I finally finished up my first cookbook and I just know you will all love it! Filled basic baking recipes that will quickly become staples in your home each recipe is scaled several different ways so it will accommodate a small family or a large one.

A Farmhouse Full’s Baking the Basics features:

  • recipes already scaled small and large
  • tips and tricks to make each recipe user friendly
  • ingredients that are easy to find (most are probably already in your pantry!) and don’t break the bank
  • a full color photograph of each and every recipe
  • time tested recipes that have been made over and over again here at The Farmhouse.
  • easy to follow instructions
  • staple recipes that will actually ALL be used on a regular basis
  • includes and the BONUS recipe doubling guide for FREE – This guide makes it easy to scale any of your existing recipes with ease because all the math is already done for you!

As a way of saying “Thank You” for your support while writing, editing, and proofing this little piece of my heart I am offering it 30% (ONLY 6.99! Less than $0.60/recipe!)  just for this weekend! Make sure you follow the link and use coupon code “THANKYOU30” to get the “flash sale” pricing!


Mommy Necklaces Review and GIVEAWAY!

mommy necklacesigI have been in love with this product now for over 2 years (right after I was first introduced to it by another YouTube mom), so when Mommy Necklaces offered to allow me to review one of their new designs I was jumping out of my maternity shorts to do so!


Mommy Necklaces are beautiful, stylish necklaces designed not only to be a gorgeous accessory for moms, but also an engaging necklace for distracted little ones. Made in the USA (in Michigan) from baby safe materials they are an amazing tool to keep little hands busy while nursing/feeding and are the perfect length for doing so. One new feature that I LOVE is that the “donut” can be ordered in a soft silicone teething style for older babies to sooth their gums on.

My original purchase (almost 3 years ago) was a dangling donut in the color “Caribbean”. I don’t think this style/color is available anymore but there are SO many gorgeous color combinations on their site.


Ezra and then Cora seemed mesmerized by the colors and slight sound and feel the donut made while sliding against the beads of the necklace. I got SO many compliments on the style and when other moms realized it was also a teething/nursing necklace their eyes went wide and they asked where they could get one. I don’t think there has been a time I have worn it that I don’t get some kind of comment of its awesomeness!

My newest style, “Promises”, doesn’t disappoint. It has all the same features as my other beloved dangling donut (break away clasp, breakage guarantee, baby safe materials) with the added bonus of coming with a soft, flexible teething donut.


GORGEOUS, isn’t it? And if you know me I am TOTALLY into everything rainbow!
As a kick off and celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, Mommy Necklaces is going to GIVE AWAY a nursing necklace to one of you! If you would like an opportunity to win a “Promises” necklace just like mine, click on the Mommy Necklaces button below and look through their amazing line of products.


Pick your favorite design and then comment on my YouTube review (posted below). I will randomly pick 1 YouTube comment on August 7th (announced on the 8th) to be sent the same “Promises” necklace that I have. I am so excited to bless someone with an opportunity to try out their gorgeous necklaces!


Baby Haul: Cloth diapers and DIY stuff

I shared some of Cypress’ new items that I have either purchased or made in my latest YouTube video.

Items we purchased

All cloth diaper supplies I purchased from Green Mountain Diaper

Items I made:

54 dual ply flannel wipes

Ergo Cover (look for the tutorial for that here)

Hand stamped gauze/muslin swaddle blanket

How to Jazz up your SSC Baby Carrier (Ergo)

I have been eyeing all those amazingly cute print baby carriers lately and just love their personality. I’ve seen them in hundreds of awesome fabrics and in the back of my mind my plain ol’ black carrier seemed a bit dull.

Maybe it was time to purchase another one? I mean, the black was fading a tad around the edges… I’ve used it for 5 kids already… They have made new versions and maybe I’d like a new one better…

BUT, I just couldn’t justify getting rid of a perfectly great (comfortable, near flawlessly designed) Ergo and hand over upwards of $150-250 just because the other ones were cuter. I know, I am cheap frugal.

Then I got thinking: What about a slip cover of sorts? Something to jazz it up a bit but not such an “overall” one that you lose the basic utilitarian features like the zippered pocket and hood.

That is when I came up with THIS!


It is the best of both worlds! Everything you love about your carrier but with some personality (for CHEAP!). The best part? This project is SUPER quick to make and only takes 1/2 yard each of flannel and print so you can make 2-3 (okay, 65-70!) to change up your carrier whenever you’d like: for holidays, to match your baby’s outfit or simply to match your mood. It also doubles as a drool guard and protects the fabric around the edges from wear (that is where mine is faded the most), so it is also functional.

And, of course, I NEEDED one with arrows…..



What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard of print fabric that matches your personality
  • 1/2 yard of corresponding flannel
  • matching thread
  • 9 snaps (or a small about of 1/2 ” apex/Velcro)
  • the pattern provided HERE (or create your own by following the directions in the video below)


  1. Wash and dry your fabric to pre-shrink. The amount of fabric (1/2 yard) will be enough out lay your pattern out vertically or horizontally in case your are working with a striped or patterned fabric as I was in the video (arrows) and you would like the pattern running a certain way. (Keep your left over fabric laid out right sides facing for cutting the the drool pads later)
  2. Iron and lay pieces right side together, smoothing them out.
  3. Trace your pattern and cut through both pieces.

For both the slip clover pieces

  1. Using a 1/2″seam and starting at the tops of the strap area, sew down the diagonal, down the short straight side, across the bottom, up the opposite short straight side and up the opposite diagonal.
  2. Clip your corners to make it easier to turn. Turn right side out, poke out your corners and iron flat.
  3. Serge or zig-zag the top flap closed
  4. Lay the now sewn pieces right side together and using a 3/4″ seam sew each side for a length of 1″ reinforcing by going back and fourth 2-3 times. If your carrier doesn’t have a hood that you need an opening for you can stitch all the way across the top instead of just an inch on either side.
  5. Press your seam open  and top stitch 1/8″ around each individual piece.
  6. Place your buttons. You will put 2 at each side side. Make sure to place the male stud on the flannel side and your female stud on the print side (or use Velcro). Also place button for hood closure (see video on where to place)

Drool pads:

  1. Cut 2 (8-1/2″ x 7″) rectangles (or size needed for your carrier) out of the prearranged fabric (right sides together).
  2. Sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance all the way around leaving a small 3-4″ opening to turn your work and making sure to back tack at the beginning and end.
  3. Clip corners. Iron back the seam allowance on the side with the opening. Turn and poke out corners. Iron.
  4. Top stitch 1/8″ all the way around. You will be closing the opening when you top stitch.
  5. Add 3 buttons down each short side. Again, make sure the male stud is facing the flannel and the female receiver is facing the print (or use Velcro).

Then enjoy your “new” old carrier that has majestically been turned into the rainbow unicorn of your baby carrier dreams for less than the price of a Starbucks drink!





Homeschool History: Mystery of History, Story of the World, TruthQuest, Biblioplan

Today I am going to try to delve into the details about the different home school curricula that have stolen my heart over the course of my 9 years of homeschooling. I feel like I have tried all the most well known ones (save for Tapestry of Grace). I am just going to dive in and give you an overview of each curriculum and the pros and cons of each. Then I’ll share which one we are using this year and why.

Mystery of History:

I own: Volume 1 and Volume 4, although I have only used a full year of Volume 1.

Overview: Mystery of History is set up as a classical schedule which satisfies the ideas of The Well Trained Mind (I book I LOVE and refer to often!) of a 4 year, chronologically paced history program that is broken down into 4 years; Ancient, Middle Ages, Early Modern and Modern. They actually title it differently and line it up with significant church history events as follows:

  1. Ancient = Creation to Resurrection,
  2. Middle Ages = Early Church
  3. Early Modern = Reformation
  4. Modern = Wars of Independence


  • It has a VERY thorough church history and early biblical accounts of some of the lesser known books and figures of the bible. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know and the Old Testament has been better understood knowing and following the secular/cultural historical events that surrounded it which brings me to my next point…
  • It has enough secular history to be a solid curriculum.
  • It has ONE book that includes not only the text but also the activities, maps, pretest, tests and a suggestion of the timeline figures to use for each chapter from History Through the Ages (which I own AND LOVE!)
  • The sections to read daily are short, very manageable, written to the reader and easy to understand.
  • It is the 4 year classical, chronological progression of history that I gravitate to.
  • Fairly inexpensive and non consumable.
  • WonderMaps makes maps that match up with lessons and are noted as such in the program when you buy it! SCORE! And the maps that correspond are located in the appendixes of the MOH book!
  • Coordinating literature books are also included in the appendixes but (IMO) not as an extensive and detailed list as SOTW.
  • Has a GREAT audio book resource that can make it car friendly or just give your voice a break from reading once in a while.


  • Secular history was a bit scarce for my liking. I understand the reasoning in the book we did (Ancient/Creation – Resurrection) as MOST of the Old Testament was covered and if you want to keep it a ONE year curriculum you have to pick and choose what you use. This was heavy on church and a bit lighter on secular. This could be a pro depending on how you see it. I just wish it were a TAD more balanced. That being said, this is exactly WHY I bought it to use last year. We had just finished a 4 year cycle of Story of the World and had heard that Mystery of History was stronger in biblical history. It was indeed and doing a round of Ancients in both books I like the complementing subject matter in both interwoven together in our brains.


What I own: Year 4 (Family Guide, Timeline, Cool Histories, Coloring Pages and Companion)

Overview: Biblioplan isn’t quite a “curriculum” but more of a guide of using resources to put together a comprehensive curriculum of your own. It offers you lesson plans with several different “spines” and a suggested reading plans for different age groups as well as family read alouds. It also lays out for you bible lessons and activities suggesions for all ages.


  • HUGE reading lists and the reading lists give you a good idea what the books are about so that you don’t have to wonder if your particular child will be interested. MAJOR POINTS!
  • Works through various resources so that you can pick and choose which one you want to use. Want to combine Story of the World with Mystery of History, NO PROBLEM!
  • It is also is set up as a 4 year classical, chronological progression of history that I gravitate to.
  • It is digital download that keeps the price low and gives you immediate access to the products you buy.
  • It offers a TON of extra resources that you can buy separately: timeline figures, “Cool Histories” which are basically like comprehension worksheets, map work and now they even have their own text book to use as a spine.
  • Offers a 3 week sample that is FREE so you can really see if it’s for you.


  • All the extra resources are extra which can add up.
  • The book list is HUGE… this is a pro and a con for me. I have such a love for books that sometimes I just can’t weed out enough and I get overwhelmed trying to make it through all of them.
  • I never used the bible lessons so I kind of felt like I was paying for a part of the curriculum that I never used. (I think this was a mental thing…)
  • Again, too many resources staring me at the face made me want to use all of them. The whole point is to have a lot to choose from but sometimes to me that was like putting a whole bunch of sparkly things in front of my eyes and asking me to choose my favorite. A hard task sometimes.


What I own: Age of Revolution III

Overview: TruthQuest is really not a curriculum but and EXTENSIVE resource/book list. It lists topics, give a blurb about each topic (kind of what a “spine/text book” would do and then lists A TON of whole books in a variety of styles (picture, chapter, novel, biography, text) that appeal to different age groups. The idea is that you get familiar with the subject matter in the blurb and then dive into good books to make it come to life.


  • Quite honestly this is my IDEAL curriculum. I LOVE LOVE LOVE books. I love learning from living,whole books that make history come alive.
  • The book list is HUGE. You can surely find something on amazon or at your local library that matches each and every topic and subtopic.
  • They now offer resources to go along with their book lists: lapbooks, notebooking pages, maps, timelines, etc.


  • Have I mentioned I LOVE books? Have I mentioned I overwhelm myself because I don’t like to pass on a “good one”? Well, welcome Villa de la Overwhelmed! I just couldn’t stand to leave topics out, books out or even blurbs out. It would have taken me 5 years just to get through the ONE resource guide I bought at the speed I was wanting to do it at. If you’re good at skipping things and not going back to rethink if you should have skipped it at all then this may be perfect for you. But for me it was a con.
  • It isn’t broken down into the 4 year cycle I liked.
  • While it is perfect if you live very close to a library or go to one very regular I tend to have waves of libraryness (yes, Mr. Spell Check that isn’t a word…I made it up…). One month we will be regulars who deserves their own desk and mug with my name on it and the next month my fines from overdue books because we haven’t been there rival my food bill. Because of this I like to own a lot of the resources we use during the year. Being able to grab them off the shelf is much easier than tracking them down at the library or waiting for them to come in because someone else has it checked out when I need it. With that said my house nor my pocket book is large enough to accommodate all the books I would want need to get to make this whole-book-history-nirvana for me.
  • The PDF is HUGE! I was thinking of having it printed and bound because it is hard for my brain to navigate the flipping back and forth in a digital book, but it was 408 pages! So, I just never did it.

Story of the World:

I own: All 4 years including text and activity books.

Overview: This is another 4 year chronological sweep through history. It is biblically biased but not overwhelming so. It is basically 2 parts. The first is the text which is tells the “story” of history. The second is the activity book. This includes all the coloring pages, activity print outs, maps. It is also an amazing resource for sample narrations (Charlotte Mason style), comprehension questions and amazing literature selections.


  • That 4 year thing again. I like it, what can I say?
  • LOVE their literature selections. Our eyes have been opened to some really great books.
  • I think they do a very good job of pulling the whole world into the history story. So many curricula focus ONLY on European history. While the majority of it is Eastern European (because most of the major events and empires where located there) they do a great job of tying it together with what was happening in other, more remote places.
  • It leans toward a Christian emphasis but not heavily. This may be a “con” to some but for me, personally, I like to tie in to biblical events but still have the flexibility to really teach that from a more personal place about our faith (than someone I don’t know interpreting it for us, if that makes sense).
  • We have done ALL FOUR YEARS so I know this curriculum well.
  • Map work is tied to the lesson and included in the activity book and helps further drive home the lesson. It is also pretty simple and doesn’t take ages to accomplish.
  • Activities, for the most part, are simple, fun and tie in to the lesson well.
  • I learned a LOT more about history during my four years of Story of the World. I also have retained it thanks to some of the awesome discussions and activities I have put together for my kids.
  • There is an AWESOME resource that lists all of the books from Sonlight’s book list in chronological order and by reading level and how they match up with Story of the World’s 4 year cycle.


  • Some of the more political segments got boring and confusing (Especially in volume 4). I think that is just part of it though. Not all history is existing and clear cut.
  • Again in volume 4 they really changed things up and did more of an “schooly” approach.  Instead of containing comprehension questions and fun activities it is just boring outlines… I get bored with Times-New-Roman-Run-of-the-Mill-Outlines. But again, personally, I retain more when the creative side of my brain plays a part in the learning too. Even notebooking we like to turn into a chance to make it creative.
  • While it does have an audio book, the narrator is not one of our family’s favorite voices. Because of the unanimous vote that we don’t like listening to it we rarely use it.


So with all that said the curriculum we KEEP coming back to is: Story of the World. Maybe it is because it is familiar. Maybe it’s because it is comprehensive enough to satisfy my OCD about covering everything. I don’t know. But it seems like every time I put it down in search of the “holy grail” of history curriculum I come running back within a month or two.  It seems to be the perfect balance for me. The spine offers enough information to seem cohesive and “whole”, while the books we sprinkle in through family read alouds and individual readers really make the story come to life and offer a deeper understanding and feeling for the time period and the activities really draw in the younger crowd and give them memories that allow them to retain the information leaned. Also it is solid enough in the geogrpahy category to seem complete for the K-6th grades while not being overly overwhelming for either kids or mommas. Can I get an amen to that. Also because the spine is such a main part of the curriculum the family readers and readers purchased to use with it yearly make it a whole book curriculum that doesn’t break the bank or require the use of a storage shed/library to house. Also, I have found that the books we love we hold on to and they are used again and the ones we don’t care for (not many have fallen in that category) we pass along and purchase different ones when we hit that time period again. Again it is a 4 year cycle so the kids will complete one cycle while young and activities and being introduced to the subject mater will be the focus and again when they are older and can understand the more complex features of the time period.

Which is your favorite?

What are you using this year?





34 Weeks Pregnant with 8th Baby

SIX more weeks, folks! ONLY 6! Although, the days where my feet are sore and my back is achy and I look in the mirror at night and see THIS HUGE thing….


…I think more along the lines of SIX more weeks? REALLY? Can my body realistically get ANY bigger?

This weeks update vlog touches on quite a few things:

My weight finally decided to budge. It hasn’t moved since before 28 weeks and it looks like I have gained 2-3 pounds in the last 2 weeks. Normally I gain like a girl training for a hot dog eating contest in the third trimester so this is new for me.

My 32 week ultrasound (2 weeks ago) revealed a 4#8oz baby that still happens to be a very proud to show us each and every time he is in fact ALL BOY! Today’s appoint also revealed that he is growing like a weed, as I am measuring 37 weeks instead of the 34 I am. But, come on now, LOOK at those cheeks!


Braxton hicks contractions have been strong and frequent and I have a slight feeling he may come earlier than my other 38-39 weekers.

I am planning on doing my first ever belly cast using this kit from amazon.

It has rave reviews and has EVERYTHING I need. I picked up some plaster strips from Hobby Lobby but realized when I got home to check the amount I would need that 3 rolls (all they had) was not sufficient for the cast I want to do. I plan on returning the rolls to Hobby Lobby and will be using the kit I  mentioned above. Hopefully we will be doing it sometime in the 36th week.

I have been a busy bee planning my homeschooling out To. The. Max. I mean things cut out, copied, bound, precise lessons and page references because I am a bit panicked about the fact that my oldest is separating from the heard which means 2 COMPLETELY separate programs (his and the one I will be doing with the 4 younger ones) all while chasing 2 crazy toddlers and nursing a newborn around the clock… .*insert crazy Exorcist type head spin minus the vomit*.  Preplanned and grab and go will be my friend next school year. Or so I am telling myself while staying up until the wee hours of the night pumping out notebooking pages, pinning free resources, organizing books, making list, and lesson planning until my butt falls goes numb from the cheap desk chair I am using.

Plan on getting inundated with homeschooling information, resources and vlogs soon because that is my whole life right now. Well, that and busting out another crop of Nicci Lynn Handmade orders, partying through FIVE birthdays in a month and taking care of a good size (sometimes disgruntled) army of small people.

This post contains affiliate links.



Friday Viewer FAQ 7-8-2016

I started doing these FAQ segments a month or two ago and they are a really fun way of getting to answer your questions! The questions topics range from one end of the spectrum to the other. Here are a list of what is covered in this week’s Friday FAQ:

  • Would I allow kids to hang out with friends that are not Christians?
  • Tips for getting a toddler to allow you to brush their teeth
  • What is my ethnic background?
  • What insurance do we have?
  • What do we drive? (Van tour linked)
  • How difficult was it planting in our B2E garden?
  • How do I maintain a personal relationship with each of my kids?
  • How do I deal with toy/messes? (house tour linked)
  • How do handle a new baby without feeling like I am neglecting the other kids?
  • What is my approach on late talkers?
  • How have I handled negativity about nursing in public?
  • Would I consider tubal ligation?
  • Will we have more kids? (Birth control convictions video linked)
  • What do the kids do while I am in labor?
  • How do I maintain patience while homeschooling?
  • How have I trained my kids to sleep through the night?
  • Does my extended family help with the kids?
  • What are my thoughts on medicating ADHD?
  • What is my least favorite homemaking duty?
  • Am I an extrovert or introvert?
  • Do I take any supplements after I have a baby to restore my body?
  • What is my method for disciplining toddlers?
  • Are my kids allowed to go to the movies/events with other kids?

Large Family Home Tour: Bedrooms

Sleeping arrangements and room assignments in a family our size are topics I get asked a lot about. Room sharing, while something that used to be commonplace, is not as common today in the world of 4 bedroom houses coupled 4 person families. In bigger families or families with small homes room sharing is something that needs some consideration. We have recently changed up our room arrangements and thought we’d share what has worked over the years.


In the first video HERE I discuss the evolution our house has been through starting from a 3 bedroom home holding a family of 4 to a 3 bedroom house holding a family of 9 and how we made it work. I also discuss adding rooms and eventually having a home with 6 bedrooms that will hold our family of 10 in the next couple weeks when our little Cypress joins our family and run us into the double digits category! Here is a short recap of how we made it work (all in the same house):

When we moved in we had one boy, one girl and a 3 bedroom home. Our children each had their own rooms and we were SPREAD OUT!

Then when our third child was born (a boy) we moved him in with his brother.

Two more girls were added when baby #4 and #5 were born and we had a girls room (3 girls) and a boys room (2 boys).

We got the surprise of a lifetime when we found out our 6th child would join us and he joined the boys’ dorm with a total of 3 girls in the girls room and 3 boys in the boys room.

When our 7th child (our 4th girl) showed up we originally thought we would add her into the girls’ room and just figure out how to make the small closet work more efficiently.

But before she was ready to move in (most our babies sleep with us for 6-12 months) our home school room in the basement was loosing its luster because it had slowly become too small of a space to contain 7 kids all doing different things. I decided to move the school room upstairs and convert our formal dining room into a dining room with a dual purpose. Since we now had a fully finished room where our home school room used to be we decided to utilize that as a room for our older two boys and move our oldest daughter in with our youngest son and leave the little girls room head count at 3 (our youngest 3 girls).

Fast forward to 2016 and we are expecting our 8th child and our older kids are now teens/tweens. Converting the office and finishing off the basement sounded like a good move so we went for it. Hopefully this fall we will have our final (6th room) finished and our oldest 3 kids will have their own room and our youngest 5 will share 2 bedrooms. The shared bedrooms will be set up as follows: 1 “little boys room” with Ezra and Cypress and 1 “little girls’ room with our youngest three girls: Faith, Georgia and Cora.

Now, if that didn’t make your head spin I don’t know what will. You can click on the video links (hyperlinked above to see the previous set ups) to hear the story in part 1 and see a bedroom tour of all the rooms in part 2.




Encouragement to Mom’s in an Overly Critical Culture

With the aftermath of any tragic news story involving a child I feel like every single parenting decision falls under a highly critical lens of public opinion. Instead of rallying around parents in the aftermath of a tragedy we lie in wait ready to attack every minuscule parenting decision they have every made and then ascertain why it certainly led to the tragedy that ensued and how it could have been avoided if the parents where only more like themselves – perfect.

The fact of the matter is we live in a fallen world and some accidents are just that – ACCIDENTS. Some with favorable outcomes. Some with life changing and gruesome outcomes. And in most cases the parents didn’t intend or foresee the harm that crept in and engulfed their family.

Imagine if we surrounded and supported families in their time of need. Imagine if we were confident enough in our own choices that we didn’t feel the need to pick apart others’ choices. Imagine that instead of looking down our noses on top of our high horse in our glass house we stepped out in love and showed those grieving families compassion and transparency. What if we let them know that we are not perfect either. We have all made mistakes and even small ones made within the perfect storm of events could have tragic outcomes. Most don’t, thankfully, but to some it is their constant reality. The stones thrown at people on a public, worldwide forum (internet – thrown mostly by those that DO NOT have all the facts) for any real or perceived lapse in judgement is a hail storm of evil like no other. And NOTHING is safe. The size of our family or lack there of. Our choice on how to birth our baby. Our choice on how to nourish our baby. Our choice on WHERE to feed our baby. On what sunscreens to use on them, where they should sleep, how they should sleep, when solid food gets introduced, when to allow them to use a public bathroom alone, how to educate them, when to front face them in an automobile, how long to keep them in a booster, whether or not to use kiddie-leashes, whether or not to feed them added sugars, or GMO’s or additives or food coloring. THE LIST IS ENDLESS and most decisions that we pick apart are superficial like these!

I am ready for moms to start rallying and becoming the voice of ENCOURAGEMENT to other moms. To inspire moms to share their lives, experiences and struggles with others instead of having everyone so scared to have REAL, RAW relationships in fear of being shamed by others for perceived “parenting fails”.

I made this video a couple of weeks ago and I hope it blesses you in your parenting journey!