Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

Oh goodness…

This post has been brewing for awhile, and it’s finally time to lay out the details for all of you- from where I’ve been lately to where I’m going.

If you’ve been a reader here on the blog for very long, you know that it’s a bit of feast-or-famine around here.  Life never, ever goes as you plan, and everytime I pull on my big girl panties, buckle down and put together my editorial calendar here on the blog, something major happens and…poof.

I’m MIA from blogging for…oh…I don’t know….say 6 months.

I have to first off say an enormous THANK YOU to those of you that have hung around and WELCOME to all of my new subscribers.  I’m so honored and excited that you’ve joined my email list and you continue visting me on facebook and instagram and leaving sweet messages.

So now, to catch you up to speed and let you know where things are going…

Here’s the short version of an incredibly long story…

In January of 2017 we knew that we needed to step in and help both of my in-laws, because their health was getting consistently worse.  By April, we had packed up our little house (that somehow held a TON of stuff) and we moved into the country and made a new life and new routine, living in the second and third stories of my in-laws’ barn house, while they occupied the bottom.  (Truly, it looks like a barn.)

We (blessedly) had a fairly unexciting summer of 2017, but in the Fall, my in-laws experienced one health crisis after another.  Lets say we were pushing 20 hospital visits in about 5 months. Oh, if only that were an exageration…But we kept truckin’…homeschooling by day and trying to maintain a semi-consistent schedule and routine.  In full disclosure, it didn’t happen.   But somehow we made it through this school year and even if we are a little rough on our Ancient History and Algebra this year, if nothing else, we learned to be flexible.

All of that lead us to this past April, and without going into great detail, we spent the majority of the months of March and April not sleeping, in and out of the hospital.  Finally on April 20th, my mother-in-law went to be with Jesus and we held her service on April 22nd, one year to the day that we had moved in.   Someday I may go into the details of her story here, but suffice it to say, she had a beautiful ending.

Actually, it was more of a beautiful beginning.

So in the midst of all of this, in all of our spare time (ha!) my husband and I began working behind the scenes, building the framework for where we’re going next.  We are still living here in the barn house and taking care of my father-in-law, but we felt the seasons of our life begin to overlap and then change a little, as we prepare for this next big journey.

(are you still reading? whew! you’re amazing!)

We’re starting a school.

Heritage Christian Academy will open it’s doors for the 2019-2020 school year and will be a Charlotte Mason based homeschool hybrid academy, located in Northern Indiana.  Our students will still maintain the ability to homeschool, but HCA will offer parents the chance to drop their children off for classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-3pm, where they will be taught by Charlotte Mason-trained educators on a feast of academic subjects, and then engage in Nature Studies, outdoor Geography, Handicrafts, art and music studies and more in the afternoons. Parents will be offered Charlotte Mason method training, support, encouragement, as well as a much-needed break during the week.  

This has been a LONG time in coming, but we are so excited for this new season!!  I’d LOVE to tell you more – and I’ll be sharing as the time gets closer, but for now, you can read more about it over on the Heritage Christian Academy website.

So, in light of all that, things around these parts are going to be changing (just a little).  When we first started the blog back in 2012 (!!!) it was just a function of our online kids’ store.  In 2014, we closed the store, but the blog was booming and so we’ve kept at it, posting about natural remedies, recipes, homeschooling, simple living and everything in between.  That will, for the most part, continue.  However, as the year goes on and we get closer to opening the school, the blog will get a (much needed) face lift, and it will begin to focus more heavily on homeschooling and simple living, and it will be a cleaner look with virtually no ads.  I’ve always been picky about the companies and products that I recommend to you dear people, but once things are streamlined around here and we settle into our new normal, the content here will take a much more focused and targeted approach, diving head long into all things homeschooling and Charlotte Mason, as well as some of our favorite recipes, our celebration of the Bible Feasts and simple living hacks.  And don’t worry – I’ll still have my colleciton of free printables, and an updated homeschool planner and calendar are in the works (releasing this summer!).

So all in all, I’m hoping this will be a pretty gentle transition, and I’m so excited to have you join me on this new endeavor!  If you’re new here, welcome to this crazy season of our lives and I’m so excited to have you.  If you’ve been around for awhile…thank you. From the bottom of my heart.  Many of you have been subscribers from that first blog post back in February of 2012, and that means the world…

I look forward to sharing our new story….hang on tight!

 

Posted in Homemaking, Homeschooling | 1 Comment


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Swamp Soup

Let’s get one thing out of the way.

Don’t make this soup for company.

Just don’t.  This is like one of those family secrets that you just want to keep between you and the relatives, because, of course you’d never eat anything that looks like, well, like this…

Our family calls it swamp soup because, 1.) It looks like swamp water. and,  2.) I have kids, and “swamp soup” is waaaay cooler than “leafy green veggie soup”.

Several years ago, I stumbled across Katie’s wonderful blog and her yummy recipe for cream of greens soup.

I decided to adapt it, as our family is currently on the GAPS diet, so some of the ingredients were off limits.  After some trial and error, I finally settled on a wonderful, sippable soup that is compliant for those on the last stage of GAPS, (and any other diets that permits legumes).

Make sure to take a look at the recipe notes, as I’ve made some suggestions of our family’s preferences after many batches of this.

And make sure to take a glance at the original recipe as well!  It’s incredibly yummy and a tip o’ the hat to Katie for turning my kids onto an abundance of green vegetables!

Swamp Soup

Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 small bowls

Ingredients

  • 3 c mixed greens spinach and kale
  • 4-6 stalks asparagus tough base chopped off, leaving spears and tips
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 4-6 c chicken stock
  • 3 c white beans cooked and drained
  • 6 Tb olive oil or butter
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt + pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 c sour cream

Instructions

  1. In a Large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the butter or olive oil and add the onions, sauteeing until translucent.

  2.  Reserve 1 cup of beans.

  3. Add in the stock, greens, asparagus and all remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the sour cream/heavy cream and the reserved beans.

  4. Simmer on med-low heat until the asparagus is fork tender (approx 20 minutes)

  5. Remove from heat, and using an immersion blender, puree until all greens are blended well

  6. Add in reserved beans.

  7.  If using heavy cream, add it to the soup and stir thoroughly before ladling.

  8.  If using sour cream ladle soup into bowls and top with sour cream before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • I recommend starting with a lower amount of broth, and adding more after you've blended it.  A little goes a long way, and some people prefer a thicker, stew like consistency, and some a more sippable, broth-like soup.
  • I have made this soup without the asparagus and my kids didn't care for it.  It was definitely lacking...something...so although it's still yummy, this recipe really needs the asparagus.
  • On that note, feel free to experiment with any green veggies!  Throw in any mixture of leafy greens, broccoli, peas, etc. until you find a flavor combo that you like (or you've finished cleaning out the fridge!)
  • The amount of beans that you use is negotiable.  Especially during the winter, when we really want a hardy soup, I double the beans.  It makes for a creamier, thicker soup, and we like the added "chew factor" and texture that the beans bring to it.
  • my rule: salt and pepper. taste. repeat.
  • This makes a wonderful lunch soup, but for dinner, which is our largest meal of the day, I add extra beans, diced carrots (some I reserve and some I blend) and I add diced chicken at the end, just before serving.

 

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , 20 Comments


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How I Teach Artist + Picture Study plus a FREE Printable Picture Study Guide

 

Do you ever wish you could be a fly on the wall during someone else’s homeschool lessons?  Just to see how they do it, what they like, what works for them, what doesn’t, and how the heck do they get their kids to sit still?

As homeschool moms, we inevitably fight the question “Am I doing this right?”

Well, since we’re all wondering, I thought I’d share how we do it – what our days look like and how I teach each subject in our rotation.

This is going to be an ongoing series, so make sure to check back often, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss a post!

 

Not long ago, I talked about our Morning Basket routine and what all is included.  We have a set Morning Meeting, as we like to call it, that gives us the time and place to get in some of the subjects that seem to otherwise fall through the cracks – like Shakespeare, poetry and art – specifically picture study.

Art appreciation, expressed through picture study, is one of the key components of a Charlotte Mason Education, and it’s not as complicated or intimidating as it sounds, especially for us mamas who are not as artistically inclined as maybe we’d like…

The bulk of artist and picture study is comprised of exposing your kids to well known artists and studying their art. It really is that simple!  Now, what exactly does it mean to study a picture?  Here’s where confusion can come in, especially if fine arts studies have never been a part of your own education.

In a nutshell, here’s how our family studies the great paintings

and the artists behind them…

Each term (12 weeks long), we pick one artist to study.  I love using Ambleside Online’s Artist list and schedule to give me a well-rounded list and approach to covering some of the great Art Masters.  All of the names and pieces are planned out for me, and this is also a wonderful FREE resource for viewing the actual pictures as well.

Your artist can coincide with the time period you’re studying in history, but it’s not necessary.  In the past, I’ve also studied certain artists that coincided with a particularly engaging science topic, or we’ve chosen artists and composers that would have created at roughly the same time, to get a well rounded picture of the artistic culture of the period.  Whichever route you choose, simply pick one artist and dive in.

I have a list of some of our favorite resources and books (coming in the next post!), but if you don’t know where to start, then head to the library and choose an art book that catches your attention.

Each week during morning time, we read portions of books or online resources about our artist for 5-10 minutes.  Before we begin, I ask the kids to recap what we read about last time, and we build our “review” time on this conversation.  After I finish reading the new material, I ask them to narrate orally what we just read, to see what they remember and to see what jumped out the most to them.

After that, we spend just a few minutes looking at a picture painted by our artist.  I don’t go in any particular order, but you’re free to arrange your painting selections chronologically.  For my younger students, this isn’t something that I worry about pointing out, but as your kids get older, it’s interesting to pay attention to the evolution of the artist’s talents and subjects over time.

Once the time is up, I display the picture in our school area (which has been multiple places and rooms over the years!) so that it’s constantly in the periphery of our studies, to build familiarity.  I love using these simple wooden easels as well as magnetic picture frames to display our paintings and also to make changing them out simple.  Each week or two, we add on another painting and it too goes on the wall or bookcase.

 

As we “study” the picture (in other words, just look at it intently), I tell the kids that we are going to look at it for a solid minute, and I time them.  I ask them to notice every.little.detail.  How many people? Animals? Living things? What color jumps out the most?

When the time goes off, we’re done.  We may discuss it a minute more, if the questions and subsequent conversation lend itself that way, but if not, we step away and we’ll study it again for another minute the next time.

It’s a very simple subject to execute and throw into your schedule if you’re not already doing it!

And I’m about to make it even EASIER!

Over the years that we’ve been homeschooling, I wanted something more…definitive…to guide our artist study time, so I created a FREE PRINTABLE PICTURE STUDY GUIDE to help put some substance into our picture study, and I can’t wait to share!

It’s a 5 day study guide – for those that would like to spend a little time each day.  However, not each question applies, depending on the works you’re studying, so feel free to jump around, combine days, or omit days all together.

Here’s a sample of the questions for Day 1 and 2 – 

 

You can download the entire guide for free by subscribing here!

Posted in Homeschooling, How I Teach... | Leave a comment


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