Cooking with Julie

this is how I cook with Julie

this is how I cook with Julie

I have a new obsession…Periscope.

I learned about Periscope from the Brave Writer Blog.  The amazing woman behind Brave Writer is Julie Bogart. I’m a total homeschool fangirl for Julie!!! Total fangirl!! I admit it, I own it. Not ashamed of it! (Full Disclosure: I am a total homeschool fangirl for Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books and Dr. J Wile’s science).

Julie and her entire approach to homeschooling has changed my life. She’s changed how I see homeschooling and more importantly my relationship with each of my children. Over the past six months I have slowly blended Brave Writer techniques into our homeschool. We adapt just one practice at a time. We’ve added Arrows to our read-aloud time together. This coming week we will add Friday Freewrites. We’ve talked about Poetry Tea-time and have poetry books chosen to share together. After Christmas our Poetry Tea-time will morph into Tea with Shakespeare. My kids are excited about writing, literature, poetry, Shakespeare and being together.

We just moved into a beautiful new home. The move was tough on the kids and us parents. This move and the reasons we moved cut and exposed our vulnerable souls. For the kids and I homeschooling became a peaceful oasis for us to escape the turmoil. The kids always asked for their Brave Writer Arrow first. We were reading the book Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes and working through the accompanying Arrow from Brave Writer. We chose spelling words, worked on French Dictation, cursive copywork and learned all about personification. We all cried over this book and fell deeper in love with homeschooling. Many times the only schooling we managed to fit in to our hectic days was our Arrow and Oldest’s book Robin Hood from Beautiful Feet Books Intermediate Medieval study. When the day comes that I no longer homeschool because my children are grown and gone…I will never be able to part with Ginger Pye and Robin Hood (worst ending ever!!!). Never ever. Those two books represent a terrible and beautiful time of growth and homeschooling maturity for me. I found my confidence and the courage to tell anyone where to go and what to kiss if they do not like the way I homeschool…the way I live…my family’s chosen lifestyle.

My newest obsession is Periscope. Several times a week I can listen to a few broadcasts and feel encouraged and equipped to live my enchanted homeschooling experience. Julie Bogart often broadcasts at 4:00 pm Eastern time. This is the time I begin cooking dinner. So I just prop my phone up on the stove and listen to her while I cook. I love that time. I love the feeling of connection with the rest of the homeschooling community. Sometimes I need to re-listen to the scopes later in the evening so I can write a few notes. All of the broadcasts can be found on Katch!

Here are the links to a few of my favorites:

Julie Bogart All of her scopes are worth the time!! My faves: You Are the Sky, Unschool Undefined and Party Like a Homeschooler

Life on PEI She does not have very many up yet but I like them all

Amongst Lovely Things Isn’t she just cute!!! I could listen to her all day. Love the Nitty Gritty on Spiral Notebooks

Cristina Grau I’ve been reading her blog for years!!! Kinda awesome to hear her voice!

Do you know of a great Periscope to listen to? Please share!!!


I know how he feels...

I know how he feels…

Every fall (for the past twenty years or more) I take antihistamines for my ragweed allergy for about eight weeks. No big deal. At least I didn’t think so.

This year when I stopped taking Allegra-D I started suffering withdrawal symptoms. I had no idea antihistamines were addictive!!! I felt sick at first and had an awful headache the first day. Then the infernal itching started. I itch everywhere!!! Eyes, tongue, throat, in my ears, palms, feet, everywhere. The itching is truly horrendous. The sort of itching that makes you want to shred your skin. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I look and feel like the victim of an angry cat.

Other symptoms include chills, headaches, nausea, upset stomach, and just plain scatterbrained. I’m supposed to be unpacking this house but I just couldn’t yesterday. I would pick up an item and have just no idea what to do. I’m clueless about many things…not usually about the items I own. Except for the itching today has been better. The kids and I put together a useable school room today. Even though everything is still a mess in the house we are getting back to school tomorrow. I have enough material for the next two weeks or so. By then we should have our book shelves up and the room completely unpacked.

Sadly, I’ll still be itching. According to the experts I’ll suffer for the next two to four weeks!!!! Today is only the third day. I could buy another package of the pills and cut them in half to reduce the symptoms. But I am a little too angry to give the company more money when there was nothing in their literature about addiction.

Maybe the Lord will look down on my suffering and lessen my time in this purgatory.

Now, I need to figure out how to handle my allergies for next fall. There must be a natural way.

Sunday Journal: Move-in Week

dinner out

dinner out

This past week feels like the longest week of my life. Not that the time has gone by slowly but that so much has happened it feels more like two weeks instead of just one. I’ve lost an entire season with this move. Summer should not be in the past. Autumn should be a month or two away…not today. Hopefully by Thanksgiving I will be adjusted to this new town, new home…

I feel lost…just a bit. I keep getting lost in my house…my home. At night I still dream of my old home in western Kentucky. The dream has been recurring since we drove away last Saturday (really…just eight days ago?) In the dream I am desperately trying to find something. I think it is a toy from my childhood…a treasure lost long ago. My favorite stuffed animal, a dog

kids working on school while we buy a new home

kids working on school while we buy a new home

named Doogan. I’m desperate to find it but every room is packed full of boxes. The rooms keep changing to different rooms I’ve lived I over the years. I know that if I can find the room I lived in Louisiana then I’ll be able to find Doogan and save him before my parents throw him away.

I always wake up a little freaked-out and clueless to my current location. Moving messes with my psyche.  Alas, I’ll never find my poor Doogan. During one of our last moves with the military my Dad let the neighbor kids go through my bedroom and take anything they wanted. Doogan was a casualty that awful day. Totally sucks. I guess that’s why I have a hard time making my kids cull their mountains of toys. Just for fun I decided to look him up on Google and found him on eBay!

the movers are here!!!

the movers are here!!!

Tuesday we walked through the house with the builders. I had to drive to Frankfort from Lexington by myself that afternoon. But first I had to look up my address on and then consult with Google Maps for directions. I loaded the kids into the van and managed to get to the house without getting lost. That was the first time I ever managed to drive someplace new without getting lost. When we moved to western Kentucky I got lost several times. On Wednesday we bought the house. I was so nervous. The kids did school work during the signing. the sat in the floor and were very good and quiet. Everyone remarked on how well our children behaved.

Early Thursday morning the movers arrived. They took all day to unload everything. We’ve been unpacking ever since. It took two days to unpack the kitchen. All I want to do is clean the house but I cannot until all of the boxes are gone. We’ve been unpacking ever

Littlest in a box!

Littlest in a box!

since and I hope to be done by the end of the week. Hopefully we will be cleaning the house by next weekend.

I had planned to gradually start school this coming week. However, the neighborhood kids are on Fall Break this week. I think we will just work on math and them I’ll turn the kids loose to play outside with their new friends. Sparkles cried everyday before we moved…she was so sad. She met her new best friend the day we moved in!! A lovely young girl who lives on the street behind us. I am so very happy for Sparkles. Middle Boy and Littlest also have children their own age to play with as well. Awesome!

My husband has truly spoiled me with this home. I never imagined nor hoped to live in something so beautiful and elegant. I am blessed beyond my ability to express my gratitude for such a gift. I’m still surprised I live here…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


We went through the house today with the builders. I was a litter overwhelmed trying to decided who gets which room and where everything will go. Tomorrow we will make the purchase. Finally on Thursday morning (bright and early) Carl and crew (the movers) will return with all of our things.

Sunday Journal: In Between

the empty school room...I cried

the empty school room…I cried

I am so very glad the moving away part of this adventure is now in the past. The week was hard for me…for all of us. Sparkles cried nearly every day. Several times Littlest was curled up on the floor clutching his Doggy and sucking his thumb. He took his anger out on the movers a couple of times! Fortunately the three men that spent nearly four days packing our things were kind and understanding.

Everyday this past week friends visited, brought us lunch, or invited us over for dinner. I am richly blessed with beautiful friends. Lovely people who accept me just as I am with all of my flaws. I missed them before I ever left their presence…

the movers arrive

the movers arrive

As the movers packed everything away I watched my home turn into an empty house. That hurt. I’ve always been happy to move in the past. New adventures, places and faces. I thought this house would be my forever home on this earth…at least until the children were grown and gone. I grew so much in my faith…and as a woman. I became stronger and more vulnerable. I found a best friend…a unique love I have never experienced before. I grew here and dared to spread roots for the first time in my life…so no wonder leaving is painful.

I would not change these experiences for the world.

Last night I left my home and followed my husband’s Mustang to Lexington…to our lovely “home between home”. At one point he lost me on the trip. I got caught up in traffic and mini-vans do not hug curves like Mustangs. I totally freaked out and cried…and cried. I knew the way to

We love you Suzann

We love you Suzann

the apartment but freaked out anyway. He didn’t leave me behind and slowed down until I could catch-up. He is amazing and puts up with my insecurities with loving patience. I just adore him.

This week I finally get to see the new house! I am looking forward to walking through the door. I haven’t been inside of it since I was sure I wouldn’t choose to live there!! My husband has sent pictures all month of the progress. This week the house should be done! I hope to see the movers again before the week is out…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Summer’s End

one last picture...

one last picture…

I wrote this a few of days ago with every intention to delete or seriously revise. I’ve decided to keep it. These moments are mine and I choose to own them. I couldn’t sleep the night before the movers arrived…so I wrote.

Thoughts on a closing chapter

This morning I am an emotional bundle of nerves. My hands shake, spilling coffee.  I can’t stand the smell of my toast. Nausea is settling in. I am burning on the inside and chilled with goosebumps. I can feel my pulse in my neck and wrists. My heart feels like it has been squeezed into my throat. Times like this when my emotions are all at once and too many to capture I find overwhelming. I feel like I will be lost under their weight.

I am angry and hurt. Today I feel the rejection this move represents to me. I’ve kept it stuffed in the darker periphery of unacknowledged thoughts. To be rejected is painful…humiliating.

Now my chest feels tight around my breath…

I abandon my crappy coffee. I’m wearing a good portion of it anyway.  Life is too short for crappy coffee. I head outside to get myself together since it is almost time to get the kids up. Watching the sun rise I realize it is the last day of summer. The morning is also cold enough that I can see my breath. I still feel hot and a little dizzy. Maybe I have a fever too…

My anger is defensive. It would be so easy to just wallow in its poison. I’ve been here before. I’ve already faced this fear, wrestled with it until my soul bled. I was a daughter when they wanted a son. I was physical gratification to the one man who should have loved me enough to protect me. I’ve already accepted being unwanted or an object…garbage to be thrown away. What I am feeling now is a shadow of a past hurt. This current situation just brought these old wounds to the surface. That’s all. Truth dispels my anger and hurt. I’m just sad now and confused. I’m not sure what I did or said to cause the shunning from the family. I guess I am too honest and suck at being fake. Oh…and I pour it all out in words on this page.

I won’t quit writing.

My story didn’t end with my own family’s rejection. Jesus found me and kept me. He doesn’t throw His children away. He accepts me with all of my ugly flaws, bad decisions and brokenness. He doesn’t take those things away…He makes them beautiful. He hasn’t abandoned me this time either. Looking back I can see He sent other loving people into my life. I am blessed.

bunny therapy

bunny therapy

These are my thoughts while I gather carrots and weeds for the bunnies. I am grateful my friend brought them back to us this week. She will collect them again soon and care for them while we prepare a new home for them. Today the bunnies are here. I thank God for my friend and sweet bunnies. I thank Him for this beautiful morning even though I feel like falling apart. I ask Him for strength knowing it is already mine.

The bunnies greet me all excited for their treats. They are so cute standing on their hind legs looking up at me. I really enjoy this moment…when they run to me. For whatever reason these creatures are a balm to my inner turmoil. I wonder if the Lord meant for bunnies to be so therapeutic. I wonder what they must have been like in The Garden before man’s fall.

I remember and miss my grumpy cat. I cry for her and hope she is well.

I’m exhausted from examining all of these emotions. I want to go to bed now but it is time to get the kids up. The movers will be here soon. My insides still feel like jello but I am calmer now. Confident in God’s grace for today.

I miss my husband. We’ve lived separately for nearly a month now. I’m quit certain that living apart from him is detrimental to my mental and physical stability. He’ll be here at the end of the week. Of all the gifts I have ever received in my life my husband is the most wonderful. Together we will leave this house. The years of our life together here are closing. A new chapter with new adventures is opening to us now.

I’m ready to turn the page.

Welcome_Sign (400x200)

Sunday Journal: Keeping it Brief


I am without my computer this week. We took it to our apartment…our place to stay while living between homes.

Last week at the apartment was just wonderful.  With little to do otherwise we put in a full week of school for the first time since July. The kids (and me too) were so happy to do something normal again! In later years I think they will always recall their time there fondly. We finished up our first Brave Writer Arrow and loved it. I will be ordering more of those once we get settled. These are a language arts and writing curriculum based on living literature…very Charlotte Mason.  Each arrow is based on a novel and includes copy work, grammar, poetry,literary element and a writing exercise. I also chose spelling words for them. We loved the book (Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes) and I especially loved the wonderful conversations the book sparked.


In science we finally got to the section on human reproduction.  I’m not going to share too much about it…I have been asking the kids what they think various parts of anatomy are for before studying. I’ve enjoyed their creative musings. I hadn’t planned on asking this time but they jumped right in with their theories anyway. I chose to hide my face behind the book. HA! When I asked them to define puberty Sparkles pouted with a “no fun” comment. Oldest defined this time of change as “the art of becoming an adult.” Sparkles gave him one of her famous “you are out of your mind” looks that only she can give. Well, her Dad can  too…she gets it from him.


During the week we took Oldest and Sparkles to Joseph-Beth to pick out some books for their upcoming birthdays.  Sparkles picked out a few of those Warrior cat books she is crazy about these days. Oldest found a Minecraft book he has wanted for a while. He then went to the history section and picked out a book on the Plantagenet’s. I think that makes him a bit of a history buff…officially. Later in the week we joined some long time friends at the mall for dinner. While walking around the shops I introduced Sparkles to Godiva chocolate! She chose a white chocolate pistachio ganache. I figured she needed some real chocolate after all of the reproduction and puberty talk earlier that day. I know I needed some.

Yesterday Sparkles turned ten. Today Oldest turned twelve. Due to the move we put off making birthday cakes and special dinners for them. I felt really bad for them. However, the awesome Mrs. S had cupcakes for them when we arrived at her home for piano lessons! She keeps us happily spoiled…

This week we are back at the house. I’ll be half crazy managing plumbers, movers, electricians and whoever else shows up.