• Thanksgiving Holiday Helper

    Thanksgiving Holiday Helper

    I've gathered a few of our simple family Thanksgiving guides for you all in one place. No chatting--just links...mostly. A post with me not chatting it like Thanksgiving without pie! You know you'd miss it. Actually, I once had a Thanksgiving without pie, and I didn't really miss it. Hmmmm...   How to Thaw a Turkey (Even...[Read more]

    Find Joy and Meaning in a Simple Christmas

    Find Joy and Meaning in a Simple Christmas

    Christmas is just around the corner. Did that statement make you a little queasy? Did your heart start pounding a little faster? Did you instinctively stiffen, bracing yourself for a mad season of busyness during which you would grit your teeth and push just to get through it? Or did you smile and relax deeper into your...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 7

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 7

    This week's Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas mission revolves entirely around cards. If you don't do cards, you're finished. Congratulations! This is short and sweet...for once. If you haven't yet, take your family photo. Consider taking it while everyone is together over Thanksgiving weekend and can peek at digitals to decide on a favorite. Regarding cards, there...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 6 Mission

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 6 Mission

    By now the stores are bursting with Christmasy goodness. While this might offend your not-until-after-Thanksgiving sensibilities, it does assist with this week's mission. Week 6 of Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas is all about decorating--that doesn't mean you have to decorate this week. Heaven knows my husband would keel over dead if I decorated before Thanksgiving...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week 5 Mission

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week 5 Mission

    This mission might feel a bit too early, but Week 12 You will appreciate that Week 5 You did this. Two weeks ago on Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas you focused on planning your gift list. You may have even started (or finished) shopping. This week we're going to prepare to wrap or even...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week 4 Mission

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week 4 Mission

    We are a third of the way through our Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas missions, which means Christmas is that much closer! Are you keeping up? No? That's okay. Don't get overwhelmed. Just do what you can. Every little bit you do now makes you less frazzled down the road. Today is one of my...[Read more]

    Making Gift-Giving Affordable

    Making Gift-Giving Affordable

    In Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas we are talking about gift giving this week. Mission three is planning your gifts. Are you overwhelmed and a little sad when you look at your list? Me, too. I'd love to give Hannah a horse for Christmas. That would be aaaamaaaaaazzzzing! How about giving my gearhead nephew a truck--super...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week Three Mission

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week Three Mission

    This week's mission is simple and fun--gift planning. Let's jump right in like me diving into my mom's cookie platter on Christmas morning. Mmm-mmm. Planning Your Gift List 1. Write down everyone (and I do mean everyone) who receives gifts from you at Christmas. 2. Jot down what you would like to give them this Christmas. 3. Go back and look at...[Read more]

    Five Quick Money-Saving Resources

    Five Quick Money-Saving Resources

    This post contains referral links indicated by an asterisk*. If you sign up through our links, not only do you save money, but you support our Christian music mission and help spread the Gospel through song. You also help educate my kids, which is really swell of you. You can also support us by doing...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week Two Mission

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week Two Mission

    This week we're talking about the budget. Get your butt back here!  Nobody likes to talk about budgets, except my friend Stacy, but it's got to be done. Come January, you will high-five October You for figuring out a doable budget and you will flat-out kiss November and December Yous for sticking to it. Trust me...[Read more]

    A Simple Christmas: Plan to Not Over-Plan

    A Simple Christmas: Plan to Not Over-Plan

    For twelve simple Christmas missions and more simple Christmas encouragement and fun wrapped up with a pretty bow and delivered to your email inbox, sign up for my updates. (Okay, there is no bow.) For even more guidance and encouragement, buy my book.  One of the biggest "secrets" to a simple Christmas is planning to not over-plan. (It's...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week One Mission

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week One Mission

    Your mission this week, should you choose to accept it (and I recommend you do), is the first of three steps of the planning stage. Our planning missions deal with time, money, and food. Because I value time over money and slightly more than food, we will begin there. The first thing I want you to plan...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas 2017

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas 2017

    It's time once again to start thinking about Christmas. Whether you go all out or you buy a box of Oreos and eat them all while singing Away in a Manger, Christmas will be here before you know it. I want you to be prepared. That is why I am once again running my annual...[Read more]

    5 Simple Tips for Gardening With Children

    5 Simple Tips for Gardening With Children

    Children love to make things grow. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone who is responsible for watching children could and should take advantage of this natural fascination for the botanical kingdom. I'm not going to give you any hidden secrets or amazing tips for how to garden with children. In fact, most of my gardening attempts have...[Read more]

    Deviled Eggs Recipe and Stuffed Egg Chicks

    Deviled Eggs Recipe and Stuffed Egg Chicks

    This basic deviled eggs recipe is open to a lot of variations, including the stuffed egg chicks down below. Enjoy. Deviled Eggs Recipe Ingredients 12 hard-boiled eggs 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or to your preference) 2 teaspoons mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt pinch of pepper, optional paprika optional green onions, red bell peppers, or any other pretty garnish Directions Peel eggs. (Read...[Read more]

    How To Bake a Ham - My Simple Recipe and Guide

    How To Bake a Ham – My Simple Recipe and Guide

    I love a good, juicy ham on Easter and Christmas (and any day in between). Too often the hams we’ve had are dry, expensive and sickeningly sweet, even when we bought the high-priced, big name hams from the ham store. It’s enough to make a person sit down and cry into her taters. Therefore, we...[Read more]

    How to Boil, Peel, and Use Up Hard-Boiled Eggs

    How to Boil, Peel, and Use Up Hard-Boiled Eggs

    Last year I posted several articles about hard-boiled eggs. They were some of my most popular posts of all time. Apparently, you people are all about the incredible edible egg! And why not! Eggs are awesome. In honor of the amazing egg, here is a round-up of my best hard-boiled egg posts, as well as...[Read more]

    Chocolate Bunny Oatmeal -- A Fun Easter Breakfast Your Kids Will Love

    Chocolate Bunny Oatmeal — A Fun Easter Breakfast Your Kids Will Love

    There are many ways to celebrate Easter with food, and many of them point directly to the Resurrection, such as this Jelly Bean Gospel or these Resurrection Rolls or these Resurrection Cookies. Chocolate Bunny Oatmeal has nothing to do with anything. It’s just plain fun. That happy, oblivious little bunny has no idea what’s about...[Read more]

    I'm Moving...and You're Invited

    I’m Moving…and You’re Invited

    This is my last post as The Simple Homemaker...sort of. Here's the deal people: I'm moving over to my family's other blog, The Travel Bags. Why? Great question. You always ask the best questions. You're so clever! There are several reasons: ONE: I need to be part of the team.  My family of 10 has a full-time traveling Christian music mission, as...[Read more]

    8 Tips for Taking Down Christmas Decorations

    8 Tips for Taking Down Christmas Decorations

    Our decorations stay up until after Three King's Day, a.k.a. Epiphany, a.k.a. There Isn't a Single Needle Left on This Tree. Why? Because I love Christmas, and I especially love the laid back days after Christmas, so why not celebrate all twelve of them! I know many people like to get the decor put away tout d'suite, because it feels...[Read more]

    5 Make-Ahead Christmas Morning Breakfast Recipes

    5 Make-Ahead Christmas Morning Breakfast Recipes

    When I was a wee lass, we woke from our dreams of dancing sugarplums to a Christmas morning breakfast of 27 varieties of Christmas cookies: fudge, snickerdoodles, chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate crackles, spritz, and 22 others, including my personal favorite, pecan fingers. Drooool! It was this ol' gal's a child's dream breakfast! Yeah, my mom rocked...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 12

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 12

    Last week you finished up everything that can be done ahead of time. You're prepared for guests or travel, your gifts are ready to go under the tree, other gifts have been mailed, cards have been sent or intentionally abandoned, cookies fill your freezer or pantry, outfits are hanging up, the house is decorated, and...[Read more]

    Totally Unprepared for Christmas? Just do this.

    Totally Unprepared for Christmas? Just do this.

    So you jumped ship on the Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas missions and now you're kicking yourself and possibly your dog, Max. Poor Max. First, don't stress. Stress stinks like hot chocolate gas--nasty that. Second, stop kicking poor old Max. And don't yell at your kids. And don't be mean to your husband or your mother...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 11

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 11

    Unless you are my super-organized friend Tammy, you probably have a few missions from the Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas to finish up. That's what we're doing this week--putting the bow on our Christmas prep. Take a peek at all your presents. Has everything been wrapped? Delivered? Shipped? Are your stocking stuffers organized according to person--I...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 10

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 10

    If you've been following along on our Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas missions, you are almost finished with buying, wrapping, and sending gifts; you've got a great start on cards or you're finished; you've got the meal planned and many of the non-perishables tucked away; you've got the month scheduled so as to enjoy...[Read more]

    Three Ways to Maintain Your Focus on CHRISTmas {Great for Homeschoolers}

    Three Ways to Maintain Your Focus on CHRISTmas {Great for Homeschoolers}

    We can no longer deny that Christmas is here! Because it is! Just an aside--if I were Abraham Lincoln, I would have set Thanksgiving a couple weeks earlier. It leaves more time for the Christmas cookies decorations to be out. There are a few things I want to highlight that help make the season bright around here--not...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 9

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 9

    This week is the official launch of the Christmas season. If you've been following the Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas missions, you're almost ready and can skate through the month with peace! If you are behind (like me), just jump in where you are. No procrastinating, no yelling at your kids, no blaming your hubby--just...[Read more]

    Chemistry 101 on the Road {Review}

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    In exchange for this review, The 101 Series gave us a copy of Chemistry 101. Some other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed Physics 101 and Biology 101. You can learn all about what others had to say by clicking on this banner: What is The 101 Series? I'm feeling very bullety, so I'm going to write almost everything with bullets. Yup,...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas -- Week 8

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas — Week 8

    We are on week eight of Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas. It's never too late to jump in! This week is simple. It's about cookies and cards.   If you're sending Christmas cards, here's what you do: EITHER Gather all the Christmas cards leftover from years past--the packages that come with 20 but you only use 17, the freebies...[Read more]

    Simple, Frugal, and Charming {Last-Minute} Thanksgiving Decorations

    Simple, Frugal, and Charming {Last-Minute} Thanksgiving Decorations

    I love decorating for special occasions, but I don’t like spending money on it. I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on holiday décor that I will forever worry that my children will mess up. Can I have an Amen? Little louder next time, please. AMEN! Thank you. In my opinion, humble though it is, Thanksgiving is...[Read more]

    Let's Talk About Diagramming {Review}

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    Take note, faithful readers: The Critical Thinking Co.™ gave us a free copy of Sentence Diagramming: Beginning in exchange for this review. Before we get to the nitty-gritty, you must know that I am a big fan of The Critical Thinking Co. My kids have used some of their books from little on and really enjoyed...[Read more]

    If I Am Silent, Their Blood Is on My Hands

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    Because this is a controversial topic, please read it thoroughly and carefully before respectfully commenting. If your comment can be answered by the article itself, I will simply point you back to the article or the resource list. Why am I speaking up? I was warned that taking on a topic like this could lose me half...[Read more]

    Don't Just Block Internet Access--Hold Yourself (And Them) Accountable

    Don’t Just Block Internet Access–Hold Yourself (And Them) Accountable

    Note: Accountable2You gave us a free year of their Family Plan in exchange for this review...which got a little longer than I had anticipated. Sorry 'bout that. If you want to read reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, which perhaps might be a little shorter and with fewer tears and less puppy talk, click...[Read more]

    Achieving Spanish Fluency {Review}

    Achieving Spanish Fluency {Review}

    Middlebury Interactive Languages gave my family free access to High School Spanish II Fluency for grades 9-12 in exchange for this review. We are always on the lookout for the best way to learn Spanish more fluently as a family, besides moving to Mexico or, my personal favorite option, hiring a Spanish-speaking cook. We frequently are in areas where Spanish...[Read more]

    Online Christian Film Making Class {Review}

    Online Christian Film Making Class {Review}

    Please note: We were given twelve months of access to Online Christian Filmmakers Academy from Family Gravity Media, a division of Families For Christ Ministries, Inc., in exchange for this review. In our biz (that's the Christian music mission biz), a person needs to make videos...and ours stink. That is why we were excited to take...[Read more]

    Have You Tried Freezer Cooking? {Review}

    Have You Tried Freezer Cooking? {Review}

    Please note: MyFreezEasy gave us a free MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership for the purposes of this review. I told them all about our situation and how brutally honest I would have to be, but they gave it to us anyway. They're either super brave, or they're super confident about their subscription. Specifically, we are...[Read more]

    Christy's Simple Tips--How to Clean a Vacuum Beater Bar

    Christy’s Simple Tips–How to Clean a Vacuum Beater Bar

    When people find out that there are seven girls in our family of nine, they often remark to my son and husband, “Oh, you poor things!” Whatever. Wink. The one who truly deserves the pity is our poor vacuum cleaner. The beater bar on the vacuum gets so wound up with girl and golden retriever hair...[Read more]

    Poetry Study and Spiritual Growth with George Herbert

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    Take note, loyal readers! We were given a copy of Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert. from Everyday Education, LLC in exchange for this review. Other reviewers were given the same, or they reviewed Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting for elementary or remedial learners (or me--my handwriting needs help, so I realized in the grocery...[Read more]

    Little History Lessons for Your Young Readers

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    In exchange for this review, my family was blessed with four history books brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com. We were given the following four books: If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 2) If You Were Me and Lived in... Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations...[Read more]

    The Serve One Another in Love Cafe

    The Serve One Another in Love Cafe

    When my children are at each other, I sometimes require them to do something nice for one other: make a bed, fold laundry, share something, do each other’s chores, scratch each other’s backs…gently. My seeester-in-law-and-in-love, Karen Baye, has taken this to a whole new level. When her four blessings were not treating each other like blessings,...[Read more]

    Audio Adventurers -- G. A. Henty in Egypt

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    Note: Heirloom Audio Productions sent us a free copy of the audio adventure The Cat of Bubastes based on the book of the same name by G.A. Henty in exchange for this review. I wish you could have seen my kids' faces when they opened the package from Heirloom Audio Productions and saw The Cat of...[Read more]

    The Pray-ers {A Book Review}

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    I was given a free e-copy CTM Publishing Atlanta's book by author Mark S. Mirza entitled The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles in exchange for this fair and honest review. The challenge in a book review is not to give away the plot, especially the ending, of a book, so I won't. I won't tell you...[Read more]

    A Workable Solution to Kids Email

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    We were offered a free Annual Subscription from KidsEmail.org in exchange for this fair and honest review. As you know, we travel the USA full-time. There are 10 of us. My kids make friends along the way, and some of those kids want to stay in touch with our kids. It's like having a traveling penpal, which...[Read more]

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas

    Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas

    I love Christmas. I hope you do, too, because this year I'm running a series entitled Twelve Weeks of A Simple Christmas. It's like the song Twelve Days of Christmas, except I won't sing it. You're welcome. Here's the lowdown: This series will obviously be about twelve weeks long...unless, of course, Christmas is cancelled or I move to...[Read more]

    Getting Through Hard Times {Finding Raisins in Your Cookies Instead of Chocolate Chips}

    Getting Through Hard Times {Finding Raisins in Your Cookies Instead of Chocolate Chips}

    Photo Credit (Alterations mine) Life is amazing and it totally stinks all at the same time. It gives and it robs. It promises and it fails to deliver and sometimes it hands over so much pain we can't breathe and so much joy we're bursting. It's full of summits and valleys, days when your cookies have chocolate...[Read more]

    Apologia Astronomy -- Homeschool Science Review

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    Apologia Educational Ministries gave us Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition in exchange for this review. All opinions are mine, my kids', and the cat's...because she had to be the sun when we were demonstrating orbits. They sent us the following pieces: Student Text Notebooking Journal Jr. Notebooking Journal Audio CD Apologia in General Apologia (pronounced ap-ol-og-ee'-ah and spelled ἀπολογία in Greek)...[Read more]

    How to Homeschool Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: 18 Tips for Creating a Natural and Joyful Learning Environment

    How to Homeschool Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: 18 Tips for Creating a Natural and Joyful Learning Environment

    This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase something through one of my links, I receive a portion of the proceeds. It costs you nothing, but it helps us buy schoolbooks, because, believe it or not, kids don't stay preschoolers and kindergartners forever. I shared with you my big-mouthed opinion on pushing...[Read more]

    Health Curriculum Review for Kids

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    We recently received a WAY Comes Home Kit from HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company in exchange for this review. WAY stands for Wellness, Academics, and You. It is a health and wellness curriculum designed to increase your child's awareness about healthy choices and to help him achieve short- and long-term goals. Check out this picture...[Read more]

    Is Homeschooling Your Preschooler or Kindergartner Stressing You Out?

    Is Homeschooling Your Preschooler or Kindergartner Stressing You Out?

    Caution: This post contains my rather strong opinion. Proceed with caution. It happens every fall. Homeschooling mamas and papas second-guess their decision to keep their preschoolers and kindergartners home. Concerned parents lament that their three-year-old preschoolers are not thriving with the expensive curriculum they bought to “do preschool.” Some are certain their four-year-olds are educationally doomed,...[Read more]

    Simple Heartstrings Challenge: 50 Simple Ways to Bond With Loved Ones

    Simple Heartstrings Challenge: 50 Simple Ways to Bond With Loved Ones

    Life blows past you and suddenly you’re looking back at the last five months, five years, or five decades wondering what on earth happened to all your time. How much of your precious, irreplaceable time was spent on Facebook or stressing over your latte and politics or reading about how to be a better wife...[Read more]