Tag Archives: JulyBloggingChallenge

Made By Me – July Blogging Challenge

This summer, J got to attend “Princess Camp” at her dance studio. She had fun dressing as a different princess each day. I made her Cinderella and Belle dresses 2 and 3 years ago, respectively. So, they needed a little tweaking to still fit. I cut a triangular piece of matching material, added the Velcro in the correct places to line up with what was there, and – viola – an extender for the costume. This makes it possible for her to wear them for a while longer and yet, when she passes them down to someone else, they can take out the extender and it will fit them well.

Belle Cinderella

She also dressed as Jasmine one day, which I made last Halloween. Her first costume was actually pjs that have Ariel on them.


The last one, for her performance, I whipped up from a costume leotard that my middle giggly girl designed about 4 years ago. I cut off part of it, added some details, added a skirt, and she was thrilled with her Sleeping Beauty/Aurora costume. J did all the designing for this one and I did the sewing. It was a fun collaboration and she learned a bit more about what can and cannot be done with altering already created items.

Sleeping Beauty

Sewing is fun for me and I am glad when the girls want something for themselves since it is mostly doll sewing these days.

At Home.


I am linking up for the July Blogging Challenge with A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential.


If I Knew Then – July Blogging Challenge

If I Knew Then

This is a hard one for me. I could easily take on the norms:

  • If I knew those I loved would be gone so quickly, I’d do things differently, hugging more, talking more, loving more.
  • If I knew the girls would grow up so quickly (yes, we’ve heard it forever but it is still a surprise for me almost daily), I would focus more on them, on loving moments, treasured times, and all that.
  • If I knew that I would be teaching my girls at home, I would have saved different things and gotten rid of different things along the way. I would have looked at things differently 15 years ago.

The reality for me is, when I think of the challenge phrase, I think I am kind of glad I didn’t know then what I do now.

Because then, I wouldn’t be me.

I wouldn’t be the wife I am today. I might be worse; I might be better.

I wouldn’t be the mom the girls know today. I might be better but I might not.

As a couple, we would have chosen differently if we knew then all that we do now – about jobs, about education, about where we lived. But then, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are. Everything we have gone through has strengthened us.

We treasure our girls because they are here with us. We miss the two babies we aren’t able to cuddle and love on. But having gone through losing them in pregnancy, we treasure our girls more than I can put into words. We grew so much in our trust and faith in our God through those losses. We are stronger, we see life more clearly, we treasure each day more. While painful, those were good for us in the long run. Would I love to have it different? Absolutely, but we are better for it. God walked us through those times, giving us hope and help and strength and comfort. Without Him, it would have been so lonely. But we have been able to share that hope and help and comfort with others going through the same sort of loss a number of times because of our first-hand knowledge. And we know that we will make it through because of Him.

We went through a year of unemployment, using up the savings we had so carefully stored, not knowing what was in our future. But, that year has brought us to a wonderful place where we are close to family and working and serving with a wonderful congregation of the Lord’s people. The career change that happened that year was sudden and surprising in many ways but it has been one of the best things that has happened for us. Was that year tough? Yes. We struggled through a lot of uncertainty. Did we grow? Yes. More than we would have if we had had a steady income or not had a new baby in the house. Are we better and stronger in our faith because of it? Absolutely. God guided us through that year, putting people and resources in our path that helped us. We made it through because of Him.

These are a couple of our “hard times” that people often look back on and say “if I knew then…” But really, I am glad I have gone through these times. I am a better Christian, a better wife, a better mother, a better person because of these things. So, while “if I knew then” might be something many people desire, it is not for me. God placed me in all these situations for a reason and I hope I am honoring him with the way I respond and learn from each.

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

Treasure Boxes – July Blogging Challenge

Today’s challenge is “treasure boxes.”

Boxes - L2L


When I think of treasure boxes currently, I think of Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This is the theme verse for Lads to Leaders 2016, so this is what we are working on in a number of areas. Our heads and hearts are being trained to hold the treasure that God has given to us. We are learning sign language so that we can speak to those who cannot hear. We are studying Matthew so that we know it more thoroughly. We are working on serving others. We are memorizing scripture. We are going to create scrapbooks and banners to share with others our beliefs and hope. So these “treasure boxes” are certainly the most special ones I have in my possession.


And on the more physical side of the topic, all of us girls love little boxes. You will find them all over the house. Some of them are actually not so little. My most special is the one my dad made for me and gave to me when I turned 16 – my cedar chest.

boxes - cedar chest

I have a lovely jewelry box that my husband gave me the night before our wedding, as well as one I got when I graduated and one a giggly girls gave me for mother’s day one year.

boxes - my boxes

Each girl has several special boxes, from jeweled ones to ceramic one to pretty paper boxes. Anything to make us smile and help contain the clutter.

boxes - various

But we will do our best to forever hold fast to the true treasure – our Lord and Savior.

boxes - Matthew 621

At Home.


Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.






Food, Family Fun, & Garden – July Blogging Challenge

I know how bad I have been about trying to keep up with the July Blogging Challenge. I thought I would hit three of them all at once. I’ll at least be slightly participating that way.

Favorite Food –

If you have been following me for very long, you know that anything distinctly New Mexican is my favorite. I adore anything with green chili, posole, sopapillas, and enchiladas. Fresh bell peppers, cucumbers, and avocados – more of my favorites. My mom’s chicken noodle soup or her tomato salad. My mother-in-law’s chicken paprikash or pimento cheese. Fresh peach ice cream (which I made tonight) would be a perfect end to most dinners. I know I just ate a bit ago, but this is making my mouth water!

Rough Riders entrance

Family Fun –

We love to do puzzles and play board games. We enjoy reading aloud together. We have fun going out to eat together. We even have fun shopping together – well, most of the time. Last Friday we took a fun, spontaneous trip together that was a blast! We headed up to Frisco and attended a Rough Riders baseball game. It was hot and sweaty and more expensive than we would have wished, though cheaper than a Rangers game by far. But, just the same, there were plenty of smiles and fun times throughout the game and it was lots of fun to just sit and chat and watch the game and cheer.

corn from the garden

Garden –

I refuse to show you our gardens. Sorry! They look terrible. The grass decided to be strong and vigorous this year and I am having a terrible time keeping it out of the gardens, whether the flower garden or the veggies. The early, extended rains and milder-than-normal temps have really made our lawn look nice without any work but the gardens, not so much. We’ll try again in the fall and see what we can do but, for the most part, our summer gardens were a bust. We got a dinner of corn and one side dish or green beans, a few pretty flowers are still blooming, and that is all. We’re waiting for fall now.

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

July Blogging Challenge

Raindrops On Roses…

I know you finished the line. I’m still singing. That song is one of my “favorite things,” which is the prompt for yesterday’s July Blogging Challenge. I am just not a daily writer, I guess. I have all these good intentions but daily writing is just hard for me to find time to do. So, I’m combining “My Favorite Things” with “Lights, Camera, Action”. This is a two-for-one post.

My Favorite Things:

  • Simple things.
  • Smiles.
  • Laughter.
  • Beautiful flowers.
  • Rainbows to show God’s love and promise.
  • Music.
  • My husband.
  • My three giggly girls.
  • Books.
  • Good movies.
  • And I could go on and on. I am really not that hard to please and I don’t need expensive things to make my day.

Lights, Camera, Action!:

I wish I could remember to do more video. I love still shots more, though. So that is what I end up doing. I prefer to try to capture single moments.

I remember thinking that I would never give up my new 35mm with the various lenses that we spent a lot of money on. It was obsolete before our first daughter was one and I still hadn’t learned how to use many of the settings. We tried to find film for it a while back but the cost of the film combined with the cost of developing . . . well, it was cheaper to buy another camera!

We went digital with some gift money when our second daughter was born. That was a great little camera. Worked until we took it to the beach when our third daughter was one. Sand in the lens meant it wouldn’t focus or zoom. So, we got a second one.

Not long ago, we got a phone that had a camera in it. One that I actually trust to take pictures with.

We are behind the curve but we aren’t forsaking the new technology all together. Just waiting until it costs less than an arm and a leg.

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

Bucket List

I have missed several days of the July Blogging Challenge. It just didn’t fit in with spending time with family and the organizing of girls’ rooms that has been going on. (Today we are lifting two beds into loft beds, adding some shelving in one, and getting rid of the piles of outgrown toys we have put in the hallway!)

Today’s challenge is to share your bucket list OR the coolest thing you have done. I’m going to tackle the bucket list.

  • see the International Balloon Fiesta
  • visit NY with my husband
  • visit several national parks with the family
  • have a successful garden
  • read the Bible through over and over
  • join the community band again
  • visit Alaska
  • visit Hawaii
  • visit Europe

We are hopeful about the Balloon Fiesta soon. We have a garden in but this is not the year it will be called successful. I am currently reading my Bible daily and am on a second read through of it. I am hoping the community band thing will happen in the next year or two with the girls getting older.

Not too bad for checking things off the bucket list, I guess. What does your bucket list includes?

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

Recipe – July Blogging Challenge

avocado and tomato side dishToday’s challenge word is “recipe.” I have a favorite recipe that I have been trying to find a perfect time to share with you. I think today is the day.

Do you like avocados? Do you like tomatoes? Do you like olive oil? That is all you need. Dice your avocado. Dice your tomato or cut grape tomatoes in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve and enjoy.

My favorite olive oil is Heart of Texas Olive Oil Company. They make several variations but I adore their lime infused olive oil. That is what I use for this recipe. I am the only one who likes this in our family so when I make it, I get to eat it all. Unless we have company. My mother-in-law is the one who introduced me to this dish and this olive oil and I am so thankful! This is a great main dish for lunch. Enjoy!

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

10 Things I Like About Me – July Blogging Challenge

So I missed the boat with the early post. I didn’t find out until I had posted the July Blogging Challenge that there was a full length prompt of more than one word. (It only took me a week to find this out. I missed that boat somewhere along the way but I am caught up now.) It was supposed to be

10 Things I Like About Me

So here goes:

  • I like that I am a family person. I have an amazing husband (the best in the world, if you ask me) and three lovely girls who are growing up way too fast. And I love spending time with them. They are second only to God in my life.
  • I like that I am a teacher. I am good at teaching and I enjoy it. As a homeschooling mom, this serves me well.
  • I like that I enjoy learning.
  • I like that books are my friends. Books make me happy. I love to read and do so as often as I can. I try to make time every day to read and I’ll read just about everything.
  • I like that singing brings me joy. I am not necessarily a good singer. I don’t know – maybe I am, maybe I’m not. Either way, I like to sing.
  • I like that I play the French horn. I miss being able to be a part of a performance ensemble. I am hopeful that I can play with a group before too much longer.
  • I like that I can help others learn about homeschooling and I like that I can encourage others to begin something that makes such an amazing, positive change in their lives.
  • I like that I can write and that I enjoy doing so.
  • I like to take pictures. I don’t have a fancy camera and I don’t know much about it but I think I have a pretty good eye for it. I like taking beautiful pictures, of nature or of my girls or whatever.
  • I like that I am pretty easy to please. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy and it doesn’t take a lot of money. Unusual things often make me happy and I like that.

So, there are 10 things I like about me. Want to share 10 things about you?

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

10 Of Our Favorite Ways to Save Money Homeschooling- July Blogging Challenge

The blogging challenge word for today is simply 10. So, I thought I would combine it with something I have been thinking about – ways we homeschool on the “cheap.” I use the word cheap loosely because people define it differently. Some people use that word saying things like “I only spend $600 per child each year.” For me, it is more like “If I spend $600 on homeschooling this year, we better be taking a nice vacation with homeschool opportunities built in.” This brings us right to my #1 favorite way to save money while homeschooling.

10 ways to save money


Make your learning a part of your life. Don’t separate learning from your every day activities. A trip to the grocery store is a major learning opportunity – health, math, science, and more. Going to the bank? Teach your kids how to fill out the deposit slip. Going on vacation? Look to see what is around where you are headed and make a book of free printables you find on the web that relate to those places for the kids to complete. Learn to navigate with street signs or give directions while on errands. The possibilities are endless.


Use the web to your advantage and find free printables. When we were going on a visit to my parents, we were going to stop by Carlsbad Caverns and go to White Sands. Both are in the desert so I used free printables to create a notebook for the girls to complete. That post is titled Vacation Books and I included links to many of the places I got printables from.


Field trips are a wonderful way to put knowledge to use or to get an experience prior to a unit study. There are tons of places that are free. Around here, we have several large parks that are great for nature study and observation. We also have a wetlands area that clean the water from a river naturally before it goes into the lake we get our drinking water from. There is a botanical garden. Our local university has an art exhibit area that is free and we have an art center at the community college that also has free exhibits. We also have a wonderful museum that we have a membership to and a great zoo where we have a membership. Don’t forget to think about local, state, and national parks. Many of these places also have a junior ranger program with a booklet for the kids to learn from and this program has been free every time our girls have participated.



Ask for memberships as a family gift for Christmas or birthdays. We have been wonderfully gifted our museum and zoo memberships at Christmas for the last few years. We have gotten so much use out of those memberships!


Camp experiences are another fantastic hands-on learning opportunity. Whether it is art camp, Bible camp, dance camp or any other. Again these could be birthday gifts or just an investment. Regardless, they are instruction that is hands-on and provides learning opportunities.


This one could be included in field trips but it really deserves its own focus. We live where we have several high schools, a community college, a university, a professional orchestra, and a community band. We have a lot of opportunities to take the girls to musical performances without it costing us a penny. We have heard a lot of great music, as well as some more specialty performances like handbells and violin soloists. We also have been able to go to some performances for cheap, such a musicals or professional musicians. So much can be drawn from these experiences. If you don’t have access to live performances, there are a lot of web resources.


Watch the sales. This is time of year to watch the sales flyers from places like Office Max and Target. Of course, Walmart and grocery stores have plenty of sales, as well. We are getting pencil pouches, erasers, and pencil sharpeners this week for a penny a piece. Know what you need and don’t stock up too much on things that can dry out (like clay or markers). Do stock up on things like paper, pencils, crayons, and glue. We will be watching for construction paper, glue sticks, and tape. Those are our big needs this summer.

chess game


Play games. You don’t need much to play games and most families have a lot of games in their home already. Chess has been a fantastic addition to our family game playing. It teaches so much about strategy and planning. All games teach sportsmanship, following rules, and patience. Many of them also teach teamwork. There are plenty that have math components, science thinking, or historical recall required. Games such as Connect Four, Don’t Break the Ice, and Jenga  are fun and require logic.  Monopoly – The Classic Editionworks on math a bit while teaching planning and economics on a small scale.


Jump back on the internet. Hit up Pinterest and YouTube. These are free to access and there is tons of information and projects you can find. Don’t have a CD on Medieval Dance Music? YouTube has it. Need a vocal piece of Civil War songs? Someone has pinned one on Pinterest. I use Pinterest to pin things that I publish here but I also use it so that as I am planning a unit or book study, I can find ideas that I think would be good. Feel free to check out and follow my Pinterest page.


Your library. I saved this one for the end for a reason. If you have nothing else in this list, you can still accomplish a lot. Your library is an excellent resource. Whether you have a mobile library or live in a town with multiple branches, they can help you find resources to fit whatever you are studying. We visit the library every week and we check out a minimum or 20 books and videos each time. The girls read like crazy and we use the library to find books to supplement what our studies include. For example, right now, each time we go the girls check out a book on Ancient Egypt to complement our Homeschool In The Woods study/review that is coming up in the next couple of weeks. The library has a summer reading program, book clubs, Lego clubs, story hour, family nights, and so much more. There is something for everyone and it is all free. Use your library!

I hope you got some ideas for reducing your budget for home education. We don’t homeschool for nothing but we do take advantage of a lot of the resources that we have available in our community.

At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

This post includes some affiliate links. A purchase through an affiliate link may provide a small bit of income for our family.

Home – hymn & July Blogging Challenge


Today’s challenge word is Home. Quite appropriate for the Lord’s day and worship time. We spend much of our time at home, cleaning our earthly home, thinking about what we are going to do when we get home, buying things for our home and so much more.

Do you spend as much working towards your eternal home? Do you read your Bible? Do you teach your children what they need to know to grow in faith, belief, and knowledge to be able to choose God when the time comes? Where will your eternal home be? Mine will be in heaven. This is something I know. I believe in God, in Jesus being sent to earth and becoming human, humbling himself to take on my sin and the sin of all the world, dying on the cross, being raised again, and ascending to be with our Heavenly Father. I know He will return some day to take all those who have followed his word to live with him in eternity. I have been baptized for the remission of my sin, as God told us to be in the New Testament (Acts 2:38). And I work towards being stronger in my faith and knowledge of God’s word.

I am not perfect. But I do try and I ask for the forgiveness that God so readily grants to those who are in Him. So, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”, I will be there. That is the hymn I want to share with you today.

This has always been a favorite of our girls. They come by it naturally. Their dad loved it as a little boy. We sing it often and with great faith that, yes, we will be there when the roll is called up yonder.When The Roll is Called Up Yonder

v.1 When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll, is called up yon-der,

When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.

v.2 On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.


Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.


At Home.

Linking up at A Glimpse of Our Life and This Day Has Great Potential for the July Blogging Challenge.

%d bloggers like this: