot stove, or spending a lot of prep time in the kitchen the last thing you want to hear is that nobody wants to eat it. Granted my children have very peculiar palates and can always find something to complain about, but when they don't I want to leap up and down! These are meals that you will want to keep on rotation for your family as well!

CHICKEN

1. Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas- I have not written a post on this recipe but here it is in short:
(prepare chicken in crockpot in the morning) Put Chicken breasts in crockpot with chicken broth and taco seasoning packet. Cook for at least 4 hours on low or 2 on high. Shred. Add a little salsa verde, shredded cheese and heavy cream. Coat casserole dish in heavy cream and salsa verde. Add chicken mixture to corn tortillas. Roll up and place in dish. Cover in more heavy cream and salsa. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover in aluminum foil. Bake for 20 min at 350. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes.---I always double this recipe and we eat it for lunch the next day.

2. Chicken Cashew-  The Pioneer Woman--We never have leftovers!

3. Chicken Pad Thai- The Lady Behind the Curtain- My children beg me to make this! 

4. Homemade Chicken Nuggets- Faithful with the Little-- Another big hit in our home!

5. Pub style Chicken- Publix Apron meals


7. Chicken Red Curry-  In a large wok or pot heat 2 Tbs vegetable oil. Combine 2 Tbs red curry paste, 2 Tbs minced garlic, 2 Tbs minced ginger. Add 2 cans of coconut milk, 1 Tbs. Fish sauce, 1 Tbs peanut butter, 2 Tbs brown sugar. Stir till combined over medium heat. Add in thinly sliced chicken. I use about 3-4 chicken breasts. Add in bamboo shoots/ bell peppers/ broccoli. Cook on low until chicken and veggies are cooked through. Add thai basil leaves to your preference. Serve over rice. Add soy sauce to taste.--- We absolutely love curry, even my kids!

8. Barbecue Crockpot Chicken Sandwiches- Family Fresh meals

9. Basil Lime Chicken- So good on salads, in tacos or with rice!

10. Greek Chicken Gyros- Half Baked Harvest

11. Chicken Tikka Masala- Table for Two


BEEF/VENISON/TURKEY

12. Balsamic Onion Pot Roast -I use venison

13. Beef/Turkey or venison tacos
Brown beef or turkey meat. Drain. Add taco seasoning packet with water. Heat tortillas. Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cheese, lettuce.--- This is my go to meal when I don't know what to make or don't have a lot of time. My kids could make this it's so easy.

14. Swedish meatballs- Serious Eats

15. Slow Cooker pot roast French Dip Sandwiches- The Gunny Sack.  I use venison

16. Shepherd's Pie-Brown beef, venison or turkey meat. ( I use a whole package of turkey meat from Sam's club)Drain. Add 1 cup of chicken or beef stock to meat. Saute onions, garlic in butter. Add in peas and carrots cut up in small pieces. Add a little white wine. Cook until vegetables are tender and wine is cooked out. Add tomato sauce to meat. About half a jar. Meanwhile boil 10-15 peeled potatoes. Drain. Put back in pot. Add 1/4 stick of butter, 1-1/2 cups of milk. Mix or mash till light and fluffy. Add salt and pepper. Put meat and vegetables in casserole dish.( I use an aluminum foil one.) Top with mashed potatoes. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cook for 20 minutes at 350.

17. Meatball Sandwiches- Pioneer Woman

18. Sour Cream Noodle Bake- Pioneer Woman

19. Mexican Hamburger Casserole - Better Homes and Gardens

20. Carnitas Chilaquiles- Half Baked Harvest

21. Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef- Table for Two

SOUP/CHILI

22. Broccoli Cheese Soup- Faithful with the Little- Our family's favorite soup!


24. White Chicken Chili- Put Chicken Breast in crockpot.( I use 4-5) Cover in Chicken stock. Add Taco seasoning.Cook on low for 5 hours or 3 on high. An hour before chicken is ready add in a can of white beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes. Add in 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of half and half. Serve with sour cream, cilantro and cheese!--- Nothing better then putting everything in the crockpot and not having to do anything else!

PASTA/PIZZA

25. Penne Alla Betsy- Pioneer Woman- Tastes like you spent a lot of time on it but it only takes 15 minutes to make!

26. Homemade Pizza- Faithful with the Little-- We have this every week!

27. Homemade Mac and Cheese- Faithful with the Little- --My children's ultimate favorite!

28. Pesto Pasta- Simply boil pasta of choice add pesto. I like to add feta and sliced cherry tomatoes. Serve with salad. --The easiest dinner or lunch you will ever make!

FISH
29. Beer Battered Fish Tacos- Make batter of beer, House Autry fish batter,and egg. Dip Fish in fish batter. Fry till light and brown. Serve in tortillas with salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, coleslaw and cilantro.- We seriously eat this every week when my husband fishes.

30. Baked Fish- place fillets in oiled 9x11 glass pan. Spread mayo over fish. Top with Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about 15 till cooked through and light and flaky. Put on top of oven and broil for a minute till top is golden brown.

All of these recipes have been tested and approved by my husband and I and most importantly by my kids, because they are the ones that tend to be more picky. These meals are ones that I rotate over and over again. I throw in a lot of salads, rice, homemade french fries and vegetables as sides.

I find that it's so helpful to have a list of meals in your arsenal to be able to pull out at a moment's notice for those times when you haven't done much planning or when you don't want to try something new out on your family.

I hope that some of these meals become favorites in your household also and maybe help alleviate the all to often asked question of what to make for dinner!

I hope you will come back to this post again and again as a resource to help up the ante on your meal game! 

Does your family eat meals that you never get tired of?

What are some of your favorite meals?

Linking up here!

7 steps to take when your children fight with you about doing school work

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


"I can't do it mom, it's too hard.  I'm so tired. I feel sick. I don't need to do that. How about we do this instead? No, you didn't say that.  But, but, but"...etc...etc...etc...

Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. 

When I started homeschooling I never imagined I would be starting World War III with my children! 

All my children have been so eager to start learning when they started Kindergarten. They were always the ones initiating learning and asking me to teach them. I was ecstatic that they wanted to learn and that they enjoyed it.  I was over the moon. But as they grew older I started coming across opposition from them. Negotiating, stalling, excuses, crying, whining and downright refusal to do schoolwork were now the norm.

I was becoming frazzled and worn out from the constant fighting. I was lashing out in anger. My chest was filling up with anxiety and we were not getting anything done!  I wanted to give up. I knew that was not the answer though.What was I supposed to do???

 Read the rest of this post over at My Joy Filled Life


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