Books to Read 2018

Books Goals for 2018

I have made a goal to read more books in 2018. Over Christmas break, I have already checked two off of my list. I am sharing the books I would like to read (because they are already loaded on my Kindle) and will try to post throughout the year- one, to encourage you. and two, to keep me accountable 😉

Books 2018

Books I Have Read Already

The Magnolia Story—LOVED. Inspiring and I read it in one sitting.

Launch Your Dream by Dale Partridge—Still pondering this one, but I love Dale Partridge’s messages. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and men should all read his stuff. (I know, I am a woman, but the business stuff I love)


Books To Read Next (these are on my Kindle already, so they will be first)

Holiness by J.C Ryle

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt

Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout

A Simple Christianity by John MacArthur

Be Complete (Colossians) By Warren Wiersbe

Believing Prayer by Andrew Murray

The Practice of the Presence of God Brother Lawrence

Confessions of St. Augustine

Write a Nonfiction Proposal

To Read With My Kids

Mountain Born (one of my favorites)

Little Britches

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

What’s on YOUR LIST? I’d love to hear! I am going to be adding lots more to this list and need suggestions! I will share as I go along…


This summer, I am hosting a women’s retreat in Gettysburg, PA. In a world of excess, we are going to focus on that fact that Jesus is enough. The world will tell you YOU are enough. But truly, HE is enough. He is all we need. We don’t rely on ourselves, or earthly comforts, but on Him alone.  I have lived with it all stripped away, and I have seen that yes, Jesus is enough. In fact, Jesus is MORE than enough.

Early Bird Registration is Open! Join us for this life-changing and life-giving event. You will spend two days with other sisters in Christ, tired of what the world offers, and ready to live the life that HE offers.

Check out where I am speaking in 2018—-> SPEAKING (UPDATED)

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Visit my homeschooling site–>Bible Based Homeschooling

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP (new items added!)




Summer School

Right now we are Summer Schooling!

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I love summer. The slower paced schedule and the time outside. Everything in bloom. So much to discover. The warm nights. The sunshine. The yummy treats. I love it all!

Our schedule is slow and our formal books may be closed, but I’ve seen that we are learning just as much as any other time of year. 

I’ve watched my kids in the garden, observing the plants each day.

The little guy points out a bumble bee in the flowers of our tomato plants and exclaims,

“He’s doing what God made Him to do.”

Yes..son…He is.

Or the day we went on a nature study on our property and discovered tons of butterflies in the wildflowers.

“Look! I can see it’s proboscis!”



We watched endlessly as that butterfly sucked up the sweet nectar with its tongue. Can’t do these kinds of observations in books…

Then there are field trips. We went to a local zoo yesterday and my daughter practiced photography. All of the kids (and this mama!) learned a few new things about some of the animals we encountered. It was so much fun to watch them!

This zoo also has museums with lots of old artifacts that I just love. All kinds of old cars, tools, farm equipment, toys, kitchen tools, you name it! We learned quite a bit!

Just getting out each day, without an agenda has the kids learning. 



We’ve been able to learn and explore:

  • Berry picking in our yard
  • Cooking and baking
  • Identifying unknown plants
  • Garden work every day
  • Fixing equipment
  • Building Legos daily
  • Library trips on rainy days
  • Watching birds and other animals
  • Studying insects- yes, the boys love catching ’em!
  • Watching tadpoles turn to frogs
  • Card games every day- never realized how much this helps with math for the little guy!
  • Lots of outdoor chores








Oh, and then there’s been lessons around the house:

  • Setting up the dehumidifier
  • Dealing with a power outage
  • Fixing lawn equipment
  • Learning new chores
  • Fixing a rocking chair that goes back to Grandpa’s childhood!
  • Practicing hospitality- lots of company over in summertime
  • Drying herbs from the garden


And some of the best lessons:

  • Reading Bibles on the porch
  • Spending time in prayer over various things
  • Living together as a family every day
  • Watching God paint the sky at night




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I’ve learned this summer that you can’t stop learning! It happens regardless of what books we open or schedule we create. God is teaching us each day, and I will savor each moment!

Join me this summer at the Simply Living for Him Women’s Retreat!

Take some time to slow down, unplug, and recharge. Find quiet and stillness in a gorgeous setting!!
Seek Him, pray, worship, and rest.

Tickets still available!

Get My NEW Book!


Check out where I am speaking in 2017—-> SPEAKING

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP

14 Days of Love with Free Printable Verses

14 Days of Love.jpg

I love February! Good bye January, we are one step closer to spring!


A few years ago we started a fun project to focus on love. Each morning in our Bible time we read a scripture that talked about love.  We focused on loving as the Bible tells us, and what the difference is between how the world perceives love and how God teaches us about love.


Each child made their own Valentine mailbox out of a large white envelope.  Then they were hung on each of their bedroom doors.  Everyday, their sibling wrote down one thing that they love about the person on a slip of paper (or cut out heart) and put it in the mailbox. On Valentine’s Day we read through them all.

Here are some pictures:


Ethan just tried to write his name in glue 🙂





And if you would like to follow along with our 14 Days of Love, download the scriptures here!

 14 Days of Love Verses 

Join Me This Summer- The Simply Living for Him Retreat! 

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

Look at these views!

Rest. Renew. Restore.










Sight and Sound Theaters- Where the Bible Truly Does Comes to Life!

Our Visit to Sight and Sound Theaters, Lancaster, PA

Last week we had the incredible opportunity to visit Sight and Sound Theaters in Lancaster, PA. For many years, I have heard about how wonderful the shows were, but we never seemed to get there.

Finally, this year we made it! We were so blessed to visit for the day with my parents too! It was a perfect day.



Sight and Sound Theaters is truly like no other show I have been to. We saw Joseph and it was magnificent. I was truly moved to tears throughout the show. It was an incredible experience to see one of my very favorite stories in the Bible come to life. I didn’t expect to be so emotional! Yet, it was truly incredible.



Sight and Sound Theater is so unique because it is Bible-based, and it has incredible scenery. The stage literally surrounds the audience and it makes you feel like you are in the show at times. Even more unique are their use of live animals throughout the show! Camels walk up the aisle, birds fly across the audience…truly spectacular!

The singing, acting, and the scenery were breathtaking. During the scenes of Egypt, I was really taken away by the immenseness of the set. Truly jaw dropping.

If you have an opportunity to visit Sight and Sound, don’t hesitate! You will not be disappointed!

There are locations in both Lancaster, PA and Branson, MO.

It was a blessing to see a story we have studied come to life and to share that experience with family.


For more on our Joseph study:



Lessons from Joseph


For more information about Sight and Sound Theaters, you can visit Sight and Sound at

Our Schedule: Simple, Efficient, and Fun Extras!

What is a Typical Homeschool Day?

Daily Homeschool Schedule

With a new high schooler, 7th grader, 5th grader, and 1st grader this year, I have vowed to keep things simple and efficient. We have always followed a pretty loose routine over the years, and I generally find that when we fall somewhere in the middle of no routine and strict routine we work best. There were the years I scheduled every 15 minutes (for really young ones, mind you!) and it backfired. There were the years I didn’t have much of a schedule. Yet, I always go back to the middle road is best. We need a framework to maintain order and have predictability and stability. Yet, we are open to life getting in the way and teaching us things that are not in the lesson plan book!

Lessons Leared.jpg

So here is our (loose) plan for the year, knowing that it can change at any moment. Also, please not that this is a typical day at home. One day a week we spend entirely out of the house at a local fine arts program for homeschoolers. Some days, my daughter works her part time job and that means driving her and waiting for her a few hours with my boys, so we will do errands, etc. Yet for the days without commitments outside of the house (and I really try to limit those), I am outlining our day here.

(and please note, what works for our family may not work for your family. Seek God is planning your schedule!)

Everyone wakes up around 7am (Daddy is up much earlier than all of us—4 or 5 am. I usually slowly rise around 6, and pray and spend time with the Lord before anything.) The kids get dressed (except for the occasional “pajama day”) and eat breakfast, etc. They are expected to have beds made and Bibles read before coming downstairs. I also begin working on my writing at this time. I work up until school time begins.

9:00 am Bible: This is family time. This year, we are working through the book of Joshua together. I usually read ahead and plan which passage will we read up to and make any notes from the commentary that I want to go over with the kids. I also will incorporate any geography and history that is in there, and any other noteworthy findings. The kids each have a Bible notebook where they can jot down what we are learning, and the littlest guy can draw while we are reading together.

After our Bible time, which can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on our discussion, everyone starts their individual work. This is math, language arts, etc. I work with my first grader first, because he needs me the most and he needs me to teach the most. While doing this, the others have their assignments and can begin independently. The rule is that no one can interrupt someone else’s time with mom. They are to work independently until it is their turn. Knowing they will have a turn, eliminates the constant interruptions that used to happen every time I was working with one child.

(note- the high schooler has all of her assignments for the week and works through them at her own pace. She is learning time management skills this way and independently working and learning- yet, she is free to sit in with the younger kids whenever she would like, “just for fun.”)

We work through individual work until lunch time and everyone eats together. I may even assign the kids their own days to be “in charge” of making lunch this year. I think this would be a good way to give responsibility to the older kids, and the oldest three are capable of preparing lunch.

During lunch, it is also my time to catch up on emails, throw in the laundry, clean up around the house, check my blogs, etc. This is a detail that is important because I don’t have the need to multitask these things during school time because I know I will have this time later. This break allows me to focus on non-school things and not try to do them during school time.








After lunch, my high schooler continues with her work, while I do history with the younger three children. We are studying American History and this is basically many read alouds right now. Lots of good historical fiction and some other history books thrown in. I also will do science at this time with my younger two boys.

Everyone finishes up any loose ends during the afternoon and then everyone is free to go outside, or explore interests. My oldest boy is teaching himself 3D animation on the computer, using my husband’s work programs. He amazes me! He may also be found doing robotics, drawing, building something, etc.

My daughter is also working on her photography and getting up her own business site. One of our long-term goals for our children is to have entrepreneurial skills and be able to know how to own their own business someday if that is where the Lord leads. Since our family has been so blessed by owning a family business and both of us being able to work from home, we hope our children can have that option too when they are older. You can hear more about that on our podcast episode (How a Job Loss Blessed Our Family.) Anyway, she loves photography and that is certainly a skill she can use for her own business someday. We feel that right now is the best time to start a business, since she has nothing to lose and is still living at home, etc.!

We usually eat dinner around 5:30 and until it gets dark out too early, you will find us outside most evenings. Usually around 8pm, we always, always watch a show together as a family before bed. This may seem like a silly part of our routine, but honestly, it is such an important part of us because it is something we all look forward to together. We enjoy being together and we enjoy the tradition of watching something together before bed. We’re not running around in all directions- we are together. Since we don’t have cable, we find a series on DVD, Netflix, Hulu etc. Over the years, we’ve gone through the Little House on the Prairie series, Andy Griffith, Brady Bunch, Myth Busters, various Food TV shows, Shark Tank, etc. We really do enjoy our time, and usually we enjoy it with some ice cream or other treats 😉  Giving kids these kinds of traditions and stability matter to us.

Bedtime is by 9pm and we pray together and then off to bed before another day begins. As the kids have gotten older, most days are not nearly as hectic as the younger years, but that doesn’t mean it is always easy. Sticking to a framework for our day, that isn’t too loose or too tight, though has been a very important part to keeping things going smoothly. I find the simplest routines, with a level of predictability are just right for us.

And don’t get me wrong, some days the books are on hold because the attitudes need adjusting and the hearts need tending. Some days these are the things God is dealing with in me too! Some days I am tired, the kids are cranky, the groceries have run out and we are all a mess. Those are the days it is even more necessary that we have some kind of framework to return to the next day and continue on…


Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest-Perfect and Instagram-Ideal Homeschool– NOW AVAILABLE at!

Join me as we create a community, of moms being REAL!

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Join the Movement– Share with your friends, build community, and live #real.

#Real Homeschool

Share in your community what a real homeschool looks like. Let’s build a community, together, and be real.


You can also grab my other books on Amazon!


Faith That Sticks from Tyndale Publishers

this is a sponsored post. I received the product and compensation for this post. This has in no way affected my opinion. PLease read my full disclosure for more info.

Faith That Sticks!


Faith That Sticks
Faith That Sticks

Crafts that are Bible-based always catch my eye. Since we are teaching our children about the Bible daily, I naturally enjoy crafts that enforce lessons we are learning. That is why I am thrilled to introduce to you this fun and adorable product from Tyndale Publishers!

Faith That Sticks– Faith-based stickers for ages 3-8.

Perfect for expressing faith in creative ways! Whether they’re for home, school, church, or the office, these stickers add fun embellishment to letters, cards, scrapbooks, certificates, charts, games, crafts…anything that needs a special touch.

Take a minute to browse over 100 styles, from the Nativity and Christmas to Easter, Scripture, Bible stories, smiley faces, animals, classic symbols of the Christian faith, and more.

There’s sure to be a Faith that Sticks design that’s perfect for your next project! We’ve featured some of our favorite Spring stickers & don’t miss the special offer!

I received a package of an assortment of these beautiful stickers. They are just perfect for keeping younger ones busy during our studies. I have an array of crafts in mind for him to use these for. There are stickers for all occasions and little ones love stickers!





I am especially thinking of summer projects- scrapbooking, card making, journal decorating, and more!

What would you use them for?


Please visit Faith That Sticks on their website or Facebook page for more info!

Now, YOU have a chance to win 10 packs of Faith that Sticks!

Enter below!

· Ten packs of stickers will be given away to one winner!!



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Metamorphosis- Answers in Genesis DVD

This post contains affiliate links

This was one of our FAVORITE resources this year. It is simply amazing and there is no way you can watch films like this and NOT believe in God!

It is truly a movie that will help your family see God as Creator! Find out more at  Answers in Genesis!



Throughout history butterflies have fascinated artists and philosophers, scientists and school children with their profound mystery and beauty. In Metamorphosis you will explore their remarkable world as few ever have before.

Filmed in the rain forests of Ecuador, Mexico’s Trans-Volcanic mountain range, and leading research centers, Metamorphosis is an unforgettable documentary filled with the joys of discovery and wonder.

Features incredible slow motion photography!





FREE Monthly Meal Plan

Monthly Meal Planning Made Easy.

Simple Meals

























As a busy homeschool mom, I like to plan my meals ahead for the month. Now, by plan, I must say I don’t always stick to it perfectly, but having a skeleton to work with helps. I have four weeks of planned meals, generally with a theme for each day. (Friday is always pizza, Tuesday is always crockpot) and that helps me a great deal! Yet, life always gets in the way, so I am able to quickly move these meals around as needed. But at least I have 28 ideas ahead of time and I can shop and prepare for them easily. I also am including a blank template for you to write your meals on, or use post it notes and switch them around as the month goes on. Easy peasy!!!

The meal plan starts on Sundays and is a four week spread. Customize as you please for your family. I hope this helps you plan for a more efficient and easy homeschool day 🙂

Blank Meal Plan

Monthly Meal Plan









A New Year of Exciting Things!

Yesterday we began our 9th year of homeschooling. 

And you know, when I began that first year, it was just for one year. And here we are…


I was trying to find a verse for your homeschool year for awhile now. Last year it was Ephesians 3:20. As our first day was getting closer, I kept praying and asking the Lord to show me. Well, yesterday morning I still had nothing. Then my husband came in with our verse slips for the day and I had my answer.


How awesome is our God? I knew we had our verse for the year 😉

We are studying Acts this year, and one of the things I have decided we will do is write out the whole book. Yes, it’s a long book, but we will be in it all year so we have time. I am also joining my kids on this activity. Here is a glimpse of my son’s first day:



While we had some issues in the afternoon with bickering and with attitudes, overall the day was great. It is always exciting to know there is another year of learning ahead, and truly I am beyond excited about our Bible study of Acts. I know God led us to this study for this time in our lives. It’s exciting to see where He will lead us next.

I pray you had a good first day. If not, guess what? Today is a new day. Everyday that is hard, is also a chance to grow and to cling to the Lord. So whether a picture perfect day, or one you don’t even want to remember, He uses it all.

Here is a glimpse of the things I DO want to remember 😉

My son’s new favorite reading spot 😉


Post first day fun by the river
Snake skin found by the river
Snake skin found by the river


If you need some encouragement for the new year, find a quiet time to sit and listen to my new MP3. It’s free for all and many have written to tell me it has helped them focus for the new year! I pray it blesses you!