There’s a bunch of religious crap in  a lot of the Bible curriculum that’s out there so we’ve found it easier to use the Bible itself to explain the principals we want our kids to know. While our Tapestry of Grace curriculum has a great Bible history perspective which is great for the timeline and factual information about the Bible, it’s best to just stick to the book the way it was intended.

We do sometimes use these awesome coloring pages while I read to the kids or we listen to a the Bible.

The top “Let My People Go” is a series of Popsicle puppets I printed off for them to color while we listened to Exodus. There are some long passages and the Picture Smart Bible pictures don’t always take long enough or cover every aspect.

There is a digital version so you can keep printing nice copies and you won’t loose a page.

Each of the kids has their own 3″ binder where they are making their own Bible and as time goes by they can add all kinds of things to it like, prayer requests and other coloring pages or drawings they make. Each of them have a special set of markers that are only used for this task, that way during Bible time we all have nice markers. I buy a bunch during back to school days and keep them hidden until we need a new one. With a 3 and 4 year old we go through alot of markers!

I printed off on card stock each of the books of the Bible. You can see II Chronicles on the dark green sheet. All the OT books are green and the NT are pink for no reason other than those where the colors I had enough of 🙂

We don’t do this every day and sometimes I forget for long stretches. Yet it’s super simple to come back to and pick up wherever we left off.

Our main focus here is learning to love your neighbor. There are so many good things the Word teaches us to do but if we forget that one single one it turns them off from what the Gospel is really about.

Remember they’ll know we are Christians by our love 🙂



Normally on Saturday I do the netflix marathon, eat chocolate and Michael waits on me hand and foot, but this week I decided to Get Stuff Done!

I meant to get up at 5:30, I told Elizabeth I was going to and I did, to go to the bathroom and then slept in until 7! After making the coffee I started the day with the jalapeno cheddar bread because it takes the longest to just sit.

bread checkThis has fresh jalapenos and a sharp cheddar.

At this point I realized that my breakfast plan, egg, sausage and cheese on rolls that I’d frozen two weeks ago, was going to be late because I forgot to take them out of the freezer the night before. No one complained about them being late because they’re delicious!

My kitchen aid doesn’t handle even one batch of bread, however this awesome Hobart $2750 used, my sister-in-law Toni gave me (gave me for free!) can hold a double batch! Just a note here that if you’re the kind of person who says yes to free things you’ll find yourself very blessed along the way. Even if you’re not certain that you want it, say yes, then pass it on to another friend.


Next came southern butter rolls with Kerry gold butter! These smell good even while they’re rising. The mixer does 4x the normal batch 🙂


Next my awesome helpers peeled 6 pounds of apples and we’re using the function stacking principle today so that we use every piece of the apple. The peels and cores are being frozen until next week when my friend Melissa is going to come over and teach us how to make our own apple cider vinegar!

Next,the delicious rolls are done! It’s hard to see in this picture but on the right side rack I have the “large” cooling rack purchased at walmart which is great for small baking projects, however the larger racks from Acemart Kitchen Supply $5 each, can hold way more baked goods


This was just in time for lunch! I packaged and froze 2 dozen rolls for next weeks wedding shower, saved 2 dozen for Easter morning the next day, and they ate up 1 1/2 dozen in about 30 minutes. These freeze great and are super easy to make.

I need turkey for the sandwiches next week so I’m baking a turkey and ham for Easter and here’s my very first BRINE! Using the Pioneer Woman’s recipe because it called for rosemary and we have tons growing. That turkey is now in the oven and I’m pretty excited about how awesome it better taste.

I think it was about noon at this time? I meant to write down the times but there you have it. In the middle of this busyness amazon delivered our jars for canning chicken in two weeks and Alexis LOVES opening all the boxes and checking everything in.


By this time the house is smelling awesome and I’ve gotten breaks from the kitchen to help Michael as he builds the stairs for the new pool deck 🙂

IMG_7647This bread is amazing and a simple thing to do even without a mixer. It doesn’t take a lot of work just resting times. I can add two cups of anything delicious to the recipe. Yesterday I made rosemary sundried tomato and put it in the freezer, except the loaf we ate right away with butter.

I started with the bread and rolls because they have rise times between 4 and 6 hours but then we began with the berries! At the local produce terminal, I got 8 packages of blueberries for $3!!! I haven’t done alot of canning but freezer space is running out so I’m learning how to do this better. We canned so much stuff when I was growing up and I remembered it being really hard, apparently the hard part is getting started and it is time consuming so my helpers helped me. Jessica pulled out all the bad berries which weren’t very many and Alexis and Jack helped with the stirring as they passed through the kitchen. Having an extra canning pot would have helped with sterilizing jars and doing the water bath for this many jars but it just took a bit longer.

We didn’t stop there! Remember all of those apples? We made some apple sauce which turned out to be one jar to can and some warm on ice cream!


I’m writing this Easter morning because I have the time! It’s really crazy but the turkey is in the oven, Alexis made the green bean casserole yesterday and I got up early and made the stuffing and au gratin potatoes. AND Jessica just brought me the most delicious pastry for breakfast! Loving the team work 🙂

So, around 3pm yesterday the almost 6 jars of blueberry syrup and single apple sauce jar are done! I still need to label all of these but we’re having gluten free pancakes tomorrow with blueberry syrup. Including the price of the jar, sugar and lemon zest this is about $2 a quart for the syrup.


Now both Michael and I were really tired. His deck stairs weren’t working out like he’d planned and I’d been on my feet a long day. We continued to GSD!

Remember we’re getting ready for Easter and nothing says, “He is Risen” like dyed eggs! This is the first time they did this and they managed to do the whole thing from set up to clean up all by themselves. Mostly because Paisley was napping 🙂


By this time it’s 4:38 exactly and the water is still hot in the canning pot AND I have 8 packages of strawberries that I got for a total of $5 and it’s time to make jam!

This turned into 28 jars of jam, well, syrup too because even though the directions said, don’t make any changes, do everything exactly like it says, I didn’t and if you know me you won’t be surprised. What I learned today is more pectin is better than less pectin. So, now we have blueberry and strawberry syrup 🙂 The great news this morning is ALL my seals sealed up. It’s such a happy pinging sound and very affirming for the work done.

So, here’s the grand finale with my little helpers!


1) Those apples made an apple pie, mincemeat pie (no meat), apple sauce, peels and cores to freeze.

2) Turkey is brined

3) Blueberry syrups

4) 5 1/2 dozen butter rolls

5) 4 loaves of jalapeno cheddar bread

6) 10 hot dog buns – forgot a picture of those, last time I tried making them they were too big and this time they’re too small so we’re going to cut the hot dogs to fit and save the pieces for wienies and beans later.

7) 18 dyed eggs

8) 28 jars of strawberry jam (whoops syrup)

9) DINNER! 7:37pm and everyone wanted to eat? So, they got toasted cheese and tomato on homemade bread. One kid asked which ones didn’t have mayonnaise to which my response was, the ones you made.

DONE and I have to say the end of the day felt way better than if I’d actually spent it being waited on while eating chocolate. My old body was SO tired but my brain was so happy.


Then this morning I woke up at my usual 5:30am and was so excited about Easter and all we’d already gotten done. I was feeling so accomplished, because we had GSD all day and I realized I have more to learn about function stacking and living a more sustainable, resilient life.

Because, then there’s this: I make and freeze turkey broth since it’s free but then I put it in this – stove top? – time to dry some of that rosemary, sun dried tomato bread for the next holiday 🙂


If you’re feeling down or discouraged, stop it, look around at all that needs done at your house and GSD!

Homemade Stuff!

Laundry Soap

Michael has allergies to strange things and we’ve been buying tide for years now. This soap lasts about the same amount of time as $17.95 worth of tide. This is significant at our house with 9 people doing laundry!

A GSD Day!

Normally on Saturday I do the netflix marathon, eat chocolate and Michael waits on me hand and foot, but this week I decided to Get Stuff Done!

Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

1 box zote $2.54

1 ½ cup baking soda $0.75

1 ½  cup washing soda (found in the grocery store with the stain removers) $1.00

1 ½  cup Borax $0.75

30 drops lavender essential oil or lemon or combo 🙂 $1.00

Total: $6.04


Dump the soap shreds in a bowl. Add other ingredients and mix to combine. The essential oil is completely optional, but does create a lovely natural (and non-headache inducing) scent.

Store in a jar or other container. We use 1 heaping tablespoon per load

Michael has allergies to strange things and we’ve been buying tide for years now. This soap lasts about the same amount of time as $17.95 worth of tide. This is significant at our house with 9 people doing laundry!


Our Curriculum

Curriculum generally comes right after “socialization” when people are thinking about homeschooling and it’s just as unimportant in the big picture as making sure you’re kid is properly socialized. When you go to research the history of education you’ll find that it generally begins at the advent of writing, as if no learning took place prior to man’s ability to write things down. If you watch the cool documentary, “How Beer Saved the World” it’s amazing all the learning that took place prior to writing stuff down. The theory in this documentary is that writing and tracking inventory began with beer and I don’t remember a whisper of that in any school I went to. What about you?

There are so many awesome things to learn about and if you’re going to homeschool make sure you put learning things over seat work and “doing school.”

All that to say we do use curriculum and we do take breaks from each of them depending on the ages and issues our individual kids are experiencing. I’m going to share on this page 1-what we use and then attach links to the 2-why we use it and 3-how we use it. When you’re asking other homeschoolers what they use make sure you include the why and how it’s being used. Tons of curriculum gets purchase with great intentions and never gets used. Let’s start with the single thing we’ve been using the longest with out changing.

Bible there have been attempts at curriculums, Awanas,  church children’s programming  but over time we’ve found that actually just reading our Bible and drawing pictures or discussing is the simplest and easiest thing to do.

Writing – 17 years ago when my oldest was 11 and I realized that I didn’t really know how to write and none of the curriculums I found were helping me as the teacher I went to the South Texas Homeschool Associations convention and decided I’d spend the day in a series of writing workshops but at the end of the first one I’d written a simple paragraph and suddenly understood the simplicity of the writing process. Andrew Pudewa, a homeschool dad and founder of Institute for Excellence in Writing is our go to for  writing. Over the years his company has continued to develop things like phonics, videos and a variety of other things we’ve used.

Math – At that same convention 17 years ago I attended a Math workshop that made sense to me, I invested for all 4 kids at a huge $$$ amount and was super excited but they kept complaining so we changed math curriculums many times up until we adopted and I told Michael that the original Math U See was what worked best for me as the teacher and it has prompts to remind you that subjects like clocks and measuring are best learned with real life application.

Science – We picked up on Apologia probably 10 years ago and have been using both the jr high/highschool level and then we added the Young Explorers series. However, the author of these books got bumped from his own company and has developed a new series that we’ll also be using, while pulling from his previous books that we own. BUT then we just stated Matt Power’s Permaculture Student and wow is that way more fun! Instead of doing experiments with marshmallows and gum drops we’re harvesting real food from our own effort!

History, Literature, Geography, Worldviews, Government, Arts & Activities- The winner is – Tapestry of Grace – I spent a year developing an  ancient roads program for our homeschool co-op and someone showed us this in 2005 and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. However, if you look it over and think you’re going to do everything listed it will eat your lunch! We pull out our favorite parts.

Languages – We’ve used some online resources and Memoria Press but none of my kids are terribly interested in languages. We’ve found languages work better in a group due to the conversational nature of the topic.

Other – that great unknown subject that your child has yet to show an interest in.

Scouting – this subject has driven much of the best of our homeschooling adventure, career development options and friendships. I’m just struggling with the structure and cost that goes with it as I’m getting older. We’ve attempted some small things but haven’t figured out how to maintain a consistent adventure with friends without having people pay. Pretty sad but . . . . maybe this problem will lead us to an awesome solution! For more than 10 years we’ve been using the above curriculum with small detours into other things. There are a few great reasons to stick with the curriculum that you purchased. 1- it’s paid for, 2-you know more about it then the new one, 3-your kids know the flow, 4-you’ve probably purchased stuff to go with it. By staying the course you are reducing both your costs and learning curve. Check out the individual links for the subjects to see the why and the  how of our homeschool.

The Homeschool 10

My plan is to add detail to each of these 10 categories! This all depends on me getting my schedule in order so I have time for this.

1-Why – Simple answer: Freedom

2-Socialization – Freedom of Association

3-Family & Marriage – Learning to find yourself

4-Finances – Freedom from Debt

5-Stress – Reducing and Handling a Different Type of Stress

6-Schedule – Enough to be Organized but not robbed of Freedom

7-Extracurricular – Think about real things that grown ups do

8-Curriculum – Low on this list for a reason

9-Highschool – WHAT? If you’ve taught for freedom they figure it out themselves

10-Transition to Life – Way more important than the highschool transcript!