Rice Pudding

 

Do you ever cook way too much rice for dinner?  Do you hate leftovers but hate to waste the food?

Me too.

This is the perfect recipe to use that leftover rice and give it a totally different spin.  It won’t just be dinner leftovers… it’s dessert!  Or even breakfast!

rice-pudding

 

Rice Pudding

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Rice Pudding

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/12 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional raisins-- we have an avid raisin hater at our house so no raisins here.

Instructions

  1. Mix the rice, milk, sugar and salt in a sauce pan on medium heat and stir constantly until thickened. Lower heat and add cinnamon and raisins (if you're using them). Cook and stir for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. If you'd like, sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
  2. Serve warm or cold.
  3. We prefer warm and we like to eat it for breakfast.
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Homeschool Curriculum

homeschool-curriculum

For me, deciding to homeschool was far easier than picking a curriculum.  There are simply so many good choices and it’s hard to know what is going to be a good fit for your child.   In fact, I ended up not even using our first picks!  When I found that our choice was simply not working for our children, I revised.  This was another reason I was glad we started in the summer, as I didn’t have the self-induced pressure of feeling behind.  I mean, we still had some school happening in the summer, while all the other kids were having summer vacation.   So summer ended up being a trial period, while I figured out this homeschooling/curriculum thing. 

Here are our homeschool curriculum choices for our year-

1st grader-

Math- Singapore Math 
We bought both the textbook and student workbook, but if I had to do it over again, I would just purchase the student workbook.  You may need the textbook and teacher’s guide if you are teaching older grades.  My son is enjoying it and I feel like it is a good all around program.  

Grammar/Language Arts- Growing with Grammar 
I really enjoy this Grammar program, as it repeats often enough to really let the concept sink in.  The worksheets are not overwhelming and my son really seems to enjoy it.  He can often do this independently after I teach him the initial concept.

Spelling- Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary and Spelling City 
We had been using Spelling City independently and recently we added the workbook.  I feel like they need to actually write the words to help them remember.  Spelling City is fun and the kids enjoy having a break from the workbook.  So we use both.  Spelling city is great for homeschool moms as you can set up the entire assignment with exactly what you want.  

Writing- Winning with Writing
I
 just purchased this book this week as what I was previously using wasn’t quite working for us.  I am a week into it and I really like it.  

Extra- Grandpa School
Recently my dad retired as a Civil Engineer and I asked if he would mind taking my son for an hour or so each week and teach him something and he agreed!  My dad decides what he wants to teach and my son is LOVING the time with Grandpa and the fun things they do.  Some of the lessons they have had: astronomy, how submarines float and sink, how to build a rocket stove, how cement works, and all kinds of fun things. 

Homeschool Co-op-

My 1st grader is taking a lego building class, school house rock (Language arts), and a P.E. class.  He really enjoys the co-op.

 

Both kids:

Science- Jenny Phillips – Arthropods  
T
his science is fun for the kids and easy for mom to prep too!  We have been learning about bugs and Jenny gives you a list all the items needed for the entirety of the program, so you can have them all purchased and ready for your year.  I love that!  We haven’t gotten there yet, but at some point, we will get to dissect a bug.  I may be the most excited about that.  She incorporates art and stories and God in many of her lessons as well as additional assignments for the older grades.  So it’s a perfect Christian family curriculum. 

History-  Jenny Phillips History 
This curriculum is very much like the science.  We have a list at the beginning of books that are great read alouds for each section of history you learn that year.  It starts in early Bible times and ancient Egypt and goes through the early 1900’s.  It has beautiful books, and stories, as well as a board game to play.  The kids seem to enjoy it and my 7th grader has additional assignments that go with her grade level.  So it works for many grades.  

7th grader-

Math- Teaching Textbooks 
I picked this one for my 7th grader because I loved the three elements it used to learn the concept.  The CDs that come with the textbook will teach the lesson to your student, then they complete the questions in the textbook, afterward, they enter the answers on the computer.  Before it marks a question wrong, it will ask if they want additional help to complete the problem.  They can use the help to try the answer one more time, if it is still wrong they mark it incorrect.  I like that it gives them an additional chance to try again.  
Now some parents have said that the books are a grade behind grade level and others have said that they found the books to be ahead.  I have found them to be a bit behind.  My 7th grader is not doing the level 7 math but Pre-Algebra.  I recommend taking the assessment test, to properly place your child.    My daughter found herself doing a lot of review work, so I had her skip the lessons and just take the tests until she was getting an 80% on her tests.  At that point, she started the lessons again.  

Language Arts/Grammar-  Growing with Grammar and Digging into Diagramming  

This is a really great curriculum and my daughter says she is learning quite a bit of new material.  She works independently and requires very little help from me.  

Writing- Winning with Writing  
We just purchased this program this week so I don’t have a lot to say about it so far.   The lesson last all week (5-day work school week), with daily assignments.  
She is also doing a creative writing class in our homeschool co-op. 

Vocabulary- Wordly Wise 3000  
This is something I have added later in the year as well, but my daughter seems to enjoy.  The lessons teach many different ways to 1-learn the word  2- how to use the word.  

Homeschool Co-op-
My 7th grader is also doing anatomy and physiology, creative  writing, and a ukelele class.  She is really enjoying the co-op as well.  

That’s is everything we are doing.  I hope it has helped you in your homeschool journey.  I know it was super helpful to me to read other’s people’s choice of curriculum.   Finding someone who has a similar personality as you is the best person to ask for advice on what homeschool curriculum will work for  you.  But always keep in mind that each child is different, so what may work for one won’t necesssarily work for the other.  


How to make your playroom mess free!

 

 

mess-free-playroom

 

See that picture up above?  
I never thought a playroom with so little toys would be SO enjoyable for my children.  I was inspired by this post I saw floating around facebook one day.   The article described a mom who was frustrated with the lack of play in her play room.  All the kids would do was dump out toys and in my house, it seems all they do is break them.   She was frustrated  with how many times she had to clean up after the kids, only to have them destroy it again.  It was making motherhood hard and unenjoyable.  {This totally describes me.}

  So… she gave her toys away.  

WHAT?!?

Isn’t that rather a big change to make over a little mess here and there?

Well, I thought so too, but then I read on as she described the after effect.  

Her house was calm, and happy, and clean.  But the best part, the kids actually played and imagined.  There was less fighting and more creating.  A dream right?  

Well, I decided that I was ready for that kind of dream and set out to create a new  mess-free play room.  

During nap time I grabbed a bunch of boxes and garbage bags and hauled out every broken and (in my judgment) useless toy.   

Here’s what I kept: 

2-3 dolls, with blankets

A basket of cars with a City Life Play Carpet.

A basket of wooden blocks

Legos

Balls

Dress up clothes

My Green Kid’s Table 

The white cubicles that I have to store my toys. 

That’s it.  I only kept the high-quality  toys that inspired creativity.

Here’s my verdict;

TOTALLY AWESOME!

 Why did I not do this sooner?

The kids play way more.  The room is now a go to reading room for my older two and the younger ones actually play with the toys rather than scatter the toys to kingdom come. 

When all their little friends or cousins come over it usually resulted in a HUGE mess, but now there are simply not enough toys to make a huge mess and they can clean it up and a jiffy.  

So my recommendation is to do it!!  

 

 


How to make your own never fail pie crust

Never Fail Pie Crust…

seriously, cross my heart, not even kidding!

Making a good homemade pie crust use to be my nemesis.  I could never, ever make a good pie crust.  They would almost always without fail, fall apart.  Usually, I would just purchase the dough at the store and stock it in my freezer.  That was until my good friend shared her pie crust recipe with me and it is truly amazing!   So I thought I better share it with the world because you just never know when you are going to need a quick pie crust recipe.  Where would the world be without good friends?

 

pie-crust-recipe

 

 

Never Fail Pie Crust… seriously!

Never Fail Pie Crust… seriously!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter flavor crisco
  • 1 cup hot or warm water

Instructions

  1. Mix your flour and sugar together and then take a pastry cutter and cut in crisco, until it is well-combined and soft and crumbly. Add your water until the dough pulls together and sticks. You may not need all the water.
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Lovely and Inspiring Homeschool Rooms

One of my favorite things to do is browse the hundreds of beautiful homeschool rooms that are all over Pinterest!  There are SO many ideas for a wonderfully organized school room and I love the inspiration it gives me.  So without further ado, here are my favorites!

The Eclectic School Room

schoolroom-pinterest

This ‘Eclectic School Room’ from The Quick Journey is incredible!  I love the old school charm it lends with the beautiful maps and the chalkboard paint.  

 

The Light and Airy School Room 

perfectlyimperfectplayroomhomeschoolroomreveal-16_zpse119d7f8

I absolutely love how open and airy this homeschool room feels at the Perfectly Imperfect blog!  I love the built-ins for extra storage and organization as well as the awesome reading nooks they placed around the room.  Seriously, go grab a book and settle in!

 

The Minimalist School Room 

organizing-your-homeschool-room-683x1024

The clean and simple lines totally appeal to me in this room from Midwestern Momma.  Clean spaces like this clear my head and make learning come so much easier!

 

The One Room School House 

img-9908-600x684

 This school room from Playful Learning is so enchanting!  I love the clipboard organization and the cute reading corner!  You must check it out as she has many amazing details to the room that you cannot see from one picture.

 

 The Creative Homeschool Room

img_13911-560x373

 This spacious room from The Pleated Poppy is great for multiple kids and I love the crate on the table for random school supplies.  So many great ideas in this room!

 

 Old School Charm Room

home_school_space

This room from The Handmade Home is full of charming details that I just love!  From the cozy couch with plush pillows and the dry erase board frame!  So full of quaint ideas that are a perfect setting for learning.

 

Colorful Organized School Room

classroom-mg

 This room is bright, beautiful, and all those organized containers just feel me with joy.  I love a great organization system and The Moffatt Girls nailed it.  And how can you not LOVE that dutch door!?!

Well, I hope that has inspired you in your quest for an inspiring homeschool room!   

 

 

 

 

 


How to freeze fresh tomatoes

how-to-freeze-tomatoesIt’s that time of year.  The last few things in the garden are ready!  What are you going to do with it all?  I admit, this is the first time I have had a successful garden.  Now when I say had, I mean, my sister and I helped our 90-year-old Grandpa with his amazing successful garden that many people have envied over the years.  Boy, we got schooled!  Grandpa shook his head many times at us about some things, for instance, the two rows of beans additional to his row of beans.  Yeah, I had no idea a number of beans we would have!  When I mentioned this to Grandpa, he laughed so hard he began to cry.  I don’t think I have ever seen my Grandpa laugh more than a chuckle.  It was priceless.

Ok, on to what to do when you have a very successful crop of tomatoes.  My mother had an amazing crop.  She has freeze dried many tomatoes in her Harvest Right in-home freeze dryer, and froze many bags for salsa to get her thru the winter.  I love going to my moms and trying what she has freeze dried, the tomatoes are pretty strong and to me taste exactly like tomato soup with one bite!  I haven’t taken the time to reconstitute what she dries because I love them just dried. She has also done many other things, and I have done a few.  I’ll have a blog post soon of some of the things that we have freeze dried, that are oh so yummy!

Wow, I’m rambling today, sorry.  Onto freezing garden fresh tomatoes.  My mom freeze dried and froze all that she needed and passed the excess onto my sister in law and I.  This is what we did with ours.  This process took a lot less time than I was dreading.  Probably from garden tomato to diced, bagged and ready to go in the freezer tomatoes took about 45 mins to an hour.

First I filled a Water-Bath Canner (this one is a whole kit) with water and put it on the stove to boil. filling-pot-with-water

boiling-water-to-remove-skins-on-tomatoes

While waiting for the pot to boil, I washed off the skins of all of the tomatoes I had.  I didn’t have a big batch, but just enough for me and my family.  Once the water in the water-bath was boiling, I put all of the tomatoes I had into the pot.  Let them boil for 10 minutes or so and check them occasionally.  What you are looking for is cracking in the skins.

boiling-tomatoes-to-remove-skins
tomato-skins-cracking-in-boiling-water
tomato-skins-cracking

As I found tomatoes that had cracks in the skins or the skins were floating off, I put them in a bowl and transferred them to my sink that was filled with cold water and ice.  This cools them down for handling.  Once the tomatoes were cool enough to touch, I would gently peel off the skins.

peeling-tomato-skin-off-tomatoes

After I got all of the skin off of the tomato, I cut the tomato in half, quarters if it was a good sized tomato, and would place it in the center of the Chopper.

how-to-dice-tomatoes
dicing-tomatoes-from-garden

As the chopper got full, I would dump it into another bowl.  Once I got all of the tomatoes diced and in another bowl, I used my 2 Cup Plastic Measuring Cup (oh I want these!) and poured it into Ziploc Quart Freezer Bags.pouring-diced-tomatoes-into-freezer-bag

Zip up the freezer bag and you’re done!!  Don’t forget to write tomatoes and the year on the bag 😉

diced-tomatoes-to-freeze

I plan on using these bags for salsa and soups.  I will just replace one bag for 1 can of diced tomatoes.  Can’t wait to try it out.  I will let you know how it goes and will also share my super easy salsa recipe soon!


Canned Chicken

how-to-can-chicken_4

I am ALL about convenience, so when I am reading a recipe that calls for cooked chicken breast and I don’t already HAVE cooked chicken breast, then it is not happening.    So when my mom gave me a jar of her canned chicken and it actually tasted good I was SOLD!    

I was even more amazed at how easy and simple it is to can your own chicken.  This is now my 4th year of canning chicken and it is a staple in my pantry.    I use it for chicken enchiladas, soups, chicken salads, pizza, calzones, etc.  Anything that calls for cooked chicken!  It’s SO awesome!  

Let’s get started on how easy this process is:
 
I usually purchase my chicken breasts from the local grocery store in bulk.  I get a better deal that way.   

You want to take the chicken breast and trim off any fat.  That way your don’t have any chewy, squeaky parts.  Then you stuff those babies as tight as you can into the jar size of your choice, leaving 1-inch headspace at the top.   I usually use pint size jars, as that would be about two cups of chicken, which I have  found most recipes call for.  

how-to-can-chicken

Once the chicken is in the jars, add 1/2 tsp of canning or pickling salt to each jar.  Following the salt, wipe the rims of the jars clean.  If the rims are not clean then the jar will not seal properly and you will have spoiled chicken.  

While you’re wiping those jars clean, you want to have your canning lids in boiling water for a few minutes so the rubber is nice and soft and ready to seal. 

how-to-can-chicken_1

 

You want to use a pressure cooker to process your jars.  My jars processed for 75 minutes at 13 lbs pressure.  Your pressure will be different according to the altitude in your area.  You can call your local extension office to find out the safest way to process your meat for your altitude. 

After  the 75 minutes, you wait for your pressure gauge to go back down to zero before taking the lid off.  Pressure cookers can be dangerous if used improperly.   Taking the lid off before it reaches zero could cause the pressure cooker to explode.  

how-to-can-chicken_3 

Take your jars out carefully and allow them to cool on the counter.  You will hear the lids begin to seal.  After 12-24 hours  you can check to see that your lids have sealed.  Do not check your lids until after at least 12 hours, as you can cause a false seal by pressing down on the lids before they have had time to seal themselves.  

Good luck and enjoy your ready to eat chicken!

Canned Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Canned Chicken

Ingredients

  • Raw chicken
  • Canning or pickling salt
  • Canning jars (either pints or quarts)
  • Canning lids
  • Pressure cooker

Instructions

  1. Cut any fat off of the meat and put raw meat into canning jars, leaving 1 inch of head space. Add 1/2 tsp salt to pint jars and 1 tsp to quart jars. Put lids in pan of water to boil until rubber rim is soft. Wipe jar rims and put hot lids on.
  2. Put jars in pressure canner and add 2 1/2 quarts hot water to canner. Put lid on and turn on high. When it starts to steam, time for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes put regulator on and start time when it reaches 13 lbs pressure. (Here's a handy altitude chart to find out what your pressure should be.) Keep pressure at the correct pressure for 75 minutes. You may need to adjust heat accordingly. Watch carefully and never leave a pressure cooker unattended. Let drop to 0 before opening.
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How to love laundry day

Yes, I did say L O V E laundry day!

I absolutely love laundry day.  It is a day that I focus on laundry.  No, it doesn’t always get done on that one day, but a majority of it does.  And on my lucky days when it does get ALL done, I don’t have to think about it at all the REST OF THE WEEK!  Isn’t that awesome?  One huge weekly task is done in one day. Disclaimer: you must have a weeks worth of clothes (underwear especially) to be able to do this.

I am going to share with you tips and tricks to loving laundry day.  It hasn’t always been this way, but when I finally realized a good system to it, I have loved it ever since.  I hope that you can incorporate things into your laundry task to help you love it.

So here is how my laundry day goes….

  1. My kids know that laundry day is Monday. (Yes, I love laundry day and MONDAY! Call me crazy, but it’s my happy day.)  All clothes that are not in the laundry room and sorted by the time I get done with laundry, is their responsibility.  My son learned this the hard way.  My kids sort all of their laundry in the designated bins.  At our house the first bin is jeans, second whites, third colors, fourth towels, and fifth (which is the white laundry basket at the end) is for delicates.  Delicates is anything that doesn’t go in the dryer.Sorting Laundry
    laundry delicates
  2. I usually start my day with a load of colors….due to the fact that the color drawer is usually overloaded by the time two of my kids sort their laundry, so I need to free up some space.
  3. I start my first load first thing in the morning while the kids are getting ready for school.
  4. I go about my morning doing my daily tasks while waiting for the first load to go in the dryer and get the second load started.
  5. Now here is my FIRST BIG RULE: once a load of laundry is dried, you cannot start the next load until you have folded what you just took out of the dryer.  This has been my lifesaver.  Once I figured this out, I began to finally like doing the laundry.  Mostly because I was never overwhelmed with a huge pile of laundry to fold.

Now here are some tips to simplify and love folding your laundry.

    1. Place dried clothes on top of dryer.  You can put them on a counter or anywhere else needed, just take them all out of the dryer so you can begin drying your next load if it’s ready.folding
    2. Fold pants, underwear and such as usual and place shirts that need to be folded over dryer door or a chair or lay them flat on a counter.  Use whatever you have in the room.  By laying one shirt on top of another, it will speed up the folding process. For shirts that you like to hang, I will explain what I do in a minute.lay-shirts-over-door
    3. Once you have all of the shirts that are dried, lay them face down on a flat surface.lay-shirt-flat  Begin by folding the top side (length wise) in half farthest away from you,folding-shirts then fold the other side of the shirt closest to you over the side you just folded. (I use the collar on each side as the fold point.)folding-shirts_1Then take ends and meet in the middle. folding-shirts_2Fold in half and your done.folding-shirts_3  This makes for a great folded shirt and even better for having more room in drawers. I will post a picture of how I put folded shirts in drawers soon. 
    4. Once I have the shirt folded, I place it in the basket of who it belongs to.folded-laundry-in-basket
    5. Now here is how to simplify hanging shirts. Slip your left hand in right shirt sleeve of the shirt.How to love laundry day: a system to hanging shirts
      Add another shirt to your arm until you have a few shirts on your arm. (Sorry so much pink.  If they aren’t pink shirts then the shirts are gray!)How to love laundry day: a system to hanging shirts

Take hanger with right hand and slip the hook side of hanger into right shoulder.  Hang up shirt and continue putting hanger into next shirt.How to love laundry day: a system to hanging shirts
6. SOCKS: Oh how I use to hate matching up socks until I came across this tip. How to love laundry day: Folding Socks SystemLay socks flat and place one matching sock on top of another into a big pile of socks.  When you have them all sorted this way, you put the stack in front of you and start to fold the top two together.  How to love laundry day: Folding Socks System

How to love laundry day: Folding Socks System

If you like to fold another way, go for it!  This just gets them matched up conveniently so you can get them folded quickly.

7. After all of my drawers are emptied, I do my delicate wash clothes.  I hang my delicate clothes on a folding drying rack.  I recently got a new one and have loved it so far.  I can put a lot more clothes on it then I could the old wooden one I had before.

I think that is a wrap!  Here is the end result of my laundry room.hanging-laudry

laundry-is-doneEverything washed, folded and ready for the kids to put their laundry away.  I have them put their laundry away on Tuesday after school, and that leaves my laundry room nice and clean and no evidence that I haven’t done my laundry for the rest of the week.  I LOVE not having to think about it again until next Monday!  Try it out and comment when you fall in love  with doing laundry.  (Just like you would if you were on Dave Ramsey and you were debt free 😉 )

Disclaimer: I don’t restrict myself from doing things  or going places on Monday.  If something comes up, then laundry day flows into Tuesday.  I don’t make a huge deal out of it, I just like to get it done at the first of the week.  Try it out!  It might take a month to start to love it, but it is totally worth loving!!  I even love ironing after 14 years of marriage.  I had hated ironing about as much as most people hate laundry.  

 

How to love laundry day. A much needed task that everyone has to do, so why not love it!! Here are tips and tricks that I love about laundry day.

 


Apricot Glazed Meatballs

apricot glazed meatballs

Apricot Glazed Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Apricot Glazed Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (I used saltine crackers.)
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, salt, onion, beef, and zucchini. Mix together and shape into one inch balls. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and place in casserole dish. Combine the apricot preserves and barbecue sauce and pour over meatballs. Bake 10 more minutes.
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Why we decided to homeschool

 

why we decided to homeschool
Why we decided to homeschool.

Homeschooling has always been in the back of my mind as an “I might do that sometime” until recently it I felt an urgency that now was the time to do it.  I started researching like crazy.  I talked to my husband about the feeling and he agreed to learn more as well.  I had many friends that were homeschooling, so I began questioning them.  What curriculum do you use?  Why?  What have you loved about homeschooling? What is hard?  I spoke to many people and researched many homeschool blogs.  The more I researched the more exciting I got.  My husband and I prayed about it and continued to feel that it was right for our family.  

Our Vision:

When my husband and I decided to homeschool there were many values and skills we wanted to incorporate. We are self-employed and there are many opportunities that we wanted to share with our children such as finances, and budgeting, communicating with adults in real life business situations, building websites, and making a vision happen.   We wanted business trips to also be valuable school lessons.   We also wanted life lessons such as cooking, cleaning,  organizing, gardening and accountability to be part of their daily lives.  We wanted the flexibility to learn about where ever we were traveling and incorporate that into our learning, with hands-on experiences.  We wanted God and our religion to be part of our education. 

Telling the kids:

Telling the kids was a little harder.  Our oldest was just finishing 6th grade and our 2nd child was just finishing kindergarten.  Our 6th grader was not to thrilled with the idea of homeschooling.  She was worried she would miss her friends and honestly, her and I do no see eye to eye on many things.  So she was worried about that as well.  (Me too, if I am being honest.)  We told her to pray about it and that she had a right to receive her own answer to prayer.   She did so and received an answer that homeschooling was the correct choice for this year.  She wasn’t that thrilled about it, though.  Our soon to be 1st grader was more excited about it than his sister.  

Finding curriculum:

Next step was to begin finding the curriculum and homeschool style that fit our family best.  Now I have the slight advantage of being homeschooled as a child.  I was homeschooled in 3rd grade, and 6th -12th.  So I wasn’t clueless as to the process and what our days would look like.  I researched tons of different curriculum and read many reviews.  I asked homeschool moms who had similar personality traits as myself what curriculum they used. And then I took the plunge and bought what I needed.  I”ll be honest, the first few books I bought I ended up not enjoying.  I’ll do a post about what I am using later.

Getting started:

I decided to start my homeschooling journey a week into summer vacation.   I knew that if I waited the whole summer I would be fighting to get kids back into a solid routine.  It was crucial to keep our routine going so that the transition would be easier.  I am SO glad we did. By starting at the beginning of summer vacation, I was able to see what worked well for our family and what didn’t, without the pressure of being in the middle of the school year and feeling like we wasted time.

What about socialization?

As a homeschooled child myself, I heard this argument all the time.  I was in 3rd grade when my mom decided she couldn’t take my crying about school anymore and pulled me out of the public school system.  I remember when she was with other moms they would question her about homeschooling and the only real concern was about my social skills.  I had to ask my mom what socialization was because I had heard about it so much.   
So… to make sure my kids are not awkward, we have them involved in a few activities throughout the week.  They are involved in sports and church activities where they get to spend time with their peers.  What I am noticing is that they are learning to play with each other more than they were in the past.  Which I love!  

What do we think of it now?

I would say that 90% of our days are amazing.  There’s that pesky 10% where the day just has to crash and burn but, for the most part, the kids are enjoying it and I am as well.   I love having the kids with me and we are building stronger relationships.  My oldest daughter and I are actually getting along better!  She is learning tremendous life skills that I know she would not learn at school.  My 2nd child, my son, is doing well and it is so fun to see him learn those early math and reading skills.  I love being involved with their learning and watching them figure their lives out and reaching their goals.  Homeschooling has been a tremendous blessing in our lives and I am so glad we took the leap of faith and decided to homeschool.