Saturday, February 25, 2017

Crazy Seasons?

Where are you winter? I normally wouldn't complain, but I really do like at least 1 or 3 REALLY good snow storms. I enjoy the stark, cold on my face-turning my cheeks and nose red from the cold chill. I enjoy bundling up in sweaters and coats, and seeing the breath as I exhale. I enjoy the annoying bugs being gone! I like it! I like winter. It seems to have skipped over us this year. It's not even march, yet the daffodils are in bloom and the frogs are croaking. Have I mentioned, I don't like frogs?

I love spring, I do . . . but I love winter, too. I miss it. I wish it had been here at least a little. A good 4" snow would have been nice. 6-8" even better. A good winter storm warning, a rush to pick up more hot chocolate, and sleds careening down the hill....I need these things in my life! Instead, in the middle of winter, my son is outside playing in shorts and no shirt. This is just so starkly wrong! It looks as if Spring is here to stay, for the most part. Temps will be in the 40s here there before rebounding to the 60s and 70s. Most are loving it, but I have to wonder what this means for the coming summer months.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What is that sound?!

FROGS!  In February?! I'm hearing FROGS?! And birds chirping? And Geese are back?! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Travel Back in Time with Homeschool in the Woods Project Passport Ancient Greece! {REVIEW}

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

Have you any idea how much I adore Homeschool in the Woods? I have a friend who has used these products for years, and she kept posting pictures of these amazingly beautiful works of art that she called history projects. I was like, "yeah...whatever...schoolwork.  Mmmhmm sure..." She convinced me that I HAD to try it for myself. We love hands on learning, so I thought..."Hey, why not give it a go?" And then . . . we were hooked! So now you can probably imagine my sheer joy and excitement when I saw Homeschool in the Woods newest addition, Ancient Greece, was up for review! And then you can probably imagine the squeal of delight I had when I found out I was chosen for the review! 

For this review, we received 1 digital download for HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

What is it?

So, what in the world is Homeschool in the Woods, anyway? It is an amazingly awesome history program that has hands on, fun projects, that end up resulting in nothing short of a work of art to be shared and enjoyed with your family and friends. You can create a scrapbook binder of sorts called a Scrapbook of Sights, or you can create really cool Lapbooks, OR you can do Both! Betcha can't guess what direction we take HAHA! Ancient Greece uses the same great techniques as all of the others before it to teach the history of Ancient Greece using fun "stops" that take your child on an epic adventure through time.

Each lesson is arranged in Stops. And each Stop is planned out for you so that you just read over your Travel Itinerary and print what is needed for each stop. There are also text pages that give a narrative of the lesson. In addition to that, there are recommended books that you can read for even more learning fun. This product is very Charlotte Mason friendly, if you like that method. If you tend to veer to a different teaching method, such as classical or traditional, then this is STILL a good product for you because you can really work it in to any curriculum type. I know some who even use it as their stand alone backbone history core, and supplement with additional reading along the way.

How we used it:

Last year we reviewed Project Passport The Middle Ages so we were able to skip over much of Stop 1. Much of Stop 1 consists of creating your Travel Case and Passport. Here's a photo from when we created that before, since there was no reason to redo it. That's the neat thing about these sets, you can can keep going with them and add to your travel case! 

Now, it really depends on your preference how you want to initially proceed. I like to have everything printed and ready to go. So I first printed out everything I needed for the first 5 stops, including the text pages. Then, I arrange everything together with the supplies needed. This way, if Mr. B wants to do more than  one stop in a day, we can. Sometimes we will work on the same 2 stops over the course of a couple of weeks, reading the text and recommended books, and even finding our own things online. So the first day was spent with Mr. B coloring the Scrapbook of Sights cover page and a few other things, like timeline pieces, and me printing and organizing. After that, we read the text out loud and did some work on post cards and the timeline. The timeline is really cool if you print it front and back the way the directions tell you to do, and then use packing tape to tape it together in a certain way. This allows for it to unfold and stretch out. But  . . . I'm not nearly that awesome and coordinated, so I just printed it on one side only, and 3 hole punch the whole thing. It still works HAHA. Now, if you are not directionally challenged like me, and you can figure out which way to turn your pages so that they print correctly, then I highly recommend doing it the way the directions suggest to make it more awesome! Anyway, here are a few photos of our coloring work from Stop 1 and 2. 

Before you get started, I HIGHLY recommend you pick up tape, double sided tape, packing tape, glue/glue sticks, scissors, maybe even an exacto knife, crayons, colored pencils, file folders, card stock in white and other colors, and lots of plain printer paper. We use a laser jet printer, so printing is fairly cheap for us. If you use an ink jet, you may want to think about adding ink to the supply list. This does require a LOT of printing. Now, we typically skip the colored cardstock. I have it, but I'd rather have a white background and color everything else. I can see the use for it to cut down on time with things like the post card stand, etc. But for us, I usually just grab a pack of white or off white.

I separate stops in folders or page protectors, and of course you need a colored folder for your travel case. If you're not new to Homeschool in the Woods, then you know the basic supplies you will need for the projects.

Now that I think about it, if they would offer a printed version of there history studies, that'd be FANTASTIC! Maybe something like a bound printed version so that people who can't print, or whatever, can buy THAT version instead. Dear Homeschool in the Woods powers that be, Come up with a pre-printed version of your amazingly awesome products! I'd be all for that!  That would be awesome! I personally do not mind the printing, and having a digital or disk copy is great for those who may wish to use this with more than one student. BUT...having only 1 child, I am pretty sure I'd definitely buy a pre-printed version! 

If you are unsure about anything, be sure to go to the product page and scroll down a bit to the tab that says Download Sample. HINT: It looks like this: 

There you can download a sample that includes bits from throughout so you can get a feel for how the set up is, etc. There is also a sample of an audio clip as the program does include audio bits, as well. 

Our Thoughts:

We LOVE it! It is the perfect program for us. We were able to skip over the travel case making part, which bumped us up a day or two, and it is fun to keep adding the travel "stickers" to the case. I think next time I'd like to print the timeline figures and other stick on things like that on adhesive paper so Mr. B can place them like stickers. I think it'd make for a much more polished look, overall. Mr. B really likes reading the text pages, and I find he reads them back to himself even after we've completed a stop. We keep them compiled in a binder, and I plan to bind them together in a book format to go along with our finished Scrapbook of Sights and travel case. The Lessons are in depth enough to cover a good deal of material, and there's plenty of room left for self exploration if you choose to go deeper into that lesson's topic. Mr. B never complains, and even asks to do his Homeschool in the Woods school work. It is fun, and not "school" like to him, at all. I even enjoy doing the projects with him. It is printing intensive, so keep that in mind. But it is WELL worth it!

Mr. B really likes working with the timeline, and adding all of the elements to the time line. He also LOVES the newspaper now! Before, it was a struggle to get him to write on the newspaper pages but now, he loves it. It's one of his favorite activities. He also really liked the Trojan Horse activity, and has made his own versions several times!

I really like constructing the Greek Columns of Stop 3, and all of the post cards. I get so tickled over the post cards! HAHA! I like how cumulative it is, too. The timeline, newspaper, and map are all things you keep adding to over the course of the study. That means your child sees previous work in addition to current work, for great retention. Overall, Homeschool in the Woods Project Passport Ancient Greece is a home run for us! 

Does Homeschool in the Woods Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

The lessons build upon each other, so I do not suggest skipping stops. You can modify in the sense that you can choose what to do at each stop. You don't have to complete every single activity, and you don't have to do the recommended reading. We like to stretch it out longer, and use it for a longer period of time, so we delve deeper that others. You can complete this in just a couple of months, or you can make it last longer. It's up to you. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There are no hidden fees since this is either a digital download or a physical disk (they offer both, we were given the digital download.) You will need to supply the basic supplies yourself. This particular study will cover a very wide range of grades. Mr. B is 5th-6th in most things, but I can easily see a high schooler doing this program and enjoying it just the same. 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

For us, this is perfect the program for autism and ADHD. It is hands on, fun, and creative. Lessons can be as short as you want. You can complete an entire stop in a day, or you can spend a week or so doing it. It's up to you, which makes it great for autism and ADHD. I find this to be very grounding for Mr. B, and on the days when we can't do anything else, he is easily able to sit down, focus, and enjoy Homeschool in the Woods. We have even used lessons as party games! Not even kidding! 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This would be great for any study on Ancient History. 

Please check out what the other members of The Homeschool Review Crew had to say! Not only did we review Ancient Greece, but other Crew Members received The Middle Ages, Ancient Egypt, And Renaissance and Reformation. So be sure to visit their blogs and read up on the other great studies! 

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews
Social Media:



Twitter @HSintheWoods
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lots of Notebooking Pages!

My son is BEGGING Me to print off more Notebooking Page from! This is by far our most used resource! The Lifetime Membership gives you full access FOREVER! Right now, he's working on some planet pages, and when he's finished with that we are going to print off these GREAT Valentine's Day pages And some President's Day pages! The Valentine's and President's Day pages are free right now, as are some new Donald Trump pages. So be sure to check them out!

Don't these look fantastic?! I included links above, so you can grab these freebies and check out all of the wonderful products at

Notebooking Pages Free Membership

**Post contains affiliate links. These links do not cost you anything extra at all, they just give me a small commission for any order placed through my links.**                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Two Suitors for Anna REVIEW

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Two Suitors for Anna
Author: Molly Jebber
Genre: Amish Historical Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2017
two-suitorsIn 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for and a new, very different future…
Since Anna Plank moved to Berlin, Ohio, with her widowed mamm and two schweschders, she’s found a real sense of belonging. As soon as her beloved Noah Schwartz proposes, they’ll begin a new chapter here together. But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves.
Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share…
Praise for Molly Jebber’s Change of Heart
“Endearing characters and a delightful story make this a keeper for fans of Amish romance.” –Emma Miller

“This is a wonderfully written historical romance with Amish and Englisch characters who are loveable and considerate of others. The storyline is believable and heartwarming. Jebber is a talented author.” –RT Book Reviews

My Thoughts:

This is an overall sweet, and well written book. It's charming love story that includes deep characters who evolve throughout the book. I like the interactions between the characters, and the author's style is easy to follow, and easy to read. There was a good balance of dialogue vs. description. I didn't find myself "on the edge of my seat" with this book. It's an over all nice, well written book. 

About the Author

6-10-2016-close-head-shotMolly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.
She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!

Guest Post from Molly Jebber

What prompted Two Suitors for Anna?
Have you had to choose between two men you love? Or maybe a friend?  I gave Anna this dilemma and added to her turmoil by throwing in a bundle of twists and turns to the story.
Noah proposes to Anna, and he takes her rejection as hesitation and leaves town. Daniel moves to Berlin and offers her friendship which is blossoming into something more, when Noah returns and asks her forgiveness and another chance. I hope you enjoy it!

Blog Stops

January 31: cherylbbookblog
January 31: Giveaway Lady
January 31: Bibliophile Reviews
February 1: A Greater Yes
February 2: Lane Hill House
February 2: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 3: Just Commonly
February 3: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 4: Jeanette’s Thoughts
February 4: Bigreadersite
February 5: Quiet Quilter
February 6: Ashley’s Bookshelf
February 7: Pause for Tales
February 8: Splashes of Joy
February 9: Christian Bookaholic
February 9: Eat, Read, Teach Blog
February 10: inklings and notions
February 11: Carpe Diem
February 12: Donna’s BookShelf
February 13: autism mom
February 14: A Holland Reads


kindle fire
To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a Kindle Fire HD. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

**I received this free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Monday, February 13, 2017

Air Fryer

Don't even finish reading this....just go get one. Seriously. I just used mine for the first time and OH MY GOODNESS! I LOVE IT!

Friday, February 10, 2017


This has been one crazy winter. I really long for a good, and I mean GOOD, snow storm.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Times Tables the Fun Way REVIEW

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}
Times Tables can be tough for any kid to learn. I remember being in 3rd grade and dreading that walk to the teacher's desk to recite them level by level each week. 9's and 12's were the hardest for me! Times Tables the Fun Way takes away that dread with their fun Times Alive program! Times Alive features online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way, making it easier for your child to remember their times tables! 

For this review, we received a 3-Month Subscription to Times Alive.

The program is easy to run and install. Once you do that, you simply click login. Here's a catch though: You MUST use the exact same spelling, etc. on the login name each time or else your progress isn't saved. So, lets say you sign your child in as Johnny, and the next day they sign in as johnny. Well, there's no individual log in for each child, so Johnny and johnny would be seen as two different students, and the progress would not be the same. We found this out the hard way when Mr. B used a lowercase B by mistake! He had completed nearly 1/3 of the program, and we lost it until I realized his error. If the developers could maybe incorporate different login names with passwords, I think that'd be fantastic. Otherwise, be sure to write down your login name that you choose so you can be sure to get it right each time. 

This is where you need to type in your name. So be sure you get it right each time. 

Once you are logged in, you come to a screen where you can choose your level. I've included screen snips to show all of the levels. This program goes through the 9's, which covers nearly all of the basic times tables. 

You do not need to go in order. You can start anywhere you like, or move around as you see fit. That makes this a really nice way to fill in gaps on some of those pesky numbers that are tripping up your child. For this review, I took screen shots of the 0's level, since that is where we chose to start just to see the fun videos! 

As you can see here, the videos are colorful and animated. They are short in duration. Following the videos there are various activities that take you through each level of the times tables. This could be a handful of equations to work, a timed exercise to test what they know, or even a fun coloring sheet that represents the number they are learning. 

The lessons are designed in such a way that they cover each level of the times tables, and offer review, too. Lesson 6 covers 7x7, but it also goes back to 3x4, 8x8, and 3x3. 

Progress is noted by the yellow symbols. There is a key that shows you what to expect for the lesson, and to track progress. A full yellow circle indicates completion. A half circle indicates your child viewed the lesson. 

Our Thoughts:
Mr. B really  had a lot of fun with this. A typical student will spend about a month to learn all of their times tables. He already knew some of his very well, actually better than I thought he did. So we only spent a couple of weeks until he had completed the 18 lessons. He actually did lessons 1-4 in the first day, then after that he did 2 lessons a day. We would go over the ones he had trouble with, and I would have him redo those until he mastered them. He is still a little slow on recall at times, but it varies between the numbers. So he may stumble over 9x4 right now and hit 5x4 with ease only to stumble over 5x4 a few minutes later, but get 9x4 with ease. So I don't think it has anything to do with his lack of understanding or lack of knowledge with his times tables any longer, but more of a memory thing, maybe attributed to his special needs. 

He really had fun with the shortened equations, and the timed drills. The coloring sheets were of course a hit with him! Ok Ok, I admit it, I liked them, too!  The duration of the lessons is great for autism and ADHD. They are colorful, but not distracting. And they are not long in time, so your child's attention doesn't have time to wander off. The amount of practice work that is featured in the program is a good amount for the program, but if you child is just learning you may find you want or need more. But for the program, it's a good fit. Mr. B never argued or acted as if he didn't enjoy doing the practice work, and he would have had there been a large amount. Overall, this worked very well for us, and I have already recommended it to others. 

Does Times Tables the Fun Way Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

Since this is an online subscription, you are limited to the duration of the subscription. Other than that, you can jump ahead, take breaks, and skip as needed. It is very easy to use, and fits our hectic schedule nicely.  

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There are NO hidden fees. There really isn't a grade level. It's times tables through the 9's. You have access to all 18 levels, which will cover you all the way through 9x9. 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

It's not boring at all, and quite varied. I really like how the repeated numbers are spread out the way they are. This gives your child more time to absorb new material, and really tests whether or not they have retained the material. The lessons are short, and do not last long at all. It is colorful, and fun, but not overly distracting. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is only multiplication tables. Nothing more than that. 

Please check out The Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say!

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}
Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}
Connect with Times Tales the Fun Way on Social Media



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Sunday, February 5, 2017


Holy Moly what a game!

When Last We Spoke REVIEW and GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

I'm not really sure how to write up this review. I mean, I really, REALLY wanted to love this book. I was so excited to receive, and then I started reading it. I just couldn't get into it. to me, it felt like it was all over the place with no real plot. No climax, no conflict, no resolution. Yes, I get the conflict part would be the sisters and their relationship, but that's pretty much it. It's like listening to family stories that concern people I don't know. The bulk of the book is spent retelling memories of Juliet and Evangeline growing up. The characters are very lifelike, and well developed. You do get a sense of "knowing" the family. You resent their mother for being selfish and not seeing the girls. At one point Juliet talks about how all she wanted was their mother to visit from New York.  I grew to loathe her grandmother. Such a stark, nasty woman like that just annoys me. But the problem with the characters, is that there are just too many of them. There are so many stories, and the stories concern so many in the town, that I had a hard time keeping up with the additions and subtractions of the actors. The writing is good. I just didn't care for the storyline like I thought I would. 

About When We Last Spoke (from the back cover):
"Humor, heartbreak, and triumph are served with whipped cream and lots of local nuts in this heartwarming tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness in Fireside, Texas.
Meet Juliet Cranbourne, local radio personality and owner of a whimsical kitchen gadget store, and her sister Evangeline, a fruit tree geneticist who works for Oregon State University.
When a rift due to their orphaned past affects their sisterhood, Juliet convinces Evangeline to come home for Christmas and choose headstones to honor grandparents Walt
(a tenderhearted, good looking rancher) and Ruby (a blue-ribbon fiddler, fabulous cook, and expert in the art of making family feel loved). As they cruise through Fireside in Ruby's
Thunderbird, Juliet hopes that healing memories will somehow smooth rough roads ahead.
Does the tremendous love that marked Walt and Ruby's lives still have the power to renew their sisterhood and help them find their place in the world?"

Page count: 232
Retail price: $11.38

About the author:
Marci Henna was born in Austin, Texas and lived as a child in Kenya, East Africa with the Wakamba tribe where her parents managed a medical research station. She later moved to the Hill Country ranch which has been in the family since the 1800's and currently lives in Austin.

Social Corner:
Facebook (
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Buy: Softcover (

Kindle (

Trailer on YouTube (

The author is also hosting a FREE KINDLE Giveaway from Feb. 20-24th on Amazon, so be sure to check that out for your chance to win!

* I received this free in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own, or those of my family.**

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Review of The Art of CursiveLogic

If you remember, a while back I had the chance to review the cursive writing program called CursiveLogic. This program seeks to make cursive writing easier to learn and teach by using a color coding method, and breaking the steps down to their fundamental units. This is a really great program to use to teach special needs learners the art of cursive writing. Well, the great folks at CursiveLogic just developed a new adult coloring book that is currently on Kickstarter right now!

This coloring book uses the same repetitive strokes learned in the workbook to create the beautiful images of the coloring pages. This is GREAT for older students to practice, and even those who can already write in cursive. I have been writing in cursive for years and years, and I found a lot of enjoyment out of this book so far!

Beyond that, as you can see the image above, there is additional cursive practice, making this a fun, and educational book to have.

The pages are beautifully designed and illustrated, and the patterns provide a lot of practice with smaller letter shapes, and fine motor skills. You must turn the page this way and that, which also leads to more proficient writing skills, especially for those with special needs who may forget to turn their page when writing.

Overall, I am really impressed with the CursiveLogic coloring pages I received to review. So please check them out on their Kickstarter campaign, and see what a great book this is!

**I received this this book through CursiveLogic in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

Upcoming review love....

In the coming weeks I'll be bringing you a review from By the Way Books. I just have to say that my son has spent hours this evening reading this book, relaying facts, etc. I'd say this is more than a winner!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pillsbury Easy Fruit Pizza (with my own tweak) is AMAZING!

Look up Easy Fruit Pizza on Pillsbury's site, and this image will pop up. I was wanting an easy treat for our annual New Years Even game night, and decided to make this. Of course, I had no fruit dip and had no idea how to make it exactly. I didn't know this recipe was on the site, so I had to improvise on my own.

What I used:

1 roll of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie from the refrigerator section.

1 block of cream cheese

1 cup (ish) Brown Sugar

1 tsp (ish) real vanilla extract

Fruit: Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, apples, bananas, raspberries, grapes. You could use any combination or fruit of your choice. You could even drizzle some dark chocolate or caramel over this.

I pressed the sugar cookie in to a parchment lined cookie sheet to form a pizza crust. I baked it following the directions. I allowed the cookie crust to cool completely, then I mixed the sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese until it was well mixed I spread it in evenly, then topped with the chopped up and sliced fruit. It was AMAZING!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Managing the Chaos of Homeschooling and Life

I am often asked, "How do you do it all?" How do I manage homeschooling, homemaking, "me time," doctor's appointments, photography, and still maintain some semblance of sanity? How do I prioritize and make sure EVERYTHING gets done?!

We get caught up in wanting to make sure everything is Pinterest perfect, and when we fail in those endeavors, we get caught in a vicious cycle. At least I do. I want the house to be perfect. I want it to be "white glove ready." How many see photos their friends post and think, "WOW! Their house is so clean! Why can't I get my floors that shiny, my shelves that neat?" Etc...etc...etc. How many see photos their friends post and think, "Thank God I'm not the only one with a dirty bathroom mirror right now!" **RAISES HAND** I am so guilty of this! Just the other day a friend posted a photo and there was a basket of laundry in the background and I felt such a huge sense of relief. And it was that moment that got me thinking, WHY?! Why in the world do I need to validate myself, my home, and my abilities based off of a picture with a basket of dirty laundry in the background?

I was recently told that I was too stubborn, and it was going to kill me. Why? Because I try to do everything on my  own. I am too proud I guess? to ask for help, or to admit that I need help. I've spent the last week+ trying to get my house in order, and Pinterest perfect, for an appraiser to come. I find such difficulty in managing the chaos of homeschooling and homemaking, and finding my rhythm and routine. Couple that with health issues, and housework is neglected because I just can't do it all on my own. So after this week of refinishing stairs, redoing trim, touch up painting, my mom comes by and says, "Your house is fine, and it was fine before. Why are you doing all of this? Just do a bit of surface cleaning and you're fine." I just sat there in shock. Complete, and total, shock. WHAT? The house is fine?! Then she started telling me how I can't do it all alone. I have Mr. B to teach and homeschool, I have his health issues to deal with, on top of multiple appointments weekly. I have my own health issues. It's no wonder I'm overly stressed. She said it was ok to ask for help. So I did. Now my house is appraiser ready, I feel a lot better, and we are on our way to a new routine.

The way I manage the chaos is by admitting I can't do it all alone. It's by developing a routine. And it's by letting go of the Pinterest Mentality that everything has to be showroom perfect, all of the time. That's the first, and most important step. You can't do it alone.

Next, I plan. Yes, I am a planner. I love using my Hey Mama! planner, and find it a straight up necessity! There is no way at all I could manage all of our appointments if I didn't have one place to keep them all down. I can easily keep down days, times, doctors, and even directions. It's really a great tool for me to have.

I also try to streamline my time by accomplishing multiple things. If we have to go to the children's hospital, especially if it requires an overnight stay, I try to get as much done in the area as possible. There are a few grocery stores I like in the area, there may be times I can schedule appointments so that they work together, and we usually do our science center or zoo trips at this time, too.

Socks. Ok, I know that's crazy, but socks create Chaos for me. I toss out nearly ALL of our socks, and I went to the store and I bought several packs of all matching socks. So I no longer have to sit there trying to find mates. I hate that. Ohhh how I hate that! Life is so much easier now. But that's the key, it doesn't matter if it is socks, or something else, that causes your chaos-identify it and find a way to streamline it. Maybe it's meals? If so, a meal plan like FreezEasy may be just the thing you need. Money issues hit us all, and it can be a headache trying to keep track of bills. That could be your chaos? I worked hard to get to where we pay all of the bills at one time each month. If you can't do that, try to set it up through your bank account to pay automatically so that you don't have that stress. I work out monthly budgets 3 months at a time, so that I know what money we have each month. I told ya, I'm a planner.

Now, on to the neglected part: Housework. I need help here. I let go of the notion that my house has to be museum and show room ready all of the time. And, I ask for help. I ask for help from Mr. B, I get help from M., and I get help from family as they offer, or as I need. Who cares that my master closet is overstuffed? Am I in there enough to really be bothered by it? Nope. I'm not. One day it won't be so stuffed.

I also have a schedule for cleaning. Mondays and Sundays are major purge days since trash night is Monday night. Tuesday is my deep cleaning/surface cleaning day since I have all of the junk out of the way. Then each day after that I dedicate to a particular zone or area, tackling something "project" like once a week or sometimes once a month, if it's a big one like refinishing stairs.

No one is perfect, and pictures are manipulated into making us feel less than what we are-even when it comes to our homes. It's ok to ask for help, and it's ok to not be "Pinterest Perfect."

What is your chaos, and how do you manage it? Leave me a comment and let me know!