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2014 Black Friday Deals

Home Educating Family is running a fantastic deal on planner bundles and magazines.

What’s in the Bible is running a sale too!

PicMonkey is the perfect place to create your fun Christmas card, and a Royale membership gives you all the extra fonts and graphics you could ever need.

Bright Ideas Press is offering an awesome 20% off your entire order!
2014 Black Friday Sale BIP

And Amazon is selling Kindles for $49!

Happy shopping!

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Ask a Homeschool Grad!

Homeschooling moms and dads, I have a deep desire to learn more about homeschooling, even now after 16 years.

Do you? Ask a Homeschool Grad-

Having friends who have homeschooled long-term, or even that may be just a year or two ahead of you, is always good. We can glean and learn from their mistakes and their triumphs. But we miss out on an even more valuable (IMO) resource: The students they have taught and raised.

I have two grown girls who were homeschooled for the majority of their school years. Neither “finished” AS a homeschooler; one attended public high school and the other spent her last two years of education taking college courses as a Running Start student.

Even so, both have pretty bold statements to make about being homeschooled. They don’t mind answering peoples’ questions about learning at home. I know dozens of others who will as well. Often, the things we think we did the poorest at are the things our kids got the most from, be it in learning, creativity or fortitude.

On the flip side, sometimes the things we thought were the best about our homeschools are what our kids dreaded most.

Wouldn’t you like to know what they were, so we could all avoid extra headaches for ourselves and our kids?

I’m working on a project for the next couple of weeks, and I need your help. If you could ask a homeschool graduate ANYTHING at all, what would it be?

No question is too “out there”, off limits, or anything. I plan on presenting your most frequently asked, burning questions to a group of grown up homeschoolers.

 I have a list of my own questions, but I really want to know yours.

So tell me, what do you want to know most? Please leave your questions in the comments!

(And share this post, pretty please?? I need as many questions as I can possibly gather!)

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Addressing Doubts When You’re Overwhelmed: Am I a Good Homeschool Mom?

The question begs an answer.

When one kid has only gotten through one subject in an entire day. Or when the other child has done all of his work without so much as asking me a single question, and moves on to video games when he’s “done”. But is he? I have no idea.

Have I done what I need to do to teach my kids, or did I drop the ball?

Addressing Doubts When You're Overwhelmed: Am I A Good Homeschool Mom?

When the laundry piles up into overflow, an abundance of clean-but-not-sorted-or-folded, and do we have any towels Mom? Oh those. Right. But did you finish your math yet?

And when 4pm rolls around and the Man sends me that text message. You know, the one that asks, So can we have an early dinner?

Dinner? Oh right. Um. Hmm I wonder what I can thaw quickly. And I still need to put the towels in the dryer.

Have I done what needs to be done? Or am I just putting out the fires of the urgent? A little advanced planning would probably solve these problems, and yet I haven’t. I am so there right now.

SO. There. Oh, the doubts.

The list seems endless.


House work.

My new job. It’s starting in two weeks, at the hospital–finally. No more long-term care or rehab. No more on-call. No more choosing when I want to work. Steady work for steady pay. And benefits. And new responsibilities. More to do at home just to prepare to be gone. And doubts about getting it done and my family actually having dinner while I’m at work.

Kids’ chores.



Blog work. Yes, I still have that. These. Two of these. 

Daily gym workouts (challenge ending in 2 weeks.)

Admin work. Not exactly paid but not exactly volunteer, the job where I get to spill my heart and my techie brain. It’s where I get hugged by homeless hearts and my boat gets floated and I get to let Jesus speak. And where I sometimes feel like I don’t know what I’m doing and then more doubts.


Bible study.

Thanksgiving, and then Christmas is coming? Wait, what?

I feel like I am not doing one single thing WELL right now gals. Not one. I have a candle burning at both ends. Maybe you do as well?

Take a deep breath.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Pick your top 3 most important tasks for today, and do those. Don’t swallow the whole list and think it won’t get stuck. It will.

Today my 3 were: Get D1 through his math, plan dinner ahead and make it on time, and actually write a real blog post for me. I accomplished all of them. For today.

Lord, let us not be consumed by the things of this world—or the things on our to-do lists.

Are you getting overwhelmed? How are you handling it?

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It’s OCC Collection Week!!

Collection Week 2014 runs from Nov. 17-24th.

Halloween is over. Christmas is coming –er, Thanksgiving is coming, and that means this must be Collection Week!

If you haven’t turned your shoebox in to your local church, now is the time to do it, because this week all the churches are bringing their vanloads of shoeboxes in to the local Collection Centers.

My boys and I volunteer at our local Collection Center every year. They give many hours and so much fun doing it, too! Okay, so they also eat a lot of cookies and drink a lot of cocoa, but they really do love helping! :D


All week long, churches and other groups who have done shoebox collections bring their haul into our Collection center. There, we count the shoeboxes and box them up in cartons. Fitting shoeboxes into the cartons is a lot like playing a life-size game of Tetris.

Once cartoned, they are stacked and loaded up on forklifts.

The forklifts lift them up into the semi trailers that will take them to the huge, regional Distribution Centers. From there, they go out to the world!


And rest assured, your filling a box is only the beginning. The volunteer hours that are put into this minstry each year is astounding.

The prayers that are lifted, the love that is sent along with each donation, priceless.

If this is your first time donating, here are Ten Things You Should Know About OCC Shoeboxes.  Now is the time to get your boxes turned in!


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What Goes In an OCC Shoebox?

Collection Week is coming!

Operation Christmas Child’s annual shoebox Collection Week is November 17-24th, 2014. This annual tradition for our family can become a blessing in yours as well.

What Goes in a Shoebox?

Have you ever filled a shoebox for OCC?

All you need to do is get a shoebox and buy items to fill it. If you don’t know what to purchase, or you don’t have time to shop for it, Samaritan’s Purse has a Build a Shoebox Online! app that you can use from the comfort of home.

Once your fill your shoebox (at home), you will need to go the the website and pay the $7 shipping. There you will print out a box label and sign up to follow your box, which can be really fun for the family. You will receive an email notification once your box has been shipped, telling you where yours ends up. Last year, our box went to the Philippines and the year before it went to Korea.

What are you waiting for? Collection Week comes up faster than you realize, leaving little time for Thanksgiving preparations! Always choose age-appropriate items for your child’s shoebox. I’m linking some items for you to Amazon, for convenience if you want to buy them online.

Some things to consider adding to your shoebox:

  • Shoes: anything from sandals or flipflops to athletic shoes or nice dress shoes
  • Socks, underwear, t-shirts for boys or camis for girls
  • Lip balm
  • Hair items: comb and brush, hair elastics and barrettes
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Stick deoderant, bar soap (place these in zipped sandwich bags to prevent heavy odors)
  • School supplies: pencils, pens, markers, calculator, ruler, protractor, glue sticks, Post-It Notes, highlighters, tape, hole punch, pencil pouch
  • Hard candies or gum for older kids
  • Toys: Cars, figures, dolls
  • Stickers and coloring books
  • Travel games or puzzles
  • Soccer or playground balls (deflate to ship)
  • Craft kits and art supplies
  • A photo of your family and a letter. These are cherished.

Things NOT to include:

  • Anything weapon-related: No toy knives, guns, bombs, clubs, etc
  • Breakables such as glass, nicknacks, or mirrors
  • Liquids: No soaps, shampoo, lotions, etc. They can rupture and leak in flight.
  • Perishable foods or any candy that can melt. Even M&M’s can melt!

Read more about OCC:

The Rest of the Story {After the Shoebox}

Disclaimer: I am a yearly Collection Center volunteer for Operation Christmas Child, writing from my own experiences with my own opinions. I am not employed by nor do I represent Samaritan’s Purse or Operation Christmas Child.

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