What I Have Been Doing During Safer at Home…

I’ve been seeing all these posts about people getting their homes cleaned out during all this because of the extra time that they have. I do have an extra hour a day that I am not driving but I’m still working so I don’t have as much time as those who are stuck home not working. Just a side note. I am not complaining by any means. I am so thankful I still have work when so many people are being laid off and not working right now.

That said I have still found myself getting some side things done…

  1. I finished crocheting Angel’s blanket that I started before Christmas. I was making it for her birthday and was only behind by 1 week so I count that as a success.
  2. I’ve only put together one of my Thomas Kinkade Disney puzzles since the Safer at Home started. I did the Princess and the Frog. Keep in mind that since January 2020 and before the Safer-At-Home order went into effect I had already done 12 of those puzzles. Don’t ask me why I have only done the one. I really don’t know.
  3. I started a new workout routine with an accountability buddy. We are one full week into this routine and lets just say I am sore, I hurt, I want to say things I shouldn’t and yet I still get up and do it all again the next day. I really do have a love hate relationship with working out. I love the results but hate doing it. And seriously to the little miss skinny minnie that I, for some reason, have allowed to torture me and continue to go back to…. I’m not that flexible.
  4. I’m reading more for fun. I’m always reading. I love to read but I’ve put “for fun” reading on the back burner because I was so busy. I picked up my 1st generation iPad (yes its that old), which is basically an over priced Kindle at this point since so few apps will work with it. I mean they aren’t updating it anymore. lol (side note: It was my dads and I got it after he passed just so I could read my kindle books on a bigger screen.) I downloaded some fun Christian historical fiction that I had on my cloud and did this instead of watching t.v.
  5. We’ve been playing more games and watching more movies together as a family. Sierra downloaded a game on steam that we can use our phones/tablets to play on. It’s called Drawful 2. It’s kind of like pictionary. It’s a lot of fun and we laugh a lot while playing it.
  6. We’ve been homeschooling of course. This is our youngest daughters final year in home education. She will be going to a private school in the fall. So been working on the application process for that. Gathering all the information. Preparing her where she feels comfortable with going and getting all our ducks in a row.
  7. I’ve been doing a lot of re-evaluating and praying. Thinking about plans for the future and new things I would like to do. Including my own school journey this fall to go for something I have always wanted to do and that is Graphic and Web Design.
  8. We’ve walked a lot and enjoyed our patio a bunch more. Sitting out in the evenings and walking during the day.
  9. I’ve done some coloring and putting Lego’s together. I enjoy doing that cause its creative and they are like puzzles. Hubby bought me the Lego set cause he wanted to bring a smile to my face.
  10. Most importantly we celebrated a birthday. Angel turned 15 a few weeks ago. But because they were already advising no groups of more than 10 that eliminated our plans for her. But we still had cake and ice cream and gifts.

So what have you been doing during all of this?

Week 6 in Review

Well after Day 10 of our Eco-system experiment we had a couple losses. Our two original fish have died but the 3 babies are still living and the snail is still living. We studied a bit more on Ancient China and We are reading about Persia.

In art Angel has been working on still lifes and she seems to really be good at it. We are working on Algebra more, and the week after Fall break we will be adding in some craft type of stuff. So we can both have the opportunity to be creative.

In my personal life I have returned to the gym. I’m sore but it’s all good. I have also picked up some more sales through my Paparazzi business and praying about my other job. I feel like I’m working hard and I’m wearing myself thin with not much to show.

But I keep plugging away. My hubby has been so helpful and supportive and God has given him favor with those he works with. We try to squeeze in as much family time as possible anymore. Which I love. I enjoy being with my kids and my hubby. I know some people can’t say that but God has blessed me so much in the area of family.

My creative side is burning to be set free and I’ve not had much opportunity to do it. But I’m going to make some time. I think Angel will enjoy it just as much as I will.

This week is fall break for us so no official “school” stuff will be going on but I’m looking forward to some creative fun time.

Have a great week.

Another Year and Another Graduate

So another school year has gone by and we are technically half way through our summer. It’s hard to believe. My second daughter has graduated high school and now I only have one left to educate. Phew!!! It’s exciting and yet seems hard to believe that I have two college kids.

Hope will continue her education in the fall heading to college and working on a degree in Media Technology for Photography. She will be attending the same college as her older sister so again both will remain home while spreading their wings a bit more.

My youngest will begin her high school years this fall and it seems so hard to believe that in only 4 short years we will be attending her high school graduation. I’m just so glad its not back to back like my older two. We are continuing to attend our co-op this fall where I have somehow been wrangled in to teaching middle school Life Science. ūüėČ Not quite sure how that happened but I’m kind of excited about it.

I’m trying to enjoy every single day that goes by with my family because I am not sure when one of my girls will end up married with their own families. As I have two that are old enough to begin a serious relationship. So you never know when they decide to bring home a young man. But they better be a good God fearing young man or else mama will be doing a lot of praying. Not that I already haven’t been praying for their future husbands.

Okay so lets change the subject now. I think I will be stopping here and I will update again when I am able.

A Bit of Catching Up

What can I say. It’s been a very busy and sporadic fall. Now we are into Winter, officially anyway. I started teaching at our Co-Op again. I got to teach Ancient World History to 3rd – 5th graders and 6th – 8th graders. I had two amazing classes for this first semester. Great students and awesome helpers.

Next semester I will be teaching History of the World Wars to the 6th-8th Grade Class and Tennessee History to our 3rd-5th grade class. My classes have increased in size yet again. I’m hoping that is a sign that the kids like me. lol

We did Senior photos for my Hope. She is all grown up and so beautiful. Here is a few from her shoot.

This was a fun shoot. The pictures really shows her personality.

Then after all of this I started another new business. I started selling Paparazzi Jewelry. The reason was because I wear so much of it and I love it and its a great price. So its definitely something I can get behind. I started this endeavor in October. So I’m still pretty new to it. But if you want to check it out you can find my online shop here.

Here is just a sample of some of our gorgeous products:

Also before all of this happened the girls and I from Aspiring to be Magazine did a photo shoot. Here are a couple photos from it:

Just a side note the necklace I’m wearing in the photo is from Paparazzi. So I was wearing it long before I started selling it.

It’s amazing to me how God opens up opportunities as well as gives you ideas of things to do. God is just so good and although life is changing constantly as we grow. God puts people in our lives that encourage and support us in all we do. As I pray about new ideas and directions I am learning not to try to push to fast or else we can get derailed. It will all come together in God’s timing.

I’ve also decided that it is therapeutic for me to pick up blogging again. I believe God gives me things and that there are times I need to share it. So I really am going to try to blog more often to keep you updated and to share whatever the Lord has put on my heart. Plus I will throw in a little bling for you to see as well.

I’m going to leave you now with photos of my kids. Can’t believe how old they are now. My youngest were 7, 5, and 2 when I first started blogging. Now they are 18, 17 and 13. Crazy how fast the years have gone. Don’t blink mamma’s or else you might miss it.

From Left to Right – Angel (8th grade), Sierra (College Freshman), and Hope (High School Senior).

I’m so proud of these girls and who they have become. I just can’t believe I’m old enough to have a college age kid.

Well I think I have caught you up to were we are now. But hopefully it won’t be so long before I blog again. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Graduation, New School Year and What??

And so I posted in January and that was the last time I blogged. Boy I have become a really bad homeschool blogging mom. But a lot has happened. My work hours have increased. Co-Op kept me pretty busy as well. Along with getting my senior going.

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So needless to say my oldest has now graduated highschool. Crazy how¬† quick the time has flown by. When you start them in Kindergarten, graduation day just seems so far away. Guess what? It’s not. You blink and they go from cuddle bug to adult. My grown girl has now been enrolled in college (classes start soon). She has a job on campus so between college classes and her job she won’t have much more time for anything but homework and church. I think we will squeeze in some family time here and there.


So this summer we celebrated her accomplishment.


You should see the most adorable cake ever that we had for her party. A friend of ours makes cakes and can pretty much do anything.


We also had some fun adventures. We got to tour the B-17G Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast” while it was in town.


And for the 4th watched the Fireworks with the city skyline in the distance.


But now I am about to start a new homeschool year with just two students. Another senior and an 8th grader. But that is for another post and another  day.


So I’ve been planning for our co-op year as well as our regular homeschool year as I am again teaching history to elementary and middle school students. my class sizes have doubled and I’m really excited. Last year I learned a whole lot from teaching that I will be changing this year. This is something you learn as you go.

Plus¬† we are currently working on buying a house. We haven’t quite found the right one yet but it’s coming. So you could say a lot has been going on around here and will be as we begin senior year stuff for my next kid. We have to pick a location for senior pictures for our middle daughter who just celebrated her 17th birthday this past weekend.


Life has been so crazy but you know what? I can not complain. I love my family and I love my life. I am so excited about what God has planned for us this school year.

However, if you do want to know what I have been doing online you should definitely check out Aspiring to Be Magazine’s blog, Facebook page, Facebook group and Instagram pages.


Blogging Changes & Life

We’ve been fairly busy these last few weeks with the new co-op in full swing and regular homeschool classes. Plus I’ve become more social in real life. HaHa! This introvert has been forced out of her shell and become an extroverted introvert.¬† In other words by nature I’m and introvert and I’ve taught myself to step out of my comfort zone and meet people and get together with people as well. It’s been a lot of fun as I am connecting and growing my circle of friends.

Life has affected my blogging as well. But that is normal when blogging is no longer a form of income and more of a hobby.   So I picked up a few other things as well to bring in the income we need such as working as a Social Media Evaluator and being an Independent Distributor for Young Living. The Young Living thing I picked up because I love the products and it works. I tried it for a year before signing up as a member and I can honestly say just from the health benefits its been worth it.

If you’ve been following me for more than a few years you would know that my blog evolved quite a bit. I started blogging a very long time ago. Over ten years. Back then it was just an outlet for me to share our lives with friends and family all over the country. Then I started blogging about homeschooling and books so I become known as a homeschool and book review blogger. Then I got involved in product reviews, and even more book reviews while trying to keep up with homeschooling and my own personal interests. All while I kept feeling the urging to write about faith and spirituality. Of course that ended up becoming Aspiring to Be Magazine and I have others working with me on that project.

The blog is evolving once again. As my kids are growing and I’m about to graduate one and send her to college and the second is only a year behind I’ve felt that I will be writing more about our health journey as well. So this is really a post to tell you all that you will see less homeschool and book reviews as I’ve almost completely stepped away from that and you will be seeing more personal stories and posts about health and whatever I feel like chatting about at this time. Most of my “faith” posts will be over at Aspiring to Be Magazine so head over there and like and follow that site so you don’t miss anything.

Now that is out of the way… Help me not freak out when I tell you that¬† THIS GIRL is turning 18 TOMORROW!!!!


I took that photo back in November for her senior photo’s. Here are a couple others from that shoot.¬†930

These are just a couple favorites of mine. I love this kid. She has such a big heart and fun personality and she is one of the reasons I get up every morning. I just can’t believe that she is an adult now. But alas, they do grow up no matter how badly we want to keep them small.

Well I’m heading off as I have some “work” to do. But I hope ya’ll stick with me as this blog keeps growing and changing.


Guatemala, Camp and Growing Up

I know its been super quiet around these parts. It’s because this month is crazy busy for our family. And it never slows down. I always think if I can just get through this then it will calm down a bit but that never happens. I don’t know why I continue to think that way. But, alas, I do.

I’ve got some more reviews coming up… A couple books and another Bible review that will be uploaded to YouTube on Friday.

But anyway, today I’ve been pondering the fact that my kids are growing up. My oldest, Sierra, is currently in Guatemala with a group from our church and two other churches from around the country (North Carolina and Indiana). I have been missing her like crazy. She is serving with Living Waters Ministries which has been around for a good long time. They do amazing things. We took her to the airport on Monday and had not heard from her until last night. She is loving it. She is already talking about going back.

This kid of mine is so much like her Grandfather. She loves learning about other cultures and loving on babies. That seems to be her favorite part. Loving on the kids in the orphanage. They spent some time last week in sister cities San Marco and San Pedro visiting schools and ministering on the streets. In that three day campaign 752 people received Jesus for the first time and 200 re-dedicated their lives to him. Isn’t that awesome? God is so good and I am so proud not only of my girl but of all the other kids that went as well. God is using and changing them.

I can not wait til she returns so I can give her big hugs and never let her go again. LOL No, I will let her go. Because I know that this is something God has called her to do. My baby has a strong desire to see God change the nations of this world. I would never deny her that opportunity when she has it. It’s still hard letting them go, though.

While our oldest is in Guatemala our youngest, Angel, left for camp yesterday. I can’t believe how ¬†quickly these squirts of mine are growing up. She was pretty confident that she would have a great time. And she was looking forward to, of all things, the food. Now I must say that last year I went as a counselor and the food was amazing. So I am with her on that one.

I am so glad the girls are independent and love to go when they have the opportunity. But I do miss them greatly when they are gone. But as my husband told a friend of ours at church yesterday… “Don’t worry. We still have Hope.” Which she proceeded to laugh so hard about that I couldn’t help but laugh about it either. But its true. Our middle daughter, Hope, is still home and we have some fun things planned for just the two of us. Hope is a good kid and is so looking forward to going on missions next year. But until then she gets some much needed one on one time with mom and dad.

I love these girls of mine. And as hard as it is letting them go so they can spread their wings and fly, we continue to let them. Because its a wonderful experience for both them and us. The experiences, stories and changes that take place in them are worth every second of any tears we may shed. And believe tears were shed and as they grow up and go out into the world more will be shed as well.

So I leave you with a couple beautiful pictures that my girl sent us from Guatemala. She is seeing the beauty in everything.


The picture above is a Volcano. She is on the Living Waters Main Campus in Xela (There is a much longer name but that is what they call it).


She knows how much her momma loves flowers and sent this one to us. She said the flowers are so pretty there.

Our June in Review {Homeschool Mother’s Journal}

I can’t believe the month of June is already over and we are already at the end of the first full week in July. Our June was busy and July is going to be just as crazy.

In my life this month…

In June we took an impromptu trip to the Big South Fork and visited the Blue Heron Mine Camp. It was tons of fun.

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We also finished prepping for my eldest daughters trip to Guatemala which is literally days away. I know it’s so close and yet I feel like there is so much to do. Then my youngest daughter will be heading to camp a week after her big sis goes out of the country and so our middle daughter will be home with us. Although I think she is looking forward to some one on one time with mom and dad.

In our homeschool this month…

I’ve been working on the school plan for the fall and the girls have to be registered with our covering by August 1st which means I have to have the basic plan and payment in by then. So I’m trying to get that finished up as well. ¬†As you can see its super busy in my house.

We are planning on starting school August 21st.

Places we are going…

So as I mentioned above our oldest is heading to Guatemala this month, our youngest is heading to camp and we have a family vacation coming soon as well. So I am really looking forward to that. ūüôā

What I’m reading…

I just wrote a post about my reading goals this year. So if you would like to see what I am currently reading check it out here.

A little musical inspiration…

In cased you missed it: on the blog…

To see other posts for the Homeschool Mother’s Journal Check it out here.


Vacations & Winners

Well I took a week off for family vacation. As you all can probably tell since its been a bit quiet on the blog around here. Before I get into all the other blog business I just want to take a moment and wish you all a very Happy Memorial Day to all who have served past, present and future. Today is a day where you are honored and appreciated. My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Now back to the blog post:

We spent the time visiting family and going on mini adventures and just relaxing. We saw baby bison and did a whole bunch of walking. Andy and I continued to keep up with our 5K training as well.




We also spent tons of time just being present and getting in some down time. Which has been few and far between lately. Of course now we must get back into the routine of things with fall school planning, prepping for upcoming trips and adventures and just normal around the house routines.

20170523_15232720170523_151414Mandisa Out of the Dark

I also wanted to take a moment to say congrats to our Mandisa “Out of the Dark”¬†Giveaway winner….. Rachel V. Thanks to all those who entered the giveaway. For those who didn’t win you should definitely go back and check out my review and head to your local Christian store and pick it up today.


Make sure to come back later this week and check out my review of the book “A Love So True” by Melissa Jagears. Also keep watching because the new issue of Aspiring to Be Magazine will be out in June.

So are you all ready for summer? I’m glad we started summer with a relaxing vacation. Where are you headed this summer? Post in the comments and let me know.


It Takes Faith to Climb a Mountain

It Takes Faith to Climb a Mountain

We were getting tired. One of my daughters was in tears not wanting to continue. In her mind she didn’t have it in her to continue the journey up the mountain. She struggled with wanting to quit and give up even before gaining the reward that awaited at the top. Exactly whether or not this journey would be worth it was yet to be known. None of us knew what awaited us once we arrived. We had never been there before. What started as a pretty moderate hiking adventure was quickly starting to get more and more rough the higher we climbed. The switchback trail was getting thinner the further up we got. The rocks were getting bigger and tougher to climb over. This was no beginner hike.

It had been a very long time since I hiked anything like this. My kids had never hiked a trail this tough before. Andy was in the lead forging his way making sure we were on the right path. I followed in the rear making sure no one was left behind and needed to stop. We took several water breaks and rests. At each break we encouraged our girls that they were doing well and they could do this. That we can finish what we started. We were not quitters and we were not going to give up.

Once we got to the top the reward was magnificent. You could feel the collective mood of the group change from exhaustion to one of complete awe and exhilaration. The view was amazing. My girls were thrilled that we had made it. And all the way back down the mountain the conversation had now switched from comments of “I can’t” to “I am so glad we did.”20170416_161307

At the top of that mountain I told my eldest that climbing this mountain was a lot like our faith journey. While going up the trail we didn’t know what to expect and therefore it could be so easy to quit moving up and going forward. Like faith when you are believing for something, especially something you’ve been believing for a long time about, it can be so easy to just give up on it. And yet, if we push through and continue to trust God, even when the going gets tough, the reward is so sweet and well worth it.

That is why it is so important to keep yourself in the Word of God daily. That is how God gives us the pep talks we need. The you’ve got this scriptures to let us know we can finish what we started. On the way up the mountain I kept quoting Philippians 4:13 over and over to my kids. Putting it out there in the atmosphere to remind not only them but myself that, I (we) can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.

When it was all said and done we were all so happy that we did it. We didn’t give up. We finished and the reward was truly amazing.

Now for some real life application: Don’t give up. No matter what the world may throw at you remember: “YOU CAN DO THIS!”¬†phil 4-13 blog