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#31Days of Homeschooling on the (Autism) Spectrum

I wasn’t planning on doing 31 Days this year.

I didn’t really have a topic. I didn’t have anything roughed out. It’s a lot of work. I have a busy life. So busy.

I have a lot of excuses.

I was sitting at Minecraft Club today, sipping coffee with my friend Katey (Mama Kautz) while our sons joined the LAN game that was happening, and she was working on her 31 Days of Essential Oils series.  We got to talking about last year’s series and how great they are both STILL doing, traffic-wise.

(You might recall that I did 31 Days to Earning With Amazon, which I have since moved to my tech blog but still gets very good, regular traffic even after the move.) I realized that it would be worth it to jump on the #31Days bandwagon again, if only I had a topic. Ahem.

As I watched my techie nerd Spectrum kid mining his way through and loving every minute of it, I knew I had a topic.  If you are homeschooling a kid on the Autism Spectrum—particularly if he or she is a teen, this will be the series for you. Or maybe you’re just starting out with a younger puzzle piece child and that’s okay too. I’ve been there.

Let’s dive into these amazing kids together! Some of my posts will be more homeschool oriented, and others will be more about parenting a Spectrum kid. The beauty is that either one applies to the other. Homeschooling IS parenting, and parenting IS home education, even if your child attends school elsewhere.

I’m doing a dual challenge this time, joining Write 31 Days for the traditional link up, AND Kate Motaung for 31 Days of 5-Minute FreeWrites. It’s like a 5-Minute Friday party every DAY for the month of October!

Fun. Challenging.



So, join me? Bookmark this page, because this will be the landing page for the series! Every post will be listed and linked here.

31 Days of Homeschooling on the {Autism} Spectrum @

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Homeschool Community Service Opportunities

We enjoy serving together as a family. Homeschooling lets us do it frequently.

The text came in the morning, not much after 9am. I had just returned from the gym.

A cry for help came from the Executive Director of the homeless ministry we volunteer for. They had their regular Wednesday night Feed to prepare for, as well as a benefit at the local Civic Theater that we were already planning on assisting with.

She was in the kitchen alone, trying to put together food for both events. Crazy! All of the regular kitchen prep helpers cancelled at the last minute and she was the most stressed out that I’ve ever seen her. She wasn’t handling it very well, but God was in control.

Homeschool Community Service Opportunities

I asked the boys if they minded putting away the books to go help out Blessings Under the Bridge. “Sure! Yes!! No more math!” Ha ha! As if I thought it would really be a hardship, right?

We threw together our nice clothes (because we had already committed to helping out with set up and everything at the theater), hung them all in my van and piled ourselves in.

This is reason #1582 why I love homeschooling: We can drop what we’re doing and grab opportunities to serve when they come up!

Do I feel like my kids slacked off on schoolwork yesterday? Oh my goodness NO!

Homeschool Community Service Opportunities

These boys—my most amazing boys—Really brought their A-Games yesterday. They carried and hauled and stacked boxes and packed vans. They made 250 sandwiches and packaged them up along with other food and treats, to send out with the guys who were running the Feed.

They did everything that every adult asked them to, without arguing, questioning, or complaining. They were simply fantastic. They worked for 10.5 hours yesterday without complaint.

I spent the entire day in the kitchen, in a trial-by-fire as I learned the fine art of juggling different menu items, from meatballs and teriaki to baking tempura battered green beans and zucchini. Trays and trays and trays of it. Hoeur d’erves for 500 people.

We dressed in a hurry, brought everything down to the theater, and assisted in serving the crowds of theater goers as they worked through the buffet line and bid on auction items.

It was a good night. D1 and my husband also met a homeless young man right outside of the theater (ironic?) and I “caught” D1 bringing him plates of food and a soda to sip because he said he hadn’t eaten that day. Eventually he was invited inside and he ate some more in the theater lobby.

We capped off the night with a fantastic showing of The Fiddler on the Roof, so my boys have been “cultured” now and I can count it as Art Appreciation. Check that box. Winking smile It was a wonderful show though, and my gamer boys thoroughly enjoyed it!

This is why we homeschool. It isn’t to shield our kids from life and reality or to overprotect them. It is to give them opportunities that other kids simply don’t get, to see a need and fill it (my favorite line from the movie Robots: “See a need, fill a need”). Help a friend in need, serve a ministry in need, feed a person in need.

It’s all the same when your heart is simply available. I thank God that homeschooling gives us this most unique place!

What unique things can you do as a family because you homeschool?

The Well-Planned Homeschool: Ages and StagesFeaturing favorite Home Educating Family Magazine columnists and authors, Well Planned Homeschool: Ages and Stages is a book you’ll want for your homeschool library!

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Angels Among Us

One of our new things this year (which actually began this past summer) is Minecraft Club on Mondays.

Such a wonderful, amazing idea that a local homeschool mom came up with. The club has been meeting for  over a year now, but we finally decided to check it out over the summer. D2 is HOOKED. He loves it. Minecraft Club has become his Monday motivational piece that encourages him to get up, get moving, and get things DONE… because he wants to be able to go in the afternoon.

Haha! See how I did that? If a sharp stick to the rear doesn’t work, a little digital motivation sure does. Open-mouthed smile

Little did I know the blessing that would come from it. Today, this arrived in the mail, addressed to my son.


It was the result of one conversation, one meeting where God was listening. Prompting her. We only met one time. This ONE TIME at Minecraft Club.

She emailed me, and told me, “I am writing because God makes me do things sometimes… and right away- like less than one second after you said the thing about the price of the Exploration Education for D1 being too pricey…He said- “THAT KID REALLY NEEDS THAT. MAKE IT HAPPEN, ASAP.” I’m not one to sass God- not anymore, since he has worked through me over and over again and I see how it works.”

There are angels among us, ladies.

My first reaction of course was to politely decline, but I asked a trusted friend what she would do. She let me have it with both guns blazing. “Who are YOU to deny a blessing? How many times have YOU done similar things for other people? What would YOU feel if someone refused to accept something you felt the Lord wanted you to bless them with?”

Then I asked you, readers, on my Facebook page. Because the part of me that saw her logic and felt that Spirit, needed to know it wasn’t just my friend and I. Those of you whom Facebook allows to see my posts, anyway, and you all said the very same thing, with bells and lights flashing. More confirmation. And so it went. And my resolve quickly crumbled to a humbled spirit.

The Body of Christ is a living, breathing entity. Every one of us, dear homeschool Mommas, have the ability to respond and bless one another. One of my favorite kids’ movies is Robots, and my favorite line from that movie is “See a need, fill a need.” It’s been our family’s principle for the past year and a half. Step in where the Lord gives you the nudge. I am so thankful that she did!

What a blessing. I’m still in shock, but it’s a happy shock. Who’d have thought that the Lord would send us an angel at Minecraft Club??

What’s in the box? Exploration Education’s Advanced Physical Science curriculum. If you haven’t heard of this before, you should check it out. It is THE answer for my science-minded, hand’s on Autism Spectrum high schooler! He was struggling so much with a textbook based Physical Science. I will be writing more about this as the year goes on. Count on it.

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Everything Moves {Sunday Worship}

I haven’t posted a video for Sunday Worship in such a long time, that I think it’s time to start doing that again. What better way to kick it off than with the lovely Christa Wells? She reminds us that no matter where we are or what we do, God’s not going anywhere. Everything moves– especially us– but the Lord does not. Stop moving and you’ll find Him.

All the things I pursue
Well, they stay for a season,
Then everything moves,
Everything moves, oh
My towers fall,
But you aren’t leaving me
‘Cause everything moves but you
~by Christa Wells

If you are subscribed by email or RSS and are unable to view the video, please click over to the site to watch. :)

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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10 Uses for Pumpkin Butter

Fall is coming.

It’s my favorite time of year, but in the Inland Northwest it is also the shortest of the seasons. The leaves are just beginning to change colors, nights are getting chilly, and my pumpkin vines look like this.

10 Uses For Pumpkin Butter~ The Momma Knows

The changing weather makes me look forward to things like traipsing through a local farm, picking apples, and drinking fresh hot cider. It also makes me crave fall foods. Mostly pumpkin.

Tell me I’m not alone in this?

I recently read a post about what’s really in Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and I’ll be honest: It definitely gave me pause. I’m not a huge green-granola-I-only-eat-organic type girl, but I AM working on bringing my body (and my family) to a point where eating healthy is just the norm, rather than something we are still “trying to do”. I’m getting better at it all the time.

So I learned all about the crap that the legendary PSL contains—and DOESN’T contain—(PUMPKIN) but it really left me unfazed. Why?

I’ve been making my OWN pumpkin lattes for a couple of years now and let me tell you, they’re way better. And dare I say HEALTHIER too? All because of this overwhelming craving I get each year for the orange stuff.

Here’s the thing. I’ve discovered the most flexible pumpkin style condiment that allows me to fill all those cravings when ever I want to.

I simply make pumpkin butter in my crock pot.<~Click for my recipe

It only takes a few ingredients. It takes minimal intervention from you while it’s cooking for hours, creating the most amazing aroma in your kitchen and home. And then? Then you can do so many things with it!


10 Uses For Pumpkin Butter~ The Momma Knows

1. Pumpkin Pie Lattes

Take a big ol’ dollop of pumpkin butter and stir it into your coffee with cream or any sort of creamy additions you’d like. If you’ve got an espresso machine and/or a milk frother, that’s all you need to make amazingly inexpensive PSL’s. I just saved your fall budget. You’re welcome.

2. Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Nothing says fall goodness like a comforting bowl of old fashioned oatmeal with pumpkiny-spicy yumminess.

3. Pumpkin Marinade

Use Pumpkin Butter to marinade a pork loin all day prior to roasting in the oven.

4. Pumpkin Milkshakes

Blend Pumpkin Butter with vanilla ice cream and drink.

5. Pumpkin Pancake Syrup

Add it to heated pure maple syrup, and taste away until you get the perfect blend of pumpkiny-maple. You could simply heat it and pour it over pancakes, but it might be a bit drier than you’d like your pancakes to be. Personally, this is the way I do it. Smile

6. Pumpkin Meatloaf with Pumpkin BBQ Sauce <~Recipe

This isn’t my recipe but I will definitely do this, instead using my Pumpkin Butter in the BBQ sauce recipe in place of the canned pumpkin. Oh man.

7. Pumpkin Sundaes

What!? Yes!! Heat it up, stir in some caramel topping (or don’t!), and pour it over ice cream. Oh yeah!

8. Pumpkin Dip

Mix with Cream cheese and use as a dip for fruit. It’s WONDERFUL with sliced apples.

9. Pumpkin Cocoa

Add it to your cocoa and top with whipped cream.

10. Pumpkin Butter Bread <~Recipe

You had to know that Pumpkin Bread would be on this list, right? This one is heavenly.

Now you’re ready.

You did get my Pumpkin Butter Recipe, right? (Be sure to keep it in the FREEZER unless you’re going to use it up right away.) Take that deliciousness and try some of these ideas, and come back and let me know if you come up with something else! I’m on the hunt for more great things to use Pumpkin Butter in.

Oh, and be sure you make your Pumpkin Butter before your pumpkin gets Bitter Beer Face, like this. Winking smile


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