I Have a 15 Year Old!?

You GUYS, I feel WAY too young for this blog post! My oldest turned FIFTEEN last week! Wasn’t I 15 just a few days ago?

We had an awesome day with him! While my amazing momma watched our youngest 6 kids we took AJ and Maddie out for lunch at a local restaurant my dad built. After we shopped around for a ukulele and visited the electric piano that he wants to save for at another music shop. We hit up the mall to look for Twenty One Pilots gear and even grabbed a Starbucks before returning home to cake and ice cream with my parents and inlaws!

I am so proud of this kid! He is so talented and I can’t believe that he is growing so quickly into a man. I sometimes look back at his toddler pictures and can still hear his squeaky voice that has now been replaced for a grown up, much deeper version.

Time flies, mommas! Don’t blink!

November Favorites

AHHHHH – It’s December! When did that even happen!?

I am going to try a new series on my monthly favorites! I thought this would be a fun way to share about items i have been asked about or that I have been loving. Just a disclaimer – I am NOT sponsored or endorsed by ANYTHING in these videos (although I may link you to the products via my amazon link so that you can easily find them if you’re interested). I’ve actually never been paid to push a product. I have consciously turned down ALL sponsorship opportunities to keep my channel genuine. The only products reviews I have agreed to do have been things I am already loving or have been using personally and I don’t receive any commission for posting about them – although a few I have been able to offer you a discount/coupon or giveaway!

If you’d like to be linked to the product click on the link to find them. Some of these items will be linked to my Amazon Affiliate store.

These posts will revolve around what I am….

  • Wearing
  • Reading
  • Doing
  • Making
  • Using

What I am Wearing

Booties – I have kind of fallen in love with the short boot trend. Its a nice mix up from my everyday get up of either my Tony Lama buckaroos or my Birkenstock Gizehs. Who else is loving this trend? (click the picture for link)

 

CK packable down coat – You guys! These coats are really light – like nothingness light! And they fit into a stuff bag. When you’re the pack mule mom this thing is a lifesaver. So far it is proved pretty warm (not arctic warm – but definitively doable for running errands). One down side – if you’re baby weaning in them they are quite slippery. (click the picture for link)

What I am Reading

Most of these are Civil War era books that I am reading to my kids for our history.

  • The Boy in the Alamo – http://amzn.to/2iIIe45
    • About a young boy who follows his older brother into war and ends up in the Alamo seize
  • Little House on the Prairie – http://amzn.to/2BnBXq5
    • Family favorite and CLASSIC
  • Harriet Tubman Book – http://amzn.to/2AK5A1t
    • Easy to read for an emergent reader or as a short lesson as a read aloud.
  • Clara Barton Book – http://amzn.to/2AK5A1t
    • Again, this one is an easy read for an emergent reader or as a short lesson as a read aloud.

What I am Doing

Driving Lessons – our oldest turned 15 last week and things are GETTING REAL! We have acquired an awesome car for him to learn on (instead of bogarting the prison van that I NEED to have to transport my entourage). Its a 2000 Buick Park Avenue!

Decluttering – ahhhhh… one of the pitfalls of SO many people living under one roof. I am definitely not a minimalist but I don’t like things that aren’t proven to be beautiful, useful or needed. Right before Christmas each year I get an itch to clear out all the extra clutter and re evaluate what we actually need, love and use. Does anyone else LOVE Christmas but really don’t get into the materialist part of it?

Being a MOM BOSS: I have started an entire new leg of my doTERRA business and it is going so well! IN FACT, I hit DIAMOND last month!!! WHAT???? If anyone has been interested in starting a new business in the new year now is your time to come aboard! In a little under a year I have built a business with FULL TIME income from HOME! WHAT? I am still in shock about what a whirlwind it has been. If want more information click here and look around and email when you are done (afarmhousefull(at)gmail(dot)com. If you’re interested in getting some education on essential oils and how to practically use them in your own home click here.

What I am Using:

Handmade Coffee Mug – You guys ask all the time where I got this thing. I LOVE it! There is an amazingly talented and kind man who is at the Covered Bridge Festival year after year and is local to the Parke County, IN area and I bought it from here His website is www.wagonerpottery.com

Apple Slicer – YOU GUYS – this little $20 apparatus is a GAME CHANGER! Why didn’t I own one before? This makes slicking and coring apples (and also peeling them if you are making pie or applesauce) a 4 second endeavor. Do yourself a favor and GET ONE! (click on picture for link)

Stress Shot – an awesome recipe for emotional support.

Bladder Bomb – Any ladies suffer from “bladder discomfort”? I never had issues with this but after my cycles have returned I have had numerous bouts with it – I am hoping it is just me adjusting back hormonally. After playing around with recipes I have found this works amazing for me:

  • In an empty veggie cap – 2 drops each of doTERRA Oregano, Onguard, Lemon and Frankincense (or Copiaibia) Take 2 times a day for 5 days.
  • In a glass spay bottle combine 1/2 oz. witch hazel with 10 drops each frankincense and melaleuca. Use each time you use the bathroom and if you and your hubby have a “date night” during that time period.

What I am Making:

Hei Hei – Click on the photo for this super cheap and amazingly easy pattern! I finished as we watched Christmas Vacation the other night. I am already started on Pua now too! Both patterns available HERE.

Hats – I am sizing my own original pattern. I have a couple different name choices for this one. Kaleidoscope Hat, Tetris Hat or Candy Drop Hat. Which name is your favorite?

What are you wearing, reading, using, doing and making this month?

 

November Specials!

First off, I want to say THANK YOU for everybody that has been so supportive of my new business throughout this year. So many of you have reached out and shared words of encouragement and support! That means so much to me. Countless others have chosen to me as their source for essential oils and other products and some of you have even joined me in this awesome adventure. I have become so close to many of you through this business and feel blessed beyond measure to connect on a deeper level!

Know that when you support a momma on her journey in a small, home based business you help her and her family on such a personal level!  I have fallen in love with the networking business plan. This business has blessed our family in such a HUGE way this year. I plan on devoting a whole post to this as it is such an awesome and God-led journey! I can’t wait to share that with you when I have a time to sit down and pour out my heart, my triumphs and my struggles with you. #foranothertime

BUT what I do want to share is the November specials!

They are AMAZING! I have been a customer for almost a year now and a Wellness Advocate 9 months and have NEVER seen them do a sale on starter kits!  BUT THEY ARE NOW!

The most popular starter kits are 20% off AND they have changed the packaging to make for less landfill waste (shipping box and packaging box are on in the same) and they made from recycled material! #LOVEthiscompany!

Our Holiday Gift Guide is here as well and it choked full of amazing gifts including the seasonal blends! Mmmmmm…

Product of the month this month is clove which means if you’re already a wholesale customer of mine you can get it FREE with a 125 PV LRP order if it ships before the 15th of the month. Clove is an amazing fall oil that has a beautifully rich scent and has many therapeutically uses as well!

  • Add one drop to toothpaste to clean teeth and gums.
  • Place one drop in two ounces of water and gargle for a soothing effect.
  • Take in veggie capsules to support cardiovascular health.*

Siberian Fir is also 10% off all month! Siberian Fir is a new product that was just released and it is SOOO good! It has a refreshing, woody scent that is known for its calming and relaxing properties. After strenuous activity, massage into skin for soothing comfort.

  • When working through difficult circumstances at home, work, or school, diffuse Siberian Fir to help reduce stress.
  • Apply topically to skin to help soothe minor skin irritations.
  • Inhale deeply and experience the refreshing aroma.

Copaiba (one of our newest oils) is back in stock! (Yes, it sold out. Sold out faster than pizza at a teenage mutant ninja turtle reunion!) If you haven’t heard about this awesome oil, then PLEASE do some research and look into the amazing benefits it carries with it! It’s a cannabinoid with NO trace THC because it isn’t derived from the cannabis plant unlike CBD oil. AND it actually has a HIGHER concentration of cannabinoids than CBD- almost 60% concentration! To top it off this cannabinoid react DIRECTLY (CBD reacts only INdirectly) with the CB2 receptor! The possibilities and uses of this oil are amazing! SO many families will benefit from it. I have a plan to dedicated post on this oil and the science behind it!

New to oils and want to get started: GO HERE!

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Halloween Costumes 2017

Happy Halloween! I wanted to share what our kids dressed up as for Halloween! It was so easy this year because our neighbor across our road dropped off a large assortment of costumes from his daughter and we keep most of our store bought and homemade costumes (that are worth saving) in a bin. I hung them all up and had them “shop” from what we had! Cora, Ezra, Georgia and Faith all picked out their costumes from those.

Cypress dressed in the bear costume I made for AJ 14 years ago. It was the first garment I ever sewed! All 8 of our kids have worn it and it was a bit bittersweet to see our last child in it.

Michael chose to be a scarecrow and it was such a cool costume that didn’t require much. Some raffia, a blank mask, a small piece of burlap and a straw hat. We already owned everything else.

Maddie went as a deer. SUPER EASY! A little makeup and a headband with pipe cleaners and felt ears and it was DONE!

AJ, our oldest, dressed as one of the members of his favorite band, Twenty One Pilots. He and his friend went out on their own so no pictures of him.

 

Does your family wear costumes on Halloween? What did your kids dress up as?

 

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Grocery Budget Challenge

October is over, so I guess it’s time to share how I did on my self-inflicted grocery budget challenge!  Mike and I had fallen off the budget train while back and we wanted a fresh start so kicked it off with a budget challenge to make sure we were paying close attention to what and where we were spending. I have seen a YouTuber that love mention the $100/person per month challenge for budgeting, which for us was $1000. I began by trying to stick to $200 per week so that I would have a margin. I shopped both online (2 out of the weeks) and in store (the 2 remaining weeks) and there are pros and cons to both which I will cover in another post.

Normally our grocery budget is between $1200-$1500/month depending on if we have special events or not or if we do a large Sam’s (bulk) haul to stock up on things.

Keep in mind there are a lot of variables that go into a grocery budget for each family. For instance, I DO include all our consumables in that total as well. Things like toilet paper, paper towel, make up and diapers/wipes (we use disposables at night and on trips).  The size of your family and the ages of your kids play into this as well. Also, the region you live in and the price of milk, produce, and meat fluctuate the most. Luckily, I live in the heart of the USA and our prices are pretty low for farmed products. Actually, our milk is the lowest it has been since I can remember at under $1.00 a gallon! #what? Also, we don’t have any food sensitives or allergies and I don’t hyperventilate over every detail of organic/GMO/processed. I do my best to feed my kids healthy food without being the crazed mom at the party that’s snatching the cupcake out of her kid’s hands and replacing it with a cardboard replica. That’s just not me! In my mind there is a fine line between healthy and health-crazy and I am doing my best to walk it with as much grace as this mom can. And while we are here please recognize we all have different opinions on the best ways to feed our families and can we at the very least RESPECTLY agree that we are all just moms trying to do the best we can and we *might* hold different standards And. That’s. OKAY. Like, really, it is. We each just need to be the mom that the Lord called us to be and thankfully we are varied and beautifully diverse in every aspect. Stepping off my soapbox now…

I did alter our food consumption and what I bought a little, but I wanted to see how close I could get without changing things too much. The biggest things that changed were the fact that I couldn’t stock up on certain items and I consciously left out more expensive meals certain types of fresh produce to stretch the budget a bit.

One thing I noticed was that we made a lot of smaller (in between) grocery trips that added up quickly! Was this because I was leaving stuff out trying to stick to a budget or because I just didn’t have my crap together in October? I don’t know… More than likely a combination of both.

Was it doable? Absolutely! I actually think in times of necessity I could cut that number down quite a bit lower by adjusting our meals even more and omitting non-essentials. Would I want to continue? Probably not. I am in a season where I’d like to save the mental energy required to check prices on Every. Single. Item. It is not exactly worthwhile at this point in my life. While I am frugal, I do NOT have the time to coupon, go to 5 different stores, make a whole bunch of separate trips (although I felt we did a lot of that this month…) or fix meals that I don’t want to eat just because they are cheaper. It’s a tradeoff and I am in the season of life where the reward just isn’t worth the effort.

Here’s the breakdown of our monthly grocery trips:

Our main weekly grocery trips:

Week 1

Walmart (pick up)            $196.85

Week 2

Walmart (pick up)            $188.82

Week 3

Aldis                                      $167.52

Walmart                               $67.39

Amazon                               $61.48

Week 4

Aldis                                      $133.86

Walmart                               $70.97

 

Our main grocery trips totaled to $886.89

Our smaller in between grocery trips totaled to $169.50

Grand Total for the month was $1052.79 which put us $52.79 over my target. This works out to $105/person per month.

What is your monthly budget and the size of your family?

How I Teach: Handwriting

Who out there over complicates something that just SCREAMS simple? (Raising my hand in the air while simultaneously hanging my head in shame.) Why do I do that? I mean, I fight for simplicity every day and try to streamline everything to make it more efficient.

Handwriting is one of those subjects that is just TOO easy to teach, yet I always seemed to make it more complicated than it needed to be. This summer as I was looking at printing out and binding all the worksheets (x4) we had done last year I started brainstorming a simpler approach.

“Why not have everyone do handwriting at the same time and even, possibly, be practicing the same letter!” LIGHT BULB! Wasn’t that how the one room school houses did it when they were teaching multiple aged children anyhow?

I started to implement this idea for the first quarter of this school year and not only is it WAY EASIER, but my children who have struggled with messy handwriting have improved more in the last 6-8 weeks than they did the entire last year! And it only takes about 15 minutes! Here’s how we do it!

In the morning after we do our memory work (so we are already sitting at the table together), I dismiss the younger crowd. Cypress (1 year old) plays in the living room or in his pack and play and Cora (3 years old) usually goes with him. Occasionally Cora stays at the at the table with us and colors in her little workbooks (dollar store finds that I have collected over the years).

While I am getting the littlest ones situated with toys my Prek/K, 2nd, 4th, and 5th grader get their paper and pencils and write their full (first, middle and last) name on the top line of their paper.

The paper they use is determined by the grade they’re in. I use primary paper for the younger grades and when they hit 3rd grade or so I switch them to wide ruled.

My 15 minutes of handwriting instruction looks like this:

Note: My very first session is an evaluation so that I can compare it to when they have finished. I have them all write (in their best handwriting) the alphabet both upper and lower case and if they have already learned it, the cursive alphabet as well.

  • White board instruction (2-3 minutes): I will draw a the top, bottom and dotted middle line that is included on primary paper. I then will very slowly (while explaining) write the  uppercase letter “A” making sure I mark the spot where I started with an “x” or a large dot. This way, when they are practicing and they forget where to start the letter they can look to the board and see. Then I move on to the lower case version of the letter “a”. Then the cursive versions of each.
  • Letter practice (5-8 minutes): The kids are then asked to write a line of their BEST upper case letters (I require 6 letters of each), skip a line, a line of their BEST lower case letters, skip a line, a line of their BEST upper case cursive letters, skip a line, and a line of their BEST lower case cursive letters. For kids that are JUST learning their letters , are new to cursive, or need a bit more help I offer then a sheet that has a traceable letters to guide them if needed. For those who haven’t learned cursive yet I only require the print letters.
  • Word practice (remaining time): When they finish their letters I allow them to write any word they want as long as it has the letter “a” in it somewhere. This is where they shine! I usually write a couple of words they suggest on the white board so they can see them spelled out. Many times they take as many random words on the board as they can and try to come up with a sentence with them all. I allow my kids to be silly and have a good time with this. The word “poop” and “toilet”(and various other colorful words) come up as often as the letters in the allow! If it gets them to enjoy handwriting I am all for it!

After we have cycled through all the letters we do another evaluation. We forgo the normal instruction and spend the 15 minutes carefully writing out their BEST alphabet (uppercase and lower case). I then compare it to the one they did at the beginning to see how much improvement has been made.

Then we start the cycle over again. Usually this time around I will require the word practice to be done in cursive (and then next time I will switch back to print). You’ll end up cycling through the alphabet 4-6 times depending on how many times a week you do handwriting and how many weeks per year you school.

For those who aren’t quite ready to print letters yet: While most of my kids have been ready to learning handwriting by this age, ,Ezra (just turned 5) is a lefty and both he and my other lefty tended to need a little extra time. During this time he traces pictures from coloring books or tracing sheets that I have printed off for him.

Curriculum Choices for 2017-2018

This post is embarrassingly late! But better late than never, right?

We are in our 7th week of school and I am encouraged to say we have hit a smooth groove with our schedule. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I feel like I am being torn into a thousand pieces none of which that belong to me (thank you Becky for that awesome analogy at church!), but we are getting things done and I am not loosing by head every day so I am calling that a win!

I will share a more in depth look into our schedule and routine at a later date, but I did make a day in the life video last week that shares glimpses of it. You can Click HERE to watch that.

Not only is the schedule working I believe our curriculum choices are turning out to be very on point as well. Here is what are using this year!

Andrew (grade 9)

AJ is continuing in Classical Conversations Challenge Program and meets once a week with his class and a tutor to go over their work from the week. I like the community and the accountability that it provides.

  • Latin: Henele Latin
  • Science: This year he is researching famous astronomers and their life, theories, laws and contribution to their fields. He is writing reports weekly on what he has learned as well as making labeled diagrams of various theories and laws. For example last week he had to research Kepler and his three laws. He then wrote a paper describing each of  Kepler’s three laws. He is also participating in a Science Fair this year.
  • Debate: This is probably by favorite. He is researching current “hot topics” in current events such as right to life, gun control, women in the military and finding news articles that support both the affirmative and negative position. He then must form his own conclusions on them and be ready to discuss this within class with proofs and sub proofs. The second semester his class will be studying the judicial process and will be participating in a mock trial (in an actual courtroom) after several weeks learning due process.
  • Logic: He is working through two MASSIVE books: Intro to Formal Logic and Intermediate Formal Logic. Again I like that this year he is learning to think for himself not just regurgitate facts.
  • Literature/Writing – He participates in 60 minutes of SSR daily. Using the Lost Tools of Writing he is coming up with a thesis and writing a persuasive essay corresponding with his position. In the second semester he will be focusing on famous short stories and will be creating a short story of his own.
  • Math – We are still loving Teaching Textbooks and he is working on Algebra I this year.
  • Extras – Over the summer he has developed a love music. Piano, drums, guitar, ukulele and even singing. He became and amazing self taught student of piano and has amazed us by what he can place by ear and through a handful of YouTube tutorials. He JUST recently started formal lessons and and thrilled to see him move forward with this passion on his own. (We  never pushed our kids into anything they don’t show interest and/or talent in.)
  • Rube Goldberg- He a few friends are participating in the Rube Goldberg challenge this year as well.
Maddie (Grade 7)

This is Maddie’s first year in the Challenge Program and she is participating in Challenge A.

  • Latin – Henele Latin
  • Science – She is researching and writing a report on topics revolving around biology and natural science each week. Each paper has to have 2-3+ sources, a drawing and a bibliography.
  • Apologetics/Reasoning – She is addressing the topics of thinking and speaking truthfully to help her in her next year of Challenge where she will be studying formal logic and debating.
  • Cartography – She is required to draw 3 maps a day of the region of the world that she is memorizing. At the end of the year she will be able to draw the world (all continents, countries and capitols) from memory.
  • Literature/Writing – She participates in 60 minutes of SSR daily and will be writing 10 persuasive essays based upon a thesis she comes up.
  • Math – She is using Teach Textbooks as well and is in grade 7.
Faith and Michael (grade 4 and 5)
  • English – Rod and Staff, grade 4
  • IEW – US History
  • Spelling – undecided
  • Math – Teaching Textbooks, grade 4 and 5
  • Computer – Typing Instructor Platinum for kids
  • Penmanship (group – more on this later!)
Georgia (grade 2)
  • Math – Math-U-See, Beta
  • Explode the Code books for practice, review and (lets be honest here) busywork!
Ezra (Kindergarten)
Group Studies

 

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Budget Challenge Grocery Haul

I LOVE a good budgeting challenge! Its so amazing how much further we can stretch a dollar when we set our minds to it!

This month I have challenged to spend less than $1000 for our family of 10 for groceries, toiletries and household consumables! The challenge was presented by a YouTube video I saw that said that you CAN keep this amount at $100/person per month! So, I accepted to see how realistic it was! I will be keeping track of ALL my grocery purchases and let you know how I did at the end of October!

Week one

Menu:

  • Leftovers/sandwiches
  • Homemade pizza with salad
  • Grilled chicken with potatoes and veggies
  • Ham and swiss sliders with fruit/nut/yogurt
  • Chicken burrito bowls
  • Fettuccine alfredo with peas and carrots
  • Chili with cornbread

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October is finally here!

Is anyone else (besides me and Cypress over there) geeking out over that fact that its FALL?! Cause I am! Fall is by far my favorite time of year! And I am SO over the 90 degree weather. Here in Illinois we had a couple of record setting days in the mid 90’s at the end of SEPTEMBER! Talk about summer going out with a bang!

During that little heat wave Mike and I took the family to Peoria to see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta.  

Anyone else need lots of patience and oils when traveling with children? We have been in the habit of “Passing the Peace” when we get into the car for road trips! Peace oil is a favorite around here!

And with it being 9,000 degrees we stopped for ice cream along the riverfront too!

We are also 6 weeks into our homeschooling year and we are FINALLY into a grove of a good schedule and routine. I will share that as well as our curriculum choices for this year very soon!

With a new month comes new promotion for my little side business! Can I tell you now just how AMAZING it is to be able to contribute financially to our family! It was a complete God thing and the timing for committing to build with doTERRA was so divine. I will talk to you guys later about just how God fleshed out a mere miracle at the perfect timing for our family! #GodisGOOD (If you would like to know more about this company can bless your family’s wellness and finances, PLEASE reach out! I am so passionate about #momshelpingmoms! Email: afarmhousefull@gmail.com)

But first – FREE ESSENTIAL OIL PROMOS!

There are some awesome promos going on in the month of October!

If you are already a wholesale customer doTERRA is giving away THREE free oils (3 of my family’s favorite oils) with ANY 200 pv order! WHAT? You better bet the farm I am getting those oils for FREE this month! We have such a generous and giving company! What are the oils? BALANCE, SERENITY and CITRUS BLISS! Click here for a small Monday-night-class about these three oils. (I hold classes every Monday night in my oil group here – check them out!)

And you can stack them with the Product of the Month! Which means if you place your 200 PV order on your LRP (Loyalty Rewards Program) and have it shipped before the 15th you will get all three oils for free PLUS a 5ml bottle of OnGuard! Onguard is amazing this time of year as it is our immune/protective blend!

Anyone who has been on the fence about getting  starter kit and a wholesale account NOW IS THE TIME! Most starter kits qualify you for this amazing promo too! Choose the Home Essentials or Natural Solutions and you’ll be getting those three oils for free too!

Email me if you would like to talk over your options and discuss which kit would best suit your family and your checkbook! #respectthecheckbook!

On top of all that, anyone who enrolls with 200PV or higher and sets up a LRP order in November will be receiving a FREE gift from me! The Essential Life book! An AMAZING and beautiful resource and guide book on how to use each and every oil and supplement doTERRA carries! (US only because international shipping cost more than a black market kidney!)

How are you all enjoying this fall? What fun things are you up to?

 

 

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I did a “thing”

Anyone who has followed me for very long KNOWS my hair has been super long for… like…ever!

Well, on Saturday I found a couple of cute (shorter) hairstyles on Pinterest and starting thinking about lopping off my LONG hair. By Sunday I had scissors in hand and was rearing to go.

No, I don’t have cosmetology training, I am self taught… mostly through YouTube. BUT, I have been cutting my own hair for over 10 years and *most* of the time it turns out amazing.

I went for a long bob, or lob, as it is known in internet land. I probably cut it a bit longer than most lobs are, but, BABYSTEPS, yo.

Here is the final result.

I am SOOOO happy with it!

 

And if you can’t tell by the sweaty workout picture – I am finally getting back in the habit of working out regularly! These last 20 pounds of pregnancy weight are going to be GONE by the time I take my FREE trip to the Dominican! More on that later!

If your interested in seeing how I did it I actually vlogged the whole process!

 

 

Watch the video here:

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