Tag Archives: Stay at home mom

5 Things I learned in my First Year of Homeschooling.


Our first year of homeschooling will be over in a couple months and I’ve found myself reminiscing ( and yes I’m using the correct word here) about all the worries and anxieties I had leading up to the beginning of the school year.  Here are 5 things I’ve learned about myself and homeschooling.


To explain, I have never been very confident in my ability to make friends with women as an adult woman. Now to keep me from sounding like a recluse I will add that I have a lot of women friends but the difference is that I made these friends when I was just a girl. When we were just girls. I still have friends that I’ve had since elementary school, those are some of my closest friends. I have friends that I made when I was in a youth/college group at church and a very good friend that I made at my first ever job, Hobby Lobby. But the entire realm of women makes me shutter. Now as a homeschooler, you might not think I meet very many grown ups or see anyone at all ever that is over 4 feet tall but in all actuality I do and it was one of my biggest fears going into this. The kind of homeschooler I wanted to be was not the one that came natural for me. (Hey look, I have social anxiety and I was public schooled… more info on this in # 4.) We got out of the house, we joined a co-op where we knew practically no one going into it. We have play dates consistently and guess what… I am surviving. I sweat a lot but not as much as I did those first couple months of Thursdays, meeting people and trying to get to know all the different mothers.

I like the word mothers better, makes me sweat less than the word women, lots of different women. Eek. And I really can’t explain the fear because I am one.


I didn’t really realize this until I started searching around for next years curriculum. We are doing My Father’s World 1st grade curriculum right now (which was not so cheap itself) and looking at future purchases with them would be going into a lot of several hundreds of dollars, not just several. I’ve realized through blogs and blogging myself that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to teach your child. You don’t have to get one big curriculum package. You can buy used, which is what I’m looking into for this next fall. Going cheaper does not mean you will lose any of the quality that you are wanting. My son is only 5 and we are doing 1st grade this year. He is amazing and a super fast learner, I don’t know if all my children will learn at this rate but if so I shouldn’t have to spend much on anything else right? :/

All that being said, we do absolutely love My Father’s World so may still get the bulk of it through them.


Going into this I really didn’t know what to expect but I had a feeling, after hours of searching for curriculums and subjects and grade levels that I was in for quite a ride. And it really is hit or miss. Some things that we have loved this year and last (preschool) others have not so much. For instance we absolutely loved almost everything about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, my child really took to it and the only thing I had a real problem with was the stories got kind of repetitive. My son got a little bored with it so we skipped a few here and there. He picked it up quickly though. Now once I started talking to other mom’s in our co-op I learned that some of them didn’t care for it because it didn’t click for their kid and they found something else that did. I think I will find this happens a lot more as we go along and my own children have a different way of learning.


I’m not gonna lie and say this wasn’t a huge worry I had, probably because it’s one of the most common misconceptions people have about homeschooled children. They will be socially awkward or they seem just a little different. Honestly it’s really funny now that I think about it. I went to public school and I was a a little weird and awkward so if my kids ends up like that it’s most likely genetic. Here is a great post about this very topic. It’s Because They’re Homeschooled: No, Actually It’s Not. I know several homeschooled children and several public schooled children and you know what… I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Some kids are shy, some are not, some are very active, some are not.

Personality, Personality, Personality!!!!


Don’t get me wrong, I had a feeling it would be hard but it’s a different kind of hard once you are deep in the thick of it. Before we started I was worried about all of the above, about curriculum choices and normal kids and me being the biggest, nerdiest mom ever. But now those have pretty much faded away, every once in awhile they will pop up again but it’s nothing I can’t handle. What was unexpectedly hard is realizing that there are some days when neither of us want to do school. Somedays my temper is a little shorter than I would like. Some days showing grace doesn’t seem like much of an option. While we make school as yell free and stress free as possible that doesn’t mean that some days aren’t harder than others. There is a fine balance in being the mom and the teacher of your children. I don’t think I have quite gotten it down yet but I’m working on it. Another hard thing is just wanting them to succeed, wanting to do the best thing for my child and when they are struggling with something or not figuring it out the thought pops into my head, “Maybe I’m not good enough to do this job.” and then that’s about the time the rewarding part comes in. I have found that about the time when I am starting to second guess our decision to homeschool there is a grace that blankets our house and it’s definitely not from me. Whether it’s just peace that washes over me or me seeing my son figure something out that he’s been struggling with. I’m reminded that I didn’t go into this decision lightly. Lots of prayer and thought and discussion went into this and I know that at this time in our lives this is what we should be doing and God never fails to remind me of that when I am starting to get a little stressed out.

I really was not expecting or planning on writing down all of my thoughts that I have been having this last month or so about schooling but I’m so glad I did. It was a great way to reflect and see that the prayers and worries I had earlier on were answered in one way or the other, which then gives me hope and faith that the worries and struggles that come along now and in the future will not overtake me.

If you are struggling with a decision about homeschooling, whether it be to try it out or not or just how in the world to start off, I’m always here. I definitely don’t have all the answers but sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who gets it. Support is a very necessary thing, whether you homeschool or not!!

My Oh So Messy Table ~ Priceless


Today was one of those very stormy spring days. Dark and gloomy with thunder and lightening that kept my 3 year old’s bottom on my lap and hands over her ears.

Today was one of those days that mommy had things to do. While the laundry had been washed and folded and even put away there were still so many other things on the to-do list.

Today was one of those days that didn’t go as planned. Storms had us inside, frightened children kept chores from being completed.

Today my 3 year old crawled up into my lap and buried her head in my chest. I closed my eyes and rested my check on her forehead. When I opened them that’s when I saw it, straight ahead was a sight that made me give a great big ole sigh. The table was cluttered with more than the eyes could take in. The motivation inside of me to clean kicked in and I almost jumped up to tend to the mess that blanketed the table when my 3 year old clasped her fingers tighter on my arm. I Hugged her tighter and gave my messy table the stink eye. I started to put each thing that didn’t belong back in it’s rightful place in my head. Not sure what that was going to do but I’m never in cleaning mode so didn’t want to lose my momentum. As I categorized and planned my attack for cleaning that table I realized something.

I loved everything on that table. I appreciated everything on that table and besides the clutter itself, everything on that table was priceless.

Here’s why…

Cup of Coffee – There are no words…

That large stack of library books – we get to go and pick through hundreds of books at our local library any time we want for free. My kids love books and they learn so much from them.

Wipes – the ability to clean up my disgusting babies in one fell swoop.

Adult bible and bible for children – the most important part of our day and sometimes it’s the first thing that goes forgotten or pushed to the side, but not today.

Dinosaur bag – this was my oldest sons first back pack that made him feel like a big boy, my youngest son who is 1 year old today gets to feel like a big boy with this same bag. (This mama is getting all teary eyed up in here.)

Venom Cup – these hold my children’s precious drinks. Usually water and milk, (thank the Lord for a child who prefers that over juice;)

Centerpiece – we all need something pretty to look at.

High chair tray – this keeps my youngest safe while he eats.

Materials for kids crafts – crafts that teach my children how to be creative and artistic and most of all it’s our happy place.

Purse – this precious thing holds almost everything I need while I am on the go with all my kiddos.

As I looked ahead and had my aha moment, I suddenly didn’t feel the urgent need to clear away all of these priceless things from this priceless table that I used to eat at with my parents when I was little.

So I sat and held my daughter until the storms passed.

Sometimes it’s okay to look at a mess and appreciate the beauty in it!

School Madness at Home


Today I got My Father’s World 1st grade curriculum for my oldest son. We won’t start until fall of this year but it has been between this or Sonlight for about a year and I just couldn’t go back and forth in my head anymore (I’m about to go nuts!) so I went ahead and jumped the gun and bought MFW.

My reasonings for this was because they both have great reviews, they both have a schedule laid out for me, the only difference and really deciding factor was the price. This being our first full year of homeschooling I just couldn’t imagine shelling out almost a thousand dollars when I’m not sure how it will even work for us and at this time I’m only planning on homeschooling the elementary years but I’m always open to whatever comes our way.

All that being said I got this box of books and worksheets and ideas and activities and although there is a laid out plan I can’t help but feel overwhelmed. I’m sure once I get it organized I will feel a little better. Lets hope anyways.

So what are your thoughts? Has anyone ever used or is using My Father’s World? How does it compare to other curriculums? I realize that I have already bought it but would still love to hear some feedback.

Here’s to over preparation and uneasiness!;)

Burnt Out and it Feels so Good

I have a confession…. I’m burnt out and I’m proud to admit it.

A little back story…

I don’t like to complain, I don’t like to be tired with what I’m doing. I don’t like to be ungrateful.

I’m the type of person that has a bad day and always tries to thank God that he even allowed me to have it. Every day is a gift. My kids waking up everyday is a gift, my husband kissing me goodbye in the morning and kissing me goodnight in the evening is a gift.

I know this.

I’m a stay at home mom who will and kinda is homeschooling, that is my choice, that is a blessing and while some days I wanna cry, I pick my laundry basket up and try to be the best mom/wife I can be. Who knows how long this special gift will last right?

I try to show love and kindness to everyone and I try even harder to love people, actually love them. I will admit there is a handful of people that are pretty much a constant in my life that make it very hard sometimes.

But this last week and I know probably several times in the past, I’ve been just done. There are a lot of balls in the air and I feel like right now they are at my feet. I am not arrogant enough to believe that I’m the only one to go through this, everyone does and I’m not trying to play the woe is me game. But I will say that in the past I haven’t let myself admit when I’m tired or in a funk or burnt out and this time around I kinda feel like shouting it to the roof tops. Not complain but accept that this comes even with the most exciting of lives.

I’ve realized I shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling tired and burnt out. I shouldn’t go into hiding or pretend mode. I shouldn’t feel like the dead beat mom who isn’t stoked to pick up toys for the 11 hundredth time! It’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to feel burnt out and I should feel good that I have things that keep me busy and burn me out.

Honestly I’m just happy that I’m able to have balls in the air in the first place. I’m happy that I have food in the fridge that I’m too tired to prepare. Yes I’m ending this on a positive note because as I’ve explained I can’t help myself….

Just because I’m tired or burnt out or feel like curling up into a ball and sleeping for 12 hours doesn’t mean I’m a failure and it doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. It just means I have that much more to hold onto. That much more to embrace and that maybe a weekend away is well overdue.

So to the rooftops I sing….

I’m burnt out and it feels so good!

A Sweet Little Sight


“The joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.” -Elder M. Russell Ballard

With the baby finally going down to sleep and a little toddler who fights a nap everyday but actually gave in early today, I slumped against my kitchen cabinet with a little sigh of relief.

Fingers rubbing my forehead vigorously, trying to workout a headache that I could feel crowding in.

When I looked up, this is what I saw, my oldest sitting there eating lunch.

His cape clad back turned towards me and his dog standing close, waiting for a drop of food and a pat on the head.

Today I looked up and saw the light in my life that always shines the brightest right when I need it to. While my other little blessings were cozy in their beds leaving me just a little deflated I looked up and saw a sweet sight.

Oh how thankful I am for the sweet little sights all around me and even more grateful when I actually open my eyes enough to notice them.

Makeover Monday – Painting Over Potato Chips


Last week there was a day where all 3 children had quiet time and nap time at the SAME time! This is an unheard of day so what was a mom to do?

Well what I wanted to do was open that bag of potato chips my husband snuck into our cabinet, sit on the couch and turn on Netflix. I kept peeking into the cabinet, contemplating my options and consequences. I glanced at the picture that was hanging in my dining room and back into the cabinet. Oh how I wanted to tear those chips open and slump on the couch. I’ve done it before and it is quite nice.


It’s January and in January I should be doing no such thing. In January I should be sticking with my goals a little more strictly. Which means that I should choose the painting over potato chips. My goal for the year is to update our house as frugally as possible which basically means, paint everything. I’m trying to lighten up all the brown so other than my table DIY project in January there was also this picture that I wanted to paint white. So the struggle,

Potato chips or paint, potato chips or paint?

You would be so proud, I certainly was. I chose… Drumroll Please



This is the final result. I’m not gonna get too close with the camera because sadly it isn’t as perfect as I would like and probably needs another coat but for now I’m liking the look of it and how it kinda brightens up that wall. And I’m liking that I didn’t have to explain a half empty or (lets be honest) a completely empty chip bag.

Here’s to painting over potato chips!:)

Let the Traditions Begin


Tomorrow is Dec 1st and I am knee deep in getting all the count downs and activities ready for it. Here are a few of our must have traditions!

Unwrap and Read One Christmas Book a Night


One of our favorite traditions is unwrapping a Christmas book every night to read before bed. I put 24 books wrapped and ready under the tree the night before the 1st of December, the kids get so super excited about them the next morning. They are always the first gifts under the tree so that helps. We’ve actually accumulated about 15 Christmas related books that we own and I reserve the rest at the library to pick up and have ready. I kind of like that better because then they get to read several “new” books.


Advent Calender

Every year since we’ve had kids that can walk we do some sort of advent calendar and every day the kids get to do something related to the season such as baking cookies for someone, making ornaments, watch Christmas movies, go and pick out a new ornament for the year, buy gifts for someone, help wrap gifts, visit Santa, make crafts, go look at lights, etc etc etc. Usually I incorporate the bible story about baby Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas into our everyday advent calendar but I’m changing it up a bit this year. Stay tuned;). Our calendars look different every year. Last year I used a mini muffin pan as you can see in pic below…. (sorry it’s fuzzy.)


And this year I’m going totally homemade again but pretty different. I am finishing it up tonight so will post an updated photo later. I love love love homemade advent calendars.

Felt Christmas Tree


Pretty much self explanatory and sooo simple but it’s one of my kids favorite things to do. We put it up on the 1st and they decorate it over and over again. Don’t judge my cut job, totally wish I had more of an OCD personality but nadda!

7 Days Before Christmas Bible Story and Nativity.

Last but not least, this is something totally new but now that my kids are a little older (at least my biggest) and their attention span has a little more depth to it we wanted to incorporate more focus on the Bible Christmas story.


The last 7 days leading up to Christmas they will open a box and add to the nativity scene. There is an add on and also a story from the bible to read so by Christmas morning the nativity will be complete and the story will be told. So excited about this new addition to our festivities. I really hope the kids get excited about it too. This is what Christmas is all about folks!:)

So that’s that, we have a few other traditions here and there, pajamas on Christmas Eve and a Christmas morning breakfast table but for the most part that’s the bulk of it and we are so excited to begin!

Here’s to a month of Merry Celebrations!

Baby Food Genius


The baby food making has begun. My Littlest is almost 6 months old and he’s got a handful of yummy fresh vegetables and fruits under his belt. Some acorn squash and sweet potato to bananas and pears. For the most part it has been pretty successful, a few tablespoons a day and that’s that. The only thing that is giving him problems are the bananas, the last two times he’s had them he has puked pretty violently about an hour afterwards. No more bananas for awhile that’s for sure!

I love love love making my own baby food and it’s so much healthier for those little ones and guess what, it’s a lot cheaper! For example I bought two acorn squash for .69 cents a piece and that will last me the entire month, along with one sweet potato pureed. They last a long time especially at the beginning because they don’t eat as much but it’s still cheaper as their ability to eat more grows. If you buy whats in season or compare shop you can get great deals and buy for a month at a time.

Even if you work full time you can spend an hour on the weekend preparing your vegetables for the month, it really doesn’t take longer than that. And you can use any old blender for the most part. I used to have a baby bullet but I laid the blade attachments on a hot burner and they melted. It was right after my 2nd baby so major baby brain! I have a Ninja brand blender now and it works great for that baby food makin’

Picture time…first up is sweet potatoes that I peeled, boiled, pureed and froze. Ice cube trays are amazing! Fill them up, freeze them and the empty them out into freezer bags and date and label them. For the first couple months you only need to use a couple cubes worth of food at a time when feeding your baby.


Acorn squash is another fav, Littlest still prefers sweet potatoes but we gotta have a little variety even at the beginning. You just cut them in half, bake, pull the peel off after baking is done and puree them up.


So that’s that. I never bother too much with rice cereal but I know sometimes that’s a necessity when babies aren’t gaining enough or very very slowly. My babies have never struggled with a low weight on the scale.

So excited about all the fun foods we get to try in the upcoming months, I’m getting a glimpse of turnips and eggplant in our future… YUM YUM!

Here’s to happy pureeing!

Lessons Learned at Home

1 month down of preschool at home and I’ve definitely learned a few things as a homeschooling newbie. I think I’ve actually learned more than my 4 year old this month although I must say he has read several sentences all on his own and we are only on lesson 15 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Super proud of my little 4 year old!

Anyways I started out thinking that during my little ones nap me and my preschooler would sit down and do some workbook and reading and themed activities and about a week in I realized that the attention span of a 4 year old could not hold up to my expectations. My expectations were in fact outrageous. I learned this after getting frustrated with him during his reading lesson and not only getting frustrated but letting him see that frustration which only made him get frustrated and want to quit reading even more. I was reminded that preschool is supposed to be fun. I’m supposed to be a fun teacher and getting frustrated and threatening nap time was not the type of teacher I want to be. After spending the rest of the evening feeling like a pretty crappy mom and homeschooler I decided to make a couple changes in the following areas.


While I’m all for having a schedule especially as my kiddos get older I’ve realized this month that the structure of a 4 year olds school schedule needs to not be so structured. I ended up keeping the sit down and work section of the day in our routine but now I limit that time to no more than 20 minutes. 10 minutes on workbook and then 5 to 10 minutes on reading. And after really focusing on what was getting him so antsy during his reading lessons I realized that the fist 5 to 10 lessons were too easy for him and very repetitive so I cut out a few steps here and there and didn’t repeat everything so much and now he’s much more focused and proud of himself by the end of each day.


Honestly I hadn’t really thought about themes. I was just excited about the books and the learning but I realized very quickly that the way he needs to learn is through a more hands on approach that is made to be fun and educational. And quite frankly I was getting bored myself. So the googling began and now weekly and monthly themes are coming out of my ears. I’m so excited to dive into a certain subject and make it fun and exciting and educational all at the same time.

So while I had one very structured way of teaching in my mind it turns out it’s not what either of us needed or wanted. I kind of forgot one of the main reasons to homeschool is to make what our kids learn and how they learn fit their needs in an exciting way. I want learning to be an adventure as much as possible and I know that this isn’t always possible but while they are still young I’m gonna try my hardest to make it as exciting as I can.


Desert Lapbook Printables

So the last few weeks have been Desert themed. We made our first lapbook which I’m kind of in love with lapbooks now. He loved getting involved with it and wants our theme to be Batman next week. I said yes to that, especially when I found lapbook printables for Batman themed preschool week online.(link posted below) My daughter is even getting involved, we are focusing on learning her letters and also getting involved in whatever theme we come up with.



I’m even more excited now than I was before school started. The idea that we can tweek our school at home to fit all of our needs and to do it in a way that makes learning an adventure, and a fun adventure at that makes me very giddy! Super excited to see what unfolds in our school year.

Here’s to happy schooling!

Preschool Lapbook Themes

Even I Can Potty Train

Do you need to go potty? That’s the question that I asked about a thousand times last week and will most likely continue to ask for the next several months. I was not expecting to wake up last Monday morning and start the rigorous potty training process that I’ve read so much about. I think it went something like this: I changed my almost 3 year olds morning diaper and all the sudden the words that came out of my mouth shocked both him and me. “Lets say bye-bye to diapers today.” What? Bite my tongue. But it was out and there was no turning back. C actually said bye-bye to his diapers, waved and then gave them to sissy. That was that, the process had begun.

Now I’ve tried potty training a couple of times before with C and it was horrible. Everything I’d read said it took 3 days, but in those 3 days you couldn’t take your eyes off your child. Some said to put a baby gate up so that your little one is only on the hard floors(kitchen, dining room) in the house and to only play in that area for 3 days. Doing this will make it easier to keep an eye on them and no messes on the carpet. Also a big one was to make a chart with stickers and to take your child every 15-20 minutes. If they went they got a sticker. Ok so those are just a few tips to potty train that I’ve come across and after trying those and failing twice I threw it all out the window. While those may work for some kids they did not work for us and my “do it my own way” toddler.

Here are a few reasons those did not work for us.

First, I also have a 9 month old so the constantly watching and doing nothing else for 3 days but going potty was out of the question!
Second, after about two hours of taking C to the bathroom every 15 minutes he was done, he had no desire to pee on the potty and even went so far as to pee as soon as he was off the potty, I think just to show me that he wasn’t gonna take this abuse anymore.
Third, if I locked my son in the area of the house that only had hardwood he would go absolutely crazy and the entire Lane house would know about it.

So what worked for us…

Saying bye-bye really helped him to know that diapers would be no more. He called nana and papa and daddy at work and got to tell them that he said bye to diapers, I’m pretty sure he loved this, it was a huge deal to him! He wore big boy underwear all day and no pants so that the one eye that I tried to keep on him at all times would notice any trickles of the undesired. I constantly asked if he was dry and if he needed to go potty. He would say no every time but I would try to take him every 1-2 hours that first day. Lets just say that the undesired trickles still came and not on the potty. But by the end of the day and about 8 changes into new underwear he started to go on the potty. We gave him a chip every time he went on the potty (you could say chips our a rare delicacy in our house) and that was only for the first 2 days. After that no more chip incentive. During nap he wore underwear too and didn’t even have an accident but at night we started off with underwear and it was horrible, he couldn’t sleep because he kept peeing a little so right now he wears pull-ups to bed at night. Still NO DIAPERS! By Friday he didn’t have one accident and we even went to story time at the library in his big boy underwear. Yesterday at church I think I was most nervous. I kept glancing at my phone waiting for that dreaded text from his Sunday school class saying he’d had an accident. To my surprise no text and when I went to pick him up the teacher told me he let her take him potty! So today it’s been exactly a week and no accidents in a few days! He’s even been telling me when he needs to go potty. So to this I say….


Yes, I’m wooting!

As a mother you want your child to succeed and not feel failure or sadness or disappointment and while I know this isn’t something I can prevent all the time now and definitely not in the future, I really wanted him to have confidence while potty training. I’ve been so nervous about this because the first two attempts were awful but me putting a little more trust in him and saying farewell to diapers for good gave him the confidence and excitement he needed to get the job done! So the moral of the story is, if I can potty train then anyone can potty train!

Happy Training!!