Friday, July 21, 2017


Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: collect

five minute friday writing prompt, collect

What do you collect? Seashells, pictures, little decorative spoons? I think most everyone I know collects something, and as a homeschooler, I know a lot of people who collect books! Our oldest daughter collects quotes. She has a notebook full of them, from such a wide variety of people that it often surprises even me!

As a writer I collect words. 

More specifically, I collect first lines.

I think this goes back to my days of writing for newspapers. You always wanted to come up with an opening line that would catch attention. I also liked writing my own headlines. Some people disliked the headline aspect, but I found it a fun mental challenge to sum up a 500 word article in only four to seven words.

So today I continue to collect first lines, or themes. I have a book with a lot of lines/ themes that have yet to be written. When I get stuck, or writer's block tries to creep in, I often go back and look at those first lines.

Recently though, I've been collecting memories.

Life can be challenging. Life HAS been challenging recently. Besides the usual crunch of time due to the 4-H fair, my best friend passed from this life to the next last Friday. I am spending time savoring the memories, remembering the lessons God taught me through our friendship.

So you, what do you collect?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trust Fund movie ~ A Crew Review

family drama, movie night, jessica rothe,movie review

We received the movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films to watch for the Homeschool Review Crew. This faith based movie takes the viewer on an exceptionally well thought out journey. Beginning with a flashback to her childhood, this movie follows Reese Donahue, played by Jessica Rothe, as she struggles to finish her first book. As the daughter of a publishing family, she wants to make her own way, but is struggling with adulthood and  her relationship with her older sister.

This movie is an unusual modern day take on the story of the Prodigal Son (daughter.) If you think you know what happens next, and you don't need to watch it, let me tell you that you are in for a surprise with this movie! Reese has come to meet with her father at his office and sees a report that mentions a trust fund for her and her sister Audrey. As Reese's bank account is overdrawn once again, she clings to the idea that she needs to find out more about the money their mother left them.

After quite a bit of conniving, Reese gains access to the funds and opens an account for herself in Italy, where she had recently been for a writing workshop. She fancies herself in love with the man she met in Italy, not understanding that Milo is not all he seems. Once Reese returns to Italy she sets up what she thinks is her ideal world, spending her time writing, shopping, and living with Milo. The story gets deeper as Reese decides to offer her remaining money to Milo for a business investment, not understanding enough of the Italian language, or Milo's business, to realize it is illegal. As Reese become increasingly involved (by her own insistence) in Milo's dealings, she begins to have doubts about what he is really doing. The scenes in Italian add to the viewer's understanding of just how lost Reese is. There are no subtitles, but you can understand her confusion and hesitation to proceed as she comes to realize that these men Milo is dealing with are actually mafia style family leaders. The DVD does offer a Closed Captioned option for viewers for the English parts (the majority of the movie.)

Reese finally comes to her senses and decides to return home. Her father welcomes her with open forgiving arms, but, like in the Prodigal Son story from Luke 15, there is great tension and an unwillingness to forgive from her older sister.

What makes this movie unique is that this is not the end of the story, it is the beginning of Reese's new life, as she learns that even with her father's forgiveness, there are still consequences to face because of her poor choices. The second half of this movie is so well told that you simply must watch it to understand what I mean.

Trust Fund was produced by the husband and wife team of Isaac Alongi and Sandra Martin. Isaac was homeschooled from age seven (back in the 80's) and has been working in photography and cinematography for over 20 years. He shares a bit of his background and how homeschooling influenced him in a post on the Midwest Parent Educators website. Sandra and Isaac have worked together for over 15 years and have been married since 2003.

Besides producing Trust Fund, Sandra Martin has written a companion book, Love was Near. It was inspired by the movie, but instead of following the plot line of the supposed book Reese is writing in the movie, it is designed for ages 12 and up to read after watching the movie. It is designed to help girls think through their lives as the read what Reese was thinking. Several of the Crew families reviewed it as well (we did not.) To read their reviews, click the banner below. 

Also available from Mapelle Films is a group study guide to use to dig deeper into the themes the viewer has encountered while watching Trust Fund. You can find out more about the study guide on their website.

Connect with Mapelle Films and Trust Fund on Facebook and Pinterest

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, July 14, 2017


Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: comfort, a word that has been on my mind for the past week. Allow me to share from my heart for just five minutes.

five minute friday writing prompt, comfort, loss

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

The verse above has been on my heart a lot this week. 

My best friend is dying of cancer. How can I comfort her and her family? How have my other friends comforted me? Only through the comfort of Christ - the only One who can offer us peace beyond our human understanding.

Life is but a fleeting mist, a vapor, a small silver chain that tethers us to this earth for a short while. Even when we know our loved ones are about to leave this world and see Jesus Christ face to face - it is still hard to let go.

I know my friend's faith - it has challenged and strengthened my own. She has been used by God to call me to a deeper walk with Christ, to love others and to forgive them as Christ loved and forgave me.

My only comfort is in Christ, just as my only true life is found in Christ. 

Her welcome into God's presence will be filled with joy. 

Right now it is difficult for me to be filled with joy, but even in that God is working on me. I've realized it is ok to not be happy right now, but that I can still have that deep abiding joy that comes from the comfort of Christ, even if it is temporarily hidden down deep in my heart.

May you know the true comfort that comes from Christ, and may He give you the opportunity to share it with those around you who are undergoing afflictions and suffering. 

Be that comfort to someone who needs it today.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Z is for Zoos!

blogging the alphabet, zoos, road trip, field trip fun

Can you believe it? We are finishing the alphabet this week with the letter Z!

Z can remind you of a lot of things, but for us, it always comes back to the Zoos! Ever since the girls were itty bitty, like 2 and newborn, we have been taking them to the zoo. When they were tiny and we lived in Indianapolis, my parents always bought us a zoo membership for their birthday present. It is still one of our favorite zoos to visit, and we try to go with my Mom at least once a year, sometimes more.

Indianapolis is not our only zoo though, we also like to visit the Cincinnati Zoo, and we have been to the Pittsburgh Zoo as well. Each of these three major zoos has its own unique experience, and some special features that set it apart as a destination (and a really cool road trip!)

Sometimes we have just gone to look at the animals, sometimes it was to learn more about a specific animal we had been reading about, and sometimes... it is just fun to go to the zoo. 

Have you ever heard the song Going to the Zoo by Peter, Paul and Mary? Kurt has been singing this song to the girls for as long as I can remember. Even now at the ages of 19 & 17 hearing this song makes us all want to go to the zoo. If you've never heard it, here is the song on YouTube. If you start singing it to either girl today, they will want to take another trip to the zoo!

The Indianapolis Zoo is the youngest of the three zoos mentioned above. It moved to its current location in 1988. It has changed a lot in those years since, mostly for the better! It has a great Oceans building, which hosts fun interactive exhibits like petting dog sharks and some small water critters (think touch tank from Finding Dory, but smaller!) There is also a Humongous  Dolphin pavilion to watch the shows, and an underwater viewing dome - so cool!

The Pittsburgh Zoo is older, but well kept. While some of the animal exhibit areas seem a little on the small side, the real star of the show for us was the PPG Aquarium. This was so amazing, we could have spent all day just in the aquarium! If you have ever watch the River Monsters TV show...they have live arapaima fish in one of the tanks! The girls had watched that episode of River Monsters with Kurt, and we had read the book Made in Heaven: Man's Indiscriminate Stealing of God's Amazing Design, so Emily especially was all excited about learning about this Amazonian fish. Then we walked into that part of the PPG aquarium and they had more than one! She literally sat on the floor and stared at the tank for several minutes - then she came and got me - Mom, you HAVE to take some pictures!

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a masterpiece! It has been around since 1875! Seriously, 1875! That makes it the second oldest zoo in the US. Every exhibit here invites you to come learn about and appreciate the animals. Each one has its own unique flavor, and the layout of the zoo on the rolling hills of Cincinnati offers some wonderful viewing opportunities. If you have never been here and you are wondering if it is worth the admission price - oh yes! A dozen times yes. Plan to come as soon as the gates open in the morning and stay all day. You still won't have time to see everything well, but you'll love what you do see!

Why the zoo? What makes it one of our favorite places to go? You can go to have fun, you can go to learn about animals, or flowers, or to ride the zoo train. You can have a picnic lunch, or buy food there. The zoo is a place to make lasting memories. 

What is your favorite animal to see at the zoo? Do you have a favorite zoo we should add to our next road trip? Leave a comment and share your favorite zoo story!

Linking up with Annette and Amanda:

A Net In Time Schooling

I will go

hand lettered songs, I Will Go

Friday, July 7, 2017

1 Peter 4:8

1 Peter 4:8, bible verses

I've been online a little more this past week than usual. One theme seemed to keep coming up in almost every posting I read- contention

There were people over here arguing with people over there. There were people far away arguing against people who had long been dead, trying to prove the intents of the hearts of the deceased. There were even some people who just wanted to stir up some arguments to entertain least that is what I got from their posts...

Where are we? Who are we? If we are the children of God, if we are those who follow Christ, we probably ought not to be in any of those situations. While a true need to give a Biblical defense for our faith is often called for, it must be done in love. Our lives must be lived in love. Christ called us to follow Him, and to do so, we need to be servants, and we need to be willing to set aside our fleshly desire to win an argument in order to love the people around us, whomever they may be.

My life is not perfect, I am not perfect, but I am following the only One who ever was. May His love be the thing that I am remembered for, today, and ever after.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July sale @

Hi! I just wanted to make sure you all saw that is having a 4th of July Flash Sale! 

Now through 7/9/17 if you purchase the annual membership for $139 you will receive:
- a second year for free
- a super cool tote bag from (color varies)
- the Summer print issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine

We really enjoy the freedom that gives us to pick and choose as few or as many courses as we want to use for one price for the entire family for a whole year. You can find some of our reviews here.

I have been enjoying my tote for about a month now. (There are perks to being a mainstay on the Schoolhouse Review Crew!) It is a super awesome tote: sturdy, roomy ... and it has pockets! I can fit my laptop, blog planner and regular planner all in the main compartment and zip it shut if I'm headed to the library for the day. Or, if I'm not taking my laptop, it holds several books, my planner, a jacket, and all my shopping lists and coupons for a day of stocking up grocery shopping. It has a large front pocket (which I always fill with snacks,) as well as a water bottle pocket on one end and a pocket big enough for your cell phone on the other end. It also has a couple of pencil/ pen pockets (look at my picture below!)

Now that you know about the flash sale, just make sure you check it out by Sunday the 9th because that is the last day! Hope you are having a wonderful week!


Can you believe we are almost to the end of this Blogging through the Alphabet series? 

The letter for this week is Y

blogging through the alphabet, years

Y is for Years
The days are long, but the years are short. 

Have you heard that phrase before? I can attest it is true, each day can seem so long, especially if someone is potty training or struggling with long division. Mama, I am here to remind you that the years of homeschooling are short. From where I sit, with 14 years of homeschooling behind me, and only about a year left in front of us, it seems quite short indeed.

Finding joy along this journey has been so much easier when I remember to look for the blessings in the everyday activities of life. Some days it might seem like the only thing to be thankful for is that your children brushed their teeth before bed. If it is: still be thankful for it! 

There will be tough days.

There will be days when you doubt if you have made the right choice for your family. Go to God and ask Him to remind you about WHY you started on this homeschooling journey.  Get back to focusing on your why. So what if it takes your child longer to learn their multiplication tables? You are in this to be their parent until they are old enough to not need you anymore, which pretty much means forever, or at least 25! LOL! So if it takes them longer to learn multiplication, how to read, or how to do long division, remember, you still have a few years left to help them.

The picture above is from around 2010. Not really that long ago for me, but for our children, a huge chunk of their lifetime ago! The pictures below are from 2016. What a difference just a handful of years can make.

blogging through the alphabet, years, adult children

There will be better days ahead

Stop trying to do it all by yourself. God is able to meet all your needs. When you focus on how able God is to provide, and stop focusing on trying to do everything yourself, you should find more joy, and less stress. We can all use more joy! More joy for Mom means better days for everyone!

As a Mama who has always needed to work while homeschooling, I will tell you that over time you won’t remember the lack of sleep, but you will remember their joy when your children master something new. You will remember when they smile and tell you they love you! 

Make the most of each day, and remember to enjoy the years too!

Linking up with Annette and Amanda
A Net In Time Schooling

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day, celebration, fireworks

As our nation celebrates its independence, may we remember to be dependent upon God for each day. May we look to Him for guidance in our lives, and find His blessings in our families and friends.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 3, 2017

My 30 Minute Summer Skirt

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

For the past two summers, I have wanted a new skirt, but have not found anything I liked in a price range I was willing to pay. 

It's summer, I want something cute, and comfortable. Especially the comfortable part!

So I decided to do some digging at Goodwill and see what I could find to refashion. For last summer I purchased a white and red sundress with a zipper and turned it into a skirt. When I finished it Kurt said "You should have taken pictures and written about it for the blog." Bummer. I had not thought of that. So this year, I remembered to take pictures for you to see the steps.

This year's purchase was a blue Maxi dress with a printed design. It had an under layer that I wanted to keep for the skirt, so I could be modest without needing a slip. After all, the whole reason for not wearing it as a maxi dress was because I wanted to be modest-LOL! I found the dress at Goodwill. It was the 1/2 off color of the week, so it cost me $3. I've been sewing for a long time, it took me about 30 minutes to do the project and take the pictures. This is an easy project, which you should be able to do with your own sewing machine without too much trouble. Even if you are slow at sewing, it should take you less than 2 hours.

First, you need to find the dress.

I always look in the dresses one to two sizes larger than what I wear because I am intending to move the empire waistline of the dress down to a regular waistline. So if you wear a 6, look at 8's or 10's. If you wear a large, look in the XL section.

Go try the dress on in the changing room, and pull the dress down to see if the length and size will fit where you want the new waistline to be. If yes, purchase your find and take it home to wash it. Dry it on high heat so if it is going to shrink any, it will happen before you begin sewing.

Below are the 8 steps I took from Maxi Dress to my new favorite summer skirt.

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 1: sew around the dress about 1" below the waistline, this keeps the dress and underdress together when you cut off the top.

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 2: cut just below the waistline and above your sewing line

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 3: go look in the mirror again and decide how much more you need to shorten the length (if any.) Sew another ring around the skirt part just below where you want to shorten it to. Then cut off the extra. Because of the printed design of the maxi dress, I wanted to take the extra off of the top, not off of the bottom where it might destroy the flow of the design.

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 4: zigzag around your new top edge. This helps reinforce the skirt together to the underskirt, as well as prevent unraveling. 

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 5: Turn under the top edge at your sewing line, and then turn it down another 1.25" to make a pocket for the elastic. Sew around the skirt at the bottom of this pocket, leaving  a gap of about 3" in the back to insert the elastic.

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 6: pin down one end of your elastic to the back of the skirt, and then use a large safety pin to feed your elastic through the pocket you sewed. Remember when measuring your elastic that you need it to be comfortable when stretched, but still tight enough your skirt won't slide down. I used 3/4" elastic as the pocket was just over 1".

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 7: after checking to make sure your elastic is the correct size, sew the ends together. Pull the elastic all the way into the waist pocket, then sew in the ditch of each side seam to prevent it from turning over during washing and wearing.

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Step 8: sew the opening in the back of your new waistband closed, leaving a tiny opening in case you later decide you want to access the elastic to adjust the back and make it tighter.

Ta-da! You're finished! Go enjoy your new summer skirt.
I've been enjoying mine!

refashion maxi dress to skirt, easy summer sewing projects

Friday, June 30, 2017


Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: blessing

five minute friday writing prompt, blessing

What images does the word blessing conjure up in your memory? Do you have to think hard to find a blessing in your life, or have you  learned to trust God and find the blessings in your everyday life? Yesterday was a day full of blessings for us: we spent time with friends, including lunch, we found what we needed at the grocery store (on sale!) and we spent time talking as a family. 

There are so many blessings around me everyday that I stand amazed at how much God loves me, a sinner! Because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, I can have fellowship with God, I can stand clean and forgiven, I can have a hope for tomorrow, next week, and my eternal future. Those are blessings that cannot be measured.

If you are struggling with finding the blessings in the everyday things of life, start making a list. Each evening think back over your day and write down three things you were thankful for. They can be big things, or small, the point is for you to recognize them as blessings from God and be thankful for them. Your list might look like this, or it might be completely different:

Children cleaned their rooms
Husband made it home safely from work through the thunderstorm
We had dinner as a family

Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Xerox...and what it has led to :)

This week's letter of the alphabet is X. Ever since I first made notes about this blogging through the alphabet series when Amanda and Annette suggested it, I have had X filled in - with Xerox. Many of you today have a printer at home for your computer, and most of today's printers can also make copies. Hearken back a few decades to when I was a child. Computers were not in homes, they were at Universities, in large businesses, and some schools were just starting to get TRS80's to teach their students about this new computer age.

If you wanted a copy made, and you were attending a small school like mine, your teacher might use the mimeograph machine. They would write on a paper that turned into a stencil,  and then it would go around and around the drum of the machine and stick the colored ink, usually purple or green, to the papers for us to use in class. The problem? The chemicals stank and the pages would come out wet. Not to mention you could only copy the things that someone could write or draw.

BUT, there was this wonderful machine at the library, called a XEROX. It made actual copies in black of whatever page or picture you put in it. It was magical! :)

The very first xerographic image was made in 1938. Xerox released its first commercially available copier (the 914) in 1959. If you would like to read the history, Xerox has a lovely PDF you can access here.

xerox, blogging the alphabet, letter X

What does all of this mean to me, and why am I so happy for the work Xerox has done over the years? Because today I can make a copy whenever I want, from the comfort of my home, on a small printer/ copier that I purchased for around $100. For a homeschooling Mama, Xerox (or its current competitor) is  lifesaver, and a timesaver. Our local library still has a copier that you can use, for 10 cents a page. While that is fairly inexpensive, having one at home is even better! Some day soon I will need a new printer. We've had this one for about 3 or 4 years, and with having used it for two high schooler students, plus numerous 4-H projects and blogging activities, it is showing its age.

Why the picture of the fish? Because I liked it! A little side note: just like I always had to go to the library to make xerox copies, you had to send away film to be processed. Today, we make copies of pages at home, and we can print our own photos from our digital cameras at home with the right kind of printer! Cool huh?! Sometimes, I really like technology. :)

Almost every home educating family I know has a copier at home. While the brands vary widely from Cannon to HP and others, one thing we can agree on is that they work. Thanks to the hard work of Xerox corporation, they work!  They make our lives easier, and that is truly a reason to be thankful!

A Net In Time Schooling

John 17:3

Scripture Writing, John 17:3

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Vacation and Wonder

blogging the alphabet, vacation, wonder

As we are nearing the end of this round of Blogging Through the alphabet, we are at letter W. I'm also including V from last week, as life simply did not allow enough time to type that one out last week. :)

V is for Vacation
W is for Wonder... as in let your children experience the wonder of new things at their own speed.

As a family where both parents work, we have had to be intentional about a lot of things that it seems others just do naturally. Maybe they have to be intentional as well, but they might have a little more time to plan than we do.

We love to go on vacations 

While it has often taken some creative budgeting to get there, we have been blessed to be able to take quite a few memorable vacations over these past 14 years of home education. Some only lasted 36 hours, a couple of them each lasted a week.

One of our favorite vacations was in 2013 when we travelled to Oklahoma. We were staying with our dear friends Mike and Ella for the week. They had invited us to visit them and attend the Delaware Nation Pow-wow with them. While there we also did a lot of sight-seeing, including seeing wild mustangs. Yes, there is a fence... on the side towards the state highway to keep the mustangs safe.

blogging the alphabet, vacation, wonder

On that vacation we also stopped at this adorable rest stop near Conway, Missouri. All of the picnic tables were enclosed in little Route 66 buildings. It is on I-44 at mile marker 111 Eastbound.

blogging the alphabet, vacation, wonder

Vacations can be a chance to visit friends, see new places, and get away from the ordinary routine of your life. Whether your vacation is two days or two weeks, we encourage you to go somewhere and make memories with your children.

W is for Wonder 

As in cultivate the wonder you see in your children's eyes. Let them explore something new. Let them meet new experiences at their own pace. This requires us Moms to slow down, as we often like to keep a schedule and check boxes.

Wonder does not come from checking boxes.

Wonder comes from watching ants, playing in the sand, catching fireflies, camping in the woods, mixing paints. All of those great (mostly outdoors) activities I grew up with in the 1970's that so many parents today think are too full of germs.

Germs, schmerms. Let your children get dirty. Let them have fun. Just last week our 17 year old paused what she was doing and sat for five whole minutes as she watched a spider wrap its prey up in a silk cocoon. "Mama, that was cool!"

Do you still find wonder in the things of nature around you? Are you still amazed by the birth of a new baby, whether it be a tiny human or a little calf? 

How long has it been since you sat and contemplated how the Creator of this vast Universe has given you the ability to create something yourself? Have you created recently? That creativity comes more readily when we cultivate our sense of wonder. Maybe it is time for you to create: a picture, a meal, a garden filled with flowers, or maybe it is time to make a pillow or a birdhouse with your children.

blogging the alphabet, vacation, wonder

Take time to plan a vacation, however short, where you can make memories. In the time between now and whenever that vacation happens, cultivate the wonder!

Until next week :)

Linking up with Annette and Amanda...
A Net In Time Schooling