Homeschool Goal #3

Homeschool goal #3

Continuing my list, #3 homeschool goal for the new school year is to spend more creative art time with the kids.  Doing lots more hands-on art projects for science and history. Plus working on some themed paintings.


There truly is something soothing about putting on some classical music and breaking out the acrylic paints and canvas and just exploring colors and shapes. It’s also the best medium to teach kids that things don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes painting is just the opportunity to express our feelings, whether be color choices or by brush strokes. It really can be a therapeutic process. I know I thoroughly enjoy it, and absolutely love watching children paint on canvas. Kids truly love receiving a canvas to work on. They feel so proud, honored, and mature for the opportunity to work on them.



I love watching their expressions when I set up our art space.

The best part is teaching them how to take constructive criticism. I know this is a huge challenge for many of us. We can get offended or hurt. But this has worked as a discipline in our house, so that we can work to improve  ourselves without taking offense (no this has not been seamless of course). Plus, learning just because someone has some feedback, it does not mean we should or have to take it. Then the bigger part is how do you respond to someone’s criticism, without being rude or angry. That is tough, even for adults. As for me? Absolutely, it can be difficult!

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Oh, the blessing this provides for more teachable moments, for them and for me.



I hope you find the time and to courage (as it can be sometimes) to add more art time to your routine.

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“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6



Our Homeschool Year Comes to an End

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The day has officially arrived! This day marks the end of our school year! I must admit, it was the toughest homeschool year I ever had. It had nothing to do with my teaching my kids at home, but it was the outside commitments that had me running hard this school year. So, I am feeling considerable relief from the stress that has been lifted from my shoulders.

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Don’t get me wrong, it was a good school year. The challenge was I decided to write my own California History curriculum for our campus day class. So I took information from various California history books and married them together as unit studies. Covering everything from California’s geography and Native Indians to Modern day California. I even included live books to read and even wrote my own study guides to go along with them. It was a ton of work, but it was work that I enjoyed, because I love history. Now, that the school year is done, I will go back and make adjustments to my California history units and refine them. That way they are ready to go the next time I teach California history.

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All in all, I think the biggest challenge and joy was putting together a slide show for each unit. As I began to stockpile old photos, I continued to dig deeper into that part of history reading learning more and more. But, I would need to stop and refocus my attention to what I was suppose to be doing.


And then there was sewing class. A fun class with 7th grade girls all the way to 11th grade. I worried over picking out projects they would like and wear. I wondered if they would even like my ideas! You know what! They did! They loved the projects, and loved my ideas. I adored each moment I was able to inspire them! I loved hearing from moms, sharing that their daughters made all their Christmas presents on their sewing machine and thanking me for giving them the confidence and the excitement to create something with their machines. I am humbled to know that I was able to do that. What a gift the Lord has given me to share, just a portion of his great creative skills.


All this to say, that I was not as present as I should have been for my children. Life this school year was busy, too busy to really enjoy my children and teach them the way I like to teach. It is long past the time for me to slow down. Remembering to pray before I make a commitment. As I was reminded by my pastor Carl Fletcher two weeks ago on one of his sermons. I need to be sure I am doing what God wants me to be doing. The top items on that list is serving my husband and my children. I must remember that it is okay to say “no”, and say “yes” to more time with my kids.

All in all, it was a blessed school year. Plus, I now will have a ton to share. After all, I have started 19 post that need to be finished!

In Christ,

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Sketches of my Treasures


There are a few things in this world that I greatly treasure. My three kids are some of those treasures. So, when my son had a birthday recently, my heart stopped when I opened the cover of a sketchbook gift. It was a gift from one of my son’s friends and his mom, my Artist friend Kerstin Fletcher.


oh, my heart! There is just something amazing when someone captures your little love, in simple perfection. I was amazed to receive such an amazing gift. Because to me, this held more value than any expensive gift. I mean, yes it was a simple gift, but it was my son.

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So, of course, I had to ask her if she would sketch my other children individually so I can frame them as add them to my wall.

What do you think? Amazing right!? I absolutely LOVE it! She captured Peanuts sparkle and her sweet little cheeks.

Kerstin has been truly blessed by God to have a fraction of his creative genius.


Here is Mia Moo! The photo was taken just before her baptism. One of the only photos were she is not blinking!

I just love how they all turned out! I will have to show you the next sketch she does of all three of them together being silly. That sketch will have a lot more detail.

Kerstin Fletcher is truly blessed by God in her fine arts skills. If you would like her to draw, sketch or even paint your family’s portrait she is available. As you can see, all she needs is a photo. Her prices are posted on her blog and feel free to email her with any questions you may have. Check out her page at Art By Kasteen.

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“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8



The Day After Christmas


So here it is, the day after Christmas. The day after all the preparing. All the Christmas gifts we hoarded in our closets, all the treats shared between friends, neighbors, and family, and the big Christmas dinner. Today, we top off the recycle bin with empty cardboard boxes and wrapping paper. Fill the trash with empty food containers and other miscellaneous garbage items. It is the day, after the big day of giving.

We now have cloths to find places for in our drawers. New items to replace old ones, and new gifts to find a place to store, or place to enjoy our new gifted item. Kids get to enjoy putting their Lego’s together, getting creative with new crafts, play with new wanted toys and books. This is a great time for kids, and well, everyone. Everyone is blessed with something to do!

Yeay! This includes me too! Well, to be honest, for me it’s like, let’s do a great big clean out!!! Yup, if you are anything like me, you are like okay, “what do we get to donate!” It’s the end of the year, let’s start our new year fresh. I must say, I do a clean out about 3 times a year, this one being the biggest of the three. I begin to look forward to the spring and look at all my kids clothing hiding in their closets and what is packed away for the oncoming season. I do the same with all our closets, cookbooks, school books, everything. Everything get evaluated. It’s a big annoying job but I have to do it. It feels so good afterwards.

Besides, I need to make room of anything else I may be planning for the new year, or make purchases in preparation for what ever I am doing. Like going back to making sour dough. I have not made a homemade starter in years. I am sad to admit, plus it’s also my husband’s favorite bread. So I will be buying a big rubbermaid food storage container this weekend to get started. I will be posting about it on my Instagram and posting recipes here.

It’s amazing what the new year makes you think about about. What desires are hiding inside you, that you need to stop ignoring and let come to light. Your idea’s may surprise you if not inspire others. So I am off to sorting and cleaning out my house. Today, I think I will start with my master bedroom. After all our new master doors will be complete today thanks to my handsome Mr. so it it will be nice to have a clean organized room I can close the doors on.

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“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Merry Christmas From Our House!

Merry Christmas Blog

It’s hard to believe Christmas is here. I feel like it came so quickly that I had no real time to prepare, time to slow down and enjoy every moment. (Like I did last year.)

But, this morning as we all wake up with the excitement of opening presents. I let go of all those feeling and enjoyed my morning. My husband and I are blessed to have a home to spend Christmas and healthy children that can run down the stairs.

Today, I get to enjoy a slow day. A day of taking my time to enjoy my family and the simple pleasures of coffee, and making cinnamon rolls. A family tradition on Christmas morning.

We opened presents and spend a lazy morning putting new things together.


This little man will have a day of Lego building. His favorite thing to do.


While my little Peanut enjoys setting up her dolls beds.


Lucky for me she always smiles for a picture.


I love watching my girls play with their American Girl Dolls.

These beds are great too from Emily Rose!

Now, I get to relax and leisurely make garlic rosemary mashed potatoes to go with tonight’s dinner. We will be spending Christmas dinner with my in-laws, after all it is also my niece’s birthday.

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas, and see all the wonder of all the blessings that exist in your life today.

God Is good.

Merry Christmas!

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“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).Matthew 1:23

Our Family’s Top 10 Favorite Christmas Traditions!

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Traditions, Traditions, Traditions! That’s what this time of year is all about. Right?!

Funny how I never really thought I had traditions like I mentioned in an earlier post.  But our family is full of them. So, I though, why not share some of my favorite traditions with you? You may already have some of these traditions or you may decide to take some of mine and make them your own. That is the best part about sharing ideas!

1. So, number one on my list is a movie night every night in December! I will literally sit at my calendar the day after Thanksgiving and make a list of all the Christmas movies we will watch while counting down to Christmas. I will include 10 of our kids’ favorite movies in no particular order:

1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
2. The Muppet Christmas Carol
3. Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town with the Little Drummer Boy
4. Frosty The Snowman
5. The Year Without Santa Claus 
6. The Very First Noel
7.  A Charlie Brown Christmas 
8. Disney’s Classic Holiday Stories
9. Miracle on 34th Street
10. It’s a Wonderful Life
And one more because it is a house favorite The Nativity Story

2. We go out the first weekend in December and cut down our Christmas tree. We take our time visiting lots of tree farms. We pet the animals, enjoy Mrs. Claus reading the kids a Christmas story, visiting Santa, hay rides, popcorn, hot chocolate and looking at ornaments at all the tree farms. We have 3 favorites we visit.

3. Make Gingerbread Houses! Who doesn’t like to play with cookies, frosting and candy? We do! Our secret is buying the houses pre-assembled.

Ready to start!!!

My 7 year old son, getting pretty skilled with a tube of frosting.
Looking good here too.
Coming together nicely.
Not bad for a 5 year old!
All in all, every child did a great job.
(Yes, I cleaned the counter before this picture.)
4. Another Favorite tradition is having a candy making party with the ladies in my family. Every woman makes something at home the day before and then brings ingredients to make something simple when we are together.
The chocolate dipped balls above are Oreo and cream cheese balls dipped in chocolate:
1 package of broken Oreo cookies
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
Mix in a Kitchen Aid Mixer, then roll in to balls.
Freeze them before dipping in melted chocolate.
Then enjoy! YUM!
These pictured above are Chocolate Nut Clusters made in the crock-pot.
32 oz. dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
12 oz. package of pecans
2 cups of whole almonds
2 lb. of dark chocolate confectioners coating
12 oz white chocolate chips
1 lb. semi sweet chocolate chips
Layer ingredients in your crock-pot exactly as listed above. You don’t want to burn your chocolate.
Cook on high for 45 minutes without opening the pot.
Then cook on low for 1 hour, then stir.
Once throughly melted and mixed, drop your clusters on wax paper and let cool.
5. Yes, we have Elf on the Shelf. The kids love to wake up every morning and go on an elf hunt. It is fun for me to watch them all wait until they are all awake to hunt together. But I think for my Bubbie and I, it’s more of a pain to remember to move him every night after they go to bed.
6. I am sure most of you get your hot chocolate ready or head over to Starbucks before heading out and looking at Christmas lights. We always look forward to reading in our local online paper for the must see houses of the year.
7. One of our children is absolutely in love with the Gingerbread Baby book. So we read this story every year and we make Gingerbread Men every year. The best part is after we bake them we read the story again while the kids enjoy their just decorated cookies.  (Never mind the special assortment the come from my husbands hands. Heheee.)
Never mind that we are using a wine bottle this year to roll out cookies. We left ours at a sugar cookie party. Oops!
8. Since we do invite Santa to be a part of our festivities, one of our Christmas Crafts is making Magic Reindeer Food. I usually print a reindeer head printable and have the kids color it and cut it out. We then staple it to a paper lunch bag and then we make our Magic Reindeer Food. Here’s our recipe:
      1/2 cup rolled oats
       1 Tablespoon of bird seed
       1 teaspoon of Christmas sprinkles
      1/2 teaspoons of glitter
After the kids measure the ingredients into the paper bag, we keep the bag in a safe place until Christmas Eve night. Then after the kids get their Pj’s on and brush their teeth. They take their bag outside and sprinkle the Magic Reindeer Food in the front yard.  The “magic” is that the Magic Reindeer Food makes the reindeer come immediately so Santa can leave their gifts under the tree. Basically, making the kids go to bed early so my husband and I can put out all the Christmas gifts under the tree.
9. Another favorite activity is making homemade ornaments. I have the kids make their own batch of Baking Dough that they can mix and knead. I then help with rolling out the dough to about 1/4 thickness and let them use Christmas Cookie Cutters to cut them out. I then use a straw and thoughtfully choose where the hole will be, to string up the ornaments when they are ready.   Once the dough is cut, baked and cool I have the kids paint them. Then they make great gifts for family. I always write their name and the year they were made on the back. It is fun to see how they improve over the years.  Here’s our recipe for the Baking Dough;
     2 cups All Purpose flour
     1 cup Salt
Use just enough water to make it a dough. If it is a little sticky add a little more flour. After your kids make their masterpieces, bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour – longer if the object is thick.
10.  But one of our most favorite things to do is to wake up Christmas day, open our presents here, and go to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s in our PJ’s to open presents again and have breakfast with them. That is one of our favorite traditions. My Bubbie and I started it our first year together and have continued on with our kids 14 years later.
I hope you enjoyed our family’s list of our top 10 favorite Christmas traditions. I am sure we share a lot of the same traditions.  Merry Christmas!
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 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6


Holiday Traditions

The holidays are upon us and it’s time for traditions. Some are old and some are new, some are traditions we never even thought of as traditions. This is where I have recently found myself. I mean, we have traditions, but I never really thought of them as traditions.
Maybe it’s because when I was growing up my family didn’t have traditions. I mean, we never even ate Thanksgiving dinner together or Christmas dinner together. Every family member would just eat when they were hungry and take their plate to their room and eat. No family bonding, no fun family memories being built. I felt shortchanged, especially when I watched Christmas movies. Weren’t families supposed to eat dinner together, have big get-togethers whether or not everyone gets along or not? Have white elephant gifts, do gift exchanges, have a cookie making party or candy making party, make gingerbread houses, open a present on Christmas Eve? Where was this in my life?!
Okay, so that didn’t exist in my life. But I did come close to a family tradition growing up. Two Christmases in a row my brother dated a beautiful young lady who was dedicated to him. You see I grew up with 5 brothers. They all liked her and were happy my brother was dating her. Anyhow, She was the only one who was able to get everyone together to eat Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner and dessert we would play board games up until midnight. We would wake up my parents and open Christmas gifts then go to bed (then revisit our gifts in the morning). This was so much fun for me, a great taste in what traditions should be, right? Yes. Too bad they broke up and so did this tradition.

My amazing friend and I.

So some of us grow up in crazy families with traditions; some of us don’t. But there is always a time to start a tradition.  Now I haven’t really given traditions much thought with my family until I talked traditions with my friend from The Accidental Domestic. She is one lady who is big on traditions. She gets her cute family together and puts together a bucket list for every new season, just to make sure all the fun things that come with that season get done. From the first of November to Thanksgiving, she reads a book a day about fall and giving thanks. Every fall, she and her husband rake a big pile of leaves for the kids to jump in; they take neighborhood walks and collect beautiful leaves. She has even adopted some of her husband’s childhood traditions for their own children to enjoy. She feels it is so great their children can experience some of the joys her husband had growing up. This was so awesome for me to hear. Then it dawned on me…I have started lots of traditions in my home too.
Since I am a frugal person I don’t buy holiday decorations; I make them. I make a new one every year, adding to my collection. I have a rotating Thanksgiving dish I serve every year that is a new recipe. I also like to serve a traditional dish, such as my Bacon, Leek, Sausage Stuffing or my Twice Baked Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes! For Christmas, we do lots of different activities: watch a different Christmas movie every night, counting down to Christmas; we decorate Gingerbread houses; make gingerbread men and women, including my husbands “special variety” (very few know what they are, hehee), have a candy making party and make a platter of treats to share with our neighbors; make and decorate sugar cookies; go out and look at Christmas lights and enjoy a hot chocolate; each one of our kids prepares an Operation Christmas Child box and includes something they made on the sewing machine. I have a life full of great traditions I never really thought about, until my wonderful conversation with my friend.
Traditions can be just about anything, but I didn’t know that. The best part is that you can start now. You may already have some traditions, but didn’t even know it, like me. Close the book to all the ugly memories you might have and create something new and beautiful with your kids or your friends.

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Happy Thanksgiving!