Surviving to Flourishing- Part 2: Where to Start

I shared last time about what the last 9 years of living in survival mode has looked like for me. Obviously, I didn’t share every little thing, just the highlights and nothing too personal or private. You get the idea, though. I understand the hanging-on-by-my-fingernails feeling. It’s not just you!

If you’ve realized that you’re living your life in survival mode, where do you start to make real changes? If you’re so used to just pushing through your days, it can be hard to even imagine anything different.

Step One: Give Yourself a Reality Check

In survival mode, everything can seem to be absolutely necessary. It can seem like we ought to be able to just get it all done. Often, though, the amount of things we’re trying to cram into our days isn’t anywhere close to reasonable- especially in survival mode!

Take a few minutes to do this […]

For the Mama Who Doesn’t Have Enough Hours in Her Day

I’ve recently seen a quote floating around about how we all have the same number of hours in our day and so saying, “I don’t have time,” is not an acceptable reason not to do something. I get it. I really do. The problem with it though is that although we all have the same number of hours, we also all have different responsibilities, priorities and demands on that time.

Often I “don’t have time” for something and it’s actually a matter of it not being at the top of my priority list. Other times, though, I really do want to do something, it’s on my priority list (not at the tippy-top, but it is on there!) and I truly can’t do it. For the longest time I was frustrated with myself for not being able to get all my priorities done. I cut all the extras out of […]

Educational Games Tailored For Your Child- A K5 Review

Those of you who have been around here for awhile know that we are big into the “teach your child to LOVE to learn” method of homeschooling. Our homeschooling philosophy is something we began forming before we even had any children and it’s proven to be just the right fit for our family. One of the beautiful parts about it is that it is so flexible that we are always finding new ways to implement it. K5 Learning is one of the new things we are excited to add to our homeschooling collection!

K5 Learning is an online math and reading program for kiddos from kindergarten through 5th grade. Although we are homeschoolers, K5 can also complement public or private schooling.

Here’s how it works: Your child takes the reading and math assessments (not required, but highly recommended) and you get a report on what grade level they are […]

Back Into the Swing of Things

Life has been so crazy with all our adventures, lately. Just a year ago we moved into our cute little 1940’s farmhouse fixer-upper and we’ve been working on it ever since. We’ve made friends with some wonderful people in the area and we’re working on growing those relationships. We’ve also been gardening and I’ve learned a lot about how different it is going to be to garden here in the hills.

With our first year here under our belts, we’re making some fun plans for our second year. I’ll be cleaning and repairing the chicken coop so we can have our own laying hens. The previous owners took the nesting boxes with them, so I’ll be building some and I plan to take lots of pictures for those of you who might want to have a tutorial. We’ll also be building a chicken tractor for meat birds, though I haven’t […]

Toys to Inspire Creativity and Learning

Instead of more movies, video games, computer games and cell phones, how about some presents that get those creative juices flowing and maybe even teach our little kiddos something?! Whether you’re shopping for your own child or not, these will be a big hit. I’m sharing some old favorites from my childhood, along with some new favorites that our own girls enjoy. This post is specifically about indoor toys, so keep an eye out for our favorite outdoor toys, later!


My girls spend hours in the handmade aprons their Granny made for them! They cook, clean, garden, do craft projects and play dress-up with them. Having something special to put on makes everything more fun. We offer these for sale in our store, Real Traditions, if you’re not up for sewing them yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚


I can’t begin […]

Sense of Sight: Color Game

This is a fun and mess-free way to teach color blending to children! Both my girls had a wonderful time playing, and my eldest learned about how mixing two different colors creates a third color.

What You’ll Need: One-gallon zip-top bags Acrylic paint (use primary colors, the first time) White paper Tape What To Do: Carefully squirt several tablespoons of each color of paint in different parts of the bag. Leaving as little air as possible in the bag, zip the bag and tape it to the table with a piece of white paper underneath. Explain how mixing two different colors will create a third color. Have your child choose two colors and ask what color they think will be made when they are mixed, then have them mix the colors. After all the color combinations have been made, the paint bag can be used for “drawing” shapes and […]

Sensory Game: Smell

We’ve been learning about our senses and it’s been so much fun! The first one we learned about was our sense of touch, which was taught using a homemade mystery box. Today we learned about our sense of smell. This is so easy, but it is such an adventure for little ones!

What You’ll Need Several small paper bags or dark-colored fabric bags. Several fragrant items that your child will be familiar with, such as: cinnamon cocoa coconut coffee mint vanilla lemon What To Do Mark each bag with the name of the item you’ll be placing in each bag. If your child is old enough to read, mark each bag with a number and make yourself a numbered list to keep track of what is in each bag (for example, mark a bag with the number 1, put coffee beans in the bag and then write […]

Sensory Game: Mystery Box

A mystery is irresistible, isn’t it?? This mystery-solving activity is fun for children from the time they can talk. Not only is this fun, but it is excellent for developing problem solving skills and an awareness of their sense of touch.

What You’ll Need A box or container of some kind with an opening (like a shoe box or tissue box). Felt that is large enough to completely cover the open part of the container. Scissors Glue Mystery items that are age-appropriate (use your imagination!) raisins cotton balls measuring cup whisk crayon sticky note bubble wrap coins paint brush What To Do To Make The Box To prepare the container, cut a circle about 4 inches across (if using a tissue box, just widen the hole, as needed). Next, cut an X in the middle of the felt (about 3 inches by 3 inches), rotate the felt […]

Teaching According to Readiness and Interest

With the huge focus the last several years on teaching babies and very young toddlers how to read, I think there are many parents out there feeling inadequate if their preschooler isn’t already breezing through books. Our culture tends to equate education and accomplishment with worth. If a child is “behind” most of the other children his age, it is often seen as an indication that something is “wrong” with him. In many situations, the child is treated as though he has failed.

I am concerned about this mentality. Yes, when a child has real developmental delays, they need to be addressed. My concern is with assuming that just because we *can* teach a very young child to read (or whatever other developmental milestone), that it means that we *should*.

Always Learning

From the time a baby in his mother’s womb becomes aware of his surroundings, […]

Cute Pencil Container

You may recognize this picture from my “Decorating Your Homeschool Area” post. My four-year-old, Pumpkin, and I made this adorable container a few weeks ago and she has been using (read: abusing!) is ever since. It has held up beautifully and shows no signs of wear-and-tear! It’s being used to hold school and art supplies, such as markers, colored pencils, crayons and paintbrushes. Wouldn’t you like to make one? ๐Ÿ™‚

What You’ll Need Any shape container (circle, square, oval, rectangle) with sides that are perpendicular to the table (meaning they aren’t angled in or out). It must be at least half the height of the pencils you will be using. Pencils: They must be unsharpened (otherwise you’ll have a weapon, not a container!), but feel free to get really cheap ones. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t the best for writing. Ribbon that will go […]