The world gives us a recipe for happiness using the following ingredients:
Society tells us that in order for us to be truly happy, we need to achieve all of these things, or we otherwise will not experience a full, rewarding, and enjoyable life. We frequently base the value of our lives upon the accomplishments that we have checked off of our lists, how many commas appear in our savings account, and the square footage of our not-so-humble-abodes. Social media has thrusted us into a constant game of comparison, which often times leaves us feeling defeated, discouraged, and disappointed.
We, as women, wives, and mothers fall victim to the comparison game all too often. We judge, critique, and scrutinize our appearances, career choices, family sizes, and lifestyle choices based on the thoughts and opinions of others. We allow people sitting on the other end of a computer screen to have more significance in our lives than what the Word of God says should hold true significance. What if we put as much emphasis on becoming who Godcalled us to be instead of trying to become who the world says that we should be?
So, what does God really want for us? What does he actually expect from us as women? As wives? As mothers? What and who has He called us to be, and how do we even begin?
Grab your Bible off the table, open the app on your phone…and get in the Word.
Ask God to reveal His truths to you and to speak to your heart. Pray that He will give you wisdom and understanding and that you will be able to apply His Word to your life.
Focus on one thing at a time. Is this an area that you struggle in? What are some things you can do to help you start applying these principles to your life? Here’s a few places you might want to look to get your started:
1 Timothy 3:11
1 Peter 3
1 Timothy 2
It’s time that we start embracing the lives that we have been blessed with as women of God! You are cherished and loved by your Creator! His love for you is immeasurable and He has a work for you to do. He has placed a calling on your life and His Word will equip you for it. ❤️
On Friday, we kicked off our family festivities for the Christmas season! I love making memories with my husband and children! This year, I have vowed to keep things simple. This year we are focusing on presence…not presents.
We always want to keep our focus on the true meaning of the Christmas and why we celebrate…the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While our Christmases, in comparison to most others, falls into a modest category, I can still find myself falling into the commercialism trap at times, but this year, I am determined to stay the course. The first Christmas was simple, and ours will be too.
New toys are great for a few weeks, and then they end up on the bottom of a toybox, but memories can last a lifetime. Make memories with your little ones this year momma. Make the mess. Use the glitter. Stay up past bedtime. Let that laundry go, and soak in every second of this Christmas with your family!
Here are some of the things that we are doing this Christmas season and I’m so excited! Maybe a few of these ideas could jumpstart your family’s Christmas activities this year. I hope you have an amazingly blessed holiday season and make wonderful memories!
Hit Pinterest up and get in the kitchen with your little ones momma! There are so many creative ideas that everyone can find something that they like! Start a new tradition of making it every year. Make old favorites with grandma’s tried and true recipe. Just enjoy the time together! (If you like peanut butter and chocolate, here’s my recipe for Peanut Butter Balls. YUM!)
Put a spin on breakfast with these festive but simple ideas. **Never underestimate what a little sprinkles and food coloring can do!**
One of the Christmas memories that sticks out the most in my mind is my mom playing a Christmas record on our record player. She cranked it up and we danced all around our living room while belting out “Frosty The Snowman”. I can remember laughing and giggling and how much fun I had that day. Put on some music for your little ones then dance and sing away!
Hallmark, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu…there’s so many to choose from! Some of our favorites are: The Nativity Story, White Christmas, Elf, The Grinch, and It’s A Wonderful Life.
Put together a hot chocolate bar and let your little ones exercise their culinary creativity. (We like marshmallows, peppermint sticks, whipped cream, and sprinkles.) Click here for my slow cooker hot chocolate recipe.
Salt Dough Ornaments:
Trim your tree this year with handmade ornaments by your little ones with this simple salt dough ornament recipe. These are so fun to make!
Whether you hang your own outside or visit a local display, get out and enjoy the beauty of all those twinkling lights! There are usually even drive by displays if the weather is too icky or cold or you have tiny little ones. Check your local paper or events pages for some ideas of places you can visit for some lights.
Christmas Parades & Parties:
Our small country town holds an annual Christmas parade. If your hometown doesn’t have a Christmas parade, check your neighboring towns and venture out. Set out on a family adventure and see what you can find!
Christmas Attractions & Activities:
This year we decided to try something new. We heard of a “Christmas Cave” that puts on a beautiful Nativity display in a neighboring state. The trip is just a little over an hour, so we will be making a little day trip out of it. Some of our friends visited this year and said it was awesome, so we are going to visit it as well this year. Are there any local attractions or activities for you and your family to visit this year?
Christmas cookies! One of my favorite things to make during Christmas time! We love making sugar cookie batter and cutting them out with cookie cutters. The kids decorate them with sprinkles and watch them rise in the oven. The smell of sugar cookies in the oven always remind me of Christmas time when I was a child. (Click here for my sugar cookie recipe)
Paper plates, scissors, glue, glitter, beads, cloth, ribbon…get creative! There are thousands of ideas for all different ages on Pinterest. Pop your masterpieces up on the refrigerator once you’ve completed them for all to view.
Christmas Books, Stories, & Scripture:
My kids love to be read to and I love to read to them! Cuddle up under some blankets and dive into some good books! Read the Christmas story in the Bible to your children and discuss what happened. Let them ask questions. Ask them to draw pictures of what you read. Let them help pick our books they would like for you to read to them. If you are anything like us, one book can quickly turn into 10!
Volunteer or Help Others In Need:
One of the greatest gifts anyone could ever receive is your love and your time. Do something kind for someone. It doesn’t always have to involve money, as some of the most important things in life have no monetary value, but they mean everything. Share a meal, donate to your local mission or shelter, offer your time or services to those in need. Pray for others. Share the good news of Jesus with others and most importantly, love others.
God bless you and your families this Christmas season!
My mom used this recipe every year with my brother and I to make Christmas cookies. I am blessed to be able to make these same cookies with my children today!
1 1/2 cups softened butter
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
I like using my stand mixer, but a hand mixer also works well.
Cream your butter and sugar until they are smooth. Beat in your eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cover your dough and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll your dough out with a rolling pin onto a floured surface. Using your choice of cookie cutters, cut into shapes and put the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. (Make sure that your dough is not too thick as your cookies will rise substantially)
Let your little ones decorate with sprinkles if you choose. This is always the fun part!
Bake your cookies for 6-8 minutes in a preheated oven. Let them cool completely before removing them from your baking sheet.
You can also use royal icing to decorate the cookies for a more sophisticated look.
There’s nothing like sitting under a comfy blanket sipping on some yummy hot chocolate. My kids LOVE hot chocolate (the more marshmallow the better). Here is a super simple recipe that you can throw in your crockpot.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 cups of whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups of milk chocolate chips
Give your ingredients a quick stir, turn your crockpot to low, and let it warm for about 2 hours stirring it occasionally.
Add your choice of toppings…marshmallow, sprinkles, peppermint sticks… and enjoy!
There once was a time that you had me bound; a time that you had immeasurable control over me. Your presence would feel almost constant. You showed up when I least expected you to make an appearance. You held me back. You stole my rest. You took my peace. You were a thief of my joy. You made me feel weak and vulnerable. You filled my mind with lies that I soon began to believe were truths. You robbed me of my passions and my dreams. You made me question myself and everyone around me. You left me feeling lost, alone, and forgotten. You made me feel uneasy and continually paranoid. You tried to strip me of my beliefs and convictions. You, fear, tried to destroy me. You held the power, and for so long, I was defenseless against it.
Of all the things you have said and done to me Fear, that’s still not the real reason that I hate you. I hate you because YOU ARE NOT OF GOD. You are a tactic of the ENEMY that comes only to kill, steal, and destroy…my joy, my peace, my hopes, my dreams, my relationships… and my life.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 TIMOTHY 1:7
This… this is the real reason that I hate you! God has not given me a spirit of fear. He has given me a spirit of POWER, a spirit of LOVE, and a spirit of SOUND MIND.
I hope you remember well the day that you lost. The day that you, Fear, lost your hold on me! No longer was I bound by your chains! No longer was I enslaved to your control. I had been SET FREE!
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” JOHN 8:32
For too long, I allowed my FEAR to outweigh my FAITH. The more I read God’s Word, the more I started to realize the POWER that it contained. I had to make a choice. I had to let go of my fears and give them to God. I began speaking the Word of God over my life. I began verbally declaring God’s promises to myself! I wrote out the scriptures. I began spending more time in prayer. I read, studied, and began memorizing those scriptures. I began a journey of learning to WALK BY FAITH and not by my sight. No longer did I feel scared and alone for God was with me! He was fighting for me and I had nothing to be afraid of!
Maybe you find yourself in a place that you feel fear has you bound as well. The enemy has you backed into the corner and you feel like throwing your hands up in defeat, BUT the Lord said that He would fight our battles…we need only to be still! EXODUS 14:14
Speak the WORD OF GOD! Lift your hands in PRAISE! Lift your hearts in PRAYER! It is through PRAYER and PRAISE that we fight our battles. Today, you can make that choice to remind your FEAR that your FAITH is bigger.
My crew loves tacos, so we usually have them once a week. I started making up large batches of taco meat in my slow cooker or Instapot and putting the leftovers in the freezer for a quick warm-up meal. This time however, I wanted to try something a little different.
I wanted to veer away from burritos or quesadillas again, and thought I would try to put a spin on a Shepard’s Pie. This was super simple, quick, and it turned out really good, so I thought I would share. 🍽 🌮
Put your remaining taco meat along with your choice of vegetables (canned or frozen for convenience) into a pan. (I ended up using corn, carrots, green beans, and peas in mine) Cook until warm throughout. Make a batch of mashed potatoes (Instant Potatoes work well too) Spoon the meat and vegetable mixture into a baking dish. Cover entirely with a layer of mashed potatoes. Then, cover the mashed potatoes with a layer of shredded cheese. (I like to use a Fiesta Taco blend with mine) Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
FALL…it’s my favorite time of the year! I love EVERYTHING about it…cool crisp nights and crunchy leaves, long sleeve shirts and sweaters, crackling fires with the smell of apples and cinnamon lingering in the air, and anything and everything pumpkin spice related!
Several years ago, my sweet sister friend and I got together with our kids and did a little unit study on pumpkins. As part of our homeschooling unit, she thought it would be fun to bake some pumpkin bread with the kids. She came across a recipe at www.pickyourown.org that we thought we would give a shot. We made our pumpkin puree and tweaked the recipe slightly for our own tastes, and it turned out AMAZING!
I made a batch this past weekend with my kids and it was gone by that evening. We had a blast. 💖 Get in the kitchen with your little ones mama and make some memories (and messes 😉 ) I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did.
2 CUPS OF FRESH COOKED PUMPKIN OR A 16 OZ. CAN OF CANNED PUMPKIN
3 1/2 CUPS OF ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
2 TSP BAKING SODA
3 CUPS OF SUGAR
4 EGGS BEATEN
1 CUP VEGETABLE OIL
1 AND 1/2 TSP SALT
2 TSP CINNAMON
2 TSP NUTMEG
1/2 TEASPOON ALLSPICE
1 CUP CHOPPED PECANS (OPTIONAL)
WATER: 1/2 CUP IF USING FRESH COOKED PUMPKIN OR 2/3 CUP IF USING CANNED PUMPKIN
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F.
COMBINE AND MIX TOGETHER THE FLOUR, BAKING SODA, SALT, CINNAMON, ALLSPICE, NUTMEG, AND SUGAR.
ADD IN THE EGGS, WATER, OIL, AND PUMPKIN PUREE AND STIR UNTIL ALL INGREDIENTS ARE COMBINED WELL.
POUR BATTER INTO 2 LIGHTLY GREASED 9X5 LOAF PANS.
BAKE FOR AROUND 50 MINUTES AND CHECK FOR DONENESS WITH A TOOTHPICK IN THE MIDDLE. BAKE AN ADDITIONAL 10-15 MINUTES IF NEEDED.
REMOVE THE LOAF PANS FROM THE OVEN AND ALLOW TO COOL FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES.
TURN PUMPKIN BREAD OUT ONTO COOLING RACKS AND LET THEM FINISH COOLING BEFORE SLICING. (IF YOU CAN WAIT THAT LONG).
THIS BREAD FREEZES WONDERFULLY, SO IF YOU MAKE UP MORE THAN YOU CAN USE AT ONE TIME, JUST POP IT IN THE FREEZER AND PULL IT OUT FOR ANOTHER DAY.
God, where are You? Where are You when the waves of grief begin washing over me? When I gasp for air to fill my burning lungs, and clutch at the tightness growing in my chest…where are You? Where are You when I beg for the pain to end? When I plead to wake up from this nightmare and for it all to have been a bad dream, where are You? Where are you when all I can see is the darkness and all I can hear is the silence? Where are you when the fear of the unknown creeps in and I’m too scared to even move. Where are you when I’m broken God? When I’m shattered into a million pieces? When I just want the hurt to go away? God, are you there? Do you hear me?
I woke up a few nights ago from a terrible dream. A dream that made me relive one of the most difficult times of my life. A year and half after my second miscarriage and the pain still sears through my heart as if it were only yesterday. This dream…I saw it all again, I felt it all again, I experienced it all again. I woke up in a panic believing that it was real. The tears were streaming down my cheeks. My heart was racing and my mind was swirling with thoughts and emotions that I had buried.
I got up from my bed and stumbled through to our living room. I sat on the couch, wiping the tears from my cheeks, and trying to calm myself down. All of my children and my husband were sleeping. The house was so quiet (In a family of 8, quiet doesn’t happen very often) It was painfully quiet. Every time I tried to close my eyes, the images from the dream and all of the painful thoughts and memories were there.
I tossed and turned on the couch for several minutes. I prayed for God to comfort my heart and mind. “If I could only have a few minutes Lord, just a few minutes of peace! Please!”
As I sat there alone in my dark living room, I just wanted to be held. I just needed to be held. I wanted to be held and comforted, and told that everything was going to be alright, that is was only a dream and that it was all over. I walked back into our bedroom and gently grabbed my husband’s hand. He looked so peaceful while sleeping and I felt bad for waking him, but I needed him… I really needed him. He could tell I was distressed and he asked if I was okay. All I could reply with was “Please, just hold me”.
He held my hand as we walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch. He wrapped his arms around me and held me so tight. There were no words exchanged…he just held me. His embrace said everything that I needed it to. His strong arms made me feel so safe. He leaned down and gently kissed me on the forehead while stroking my hair. He sat there and held me while I cried and poured my heart out to him. I soon fell back asleep in his arms.
The next morning started early, as usual, with the pitter patter of little one’s feet running through the house. We went about our daily routine. Staying busy helped to keep my mind occupied and offered little opportunity for my mind to wander. While I was busy cleaning up from our breakfast, my 3 year old came running into the kitchen. “Momma, will you hold me? I want you to hold me”.
I scooped him up in my arms and walked over to our chair. His little arms wrapped around my neck as I held him close. As we sat there, I kissed his little cheeks. He reach up to rub his sleepy little eyes and then quickly nuzzled himself back into my chest. He felt so safe and secure wrapped up in my arms. I knew that feeling and how wonderful it felt. I didn’t have to say a word to this little guy for him to know how loved he was in that moment. I just held him.
It was then that God spoke to my heart and told me ” This is how I comfort you”. How many times have I cried out to God in fear, pain or heartache and have been met with silence? “God, are you here? Do you hear me? God, where are You?” In my brokenness I would feel so alone. Did God really even care about me or how I was feeling?
“As one whom his mother comforts,so I will comfort you;” ISAIAH 66:13
So God, where are you? You’re here…You are right here…with me. It’s in the moments that are cries are met with perceived silence that we are being held. It’s not that God isn’t there or that He doesn’t care. He does…more than we could ever comprehend. God knows exactly what we need, and sometimes, we don’t need words…we just need to be held.
God, today I pray for all of those that are hurting. I don’t know their circumstances Father, but I know that You do. I know that You see every tear that they cry and hear every single word…even those that are unspoken. Lord, I pray that You will hold them tightly in Your loving arms and speak peace into their hearts. Help them to cast their cares upon you Lord and to know that You care for them! Help them to rest in Your embrace and to stand on Your promises. Give them a renewed hope and song Lord! I thank you for what You are doing in their lives today Lord. I praise You for Your goodness, Your mercy, Your faithfulness, and Your unfailing love. I ask these things in Your son Jesus’s name. Amen.
This year we will commence upon our 9th year of homeschooling! Reflecting over the past nine years, we have learned a variety of so many different things! We’ve studied ancient Egypt and classified animals and rocks, conquered long division, learned to read and how to write. We’ve constructed more lapbooks than a numerical value could possibly convey. We’ve welcomed new babies into our family, said difficult goodbyes to some of our loved ones, learned to fold laundry, and practiced important lifeskills. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. We’ve learned. We’ve grown.
One of the many beauties of homeschooling is the freedom to choose what works for your and your child(ren). Every child is different. They each have their own unique learning style, different interests, likes and dislikes. Being able to structure learning around what works best for your child(ren) has truly been a blessing for our family. Just as the seasons change, so do our lives. There have been many seasons of change that we have welcomed, while some have arrived unannounced and uninvited. Things that once worked for our family suddenly weren’t practical for the season of life we were experiencing. Being able to change what we were doing or how we were doing it to match what was happening within our lives at the time allowed us to continue growing and learning regardless of where we were or what we were dealing with at the time. Homeschooling, for us, has offered indescribable freedom and flexibility.
Maybe you have been considering the idea of homeschooling your child(ren). Maybe you have already begun your homeschooling adventure, or maybe you’re just curious and want to learn a little more about this crazy thing called homeschooling. Well, I’m so glad you’re here friend!
There are several different types of “homeschooling styles” that you might have heard other homeschoolers referring to. Below, you will find a list of some of the most common homeschooling styles along with links that you can follow to learn more about them.
The information below was taken from www.time4learning.com (An online monthly subscription based complete curriculum for K-12). Their website offers a thorough description, explanation, and further informational resources for some of the most common homeschooling styles. You can always Google them separately as well if you are curious to find out more.
UNSCHOOLING:https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/unschooling.html “Unschooling is a style of home education that allows the student’s interests and curiosities to drive the path of learning. Rather than using a defined curriculum, unschoolers trust children to gain knowledge organically.” Hear me out on this one. It’s not as crazy as it sounds!
ECLECTIC HOMESCHOOLING: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/eclectic-homeschool.html “Eclectic homeschooling is a highly individualized education method resulting from mixing and matching a variety of homeschooling resources. It is an exceptionally personalized approach for every child based on their strengths, learning styles, and interests.” This is what I would classify our homeschooling style as.
CLASSICAL HOMESCHOOLING: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/classical-homeschool.html “Classical education is an approach to teaching and learning based on a three-part process to training the mind, called the trivium. The instructional style is based on a method developed by Latin writer Martianus Capella in the Middle Ages and popularized during the Renaissance period. The original intent of this form of education was to create a uniform way of teaching all human knowledge.“
MONTESSORI HOMESCHOOLING: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/montessori.html “The Montessori approach to early childhood education is a child-centered approach that values each child as a unique individual. Creativity and curiosity are encouraged, which leads students to value knowledge and seek it out for themselves. “Self-regulation” is a key goal of the Montessori philosophy of education, meaning the ability of a child to regulate his or her conduct in a way that is appropriate to the situation.”
HOMESCHOOLING WITH UNIT STUDIES: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/unit-study-approach.html “Unit studies are time-specific overviews of a defined topic or theme that incorporate multiple subject areas into the study plan. Sometimes called “thematic units,” these studies often involve multisensory learning where each activity is organized according to the thematic idea.” (We LOVE using unit studies!)
CHARLOTTE MASON HOMESCHOOLING: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/charlotte-mason.html “Charlotte Mason put a heavy emphasis on using high-quality literature, which she called “living books,” to teach children. She believed that education should involve the whole person, not just the mind. According to Mason, education is “an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” (I love Charlotte’s learning and teaching philosophies and we apply a lot of her principles into our homeschooling.)
WALDORF HOMESCHOOLING: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling-styles/waldorf.html“The Waldorf education philosophy originated in the early 1900s with Rudolf Steiner, who believed that child development could be grouped into three distinct stages of roughly seven years each. He proposed that: Early childhood education should focus on creative play and active, hands-on learning. Elementary education is the time to introduce academic instruction, while teaching students to increase their imagination and manage their emotions. Secondary education should focus on critical thinking, empathy, and community service.”
If you are new to homeschooling or even if you have been at it for a while, be sure that you find something that works well for you. Homeschooling should be a learning experience for the whole family. Extend yourself some grace when you make a mistake mama (because you are going to), and extend that same grace to your child(ren) when they make mistakes.
Regardless of your homeschooling style, teaching methods and philosophies, or curriculum choices, you are going to experience some really great days that leave you feeling productive and pumped for tomorrow, but be prepared for some of the not so great days (exhaustion, tears, temper tantrums, messes) that leave you questioning your sanity and life choices. (HaHa) We have been blessed with the opportunity to plant big seeds in little hearts mama. Embrace the chaos and enjoy every second. Happy Homeschooling friends!
I’d love to hear from you, so leave me a comment down below! What is your homeschooling style? What homeschooling styles have you tried and liked? What ones have you tried and disliked?