Celebrating Mothers!

Celebrating Mothers!

“The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Mother’s Day is coming right up!  Below is a crazy quilt collection of amazing Mommas who lived, worked and raised children in the last couple hundred years of societal and technological change. It is by no means definitive and reflects my own reading and areas of interest. But if you are looking for some inspiring Mommas to read about and learn from, this is a good basic list to get you started.

Queen Victoria

The longest reigning British monarch and the longest reigning female in history, beloved wife of Albert and mother of 9. She is called “The Grandmother of Europe.” The Young Victoria and Victoria & Albert are both delightful movies about an intriguing monarch who did not give up motherhood, despite her position as a world leader.

Lillian Gilbreth

The original Cheaper by the Dozen Momma. Along with her husband Frank, she co-founded the Cognitive Psych program at Purdue University, author, efficiency expert, and mother of 12, all of whom went to Ivy Leagues. She combined engineering, psychology, and motherhood and was the first American engineer to synthesize scientific management and psychology. You’ll laugh out loud reading Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes. The 1950’s film version of the books is also delightful!

Ruth Bell Graham

Missionary, author, wife, a vital component of Billy Graham’s evangelistic ministry, mother of 5. Her headstone reads, in Chinese “Righteous” (her parents were missionaries with the China Inland Mission, where she spent her childhood). To add to your reading list: “Ruth, A Portrait.

Mother's Day Quote

Barbara Bush

Wife of a governor, CIA Director and president, mother of a president, mother of 2 U.S. Governors, literacy advocate, Momma of six and witty author, Barbara Bush saw a lot of the world.  George W was asked once what arguments with his mother were like. He replied, “You don’t argue with Barbara.” Check out “Barbara Bush, A Memoir.”

Dorothy Sayers

Her life as a Mom was difficult and challenging; isn’t everyone’s, at some point or another? She did the best for her son, despite great personal sacrifice and went on to legitimize the murder mystery genre through her Lord Peter Wimsey book series, which is you haven’t read, you must. Start with “Clouds of Witness.” As as a way of introduction to Dorothy’s deep faith and great intellect, read “The Gospel in Dorothy Sayers.”

Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery, she escaped at age 27 and over the course of her life, helped lead over 70 others to freedom. She became a spy for the Union army and helped free over 700 slaves during a raid. She and her husband adopted a baby girl name, “Gertie.” Check out the book, Harriet Tubman, Imagining a Life by Lowry and the T.V. mini-series, “A Woman Called Moses.”

Marie Curie

Not only the first women to win a noble prize, she is one of the few people to win two Noble Peace Prizes in her lifetime (the first of which she shared with her husband) for her groundbreaking work in Chemistry (903, 1911) After her husband’s untimely death, she continued her work in Science while raising her two daughters. Her daughter, Irene, went on to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, as well! Check out the movie: Marie Curie: Courage of Knowledge and the Book, Radioactive: A Book of love and fallout by Redniss.

I’ve love to hear who your favorite Mom is- besides your own, of course!

Mother’s Day is coming up and I’ve partnered together with a great group of bloggers to bless some moms BIG TIME this Mother’s Day!  We are giving away FOUR Instant Pots! Instant Pots are quick, convenient, and help to make meal preparation so much easier; every mom or homemaker should have one.  So if you are wanting to win one for yourself (or for a mother that you know would love one), use the Rafflecopter below to enter.
Now I know that the Rafflecopter has quite a few entries, but each of these bloggers generously chipped in their own money to bring you this giveaway, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries.  And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!

Giveaway ends May 10th at 11:59pm EDT.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond to email to claim prize.  By entering this giveaway you will be added to the email lists of some of the participating bloggers (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form for the complete list).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How do you celebrate that special mom in your life?  At True North Homeschool Academy, we know that Motherhood is a high calling so check out this posts to see some of our favorite mothers.  #TNHA #Mother'sDay #homeschoolingc

Mere Motherhood:  A Review

Mere Motherhood: A Review

(The following is a guest post from Jamie Buckland, Headmistress of Appalachian Classical Academy)

I present to you a review of Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. May my reflections point you to the practical wisdom she so graciously shares.

I am not a reader. I said this once in an academic setting and realized how uncomfortable I had made the speaker who scrambled to form a response. I apologized and clarified that it isn’t for lack of ability, it is simply for lack of desire.

So when I, 18 weeks pregnant with my 4th child, was introduced to Cindy Rollins in the flesh, I remembered her as one of those readers, and promptly dismissed the thought that she, in her CiRCE prize-winning glory, would have something to say that would resonate with me.

Then I heard her address the audience of scholars as she received her prize. Aware that I may have resembled a blubbering whale, I thought that I had possibly dismissed her in haste.

I began the book that night, and finished it the next day. Just last week, after having loaned it out to more than half a dozen of my friends, I picked it back up. It’s only possible I was able to go almost three years without a refresher because I was blessed to get to know Cindy personally during this time.

I want to share with you how her wisdom has influenced me.

One afternoon I sent my then 16-year old son to walk 4 miles in 30-degree weather to get to work. I refused to drive him as a punishment for his lack of submission- to what I cannot tell you – time has a way of doing that. About 10 minutes after he began this walk, regretting my anger, I pulled up beside him and told him to get in the van. He refused. I did all I knew to do. I messaged the author of Mere Motherhood and asked her if she would be willing to call me.

She did.

Her words were not formed by a hope of possibly solving my particular problem, as so many words seem too often be, but by a compelling desire to point me to the very Hope who has already solved my universal problem. Gentle reminders that my son’s soul was indeed not mine to save steadied my heart, slowed my breath, and sank me into my chair. The voice of a mother who has whispered the same defeat, threatened the same ultimatums, and pleaded for the same resolve was speaking Truth into my physical ear just as her written word had done to my scattered mind a few months before.

My parents certainly questioned my decisions that day. They may have even threatened to call and report me, but my son survived his chilly walk. And our relationship has done more than just survive. I want to give proper thanks to Cindy, for being the vessel that spoke God’s love to me on that frigid January afternoon. Thanks, Cindy.

My confessions were often matched by realizations from Cindy’s book. Below I’ve written out some of my own struggles and how Cindy addresses them in her book (bolded).

I struggle with validation,

“The Real story is that when we seek validation from any source other than Christ we are going to be disappointed.”

I struggle with pride.

“To my relief, Alex was alert and responsive after all those drugs and I would never be an obnoxious mother-in-law bragging that I had ALL my babies naturally.”

I struggle with guilt.

“In fact, one of our sons turned twelve twice. When what we thought was his thirteenth birthday rolled around we had to sadly explain to him that he was going to have to be twelve again since we had miscalculated his last birthday. This was a crushing blow.”

I struggle with knowing my place.

“When I was younger if I talked to young mothers we shared experiences. Now, if I share an experience with a young mother, it seems like I am a know-it-all and young mothers don’t want to hear any advice. I understand that. I was like that too. I was confident. But it would be nice to be able to share my experiences now, mother-to-mother, without feeling like I am interfering. What I am really doing is commiserating.”

I struggle with defining classical education.

“The ‘ages and stages’ model of classical education had left me hopelessly confused.”

I struggle with Charlotte Mason purists.

“Although Charlotte Mason was not a fan of children’s picture books, I am, proving I can think for myself sometimes.”

I struggle with reading. And sin.

“There are three things that cover a multitude of sins: reading, reading aloud, and written narration.”

I struggle with regret.

“We all have faults. Some periods of life bring those faults to the forefront, making it seem that we are only our faults.”

I hope that in the midst of your busy homeschooling life, you take time to read soul-filling books. Mere Motherhood is just such a book. You will be encouraged, exhorted and challenged to stay the good course of intentionally parenting and raising your children.

Are you looking for some amazing resources just for the Classical Homeschooler?  Check out our Classical Homeschool group on Facebook!  

Jamie Buckland lives in southern WV with her husband and 4 children. Jamie is Executive Director and Headmistress of Appalachian Classical Academy, a tutoring program for homeschoolers. She also works with homeschool group leaders as the Classical Program Consultant. With a heart for the homeschooling mother, she is passionate about connecting this new generation of homeschoolers with veteran mothers who have walked this walk and lived to share. She will graduate her eldest this year, her youngest in 16 years, and a couple in between! You can find Jamie at www.jamiebuckland.net




Mere Motherhood - A Book Review

Build Teamwork by Camping!

Build Teamwork by Camping!

Camping & Teamwork

For our second podcast on Teamwork at Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age,  I recount an amazing month-long backpacking trip I took to the High Unitas Wilderness Area in Utah the summer before I started college. Camping is such a great way to build team-work as we find ourselves in situations that are free of normal distractions and have scheduled fun and different activities like backpacking, canoeing, and cooking over an open fire.

Camping often takes us to places of breathtaking natural beauty, re-orienting us to the fact that God is an amazing Creator, who delights in simple beauty.

For this post, we’ve rounded up some great camping tips and tricks, writing prompts and easy snack and meal ideas! Why not plan a camping trip sometime soon!


Camping Printables & Tips

Maybe you can’t get out in the wilderness right now but would still love some camping fun.  These camping printables are just what you need!  These can even be printed and used on the trip there.  You will also find some amazing camping tips and tricks.

http://www.yearroundhomeschooling.com/free-camping-unit…/ (+ unit study)


Field Trip and Travel Journal https://www.thinkingkidsblog.org/field-trip-travel-journal/

I’m going camping, now what?! http://www.yearroundhomeschooling.com/free-camping…/


Camping Writing Prompts

Do your kids love camping but hate writing?  Maybe it’s time to try some camping writing prompts!  Check out the following pages to combine camping and writing for your student.




Other Great Camping Tips & Tricks

Want to make that camping trip extra special?  Then check out these ideas below!  From food to crafts to great tips, we have you covered.  

(For more great ideas you can also check out our camping Pinterest board.)

Incorporate Nature Hikes into Your Homeschool https://thebarefoothomeschoolingmom.blogspot.com/…/4-re…

DIY Camping Light https://thebarefoothomeschoolingmom.blogspot.com/…/4-re…

Camping with Grandkids https://paradisepraises.com/camping-with-grandkids/

Traveling with Kids https://thisbitoflife.com/2018/12/11/traveling-kids/

Traveling and Roadschooling https://www.theycallmeblessed.org/homeschooling-on-the-road/

8 Benefits of Going Camping with your Kids https://thebarefoothomeschoolingmom.blogspot.com/…/4-re…

Best Advice for Camping when it rains https://thebarefoothomeschoolingmom.blogspot.com/…/4-re…

Party through the US https://www.partythroughtheusa.com/p/camping.html

Give your kids experiences instead of things  https://hiphomeschoolmoms.com/give-your-children…/

Food  https://practicalbydefault.com/easy-make-ahead-camping…/

Camping Checklist  https://practicalbydefault.com/car-camping-list/

Family Safety Checklist https://practicalbydefault.com/family-hiking-tips-safety…/


So there you have it, some amazing posts about camping with your family.  What are you waiting for?  Get out there today!  Where will your adventures take you as a family?


Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

(I have been blessed to participate in the Homeschooling through the Holidays series over on LifeofaHomeschoolMom.com, be sure to visit the entire series!)

The holiday season is just around the corner! Gift giving is an important part of our Holiday tradition, along with stringing miles of lights and decorating multiple trees, filling our large 4 x 4 farmhouse with holiday cheer! If you are in a rut with gift-giving or feel like its materially oriented and has lost the joy of giving and gratitude, consider giving gifts that will contribute to experiences and that you can share together.

What hobbies, skills or crafts grab your kids’ interest that you could encourage? Is there a local guild or artisan around who could mentor/ help them? What about YouTube links in a card as part of the present?

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Are you looking for a unique gift for your tween or teen?  Check out these great ideas from True North Homeschool Academy! #Christmas #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

The Low-Carb Homeschool Holiday Dinner

The Low-Carb Homeschool Holiday Dinner

(The following is a guest post from True North Homeschool Academy teacher Amber Fonseca.)

I can’t be the only homeschool mom that is attempting to host a tasty AND nutritious Thanksgiving dinner while trying to educate my little man… Oh! Did I mention that I also have a disability and my little is autistic bipolar? I know, I’m a little crazy, but I have a plan!

That’s the most important part of any Thanksgiving dinner, right? Having a plan makes things more manageable and allows you the ability to know where to adjust as the inevitable unplanned happenings occur. Yup, right up there with having a plan is the necessary skill of being able to adjust the plan when the unexpected happens. How? Well, everyone’s plan and backup plan will look different, but here are some helpful tools that anyone can adjust to fit into their own holiday preparations.

  1. Shop early – there will be things that you forget, but having the majority of your shopping done before the masses hit the grocery stores will lessen your stress and allow you to ensure everything on your list is available.
  2. Spread out the cooking – Don’t try to do all of the cooking in one day. I make my rolls first because I can put them in the freezer. Then I make things that don’t require refrigeration (brownies, even low-carb can sit on the counter for a couple of days with no problems). The ingredients (like eggs) will often come from the fridge, and you will slowly give yourself more space for things that MUST go in the fridge once you are done making them.
  3. Use your helpers! We homeschool. That means that while other children are still in school, ours are home and available to help. Younger kids can create decorations as you discuss why Thanksgiving exists, middle and older kids can help with the cooking. Home-economics at its finest!
  4. Don’t try to keep up with the three R’s. Yes, you can have your kids do the math associated with cooking; that isn’t what I mean. It is perfectly okay to take a few days away from written work and focus on relationships and family. I am far from being Super-mom, and there is no way that I can keep up with it all AND continue our regular class work.
  5. Enjoy your family. No matter how much pain I am in or how stressed I may be trying to figure out the carb counts associated with every meal I make, my goal is to enjoy spending time with my son and with my parents when they arrive.

These are just my top five recommendations, as a diabetic with other disabilities including RSD/CRPS and back damage, there are more items on my list. I don’t have the ability to stand and cook for hours and hours. I have to take breaks, I have to give myself time, and I have to accept that my body may not always cooperate.

Here are some added preparations for those of us with disabilities.

  1. Pre-plan your recipes AND your grocery list – knowing what you are cooking and what you need to purchase will make a HUGE difference as you move through your preparations.
  2. Order groceries delivered or for pick-up! Save your time and energy. Pick-up in most places doesn’t cost anything extra but makes a huge difference on your energy levels.
  3. Plan for easy meals, maybe even take-out, for the week leading into Thanksgiving. Your fridge is likely overrun with supplies for the big day, so planning easy meals like spaghetti (I have a low-carb high-protein pasta) or salads don’t use up the energy needed for cooking.
  4. Keep it easy – Don’t try to make two versions of everything. It is okay to have some foods that are not on your diet if you know the majority of the people coming will appreciate it and eat it. Meanwhile, other items can be replaced completely. Stuffing is replaceable here. I heard that gasp! Seriously though, my family grew up eating mashed potatoes over stuffing. This means that I can make Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and there is no need to make my amazing stuffing. If we had a larger group, I might, but this year the stuffing has been axed!
  5. Take your time and take breaks – I started cooking almost a week in advance. I made my rolls and put them in the freezer, then I made the cranberry sauce and put it in the freezer as well. Next, I will make my sweet potato casserole and the green bean casserole. I will wait until the big day before I add toppings at the last minute. Spreading out the different dishes allows me to better manage my pain levels. On the day of – the only thing I should have left will be the turkey.

Now that you know my lists, I have one more thing to share — a low-carb high-protein bread recipe that actually tastes AMAZING. I needed a recipe that let me think I was cheating with a good-ol’ yeasty roll slathered in butter, and this recipe let me do that while still controlling my blood sugars!

  • 1 packet quick activated yeast
  • *Mix these and set it aside*
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups Almond Flour (set ½ cup aside)
  • ¾ cup GF Flour (or regular if you aren’t gluten-free)
  • ½ cup egg based unflavored protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup warm/hot water

Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl and then cut in the butter until the butter is mixed in and creates a fine crumble in the flours. In a separate bowl, blend together the sour cream, ricotta, and eggs. By this time, the yeast and water should be nice and frothy. Mix the yeast into the sour cream and egg mixture. Lastly, slowly add the flour ingredients into the liquid ingredients. The dough will likely still be a bit sticky. Mix/knead in the last ½ cup of almond flour. If the dough is still to wet to shape, you can add more almond flour, OR you can place it into a muffin pan and make muffin rolls. The dough can also be placed in a bread pan. Bake at 350 until the top and edges are lightly browned, and a knife comes out clean. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays! 

Amber bio

About Amber – Nobody knows the faith required to walk the home education path like a prior homeschool graduate turned homeschool mom. Often, when God calls us to walk in faith, the first step is the hardest. My parents took that step when I was in elementary school: they withdrew my public school enrollment and we started our homeschool journey. Years later, I graduated college armed with an English Language Arts degree, a teacher’s certification, and a passion for teaching English. Choosing to home educate my son meant that I would no longer be able to teach Lit & Comp, (College) Composition I and C.S. Lewis to high school students – or so I thought. I am excited for this amazing opportunity to share my passion for English with homeschool students online!


Are you looking for low-carb holiday dinner ideas? Check out these tips from True North Homeschool Academy!


Celebrating Christmas

Celebrating Christmas

This post may contain affiliate links.

(Make sure you find your way to the bottom of this post to enter the Christmas Blessings Giveaway!)

The Holiday Season is hard upon our heels.  As our family size shifts and changes with kids launching and significant others joining us, our traditions are changing. Regardless of the natural ebb and flow of family changes, we fill our holidays with the tastes, sounds, sights, and smells of Christmas.

TASTE: Food & Drinks

Food often evokes memories, and holiday foods can bring up beloved relatives, now gone and the happy glow of childhood. Green bean casserole was de rigor at my house growing up during the holidays and always served in a huge clay handled and lidded pot we got from Mexico. Mmm! We incorporate old favorites each holiday like deviled eggs. And don’t try to sneak any chic new ingredients in! I want them plain, simple and perfect with just mayo, mustard and a dash of paprika on top. Served up on the green colored Carnival platter, of course.

But we also add in a new recipe or two. While the pumpkin should be traditional, how about bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers to add some zing to the table?

Along with food, we have a tea/coffee and a hot chocolate bar stocked for the holidays with flavored hot chocolates, peppermints, and flavored Keurigs. This can be as fancy or simple as you like but it makes for quick and happy gatherings as those of us in the far north thaw from coming indoors.

SIGHT: Decorations

We make simple changes throughout the year during different seasons. We have an old shed window pane (sans glass) in the bathroom and have homemade banners swaged across, which we change by season. We go all out at Christmas and swath our three-story 4 x 4 farmhouse in twinkle lights, decorate trees on each floor and bring out homemade treasures that we’ve collected over time.

I add to our mini-stuffed snowman collection throughout the year, and these perch atop windows, nestled in boughs of greenery. We have mini-trees throughout the house as well, some decorated by theme (cowboys, y’all) or color (pink and purple with twinkle lights is an adorable look!). Twinkle lights are everywhere and we often spend holiday evenings chatting with twinkle lights and fire going, making a gentle, cozy atmosphere in which to enjoy the holidays.

SMELLS: Candles & Flowers

With the plethora of essential oils and candles, it’s easy to create scents by seasons. We sprinkle peppermint and evergreen on our fake Christmas tree, creating a subtle and beautiful aroma, while still protecting families from seasonal allergy attacks.

We are suckers for growing things and holidays often find newly potted flowers in our dining room- poinsettias for Christmas, of course, but we love cut flowers too, which are worth buying at least a few times a year. You know the old adage, if you have two loaves of bread, sell on and buy a lily. I take that pretty seriously.

Don’t forget Cinnamon Applesauce ornaments and clove-studded citrus to decorate with. Place them amongst ornaments when you pack them away for subtle and beautiful fragrance when you unpack your treasures the next year.

SOUNDS & More Sights: Music, Videos & Books

Family tradition in our house dictates that Christmas decorating begins the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas music and videos must wait to be watched and listened to until then. However, the day after Christmas you’ll find us bringing down Christmas decorations while playing the Peanuts Christmas album and from then until New Years, we’ll play new and old favorites.

We save seasonal videos and books as well. Each Christmas season we’ll watch The Star, The Nativity, Muppets Christmas, White Christmas, Miracle on 31st street, While You Were Sleeping and other holiday favorites reserved especially for Christmas.

When our kids were young we read Bartholomew’s, Tabitha’s Travels and Johan’s Journey, along with other well-loved Christmas books and while our kids are older now, we do bring these books out each Christmas and stack them around the house. It’s not unusual to find people reading them curled up on a sofa with hot tea or chocolate or even reading them out loud to each other.

And of course, we read the Nativity Story on Christmas Eve, often having attended a candlelight service where we sing beautiful hymns like O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manager, and Silent Night.

Stockings and Presents & Christmas Morning

We love giving and receiving gifts and I fill the handmade Stockings my Mom and I made with magazine subscriptions, Burt’s Bees, gift cards, gum, and flashlights and batteries.

We’ll eat a simple or fancy brunch, depending on whose home and who wants to cook what and then we’ll open presents. Some things just happen year after year, like good books and movies, hats and accessories, home-made items and of course, something Peanuts-related. Art and craft supplies always show up; though as my kids have gotten older and their skills have developed, their craft supplies are decidedly more expensive- have you priced a pottery wheel or anvil lately?!

We’ll feast on roast turkey later in the day and then play a board game, read books and watch movies in front of the fire or go on a walk if the weather is nice.

We love the Christmas Holiday season, with all of its sights, sounds, smells and good gifts! What do you do to celebrate?

Now for the Giveaway!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is upon us once again.  2018 has flown right by and the holiday season is in full swing.  With Christmas being the season of giving, I’ve gotten together with some pretty awesome bloggers to give TWO families some CASH in the 5th annual Christmas Blessings Giveaway – $500 cash (delivered via Paypal).

We hope that the prize will be a blessing to the winning families and help them to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to save for a rainy day.   Whatever the money ends up being used for, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need.

There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning!  I know it can seem tedious and time-consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is!  Plus, all of these generous bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes and this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them.  So I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows, maybe you will find your new favorite blog.

The giveaway will run from Monday, November 12th through Wednesday, November 21st (ends at 11:59 pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.  Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How do you celebrate the Christmas season? Find some great ideas in this post from True North Homeschool Academy! Also, make sure to check out the amazing giveaway at the end of the post! #Christmas #homeschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy