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!


Blue Ribbon Point System

Above is a short explanation of our Blue Ribbon Point system. It is used to reinforce positive behavior in our homeschool, but it would be easy to adapt to a family that does not homeschool as well. Feel free to download the printable below and use them in your own home/homeschool!


I simply printed these out on cardstock on my inkjet printer and laminated them with my laminator. After cutting them apart I store them in a pencil box like this.

(This link contains affiliate links)

Large Family Grocery Haul


(for my videos and any other channels that you watch)

Please remember in this (and other) food hauls that each family’s diet and lifestyle is unique. Please be understanding that what is best for one family (dairy free, gluten free, non-GMO, organic, vegetarian, etc) is not always best for every family.  Also note that the contents of each haul may not be the ONLY thing that particular family is eating. A lot of people buy fresh produce at farmers markets, grow it in their own garden or take from a stock pile of canned food in their pantries to supplement their purchased items. For some reason food choices and diets have become sacred ground on the internet and opinions are cast out like deadly judgement stones. We are all trying to do what is best for our individual families with what we have. Please be graceful and kind in the comments to one another.

This was my haul from Walmart last night. I purchased a lot of non-food items that drove the price up a little bit, but I also didn’t have to purchase too many veggies and meat which probably negated that. We had several meals worth of meat and veggies here at home so this was a scant week in those areas.

Total: $256.91

And the price breakdown in the receipt below.


Meet My Hubby

So Mike made the comment that my loyal YouTube subscribers probably thought that I had a “make believe” husband since we seemed never to be around in any videos. Well, that prompted me to put him on the spot and do my very first husband-focused vlog. Enjoy meeting my husband!

DITL: “I’m not grumpy; I’m AWESOME!”

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a large family home? Well, here is your chance! Now that the GoPro set up is here and I am playing around with it a bit more to figure it all out I thought I would try to post more regular “Day In The Life” vlogs. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in seeing on a more regular basis and how often (weekly, monthly, here and there?).  I absolutely love doing them because they are so fun to look back on. Life is such a blur sometimes with 7 curtain crawlers that it’s nice to freeze some moments in this very precious and fleeting time.


Homeschool Planning Book


Many of the following links are to Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. The AMAZING momma that runs this site give these PDF forms, calendars, covers and planners out to people for FREE so go over there and give her some LOVE! I absolutely adore her site and have used her covers, calendars and goal sheets for a couple of years now!

Resources for printing your own planner:

My cover

Other BEAUTIFUL front and back covers

planner title page

6 child planner with weekly independent and daily group studies

Planning pages – 4 day weeks

Planning pages – 5 day weeks

Calendars page

Goals Page

Affiliate Links for products in this video


Binding Machine





Curriculum Choices for 2015-2015

school year

So, I FINALLY got to record my curriculum choices! YAY! I know that so many of you were waiting on this so I am excited to get that out to you.  Without further ado here are my final choices:

Group Studies:

  • Mystery of History, Volume 1
  • Homeschool in the Woods (aka History Through the Ages) timeline figures
  • Wondermaps
  • Real Science for Kids: Chemistry and Physics
  • Memory Work
  • Family Read Alouds:
    • The Golden Goblet
    • A Cry from Egypt
    • The Children’s Homer
    • Archimedes and the Door of Science
    • The Ides of April
    • The Bronze Bow
    • The Greatest Salesman in the World
    • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
    • D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
    • Egyptology
    • Castles, Pyramids and Palaces
    • Coloring Book of Ancient Greece
  • We will also be continuing to work through Training Hearts and Teaching Minds which is a book that teaches the Shorter Catechisms with daily lessons and focuses on one question a week.

To see a rundown of this curriculum and a detailed list of his readers you can watch my YouTube video HERE.

7th Grader:

  • Teaching Textbooks, 7
    • Daily math drills online at
  • Rod and Staff English, 6
  • Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
  • Spelling Workout, F
  • Typing Instructor Pro
  • Bi-weekly copy work in cursive and print
  • Mapping of every country in the world (2-3 times)
  • Foreign Language: French

To see a rundown of this curriculum and a detailed list of his readers you can watch my YouTube video HERE.

5th Grader:

  • Teaching Textbooks, 5
    • Daily math drills online at
  • Rod and Staff English, 6
  • Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
  • Spelling Workout, F
  • Typing Instructor Pro
  • Bi-weekly copy work in cursive and print
  • Mapping of every country in the world (2-3 times)
  • Foreign Language: French

To see a rundown of  this curriculum and a detailed list of his readers you can watch my YouTube video HERE.

3rd Grader:

  • Teaching Textbooks, 3
    • Daily math drills online at
  • Rod and Staff English, 2
  • Spelling Workout, B
  • Typing Instructor Pro
  • Bi-weekly copy work in print

To see a rundown of this curriculum and a detailed list of his readers you can watch my YouTube video HERE.

2nd Grader:

  • Math U See, Beta
  • Rod and Staff English, 2
  • Spelling Workout, B
  • Bi-weekly copy work in print

To see a rundown of this curriculum and a detailed list of his readers you can watch my YouTube video HERE.


  • Math U See, Primer
  • A Reason for Handwriting, K
  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
  • Hooked on Phonics, grades K-2
  • McGuffey’s First and Second Eclectic Readers
  • Explode the Code books as needed

To see a rundown of this curriculum and a detailed list of his readers you can watch my YouTube video HERE.

Cleaning Car Upholstery on the CHEAP!

Kids are messy.

So am I.

Which ends up meaning my house on wheels, the van, (aka the prison bus) gets really (REALLY) dirty very frequently.

A whirlwind of running around and a very festive July which included 4 birthdays within a month, a national holiday, a camping trip, Lake Michigan sand dunes and another beach outing made for a very sandy, sticky (because eating ice cream in the car is a MUST when it’s hot!), filthy car.

When I looked at the upholstery that hadn’t be cleaned (other than a quick vacuum) for MONTHS I almost talked myself into buying a new vehicle. But then it dawned on me that NO one in their right mind would want to sit in this thing, let alone buy it looking like this.


I thought that with the amount of staining and the time elapsed since it was stained (who KNOWS how long that was there) I would have to rent a mobile carpet cleaner. But I am cheap frugal.  So, why not try to DIY with good ol’ soap and water.

I normally keep a bottle of cleaner mixed up for cleaning anything and everything so I grabbed it. Sometimes it is LOC (from Amway), other times it is Basic H (from Shaklee) and sometimes it’s just plain Dawn. Today it Dawn and water. If I was to guess I would say I dilute about 32 oz of water with a teaspoon or two of Dawn.

I sprayed the seat pretty thoroughly and scrubbed it with a dry terrycloth cleaning rag (just a cheap Walmart bar rag, but any wash cloth or rag would would work). I used a dry one so that it would aid in drying the seat as I scrubbed. AND. IT. WORKED. I have used this method before but it was really bad this time.

2But it really did wonders. It didn’t ALL come out, but come on now, it’s Dawn not magic fairy dust.  And I am not planning on driving around royalty. Unless, of course, you mean the 4 year old with the crown and wand that sometimes sits behinds me and sprinkles food on the floor…

So I guess I am NOT getting a new car. Which is kind of a bummer because I have been eying the shuttle bus that the local nursing home uses. Don’t laugh; I am not joking. It’s awesome. And roomy.

So here are the before and afters: