Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Way to go! You have made the decision to home school! Now what?? The first thing you need to do is join an umbrella group. This group is who you will report your attendance to in the younger years and who will calculate your child’s transcripts and diploma in high school. They will keep you informed to the laws of your state. As well as, provide you with a membership card. This card can provide you with discounts to most museums, zoos, and aquariums. This card is also great to have if you happen to be questioned about your child being home schooled.
There are a few choices. The attached link lists the most common groups in South Carolina. However, the group we use is not listed there. Grace Homeschool Association has been a great group to be apart of.

Once you have joined your group, now the big decisions start. There are many paths to choose from. Those paths can vary for each child and family. They often depend on the age of the child and the goals of the parent. Remember, it is important to begin with the end in mind. Then make the daily decisions that will slowly bring you to your desired location.

Now you must decide on how you want to home school. There are MANY ways to home school. does a great job explaining each choice here: The most popular here are Eclectic (REACH), Online schools (K12) and Classical (Classical Conversations).

These three groups vary greatly. K12 is public school online. It is very convenient for a lot of parents because they send you everything you need for free! All of your books and supplies are mailed to you and all you need is a computer. With all those free things comes mandatory time spent on the computer. There is not as much freedom in this type of program.

REACH is a homeschool group in Florence. They offer a co-op which meets once a week for 20 weeks (ten weeks in the fall and ten weeks in the spring). The parents decide on the curriculum to teach at home and you come together once a week to take classes. These classes are taught by parents and vary from week to week.  You must teach or help in at least 2 of the three classes offered. REACH is very affordable. Classes tend to be less than $40. This is a wonderful group. I love the community I found here.

Classical Conversations is a group that is world wide. They meet for 24 weeks (12 in the fall and 12 in the spring). Parents are required to attend class with the child. The tutor (teacher) is introducing the material to the parent, as well as, the child. CC would be your foundation curriculum and you would add math and language to the memory work. CC provides the memory work, art project, and science project every week. CC is more expensive than the other options. However, CC pays their tutors. Paying the tutors raises the bar and provides more accountability. It also pays for all training for the parents, tutors, and directors. CC is a wonderful community. They encourage the parents to pack a picnic lunch and eat together each week. It is wonderful that everyone is working on the same work from week to week. The 4k and 6th graders are doing the same material, but on different levels. There are three levels: 1. Foundations (4K-3rd grade) 2. Foundations + Essentials (4th grade – 6th grade) 3. Challenge (7th -12th grades). We absolutely LOVE Classical Conversations!!

Choosing the day-to-day curricula can be very overwhelming. The most helpful thing is to first decide your approach and then search for the curriculum to fit that style.

I used Singapore Earlybird Math, Horizons math, Horizons Language Arts, Before the Code, My Father’s World, and Sonlight. I did not do these all at the same time. This list is for both girls over 3 years.

Elementary School
I am planning on using My Father’s World this year with Horizons math this year.

High School
As of now, I am planning on doing Classical Conversations for high school.

**Cathy Duffy does a great job reviewing the most popular curricula.**

I hope this helps!!

With Love,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

G...goldfish live forever (well not all of them)

Have you ever bought something that you immediately regretted?

Yeah, that happened to us Christmas of 2012.

We thought it would be great to get the girls a goldfish! But we knew that we couldn't just get one fish! We had to get one for each of them. So we got them. They were Christmas presents and the girls LOVED them!!!

Sissy Bell came up with the creative name of Goldie and Sassy Sue decided her fish would be Sushi. (How funny is it that our not quite 3 year old came up with the new Sushi??)

Things were going great at first! The fish seemed to be doing well and the girls loved to watch them. The cats were even leaving them alone!

The same day the girls got the fish, we told the girls that mommy would be having a baby! We were all so excited!

But then the other shoe dropped! I found out January 10, 2012 that the baby was in the arms of Jesus! We all mourned the loss of our little one, especially Sissy Bell! It was just a few days later that we found Goldie belly up!!

You have got to be kidding! What a terrible way to start the year! I now had developed a new dislike for goldfish! How was I supposed to tell my child that something else had died? We cried for the goldfish. I cried for Sissy Bell! And she doubted God.

It was so sad to hear her question God's love for her. She was so looking forward to meeting her brother. She had so wanted a fish! And now, they were both gone. She was completely honest and upfront about the way she was feeling. She was extremely angry! And I was right there with her. Why did this have to happen? Why us?

And then like a ton of bricks, the question hit me. "Why not us?"

Who am I to doubt God? Who am I to question His perfect will? Do I like it? NO! But if anyone knows the pain I am feeling, it is God? He knows better than anyone the pain of losing a child. He knows the pain of reject and lies and deceit. He knows!! He knows!!

This happened well over a year ago! And boy does time heal!

Am I still saddened by the loss of that precious child? Oh yes!!!! Do I look at other children who were due near him and imagine my little guy? Sure!! But I rejoice in their life. And when I hold our sweet boy in my arms, I am truly grateful for three souls that God has trusted me with. And I long for the day when I get to see that precious face and hold that sweet one in my arms.

With love,


**PS: Sushi is still going strong! He lives on a diet of peas! Did you know that you don't have to feed them fish food? Crazy, huh?**

Sunday, August 18, 2013

F...fixing thing

These past few weeks have been crazy! But crazy in a good way! We were finally able to sneak away for a few days of vacation. Well, not really vacation, Daddy-o was at a conference. So the kiddos and I were able to play by the pool for a few days. It was a much needed break from the norm.

In our world, the summer is crazy. Daddy-o is busier during this time of year than any other. So that means working long days and lunches. It also means 6:00 am phone calls and an extremely tired daddy-o. Mix that with a baby who is still not sleeping through the night (don't worry the doctor said he will get it in a month or so!! seriously?) and we have crazy!!

It took getting away for a few days to realize the amount of time I waste each day. Now don't get me wrong, I love my kids!! But sometimes I get stir crazy! Really stir crazy! And as busy as daddy-o has been, getting away at night just has not been an option! So I have caught myself getting away in my mind!

Now I am not talking about day dreaming! I am talking about living in a world of Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram! Looking for fun things to do with the kids, dreaming about what it must be like taking a vacation like so-in-so, and picking apart the comments of others.

Let me just tell you, this is NOT a healthy place to live. There is no room for Jesus in a life of social media! There is also no room for family in a life of social media. There comes a point when social media goes from a fun thing to a god! If social media is my god, I have no room for THE God!

So things have to change!! Big time!!

What does that mean? I still don't know exactly! But we are starting a new day tomorrow! In the morning there will be no sleeping in! Even if The Boy decides to wake up 3 times tonight, I will get up at 6:45 am! I will use that time to drink a cup of coffee and read The Word. I want my kids to see their momma in The Word and not on the phone. I want them to remember me as a woman of faith. Not a woman who is unhappy with what she has and who she is.

This means we will cut out TV time for the girls. I predict that this might be a problem. But I hope it can be replaced by a morning walk or bike ride before we start school. I also, think that this means we will finish school much earlier in the day. Finishing school earlier means more swimming/playing and more time with the kids. It also means I can get supper cooked and the flower beds tended to. It also means time to love on others.

I want to teach my children that it is more important to love on others than it is to have fun. Now don't get me wrong. I want them to have fun! But is there a better feeling than the feeling you get by helping someone?

So...what is going on in my life right now?? A lot of fixing! What does that mean? I pray that means mending relationships and building new ones!!

With love,


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

D...Diapers (cloth that is)

Yes, you read that correctly! I am blogging about diapers. I know you are so excited. Don't worry! I am not about to tell you what brand I love and hate! But I am going to tell you how cute my little guy is in cloth diapers.

That is right, we cloth diaper! I guess that is something else we have in common with the royal family! Did you know the royals use cloth diapers? Did you know that they also named their baby George? How crazy! We are virtually related! :)

Anyways! We started cloth diapering when Sassy Sue was a baby! I was going through a ton of diapers with her and Sissy Bell still wasn't potty trained. I don't even want to think about how much money we were spending on diapers. So I started doing some research! I was really impressed!! Cloth diapers have really come a long way. No more giant pins. No more folding and praying they don't leak. And did I mention how cute these things are?

So The Boy has been wearing the same diapers his sisters wore. We have added to our collection over the last few years. Right now we are really loving Fuzzibunz. These are great for Daddy-o and the grandparents (or basically anyone who has no experience with cloth diapers). All they have to do is snap it on! There is no stuffing (I have already done that for them). My current favorite is the Thirsties. These are great because you can use the same cover all day and just replace the insert!! That is awesome!!

Getting started with cloth diapers can seem super expensive. In reality cloth diapers can save you about $2000 per child. That is a nice little savings. Also, cloth diapers are not a lot of work. It is just one more load of laundry. And if they stain, you simply hang them in the sun! :) And did I mention that they are cute? Just check out this little handsome man!!

E...Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

I LOVE chocolate! I will repeat that for emphasis! I LOOOOOVE chocolate!

Chocolate is wonderful, but not when you are seriously trying to lose the last of the baby weight (and the baby weight from the other two kiddos). So lately, I have cut out pretty much all white and processed food. That means no chips, potatoes, rice, pasta, cookies, and cakes! Oh and dairy! But it does mean I can have all meats, fruits, and vegetables.

This plan works for me because I can have fruit which satisfies my sweet tooth! Huge bonus! It also works for me because it reduces the amount of salt that I eat. This means less water retention. That is a huge bonus to almost every woman. :)

Have you looked at the sodium levels on the processed food??? It is unreal!!! Usually, a company will add salt if their food is lacking in flavor.

I do extremely well with this type of eating plan, until about 2:00 pm! And that is when my chocolate bone starts screaming! It starts aching! I start convulsing. OK, not really. But like I said, I do love chocolate!! I have tried blueberries and peaches. I have tried flavored water. I have tried to sleep it off. Nothing seemed to work. And then I found Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.

These things taste wonderful!! They are soy, dairy, nut, and gluten free chocolate chips. They are all natural and have a whopping 3 ingredients. And did I mention, they tastes great??

These work for me because I can't just eat one piece of chocolate. When the craving hits, I get about a teaspoon in a small dish. I don't just down them all at one time. I get a few at a time and savor the flavor. :)

These are slightly more expensive than your average chocolate chip, but they are totally worth it!! You get the chocolate flavor without the waxy aftertaste! Boo the waxy aftertaste!!! Trust me, you want to try these! They are perfect! I have heard they have a chocolate chunk, but they were out at our local store.

So what do you treat yourself with when you are dieting? Chocolate? Chips? Pasta? Or are you hardcore and forego everything??

**I was not given any Enjoy Life product to review! I wrote this review because I love their product! Here is their link! **

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

C - Cream Cheese Chicken Topped with Bacon

If you are like me, you get tired of the same old things. That is exactly how this recipe came to be. It is super delicious and I always have these ingredients in my fridge!!

This one has been a huge hit with my family. We have made it a few times and it is always devoured. I like it because it is easy, but looks like a lot of work. The fact that I always have these things makes it wonderful when I need to go to the store. I usually serve this with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. This particular night, it was fresh tomatoes, fresh corn, and fresh Dixie Lee peas with rice. :) Man I love summer food!!

So here is goes!

4 boneless/skinless chicken breast (pounded out to 1/4 inch)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons cream cheese
4 slices of bacon
Mrs. Dash Table Blend or your favorite spice combo

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 pan with Pam.
2. Pound out boneless/skinless chicken breast until they are about 1/4 inch thick (I am not Martha Stewart. So I don't measure. Just guesstimate at your measurement.)
3. Salt and pepper one side of the chicken breast.
4.Sprinkle Mrs. Dash's Table Blend.
5. Dot a tablespoon of cream cheese (pinched into small pieces) onto the chicken.
6.Roll the chicken up with the seam on the bottom.
7. Salt and Pepper the top.
8. Cut the bacon into thirds and place on top of the chicken.
9. Bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Marshmallow Firecrackers

Are you still looking for a last minute craft to do with your kiddos?

 These marshmallow pops are super easy and yummy!
(Don't you just love my fancy stand?)
 Check out these easy steps...
1. Melt white chocolate or almond bark.
2. Dip cake pop sticks in white chocolate and insert stick into the marshmallow.
3. Once they are set, dip marshmallow into the white chocolate and shake off the excess.
4. Dip chocolate cover marshmallows into colored sprinkles.
5. Allow to cool on wax paper.

 If you are like me, you have some chocolate left over!

 You could dip some cookies or make come festive candies!!!

 My girls are so excited they can hardly stand it!! (lol...even though they are totally faking it here!)