Love the Journey Review and Giveaway!



It’s not a sprint.  It’s not a race to the finish.  Homeschooling IS a journey!  Marcia Somerville, who authored the Tapestry of Grace curriculum and homeschooled her 5 children,  shares years of experience in the new book Love the Journey.


So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee and prepare to be ministered to!


Love the Journey Review


“The book is written to woman who are disciples of Jesus Christ and are new to homeschooling….What this book is, or is trying to be, is a book that helps you to find (and define in your own words) the principles behind wise homeschooling practices….I have all the time in the world to share encouragement, wisdom and exhortation.”


Though geared primarily towards new homeschool moms, all moms will be encouraged and strengthened no matter their place in this adventure.


Love the Journey is a beefy 300+ page read, broken down into 5 sections covering:


Your Homeschool is Your Homeschool!  Getting to know your homeschool self.

*Evaluate values and convictions.  Develop unique philosophy on education


Mountaintop Views.  Benefit from hindsight NOW.

*  Shaping happy, healthy, godly people (yourself included!)


When You Sit at Home.  Order in the home!

*  Keeping a “peaceful, orderly environment in both its’ spiritual and physical aspects.”


As You Walk Along the Way.  Practical tips and tricks.  Some “places” to visit and some not to see again.

*  Gender, learning modalities and curricula


When You  Lie Down and When  You Rise Up.  “God’s eye view of life.”

*  Scripture filled in areas of commitment, love and attitude


Our journey is just starting its’ 12th year.  Even so, I was able to take away some practical helps, such as how to assist my struggling speller and the importance of hands-on mapping activities for geography.  This all the while reinforcing the spiritual aspect of homeschooling.  Since I was unable to get away for our state’s homeschool convention, Marcia’s book was just the breath of fresh air to encourage and reiterate the mission for our homeschool family!!


Are you a new homeschooler?  This book is perfect for you!  Already a homeschooler?  Check it out!  Read sample chapters here.


As a special thank you to Tales of a Homeschool Family readers, I’m giving away a copy of Love the Journey!  Enter to win AND get in on a 25% off discount for a digital or hard copy until July 28, 2014.    Just use the code LTJTSHF14 at the checkout.
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Tales of a Homeschool Family Disclosure


12 Things I’ve Learned in 12 Years of Homeschooling


12 Things I've Learned in 12 Years of Homeschooling


As we embark on our 12th year of homeschooling, allow me to take a minute to look back and share some important lessons learned on the journey.


1.  First and foremost, God’s touch is necessary on our homeschool – not only to figure out the coming year, but EVERYDAY!


2.  What works for one child, won’t always work for another, no matter the amount of tweeking and retweeking!   Most times the same workbook  that is “fun” for my straight forward book learner, is nothing but “toil and drudgery” for my kinestetic learner.


3.  Teach children to make eye contact and express themselves effectively with words both written and spoken even if they aren’t going to be writers or public speakers.  This definitely sets them apart from their schooled peers.


4.  Don’t like this season of learning?  Don’t worry, it won’t last long.  A new chapter with new challenges is right around the corner!!


5.  Just because you’re the adult doesn’t mean you’re finished learning!  My children have taught me more about life, love and the Lord in these past 12 years than in the 33 prior.


6.  It’s ok to have a child who doesn’t enjoy “doing” art.  And it’s also ok to stop signing him up for every art related thing before the 7th grade.  Children are most empowered when learning things that mirror their giftings.  Just ask my “one crayon” kid!


7.  Teach The Bible and History and LOTS of it.  It’s important for their future that they spot “cycles of trouble” far off and understand how to avoid it.


8.  There’s always one child in the bunch who breaks the mold and turns everything you THINK you know about learning upside down.  Embracing this difference and not striving to fit him/her to your mold makes the day to day a journey and not a life sentence.


9.  Prayer changes EVERYTHING!  Pray often.  Let your children HEAR you pray.  Encourage them to pray aloud for one another.


10.  Don’t tolerate sibling rivalry.  Do all you can to teach them to love one another.  Refer to #9 often.


11.  Children eat too much and grow too fast!  One minute you are kneeling to get within their line of vision and the next they are stooping over in order to make eye contact with you!


12.  Face each year with grateful expectations for not only what God will do, but how you and your children will grow in knowledge and understanding.


Now that I’ve shared my list, tell me, what have YOU learned on your journey?


The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships Review!


This post contains an affiliate link.   That means, should you choose to purchase this item through the link below, a small portion of that sale goes to support this blog. Thank you!


Are you homeschooling an older child and want to get the best tips and tricks for navigating high school and beyond?


Let Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, be your mentor! The HomeScholar Guide to College Admissions and Scholarships Highschool

Lee has graduated two of her own children and has encouraged and strengthened many more.


“If college is in your child’s future, prepare them to face it as a mature adult, grounded in their faith.”


In her book, The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships ,  Binz shares insights and strategies on how to go about navigating the hurdles of college admissions and scholarships from a Christian perspective.


Topics include:

*Preparation of high school curriculum

*Affording college

*Test preparation

*Specific “to-dos” for the junior and senior years

*Senior year last minute 12 step emergency no panic plan

*Writing a great application essay

*Your value as your child’s guidance counselor

*And my favorite, turning annoyances into specializations.


“The point of these stories is that your love for your child will go a long way towards ensuring their success in the college process.”


With the help and wisdom offered in this book, planning for high school and beyond won’t leave you shaking in your shoes.  Lee has encouraged our family as we continue on the course for our soon to be Junior AND soon to be Freshman homeschooled highschoolers!

Tales of a Homeschool Family Disclosure


I AM Living in My Dream House!



Tales of a Homeschool Family

Many years ago before I had children, I enjoyed spending time with a growing family of 6.  This family’s house was in the wrong part of town and looked run down from the outside.  The interior was a mish mosh of modern-garage sale.  It was a clean environment, but, things were not always in their place.  What was so incredibly different was the fullness of love within the house.


At the core of the home, a marriage that has been stoked over the fires of adversity and time, strengthen by a commitment to the Lord.  Next was a Mom who consistently put her children above the affairs of the world and gladly stopped whatever she was doing to savor a few minutes of playtime on the floor with her kids.  Yes, she was responsible for her household.  Yes, she took care in training them up – but, she didn’t allow the notion of a ‘clean house’ to override the needs of her children.  Her relationship with God filled her each day and allowed the overflow of her heart to minister to their needs.  She had a kingdom perspective on raising her children.  That was her goal – pure and simple.


I loved the simplicity of their home and the unity of purpose within it.


Fast forward many years.


We were living in a huge home.  You would think that all my dreams would be met in this rambling 3800 sq ft home filled with a loving husband and 3 kids, but, that wasn’t the case.  I chose to focus on what I didn’t have.  I chose to be empty.


Fast forward again.  Now I find myself in a tiny 1200 sq ft home.  It takes a few years, but, I put behind me the sense of loss and unmet expectations.  It took the shrinking of circumstance for me to discover a marriage that has been stoked over the fires of adversity and time, strengthen by a commitment to the Lord.  And see that I’ve become a mom who consistently puts her children above the affairs of the world and gladly stops whatever she’s was doing to savor a few minutes of playtime on the floor with her blessings with a kingdom perspective for raising those children.


Let the laundry pile a little higher….


Let the dishes soak a little longer…


Because TODAY, I have found my dream house and I’ve been living in it ALL ALONG!!!!!!!!


The Quest for Quiet!



The Quest for Quiet Zephaniah 3:17



:::Squeaky dryer needing oil:::

::: Water distiller running:::

:::Cats meowing:::

:::Children arguing:::


Living in the worlds’ noisiest home, there are times I C-R-A-V-E quiet!


Don’t get me wrong, I love my little noisemakers and the hum of life.  Sometimes I just need it quiet enough to hear myself think, and to hear the voice of my Savior during normal “awake” hours.


I’m the youngest of 3.  Growing up, my older siblings were just about out of the house – so I had quiet.  Plenty of quiet.  Sometimes, too much quiet!


My kids don’t have this “problem”.  For the majority of days it’s noise, movement and activity. For them, this is normal!


In this season, I need to work a little more to find a slice of quiet during the day.  Staying up late to get it isn’t healthy.  Getting up extra early generally results in “someone” or “someones” also getting up to “share” the quiet too.


What I’ve come to learn is “quiet” is not only external, but internal as well.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”


How good is the Lord who gives us inner quiet in the midst of busyness!


When we seek Him, He is faithful to meet us where we are at — even in the midst of noise!



My Student Logbook Review



Finding a student planner that accommodates my highschooler’s needs is not an easy task. Though he doesn’t need flashy artwork, he does need a planner that covers a full week (all 7 days) per page, is undated, able to accommodate more than the usual 36 weeks, contains enough space to write a large listing of books, is spiral bound, lays flat when opened AND doesn’t break the bank.

Originally designed to help track the number of hours spent homeschooling, My Student Logbook was created by a homeschool mom of many in order to fill a void and save her own sanity.


Though we do not live in a “high regulation state”, my son and I made this planner easily work for us.  At the highschool level his curriculum utilizes a large number of living books.  With your average planner it’s difficult to make them all fit.  But with this logbook, all those lines work wonders for organization!  And the unique ‘removable flap’ makes scheduling a breeze without having to write and rewrite each weeks repeated work.


My Student Logbook Review


My Student Logbook Review


Easy to set up.  Easy to implement.  Easy to read and follow.  It’s a win-win all around!




In addition to 52 log pages, My Student Logbook also contains:

  • How to use My Student Logbook to Create High School Transcripts
  • An All About Me Page
  • Prayers and Goals
  • Bible Memorization Log
  • Books Read
  • Events, Projects, Field Trips and Activities
  • Test Records
  • Year Highlights

Check out this Logbook for yourself.  There are a variety of heavy duty covers to choose from plus the choice of either pre-dated or undated log pages.

I love this easy to use planner and my oldest, who’s not into flashy, does too!


Tales of a Homeschool Family Disclosure


Mega Meal Monday: Chicken Kiev



Welcome to Mega Meal Monday!

There are many Chicken Kiev recipes.  Most call for flattened chicken breast. Here’s my version that is the quickest and easiest, though NOT the neatest!


Chicken Kiev 1 Mega Meals - Tales of a Homeschool Family



Boneless, skinless chicken THIGHS

One pat of butter per chicken thigh

Garlic and onion powder

Green onions, diced

Bread crumbs


Except for the butter, I did not include amounts on the ingredients.  The amounts will vary with your taste and the quantity of chicken used.  I like to make extra and freeze – or – cook once and eat for two meals.  Plan on one Kiev per person.


Grab a muffin tin (or two depending on how many you plan on making.  One thigh = one muffin cup) and grease the insides of each tin with cooking spray or oil.  I use coconut oil.


Lay each thigh flat, sprinkle with garlic, and onion powder, and green onions.  Lay a pat of butter in the center and roll the thigh up.


Chicken Kiev 2 - Tales of a Homeschool Family


Place the rolled up chicken seam side down into the muffin tin.  You will need to push and tuck it some.


Sprinkle all tops with bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until done.

(This is messy, but yummy!)


Chicken Kiev 3 - Tales of a Homeschool Family


To serve, scoop Kievs out from the tins using a slotted spoon.  After cooling,  they can easily be placed into a ziploc bag and frozen.


Chicken Kiev 4 - Tales of a Homeschool Family


Excellent served with gravy.  In fact, my kids call these ‘chicken meatballs’.


Check out other Mega Meals HERE.





Holy Land Seeds Review AND Giveaway!


This post contains affiliate links.   That means, should you choose to purchase this item through a link below, a small portion of that sale goes to support this blog. Thank you!


Over the years I’ve had the privilege of reviewing a myriad of items.  Curricula, books, movies, food, businesses, toys…


While there have been a few items that have stood out in my memory, only one is an item that holds a special meaning and is one I would strongly consider giving as a gift.


Holyland Seeds


And that is a seed kit from Holy Land Seeds.

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land–a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.”
Deuteronomy 8:7-10

Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds

For our review and unique hands on experience, we chose to germinated and plant seeds from The Olive Seeds Kit

After the seedlings sprout and begin to grow, we will replant them in our yard.  It will be like having a living piece of Israel before our very eyes!

From the story of Noah’s Ark, to the modern saying “extended an olive branch” the olive branch is widely known as a symbol of peace. It is one of the main staples of Israelite and Mediterranean cuisine and industry. Just as this small tree became a significant part of the agricultural economy and diet, it too came to embody the concepts of wealth, health, fertility, sustenance – and the blessings that flowed from them. Imported from Israel, your all-inclusive seeds kit provides everything you need to create a little Holy Land garden……

…Holy Land seeds bring tradition, meaning and uniqueness together to create a gift for yourself or a loved one that will always be remembered; A little taste of culture, symbolism and history right to your own garden. Based on the historical symbolism of these seeds, adults and kids alike can enjoy growing their own Holy Land little gardens. Unique and special gift for any holiday or occasion, Holy Land Seeds’ All Inclusive Seeds Kit makes a great home-schooled or science project, family project, or a symbolic, creative gift for that special person.

Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds

Contained in this kit:  a Jiffy-Pot (made from Canadian sphagnum peat moss and wood pulp.  100% bio-degradable!) , 2 Wonder Soil Potting Wafers (mix contains a proven formula of coir and peat combined with polymers and nutrients to feed your plants), Olive seeds, a wooden seed marker and step by step directions.


My four year old was very excited to plant his own olive tree.  Due to this exuberance, we skipped an important part of the directions.  We only needed ONE soil disc.


Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds


Wow!  Those discs really expand after adding water!   I took 1/2 of the soil out of the jiffy pot in order to start a second pot of olive seedlings.


Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds


Then it was time to plant the seeds.  My son and daughter helped push the seeds below the soil.


Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds


And now, we water, provide sunshine and wait!




Don’t mind the mess, memories are being made!


As a special ‘THANK YOU’ to Tales of a Homeschool Family readers, Holy Land Seeds is giving away 4 prizes to 4 blessed winners!  Each winner will receive ONE of the following:

All-inclusive Olive Seeds Kit From the Holy Land

Holy Land Seeds Review
Jute Bag of Pomegranate Seeds From the Holy Land

Holy Land Seeds Review
Holy Land Olive Seeds & Oil Lamp

Holy Land Seeds Review
Holy Land Grape Seeds & Clay Pot

Holy Land Seeds Review


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Tales of a Homeschool Family Disclosure


Green Scene Mom Summer Awards Giveaway!


Check out this giveaway worth $440!

We are celebrating our Summer Green Scene Mom Awards with a giveaway featuring some of our amazing winning brands! Many of these brands were created by mom or dad entrepreneurs who were problem solving for their own families.

BabySpa Moisturizing Body Lotion Green Scene Mom Award Winner

BabySpa Moisturizing Body Lotion

BabySpa Moisturizing Body Lotion is formulated to provide an immediate soothing effect and long-lasting hydration. It’s infused with BabySpa’s signature baby fresh scent, is easily absorbed, and provides instant freshness and a relaxing sensory spa experience. Award Details »

Bert & Bratt Portable SterilizerGreen Scene Mom Award Winner

Bert & Bratt Portable Sterilizer

Bert & Bratt’s UV Sterilizer makes it easy to clean small items while on the go. It effectively kills germs on pacifiers and bottle tops and it’s super cute and fits in a diaper bag! Award Details »

Buttons Diapers Flannel Wipes Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Buttons Diapers Flannel Wipes

Buttons Diapers reusable wipes help reduce the fistfulls of disposable wipes a baby can go through each diaper change. They are easy to wash with a load of cloth diapers, and they are soft on baby’s skin. Award Details »

Yummi Pouch Snack & Sandwich Bags Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Yummi Pouch Snack & Sandwich Bags

Yummi Pouch snack bags reduce the need for plastic bags and other disposable packaging. They easily fit into a lunchbox, can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine, and little fingers can easily open the zipper opening. Plus they’re just plain cute! Award Details »

Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Diapers Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Diapers

Charlie Banana Diapers make it easy to diaper your baby from 6 to 36 pounds in a way that is eco-friendly and cost effective. These one-size diapers adjust to fit the numerous stages babies go through from infancy to toddlerhood. Plus they are available in lots of adorable designs to fit every style! Award Details »

Loopy Gear Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Loopy Gear

Loopys are a stylish and functional way to keep your baby’s rattles and toys clean and off the ground. With the Loopy, you simply attach the larger loop to your baby’s wrist and the smaller loop around their favorite rattle or toy. Loopys can also be used to attach toys to car seats, strollers, high chairs, baby carriers, and shopping carts. Award Details »

organicKidz Thermal Baby Bottles Green Scene Mom Award Winner

organicKidz Thermal Baby Bottles

organicKidz thermal bottles keep liquids hot or cold for 6+ hours. The bottle lid also doubles as a measuring cup and snack cup. Each bottle features a silicone peristaltic fast flow nipple and includes a silicone leak proof sealing disk. organicKidz bottles can also convert to a suppy cup and a water bottle. Award Details »

Peek-A-Boo Nursing & Maternity Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Peek-a-boo Nursing & Maternity

Peek-a-boo offers unique pregnancy and nursing wear that emphasizes comfort as well as discreet nursing with style. These garments are designed for wear starting from early pregnancy throughout nursing, offering moms a budget friendly, duel-purpose clothing solution. Award Details »

Yummi Pouch Funnel Pitcher Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Yummi Pouch Funnel Pitcher

The unique design and color of this pitcher makes it fun to use! This pitcher helps reduce messes that may result from pouring liquids. It’s also sturdy for long-lasting use and dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. Award Details »

BabySpa 3-in-1 Shampoo, Body Wash & Moisturizer Green Scene Mom Award Winner

BabySpa 3-in-1 Shampoo, Body Wash & Moisturizer

BabySpa Stage One Tearless Shampooo, Body Wash and Moisturizer is a unique all-in-one formula with a snuggly fresh baby scent that will keep hair and skin feeling soft and naturally moisturized. This specially-formulated blend is infused with aloe, shea butter, olive and avocado oils to create a natural cleanser that deeply hydrates from head to toe. Award Details »

Buttons Diapers Wet Bags Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Buttons Diapers Wet Bags

Buttons Diapers Wet Bags come in a variety of sizes and can hold from 1 to 6 diapers inside. The bags have a convenient hanging loop and are made with 2 layers of material for style and durability. The inner layer is made from waterproof PUL and the outside features an adorable cotton dot print. Award Details »

Girlie Glue Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Girlie Glue

Girlie Glue is a hair accessory glue, no hair necessary! Fancy possibilities are endless with a dab of girlie glue. Girlie Glue is made with Agave nectar and other all natural ingredients. It’s safe, 100% honey-free and washes away easily with water. Award Details »

So Rad Magic Kimono Onesie Green Scene Mom Award Winner

So Rad Magic Kimono Onesie

So Rad’s Magic Kimono Onesie is made from bamboo and organic cotton. The durable design features a triple stitch cover seam and bigger bum for cloth diapers, with a rear access entry door too! This onesie has no snaps, buttons, velcro or zippers. The kimono style front opens up so your baby can squeeze his little chubs into it. It’s also made in Canada. Award Details »

Preserve Food Storage Containers Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Preserve Food Storage Containers

Preserve food storage containers are made in the USA from 100% BPA free, recycled #5 plastic. They are dishwasher safe and stand up to everyday use. Preserve food storage containers are an environmentally friendly addition to any refrigerator or lunchbox. These containers have sturdy lids which screw on or snap on tightly to keep food fresh and they nest for easy storage. Award Details »

BabySpa Ultra-Soft Baby Wipes Green Scene Mom Award Winner

BabySpa Ultra-Soft Baby Wipes

BabySpa Ultra-Soft Baby Wipes are made with 100% natural ingredients and an organic blend that provides gentle and soothing care to the most delicate skin. They are perfectly moistened and smell fresh but are unscented for the most sensitive skin. Award Details »

Green Toys Train Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Green Toys Train

The Green Toys Train is made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s complete with a brightly-colored steam engine and two additional cars that link together to form a long train. The company produces each toy in the USA using sustainable materials and features unique toy designs that encourage imaginative play. Award Details »

organicKidz Thermal Food Containers Green Scene Mom Award Winner

organicKidz Thermal Food Containers

organicKidz thermal food containers are sleek, light weight and free of bulky plastic. They easily keep foods hot or cold for 6+ hours and are perfect for a child’s lunchbox or even Mom and Dad! The fun designs are modern and the tops close tightly with a leak proof silicone seal. Award Details »

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ Green Scene Mom Award Winner

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

Thinkbaby sets itself apart by providing the most effective and safe sunscreen possible that can be universally used for babies and adults. Thinkbaby sunscreen offers the highest level of Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and highest level of water resistance. It comes in a 3oz tube made of environmentally friendly packaging that does not contain BPA, vinyl, or phthalates.Award Details »

These amazing companies have contributed prizes to our Summer Awards Giveaway!

Enter to win this amazing gift set valued at $440!

  • Peek-a-boo Nursing & Maternity Gift Card – $65
  • BabySpa Baby Essentials Stage 1 – $35
    3 in 1 tearless shampoo, body wash & moisturizer, moisturizing body lotion, Shea Butter diaper cream, ultra soft baby wipes (72 ct.), travel size face cream
  • Green Toys train – $28
  • Bert&Bratt Pure-GO sterilizer – $45
  • Buttons Diapers cloth diaper gift set – $39
    1 large wet bag, 1 package of flannel wipes, a one-size diaper cover, and a daytime diaper insert
  • So Rad Magic Romper – $25
    Winner can choose from 6 colors and sizes 3 months to 18-24 months.
  • Yummi Pouch cloth snack bags – $25
  • Girlie Glue hair essentials – $15
    A tube of Girlie Glue and a package of 3 felt flowers and 3 vintage bows
  • Preserve food storage set – $28
    2 large food storage, 2 small food storage, 2 square food storage, 5 mini food storage containers
  • organicKidz stainless steel thermal food container – $25
  • Charlie Banana one-size diaper pack of 3 Hot Dots and 6 inserts – $60
  • Loopy 2-Pack Premium – $30
  • Think Baby sunscreen – $16

Green Scene Mom Summer Awards Giveaway

Two runner-up winners will win these products!

  • Girlie Glue hair essentials – $15.50
    A tube of Girlie Glue and a package of 3 felt flowers and 3 vintage bows
  • Think Baby sunscreen – $16

One winner and two runner-ups will be chosen on July 5th. This giveaway is open to the US and Canada. Good luck and have fun!

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Tapestry of Grace Tuesday Link Up #7





Are you still chipping away on your hands projects and learning fun inspired by Tapestry of Grace activities?


Reading a great read from the Tapestry of Grace Curriculum or in the throes of planning for next year?


Come link up and share what’s happening in your homeschool using Tapestry of Grace!


(And don’t forget to visit those who have linked up!)


We are finalizing our TOG schedule and printing out maps and such – we are trying something new too next year with our two Rhetoric level students (see first link up).


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