Update on All the Things

This week has been busy and long already and it’s only Thursday (it feels like Friday). I’m thankful for all that has taken place, I’m just tired.

I am being reminded why it’s so important to take good care of myself.

Sunday, Karis started counseling. It went really well. I’m so thankful we have found a great counselor for her that she feels comfortable with. They went into his little play/art room that he has set up for counseling. Karis really enjoyed it. The fact that she opened up to him was encouraging. She doesn’t easily open up.

Then Monday Karis and I went to town for me to go to AA and she spent some time with my mom. She took her shopping for her birthday.

Tuesday we left at 7:30am to go to town for Karis’ doctor appointment.

It was a really productive appointment. I was really concerned when I found out that she had lost 3 pounds in a week and a half. She told me that we don’t have to be gluten and dairy free because she really feels that her issues were psychological, not physical. She also said that she needs to eat what she wants so that she’ll gain some weight. She’s in the 5th percentile for her weight.

I talked to her about a few things besides that. I have been concerned about Karis’ struggle with writing. I have been talking with some other mamas about it and many of them suggested that maybe she has dysgraphia. So I did some research and she has many of the signs. So the nurse practitioner gave me a packet to fill out for the mental health and developmental specialist and I might try to get her in to her. Before I do that I’m going to try one more writing curriculum. I have tried it before using the DVD course and it moved too fast for Karis so I sold it last year. I bought a few things, however, that have PDF packets with them. I just happened to look at my account on the website today and it showed that I can still download the items. So, I downloaded the writing source packet. This will be enough to help Karis get a good feel for the curriculum.

We started this yesterday, and she has really enjoyed it!  Yesterday we did a keyword outline.  Today we wrote a rough draft, edited it, revised it, and she published it.  We are starting really slowly to make sure she understands and applies all of the basics of the curriculum.  It’s very different, but I am planning on building one step at a time.

The first thing you do is read a passage, then make a keyword outline.  Each sentence needs 1-3 keywords.

Then, you write the passage in your own words using the keyword outline.  These are the requirements:

After we did that, we edited and revised together.  We use CUPS and ARMS to do this.

She has pretty bad handwriting, but I’m learning that I just need to come to terms with it.  I tried forever to teach her how to write in cursive and it just never caught on.

After we did that, she typed it up!

Over time she will write more compound and complex sentences.  We’re just getting started.

For next year I will be buying Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons.  We are doing ancient history (Story of the World Volume One) so I figured it would fit right in.


Self care

With us being in town 3 days in a row and dealing with Karis’ stuff, I have struggled with self care. My dietitian reminded me yesterday to take care of myself in the midst of it all. Yesterday was no different as I was focused on making final decisions on curriculum for next year, doing school with Karis (which I LOVE), laundry, cleaning up the house, choir, then bedtime routines. I got so behind on my Bible study and we met this morning. That’s self care for me. Time with camp family learning about God’s word. Today I did school with Karis.  This evening and this weekend I will do my best to spend quality time with my boys; however, they tend to want to just play with their friends.  I guess that’s normal.  Tomorrow night is our pizza (homemade) and movie night.  Looking forward to it!

In other news…

Yesterday was a sad day. There was a terrible accident not far from here in which 12 people died. I have been watching videos and reading articles about it.

Then I found out that the founder of Project Semicolon died. This project is what inspired my semicolon tattoo. They haven’t said how she died, but I’m almost positive it was suicide based on her last Facebook post. She was struggling with depression. I’m so sad for her husband and family as well as the mental health community.


All of this reminds me how precious life is and makes me want to love my family and friends better.

I Couldn’t Sleep Last Night… Self Care Sunday

I had a hard time sleeping last night.  I knew exactly what was wrong but wasn’t sure how to fix it in the moment… so I just laid there ruminating on it.

I made so many changes this past week that my anxiety flared up the past few days.

I put so much pressure on myself and it all came crashing down last night.

This morning I ended up going back to bed and we missed church.

That was my self care… recognizing what I needed in the moment and taking care of it.


Now to address what has been keeping me up…

Friday I met with my dietitian.

I had decided on Monday that I would go gluten and dairy free to see if it would help my anxiety and digestive issues.  I also ordered a probiotic and fiber.  I decided to do all of the things that Karis is doing… we would do it all together.  By Wednesday I was already extremely anxious about food.  I also could never find something to eat, which made it hard for me to eat enough (I already struggled with that and it just made it worse).  When I met with my dietitian, she felt strongly that eliminating gluten and dairy right now probably wasn’t a good idea.  She said we could address it again when she feels like I’m eating enough.

In the meantime, she told me to eat anything I want in order to get enough calories in me.  I have been restricting for so many years that I’m struggling to eat enough.  It’s ingrained in me to eat as little as possible.  I’m pretty much always hungry but I had gotten used to that feeling so it’s normal for me.  My metabolism is completely shot because of this.  I’ve gained weight since I left rehab and she thinks it’s because my body is learning to re-nourish itself.  When I was drinking I didn’t eat much… all of my calories came from alcohol and those are empty calories.  My body doesn’t know what’s going on now that I’m not drinking.  So by eating more, it will actually help my metabolism.  I’m also hiking again which really helps.  If I don’t lose weight that’s okay.  I may even gain some more as I re-nourish my body.  That’s okay, too.  Anything I do from now on will be for health and nourishment (mental and emotional as well as physical), not for weight loss.


And school…

This morning I decided to cut back on our morning time because it was going to end up taking so much time every day (at least an hour).  She needs to be mostly independent so that I’m not too stressed, which causes anxiety.

Instead of several different loops, we’re going to study Shakespeare and geography a little each day (keeping it short and sweet, maybe 10 minutes each), and just study/read one other thing instead of a several other loops.

So, for example, we will take the Picasso book and read it through the week so it’s only like 5-10 minutes each day.  The next week I will pick something else that is fine arts or literature and read through it through the week.  I guess it’s still a loop, but we won’t study several things every week.  Just one.

I adjusted my post about this coming week to address the change.


It all comes down to recognizing that what I have planned and done is enough.  I don’t need to make it extravagant and complicated… just keep it simple.  She will enjoy the time that we have together more if we keep it simple.

I already see myself going back to my old self which over-complicates things, so I need to put a stop to it immediately instead of continuing.

One positive is that I am doing things cheap or free, so that’s good.  In the past, I would have spent a fortune… but I’m happy that I closed all credit so I’m not able to spend much.  I have to actually stick with the curriculum that I have chosen this time instead of constantly trying something new… because I can’t afford to change anything.  I actually love everything that we’re doing and Karis seems to be doing well with it all!

My Happy Planner

I have heard of these for a long time, but it wasn’t until I saw a picture from a friend on Instagram that I decided to bite the bullet and buy one.  I also bought a home planner insert to go with it!  This is pretty much replacing my household notebook.  That has turned into a personal notebook (AA stuff, medical paperwork, etc) plus homeschooling (lesson plans and Teacher Edition pages).

The monthly calendar contains appointments, events, and meals for the month.

I’m going to have to adjust how I’ve been doing this since I received the home planner.  I will probably make this all about self care!

This planner covers everything that I need for being organized.

Coming Up: Week of 3/27-3/31

This coming week we won’t be doing school Monday because we will be in town most of the day, and Tuesday we will be in town in the morning so we will do just the basics.

Morning time will consist of:


Bible study Genesis chapters 5-6 and mom/daughter devotional.


Learning about William Shakespeare

Fine arts 

Artist study: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest ArtistsPablo Picasso


For geography we will be studying the continent of Africa.

We will spend 5-20 minutes on each.


For spelling we will do All About Spelling Level 2, Step 1: Review.  This reviews what was taught in Level 1, which we did not do.  This step is very necessary to move forward.  We will not use letter tiles like the lessons state because that would just drive her crazy!  We’ll do everything in a composition notebook.

For reading she will read The Devil’s Arithmetic chapters 1-3, do vocabulary, and answer questions.  I love these units!  I have so many more coming up!

I will also have her read something of her choosing for independent reading time (3 chapters will take her like 15 minutes… she loves to read so she’ll need more).

For writing we will do Week 2 of Writing with Ease Level 4.  The excerpts to narrate and dictations are from A Little History of the World by EH Gombrich.

Math will be Math U See Delta, lesson 1 A-F and Test (we are moving through this fast because I went backwards to fill in some gaps). Tuesday she will do A & B, Wednesday C & D, Thursday E & F, and Friday will be the test.

Grammar will be Easy Grammar 6 and Daily Grams 6.  I haven’t received these yet so I don’t know what it covers.  We’ll just go in order.

Art will be creating art like Picasso.

Science will be Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy Lesson 3: Mercury.  We will receive her notebooking journal from Rainbow Resource on Monday.  We will study lesson 3 for 2 weeks since we only have 3 days this coming week.

History will be Story of the World chapter 2: “Egyptians Lived on the Nile River.”

Geography Unit: Africa

I’m super excited about the geography that we are going to be doing!  I will learn a lot along with Karis!

We will start with this video:

We will read about Africa using these books:

While we watch the video and read the books we will fill out the information on the sheet that is shown with the books.

We will then watch this video:

We will use this Atlas to help us with the countries and capitals:

We will also use this website to help us with map work: NatGeo Mapmaker Interactive Map.

And this: Sheppard Software Interactive Map. 

After she has done her own map work on paper maps, she will test her knowledge using this Sheppard Software Activity.

I found all of these links on the unit: Africa Geography with Maps Middle School Interactive Worksheet Unit.

She will use all of these links to help her fill out the pages in that file.

I purchased this to learn about geography, culture, wildlife, music, food, sports, language, plants, etc.

She will learn about countries, capitals, rivers, and landforms using maps.

We will spend about 20 minutes each day on this.

Can’t wait to get started!

Shakespeare Unit: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We will begin Shakespeare by learning about him and his life, then we will be studying the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Here’s another video about him: Brain Pop William Shakespeare

We will begin by watching a “Shakespeare Lives” video of the play.

Then we will read A Midsummer Night’s Dream out of this book (Kindle book):

After we’ve read it out of the children’s book, we will read:

After all of the readings, we will do a packet of activities and questions.

I will then let her choose an extension activity or two.

We will finish reading watching the animated version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

We will then fill out this interactive notebook kit!

My plan is to do this for the month of April, but it may not take that long.

I’m looking forward to getting started!

Morning Time, Loop Scheduling, and Spelling

I spent some time thinking through my morning time loops yesterday and decided to split some things up.  It didn’t make sense the way I did it.

Like I said yesterday, I learned through Teaching from Rest that a loop basically means going in order, not assigning certain days for things.  So if you miss a day, you just move on to the next one in the loop.

These are my morning time loops:

Bible Loop

  • Karis uses a quiet time box called Doc’s Discovery Books that has booklets in it for 5 chapters at a time.  The first booklet covers Genesis 1-4 and Psalm 1.  The box of booklets goes from beginning to the end of the Bible.  The website no longer works or I would share that.  I’m super sad that I can’t find a way to buy this again!
  • Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters.

Fine Arts Loop

  • Artist study
  • Art appreciation
  • Musician study
  • Music appreciation

Literature loop

Geography will not be in a loop.  We will study it a bit each day so as to not forget what she did the day before (with map work).

We’re starting with Africa since she’s studying Egypt right now in History.  I’ll write a post for the unit once I gather all of my materials :-).

We’ll continue having evening time with the boys in which I read aloud (currently reading Wayside Stories) and read out of a family devotional (Exploring Grace Together).  This doesn’t happen every evening because I hate to make them come in too early from playing with their friends outside, but I try.

On another note…

After seeing Karis’ spelling recently (I knew it was bad, but I’m realizing lately that it’s really bad), I decided to pull out my All About Spelling and teach her from almost the beginning (we’re starting at Level 2).  I asked her if she knew what a long and short vowel was and she has no idea!  She was never taught phonics (at least since the middle of her kindergarten year), and I think that is what has made spelling so hard for her.  She decodes really well (she reads on an eighth grade level in fifth grade) but encodes terribly (taking it out of her mind onto paper).  We will see how it goes!

The first couple of weeks we will just be reviewing what she didn’t learn in Level 1.  I think the review is enough that we wouldn’t have to start fresh in Level 1 (plus, I already have level 2 so I’m just going to use what we have).

We’re going to just try this and see how it goes.  It could fail miserably, but I thought I’d try it since I had it.

I’m kind of having to go backward in some areas.  She is a great reader so that’s not a problem, which makes history and science great too (it also helps that she loves these).  We had to go backwards in math so that we could fill in some gaps (she wasn’t great at long multiplication and doesn’t know how to do long division at all) as well as spelling and writing (I wrote in previous posts that we’re doing level 4 of Writing with Ease for now in which she just does narrations and dictation until she feels more confident… then I’ll have her start using the writing process to produce pieces of writing).  I’m hoping that with going backward and filling in some gaps, it will allow her to feel more confident.

We’ll see what happens!

I’ve pretty much landed on a Charlotte Mason/Classical education mix!

I plan to use these Narration Ideas from Simply Charlotte Mason for Karis’ writing along with Writing with Ease (which is classical).  I’ll also have her just journal about whatever she wants to on Fridays.

The beautiful thing about all of this is that I have had to buy very little!  I initially told Robert that I was going to have to spend $450 on curriculum and he basically told me that it wasn’t possible… so instead of being frustrated, I have spent my time asking to borrow things, looking at Pinterest, checking things out in the library, and digging through my things.

Can you tell that I’m very excited about things?  🙂

Thankful Thursday: Life is So Good

I’m just so stinkin’ thankful for life.  I wake up early easily because I’m thankful for the day ahead now (I used to dread it).  Before, I would struggle to get out of bed because I was alone all day every day.  It was depressing.

I love spending time with my girl.  I enjoy teaching her.

Yesterday was a fantastic day (despite being exhausted from waking up at 3:50).

We went on a hike on a beautiful day.  I’m so thankful for this beautiful land that we live on with hike/bike trails!

She’s so beautiful!

Then the kids had choir.

Today has been great!  It started out with Bible study this morning at 7:00.  We have it here which I love for two reasons: 1) I love opening my home to the ladies here at camp, 2) I will actually attend it!

We studied 1 Peter 2 this week.

Karis always starts her day with a quiet time.  Today she read and studied Genesis chapters 3 and 4.

We borrowed the Math U See Gamma DVD from my neighbor so that Karis could learn how the MUS teacher teaches long multiplication.  I’m so glad that we did!  He teaches things in a way that totally makes sense and is easy to do.  She is more confident in her multiplication now.  Tomorrow we’ll watch more, then Monday we’ll move on to Delta (division).  She should be on the next level (Epsilon), but she was behind so I thought I would help her understand better.

She does all of her reading on the floor :-).  Whatever works!

I didn’t take a picture of her doing her writing, but it went really well again today!  We did dictation today.  I’m glad that we made the decision to try this curriculum again.  It’s not ideal long term, but it’s good now.  I want her to get more confident in writing before I make her write things from scratch.  When that happens, I have a ton of units to do that I bought on Teachers Pay Teachers.  We’ll get there.  I’ve considered maybe trying Institute for Excellence in Writing again if the units that I bought don’t work for her, but we’ll see.  I’m not going to make any long term plans anymore because things always change.

I’m just happy to have her home, and she’s soooooo happy to be home!  She’s giddy with excitement all the time!  Her anxious self is no longer here.  She’s her content, happy self again.  I think she’s just meant to homeschool.

What are you thankful for?

Hello Wednesday and Fine Arts loop, Writing, Morning Time

I had a hard time falling asleep last night and I’ve been up since 3:50 this morning.  While it was frustrating, I’m thankful for the quiet time that I had alone this morning.  I drank coffee, did my Bible study, planned my day, and caught up on my March monthly calendar (appointments, activities, and meals).

Then I decided  that I had Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers books (just a few) and Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists books (a lot!).  I also found the classical CD’s that I have.

I found my art appreciation kit.  It’s paintings with art study on the back (questions, etc).

I remembered I had Aesop’s Fables.

I pulled out my poetry living book.

I pulled out the novel that Karis is going to study next week.

I pulled out a journal that has blank pages to use for nature journaling.

I remembered that I had these Shakespeare for Children books.

We’re going to start with this one.  We’ll read this book, then read the original on Kindle (free!).

I organized my little read aloud/fine arts/Bible area.

My neighbor is letting us borrow this so I don’t have to buy it!  Karis started it today and no tears!  She did a good job as well!

More poetry books (Poetry for Young People).

Karis did most of her school while I was having my meeting with my dietitian.  I love that she’s independent, but also enjoys doing things with me.

Here she is doing a written narration of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Then she did art.  Today we learned a little bit about Da Vinci.  We learned that he not only was an artist, but also an inventor.  Today she drew a picture of an invention that she would create (a machine to clean the house).

I have since gotten my one load of laundry done, dishes done, swept, had breakfast and a snack, had 8 cups of water, showered, and now I’m blogging and eating lunch!

Next week we are going to add in a Fine Arts loop.  Basically this means that I have Fine Arts subjects that I want to do, but not even once a week.  I just put them in order and we go in order, not paying attention to the day of the week.  So if we miss a day, we just move on to the next thing.  I learned about this in the book Teaching from Rest.  I also learned about morning time from that book.  It’s fantastic!

So my fine arts loop will have the following:

  • Shakespeare
  • Art appreciation
  • Artist study
  • Music appreciation
  • Musician study
  • Poetry
  • Aesop’s Fables
  • Geography

Our morning time (every day) consists of:

  • Quiet time (Bible study)
  • Mom/daughter devotional
  • Poetry memorization
  • Fine Arts loop

We start morning time at around 8:00 (after we have gotten ready for the day, had breakfast, etc).

PE will be hiking and Karis will sometimes ride her bike.  We’re about to go for a hike this afternoon in this beautiful weather!

Then we have choir and book fair at the library in Rocksprings.

Life is good!

Happy Monday and Grati-Tuesday

I realize it’s Tuesday, but I didn’t have a chance to blog yesterday so I’m going to share some things today.

Yesterday was a long, exhausting day, but it was great in a lot of ways.  I have made some decisions to possibly help with anxiety and my own digestive issues.

After Karis’ doctor told us to eliminate wheat, reduce dairy, take probiotics, and increase water and fiber for anxiety and her digestive issues, I talked to my counselor about it and she asked why I wouldn’t try it as well.  She read me some studies that point to lowered anxiety and depression with eliminating gluten.  And dairy makes my stomach hurt.  My counselor has been doing this for 30 years so I trust that when she says it works, it works.  Then I talked with a friend here that is gluten free and she said it decreased anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  So we’ll see!

I talked with my dietitian about it and she said we can try it for a month (well, she said 3 weeks but I think a month is better) and see how I feel.  I can then add them in one at a time and see if it affects me.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m eliminating dairy and gluten, adding in fiber and probiotics (also encouraged by my dietitian), and drinking lots of water (mainly because I’m taking lithium now and you have to drink lots of water with it).

Yesterday I ordered some good probiotics and fiber (Garden of Life brand) as well as probiotics for Karis (just Vitacost brand).  I also take fish oil and a whole foods multi vitamin.

Now the question that I asked myself and my dietitian has been very adamant about is that I don’t view this as a weight loss diet, but as a way to feel better.  I don’t think I’ll lose weight… I’ll still eat intuitively (eat when I’m hungry until I’m comfortably full).  I won’t focus on eating “good foods” vs. “bad foods,” but just foods that make me feel good.  I’m not planning to lose weight at all.  My goal is health.  Lower weight does not always mean good health (lots of studies show this!).

And now that Karis is home I will be better about hiking.  It was hard to convince myself to go alone.

I also did EMDR and wow it brought out a lot of things that I can work on and process.  I have decided to not go into details about these sessions because it’s very personal.  Just know that I think this will also help my anxiety and increase emotional connection with my family and friends.

I’m trying to be the best me that I can be.  Closer to Jesus, positive body image, healthy, feeling good, lower anxiety and depression, better mom and wife, etc.  And I’ve gotten back to my daily routine which helps so much.

I’m soooooo grateful for spring!

I’m grateful that Karis has been so excited about school.

I’m grateful for a way for Karis to study God’s word at her level.

I’m grateful that she got up on her own this morning, got dressed, made her bed, brushed her hair and teeth, and filled out her planner for the week using my lesson plans!

(Yes her handwriting and spelling aren’t great…)

I’m grateful for coffee (even when it’s decaf with almond milk), water, spring scented candles, and my new Happy Planner!

I’m so grateful for the Bible study that I’m doing.  It is more in-depth than any study I’ve ever done, as you can see by my marked-up Bible.

I’m grateful that she’s enjoying school (mostly… she hates writing and it brought her to tears today).

I’m soooooo grateful for a neighbor that is loaning us so much!  We are using her math DVD’s, fraction overlays, and blocks (Math U See); history (Story of the World); and now writing (Writing with Ease).  She is saving us so much money.

Along those lines, I’m learning to do this homeschool thing much cheaper this time!     Instead of spending the $400 that I originally told my hubby I would need to spend (to get all of the stuff I wanted), I have only spent about $125 (Math U See Delta student books, Apologia Astronomy notebooking journal, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, and some Teachers Pay Teachers stuff).

I’m currently creating a Geography unit based solely on free stuff that I found on Pinterest!  This is fun!