deals and steals, home, recommendations, Uncategorized

Favorite Amazon Home Purchases

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love shopping through Amazon. I can keep track of items that I love and watch for the price to drop. If you haven’t joined my Deals & Steals group on Facebook, you can hop over. I share the good deals that I find each day, or just fun items. I thought it would be fun to round up my favorite purchases from Amazon and share them with you.

I’ll be breaking this up into different parts. Home, kids, baby, food, etc. Like I said, I really love Amazon. And for a family with only one car and a lot going on, I know that many times the two day shipping will get here faster than I can make it to the store.

Favorite Amazon Home Purchases

This post is not sponsored, but the links may be affiliate links. That means that should you purchase something through a link, I would receive a small commission. Your price does not change at all, but it helps me to contribute to our family in a fun way. Thank you for supporting me. 

glass foaming soap dispenser – I use this to hold my Thieves foaming hand soap. You can fill it up with any foaming soap. Did you know you save lots of money by purchasing the bigger refill bottles of soap instead of tons of individual soaps? Plus, you are reducing waste so it is a win-win. Plus, the bottle is so pretty and comes in may different colors and finishes.

Crane Drop Humidifier– The BEST humidifier ever. I recommend them to everyone. They come in tons of colors and look really cute sitting out. It is obviously not necessary for your humidifier to be cute, but it is a nice perk when it is out all winter long.  It is filterless, so you don’t spend money on replacement filters over and over again! I could write a song about my love for this..

Label Maker– I really love labeling things. Organization makes my heart happy. I bought this 3 1/2 years ago and still love it.

Crock Pot– I love this crock pot. I use it at least once a week– it prevents us from eating out on Sundays. There are so many settings, and I love that you can set it to cook your meat to a certain temperature.

Quilt– This quilt is simple and soft. I keep it at the foot of the bed to give extra warmth on cool nights.

Kitchen Towels– These towels are great if you are looking for something cheap. They are often on sale and less than $1 per towel. When they arrived, they were kind of stiff and not absorbent at all. Once they were washed, they shrunk, softened up and work really well. They are still a good size even after shrinking.

Dishwashing detergent– This detergent works so well and is free of a lot of chemicals and junk that I don’t want on my dishes. This is the only brand I buy anymore.

Manual Sweeper– I love this! It’s so handy for when I don’t want to lug the big vacuum out and just have a small mess to clean up.

Pillow Shams– You can get the best pillow shams from Amazon!! I love shams because they are an affordable way to change up your decor. Just don’t forget to buy some inserts!




homeschool, kids, sponsored, Uncategorized

Nat Geo Kids




I received this product for free from Moms Meet ( to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

I’ll be honest. I practically begged Moms Meet to select me for this program! As a homeschooling parent, I am always looking for really great educational books for my daughters.  I never struggle with getting rid of “stuff” in our house until it comes to books. Save all the books! National Geographic kids is so cool, and I literally jumped up and down when I saw that I got selected to share this with you. The pictures in their books are so incredible. The facts and information that they give are wildly entertaining. I also never knew that there were Nat Geo kids novels!


The National Geographic Kids Almanac is the most popular kids almanac on the planet. It is such a great boredom buster for your kids! Even if they aren’t at the age for reading, the pictures will captivate them. Did you know that a group of leopards is called a leap? The almanac is filled with all kinds of fun facts like this. Kids are invited to participate in the Lions Forever Almanac Challenge for a chance to win a $500 gift card to host a lion conservation party! You can head to for more information on this opportunity. The contest ends on December 3, 2018. The website is full of really cool videos, games, and extra information.


The almanac is so visually eye catching. It is presented in a way that there is something for every kid. It’s such a great addition to our homeschool library!


Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret engages your kids on all levels. The narrative, code-breaking, puzzles and storyline will keep your child engaged and encouraged to observe, reason, and problem solve. The novel features kids and cultures from all around the globe. It is fact-based fiction that is inspired by the real-life adventures of real National Geographic explorers. Every book contains a Truth Behind the Fiction section and profiles real explorers and their work. You can send your pre-order or purchase receipt for The Nebula Secret to National Geographic Kids and receive a FREE digital issue of National Geographic Kids magazine that features Explorer Academy games. Email your receipt to to take advantage of this special offer. Since I know many of you will ask, this novel is geared towards ages 8-12.

My daughters are 8, 6, and 4 years old. My 8 and 6 year old loved it. We read a chapter before bed each nigh. It was obviously too advanced for my four year old, but she would come and go enjoying parts of the story.


I have found myself reading the Weird but True book.  I brought them over one day that I was babysitting my nephews. The seven year old didn’t want to go to bed because he wanted to continue reading. I went to a football game with his family and brought the 2019 Almanac for him to look at (because most 7 year olds don’t want to watch a football game or cheerleaders). He was quiet as a mouse reading through the Almanac.


This girl was so excited to pick up this National Geographic Kids book from the book fair. She kept jumping up and down, and I gave up on getting a clear picture of the whole cover. ha!

I encourage you to pick up any National Geographic Kids book that strikes your fancy. They are all so incredibly well done and get two thumbs up from all five members of our family!

family life, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

Weekend Recap

This weekend was so full and fun. I love weekends like that. We had summer weather, which is kind of annoying when it’s OCTOBER, but we wouldn’t let that stop us.


Friday, we had plans to go to Lincoln’s New Salem for their candlelight festival. I invited my mom and dad to join us for the evening, and was so happy that they were able to come with us. We met them for dinner before the event. We made it into town a little before them, so we took the girls to see Abraham Lincoln’s home. Their minds were blown to see this incredible piece of history.

At New Salem, they had all of the cabins open and illuminated with candles. They had a militia camp set up as well as a few other camps so that you could see what live was like in the 1800s. It was SO crowded. I overhead others saying that they had never seen that many people come to the event. We were determined to make it to the tavern for gingerbread and apple cider. Naturally, we headed that way first to get our snacks. We needed fuel for the night, you know?


We only made it into a few of the cabins before the kids were tired of the crowds and long lines; also a little scared of the darkness. It was past their bedtime, so we expected it to happen at some point. While we were walking, my dad was telling me stories about my grandpa building a cabin with his bare hands. I want to soak in all of the stories about my parents and grandparents. How much history has been lost by people not sharing the stories or remembering the stories?


Saturday, I had signed my mom and I up for a craft at the library. Scott ended up having to work, and I thought I was going to miss out. My dad saved the day by offering to watch all three kids for me so that I could go! It basically thrilled the three of them to spend a couple of hours with their papa. They talked about how fun it was the entire day. My younger sister and her family got into town in the evening. I popped into my parents’ house to say hi to them and hug them all.


Sunday started off as it always does- with our church family. We were running a few minutes late, but were still going to make it. Then, we got stopped a train. Then, the train stopped. That is pretty typical for this town, and everyone hates it. After church and lunch, we met up with my mom and younger sister’s family at the apple orchard. IMG_9541

I love this orchard so much. If you live anywhere nearby, you should definitely visit. They have delicious cider slushes, donuts, and all kinds of goodies. The people who work there are some of the nicest.


They have a playground, hay bale tunnels, and even a toddler playground that is all free for you to enjoy. They don’t charge you for every activity, which is so common with some of the big-name orchards.


I also got to hug a friend of mine that I’ve really only met in person once, which was a big cherry on top of a great weekend.

I love fun weekends where you get to spend time with the people you love and do all of the fun fall things. I’m holding on until later this week when the weather will actually feel like fall again. The schools are out today, but we are still working away. Instead of taking today off and staying in the house because of the heat, we will take another day off later this week when we can walk to the park and play!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend also, and that you enjoy your Columbus Day!

ADHD, dyslexia, homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Our Journey to a Diagnosis- Part 3

You can read part 1 and part 2 if you’d like to catch up.

When we had last left off, the first part of the screening was complete. We went back to finish up the screening, which was very much like “part 2” of the journey. The only  difference is that my daughter was EXCITED to go instead of feeling nervous and unsure. That was a huge load off of my mind. At the end, Dr. C said she had all of the information she needed, but that it would be several weeks before she would have the scoring completed to give us the results. With the time of year, there were MANY kids being screened, and she was pretty swamped. I finally got the call that the results were ready, and we scheduled an appointment to receive them.

I really wanted to ask her to just tell me over the phone so I could be ready with questions, but I resisted. I’m working on my patience. ha! Our appointment was yesterday. Dr. C is so sweet and gentle. She wanted to go over what tests she performed and how our daughter scored on them. I’ll share the list, which could vary by where you live and what your doctor feels necessary. I’m guessing it’s pretty similar across the board, but again, I’m not certain of that.

This tests verbal comprehension, visual spatial, fluid reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. Our daughter scored in the 81st-99.6 percentile in all but working memory and processing speed. This is apparently very common in children with ADHD. Those percentiles were DRAMATICALLY different. The full-scale IQ is given. They also give a “general ability index” where they remove the scores for working memory and processing speed. According to the information we were given “The WISC-V is an individually administered, comprehensive clinical instrument used to assess the intelligence of children.”

WIAT-III; selected subtests
This tests Early Reading Skills, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Composition, Word Reading, Pseudoword Decoding, Spelling, Listening Comprehension,  and Sentence Composition.  According to the information we were given “The WIAT-III is an individually administered clinical instrument designed to measure listening, reading, writing, and mathematic skills.” She was only given select tests for reading since that is the area of concern with dyslexia.

BASC-3 Parent Report Scales
Conners 3 rating scales- parent

These were two large forms that I filled out during the first day of screening.


Then, she read went over her findings with us. Based up on her testing and findings, our daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD and a mild specific learning disorder, with impairment in reading (which is how they say dyslexia now).


I said in my brain “I knew it.” When your mama heart tells you that something is going on, listen. But, I always second guess myself and kept thinking “what if I’m way off?” I certainly didn’t want them to find anything. I don’t want to see her struggle. But, I was prepared to hear it.

What I didn’t really prepare myself for is the “what now?” feelings. I have never struggled with any of these things. ADHD has many options for treatments and ways to cope with it. I am not going to talk about those on here because, quite frankly, I don’t want to hear the opinions of others in regards to whatever decision we make. Plus, every child is different and what works for us may not work for you. What works for you may not work for us. She did suggest frequent breaks during the school day and giving her an outlet for extra energy.

I would love to hear any tips for dyslexia, as this is COMPLETELY new territory for me. We were obviously given some tips. Here are some examples:

-Give her additional time to finish reading assignments
-Allow her time to read books that interest her
-Encourage her to read aloud to herself or someone else
-Encourage her to sound out letter-by-letter words that she doesn’t recognize
-Talk to her about what she is reading and praise her for doing it
-Use a reading device to help her gain familiarity
-Use large print to help with sounding out words (never thought of this one!)
-Provide extra space for writing
-Allow her to orally answer test questions
-Reduce stress and anxiety by allowing her to integrate coping skills


Dr. C said that it’s really good that she’s homeschooled because it allows her the one on one attention that is really beneficial for these circumstances. (I almost asked to get that in writing for all of the anti-homeschooling people in my life.) It was nice to have her full support. I had another fear going into the testing. Because I am a mom, and we all doubt ourselves constantly, I have worried that I’m failing her in every way. Having these test results given to us and seeing that she is far above average in every other subject outside of reading and spelling made me feel a huge sense of relief. She is thriving. I never doubted how smart she is, but I doubted my ability and decisions as all moms do.

Dyslexia is a whole different ballgame that causes kids to struggle in reading and spelling, so I have to adjust and learn to teach the way that she learns. I didn’t sleep very well because my mind was racing last night and this morning about all of this information. Once we make some adjustments and see what helps and doesn’t help, I’ll write up a post and share those things. Dr. C feels confident that once we figure out what works for her, no one will even be able to tell that she has dyslexia. She won’t outgrow it, but she will cope and overcome the obstacles.

For now, our journey has ended. We have a diagnosis. We know what we are facing. We are linking arms with her and facing it head on. This will not define her. It is just another part of her sparkling personality. Will you link arms with us and pray for us as we embark on this journey and figure out what will work best for her to thrive?

If you are local and looking for someone to do similar testing, send me an e-mail and I’d love to give you the information on who we saw.



I’m a Yogi…

Ok, so that title might be stretching it a bit.

Yoga with Adrienne

A little over three weeks ago, I asked Scott if he would do yoga with me after the kids go to bed. I knew I needed accountability, and it was something that we could do together easily. (easy yoga. ha!) I had been hearing about “30 days of yoga with Adriene” for years, and have wanted to try.  (I had bought a yoga mat two years ago and used it once.) We are now on day 17, and I’m hooked. I fall over a lot still, but I love it.

Why yoga? Well, because of my hormones bottoming out, I put on 40-50 pounds in ONE YEAR. I have held onto all but 5 of those pounds, and I’m tired of it. My knees and hips hurt a lot from the extra weight. I used to run 3-4 times a week, and really loved it. I hated getting out the door and actually running, but I loved how good I felt after. A year into running, I started to mostly enjoy it. But, I know that with where I am at physically, running and jogging would hurt a lot. We do go for walks, but I wanted something more. I need to build my strength.

With the 30 days of yoga, she really eases you into the practice. It wasn’t overwhelming at all. We started out stretching and just getting accustomed to being aware of our bodies. The first night, we ended with corpse pose. Adriene said “give yourself permission to do nothing.” I had tears streaming down the sides of my face. I don’t know how to give myself permission to do nothing. My mind is constantly going and thinking about all of the things I need to get done. So, I did my best to quiet my thoughts and pray.

The whole yoga practice is about being aware of yourself. If you center your weight and make yourself aware of the placement of all of your fingers and toes, you balance so much better. It’s about awareness. Focusing on inhaling and exhaling. Slow down. BE INTENTIONAL.


Intentionality is a word that we think about a lot these days. But, how often are we intentional? Intentional with our time. Intentional with our words. Intentional with our actions. Any pose where our hands are open and spread towards the sky, I think to myself “God, I’m open. I’m ready for anything you have for me.” It’s been so nice to focus in on my mind and make myself aware of my thoughts.

In the beginning, Adriene says to think of a word or phrase to focus on. Having a focal point or phrase sometimes help you be more intentional. Because it is an exercise program, mine is “I am strong”. Not I will be strong– but I AM strong. Self-love is something that I am working hard on. I tear myself down so often, so the phrase that snaps me back to focus is that I am strong. My body is capable of incredible things. God allowed this body to safely bring three babies into this world and feed them. God gave me this body to serve others. This body is fearfully and wonderfully made. I am HIS masterpiece, and so are you.

I see myself getting better each day. I get really stinking frustrated with myself still. Just ask Scott. But, it’s getting better.

There are 90(ish) days left in the year. Remember the goals you set for yourself in January? Pull them out again! Finish the year of strong. It’s never to late to start something new.

We found some good kids yoga videos, and have started doing those before bed some nights. The kids love it, and it’s so fun watching them try.



// Scott’s yoga mat // My yoga mat // kids mat // yoga blocks //

homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Autumn Preposition Word Search- Free Printable

Hi, friends! I’ve got an exciting freebie for you!! To celebrate the official start to fall, I have a free word search for you from!


Here are the links to download the PDFs for the word search and answer key:

Prepositions_word search_autumn_leaves

Prepositions_word search_autumn_leaves_answers

Celebrate Fall by using spelling skills to search for these words. Head on over to to find more resources and printables just like this.


A Night Away and Marriage Talk

We had the best weekend. My mom-in-law offered to have a slumber party with ALL THREE kids?! What?!?! Scott usually works on Saturdays, but he happened to get this one off! Do you hear the angels singing, too?

I started looking for a cheap hotel room. I knew that if we stayed at our house we would be doing all of the things that really could wait. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the house top to bottom, grocery shopping, cleaning out old toys that don’t get played with anymore, prepping for the garage sale that we are having soon, and on and on and on. I was so thankful to find a really nice hotel room for super cheap since it was a last minute booking.

We ate at Giordano’s pizza, which is a place we ate during the Weekend to Remember conference. You have to wait close to an hour for your deep dish pizza to cook, so we had an hour of blissful conversation.


I didn’t really know what to expect for the hotel since there weren’t many pictures of it online, and the pictures weren’t the greatest. It had great reviews, so I wasn’t worried. The hotel ended up being beautiful.


We laid around all morning Saturday. We could have had a jump start to the day and done something in town, but why? We both have run ourselves ragged by constantly feeling like we need to be doing something or going somewhere. Go. Go. Go.

Can we just stop this rollercoaster? It’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to rest. It’s ok to lay in bed until 10 every now and then. It’s ok to just breathe and be.


If you are married, don’t forget to date your spouse. It doesn’t have to cost any money. Trade baby sitting with a friend if you don’t live near family. Go for a walk together. If you are new to an area and don’t have someone you trust with your kids (we have been there so many times), have a date at home once the kids are asleep. Do something. Pursue them. Don’t take them for granted.

Scott and I have a great marriage. It’s not because marriage is easy.  Did you catch that? MARRIAGE IS NOT EASY. We have gone through hard seasons where we didn’t get along at all; especially after our first child was born. That transition is SO HARD. If you were currently there- be gentle with each other. We have faced job loss, wondered how we were going to afford groceries to feed our family, lost a child together, faced sickness and hospitalization, been without a home, struggled to make ends meet, and dealt with a heavy load of grief over losing a parent. These things and so many more could have swallowed us up and spit us out in separate directions. We could have been bitter and our marriage torn apart. Do you know why it didn’t crumble? Because we refuse to let it. We pray for our marriage and try to keep God at the center of it. We show up every day and fight for each other. We cling to each other so tightly when the hard times come. And they just. keep. coming. I am so blissfully in love with him that I refuse to let anything ruin us.

I truly don’t say this to brag on us. I know that it is only by God’s grace that we haven’t ended up like the countless couples that I keep seeing that are separating or divorced. But for the grace of God go I.. I say this to encourage you. Scott and I have walked through fire. We carry a lot of wounds that we don’t let others see. Your marriage can survive if you are BOTH willing to put in the work and fight. Get help from a counselor if you are struggling. There is NO SHAME in reaching out. If you are in a great season of marriage, don’t stop praying and fighting for each other. Never, ever quit.

I don’t know you, but I am praying over every reader’s marriage. If you aren’t married yet, I am praying for your future marriage. If you are widowed, separated, or divorced, I am praying for you, too.





Our Favorite Halloween Books

Halloween books.jpg


I love pulling out new books for the holidays. We make frequent trips to our library, and discover new favorites that way.

How to Make Friends with a Ghost– This book is so silly and cute. The pictures are beautifully done.

The Scariest Book Ever– This one had me laughing out loud. I’m not sure why I was so amused by it. The bright pages and textures keep little ones interested.

Room on the Broom– We have been huge fans of this book (and movie) for years. The witch is not scary, and it’s a great lesson in making room for new friends.

Goodnight Goon– This book is SO funny. If you love Goodnight Moon, you’ll really love this one.

Spooky Pookie– Sandra Boynton is my favorite author of board books for kids. Spooky Pookie is no different. Fun and silly stories are the best.

Halloween Hustle– The rhythmic movement of this book makes it so fun to read.

Eek! Halloween– Another great one by Sandra Boynton. My girls crack up every time I read this to them.

Where is Baby’s Pumpkin– Harper (age 4) still loves these books.

Peek-a Boo! This is a great book for babies and toddlers. It has short rhymes with a fun surprise at the end.

Big Pumpkin– I searched for this book as soon as I had kids because I loved reading it when I was a teacher. It’s a fun way to teach teamwork.

Little Blue Truck’s Halloween– This one is cute, as expected! Plus, every kid loves lift-the-flap books!

Ghost in the House– Another silly and fun read with flaps to lift!

Mickey’s Halloween– I love Mickey Mouse. This book has tons of fun flaps to lift and a fun mystery to solve.


Are there any you would add to this list? I am always looking out for fun new books to add to our collection!

garden, natural living, recommendations, Uncategorized

Our CSA Experience


This year, Scott and I decided to sign up for a half share of a CSA basket. If you are unfamiliar with what CSA is,  it is Community Supported Agriculture. Local farmers set up their programs, and you as the consumer can sign up to get a full or half share. It is different in all areas, so your experience may vary from ours. We (I say we, but Scott stopped by after work) would go to the farm once a week on a designated day and pick up our freshly picked produce. It’s a great way to support your local farmers, and get the best quality of produce.

We had a few options of farms to choose from in our area. I looked the farms up, and found a farm that was non-GMO and artificial fertilizer and pesticide free. I felt like they were a good fit for what I want in my family.


Sometimes the baskets felt pretty repetitive. For a couple of weeks, it seemed like we didn’t get much more than squash and peppers. It’s hard to get creative with squash, but maybe I just wasn’t thinking hard enough. I did consume a lot of jalapeno poppers, which is fine with me!

Our farm also gave us one dozen farm fresh eggs each month, which I LOVED.  (Sorry, you don’t get a cute basket with your CSA. You can buy one here though.) Sometimes she would have Scott grab extra of something if he talked about how much we enjoyed it. I love our farmer.


Some of the vegetables were completely new experiences, which is so fun. It’s a great way to broaden your horizons and try new foods. The kids weren’t always willing to try new foods, but it was an adventure for us! They kids loved SEEING the new veggies even if they were too afraid to try them.

Fresh garlic, onions, and potatoes have probably been my favorite things to get in the basket. There were a few weeks sprinkled in where our share was much smaller because of bad weather or other factors that just happen in farming. Obviously, your share is dependent upon the region that you live in and the weather that you get that season.

I was really pleased with our first experience with CSA. I love being able to support local farmers and getting tons of fresh produce each week. It was always a surprise, so I couldn’t really plan ahead of time. We pick up our final basket of the season on Wednesday. A lot of farmers are accepting sign ups for the fall/winter season. You can go here and search for farms in your area. I truly don’t think that you’ll regret it at all!


P.S. This post is in no way sponsored. I truly loved the program, and wanted to share!




September Specials

If you are new here, you may not know that we love our essential oils in this family. Last April, I bought a starter kit from young living, because I was desperate for SOMETHING to help my family. I wanted to support our bodies in a natural way instead of relying on medicine to fix the problems. I wanted to try to avoid those problems in the first place.

Currently, Young Living is offering 10% off a starter kit purchase!! WHAT?! This is rare! It is only available from today until September 14. As an added bonus, I am offering $20 back to anyone who buys a premium starter kit through me through the WHOLE MONTH of September. Here are the kits to choose from.

flash sale

I HIGHLY recommend the desert mist diffuser. It has such a long run time, and some seriously soothing light settings.

You can read more about how we use our oils here. I should probably really update it.

With cold and flu season approaching, now is such a perfect time to get a kit. Thieves is such a great immune system supporter. Peppermint oil helps curb nausea. Digize smells like a dead animal, but I use it frequently for stomach aches. Lavender gives all the sleepy vibes. Ninxgia supports your whole body and is packed full of antioxidants. Stress Away and Frankincense are perfect for the overwhelmed mama thats taking care of everyone. Citrus Fresh helps keep your home smelling fresh and clean. Raven helps support your respiratory system. It’s so great rubbed on your chest with a carrier oil. PanAway is wonderful for soothing your sore joints. On and on and on.

You guys, it’s great. I know it’s an investment, but it is so worth it. The cost is what ket me from buying for YEARS. I am so glad I took the chance. There is NEVER EVER pressure to sell a single oil. Many people just sign up so that they can get the wholesale pricing for themselves. The discount is great. The special offers for YL members are awesome. The support you receive from the Facebook group I will add you to is like no other.

I signed up just to get the discount. If someone wanted an oil. I’d share my link and help them out, of course. But, I had no interest in sharing much. However, once I saw how much my family transformed, I wanted to shout it from the mountain tops. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me an e-mail. If I don’t know the answer, I will do my best to find it.

If you want to dive in- you can sign up here.