You don’t have to buy an expensive bottle of caramel sauce full of preservatives. You can make easy homemade caramel sauce with just three ingredients.
Making caramel has become a favorite holiday tradition for me. Once the Fall hits, I get a baking bug and I love Fall flavors like pumpkin and caramel. When I got married, I really wanted to learn how to make more things from scratch including my own sauces and that included my own dessert sauces.
Can I tell you something? I come from a family of candy makers. My family, both maternal and paternal have always been skilled tradesmen. My grandfather was a furniture maker and my grandmother was an upholsteress. My grandmother‘s father however was a candy maker. He specialized in making Mexican candies. It’s hard to believe but he supported seventeen children doing that during the great depression.
This recipe isn’t from my family. In fact, I’ve made it for so long, I honestly am not totally sure where I originally got it. I’ve had it handwritten in a recipe book for years. But believe me when I tell you it makes perfect. gooey, caramel. Making your own caramel sauce isn’t hard at all and once you learn to make it yourself, you won’t want to buy the sauce in stores that is full of preservatives and chemicals.
You don’t need many things for this recipe. It doesn’t call for any kitchen equipment that is out of the ordinary.
Medium Sauce Pan – You will need a medium sauce pan to cook in. It doesn’t matter if it is a stainless pot or a non stick pot.
Wooden Spoon or Whisk – Some recipes will tell you not to stir your sugar while it is melting. I think it is actually better to stir it to prevent scorching, particularly if you are a novice at melting sugar.
Mason Jar with Lid – I highly recommend storing this in a mason jar. particularly if you are storing in the fridge. If storing in the freezer, you,” need to store it something other than glass.
Measuring Cups – for measuring
This recipe only calls for three ingredients – sugar, cream and butter. This is one reason why making your own caramel is actually quite easy. I always keep heavy cream on hand. I may be even do a blog post sharing all the reasons why it’s a good idea to keep heavy cream in your fridge.
SUGAR – Caramel can me made using white sugar or brown sugar. Brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses. For this recipe, I recommend using white granulated sugar. This recipe will yield about a cup, but is easily doubled.
HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM – You only need a half cup of heavy whipping cream. You will need to let your cream warm up at the very least to room temperature but I find lukewarm is actually best. I’ll explain
BUTTER – I also find the letting your butter warm up is best also. Room temp or close is fine. To quickly soften butter, place the stick inside and upside down glass on the counter.
Instructions for Making Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce
Making your own caramel might feel intimidating, but it really isn’t that hard. The main thing is that this recipe calls for your attention. It isn’t something that you can walk away from and let cook on it’s own. That said, it also doesn’t take long. It only takes about fifteen minutes or so to make caramel.
In a medium sauce pan, add one cup of sugar to your dry pan on medium heat. It is important not to have too high a flame. Allow the sugar to warm up. You will start to see the sugar on the sides of the pan melt. You can stir it gently with a wooden spoon. You will the see the sugars melt and also start to see the sugar turn to yellow. Continue melting for a few more minutes until it resembles an amber color. Add your butter. It might seem at first like it is resisting to come together. It will become paste like and appear thick. That’s normal. Continue working together.
Once all the butter is melted, slowly add your cream. Your cream must be lukewarm or at the very least room temperature. If too cold it will crystalize (turn rock hard) and create toffee chips in your caramel or it will create a gritty like texture to your caramel. Once your cream is added stir well to combine. Your caramel should look smooth and creamy now. Remove from the heat. It will appear very runny when hot. Don’t worry. That’s normal and it will thicken once it cools. Let your caramel rest in the saucepan for 10-15 minutes before transferring. Use great care when transferring. The high sugar content keeps it scalding hot for a while.
I find this stores well in a mason jar (with lid) for 2-3 weeks. It will also freeze for up to 3 months. Just make sure you don’t freeze it in glass as it will break in the freezer.
How to Use Caramel Sauce
Whenever I share pics of this caramel sauce on social media, I always get asked, “what do I put it on?” You can basically use this sauce for anything you’d add caramel to. This sauce will be somewhat fluid and not solid like a soft caramel candy. You can put it in a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling the topping on ice cream, desserts and hot chocolate. You can even add it to desserts like pies or drizzle it on your pumpkin bread. I personally loving adding it to another favorite cupcake of ours called Harvest Cupcakes instead of icing – and of course I love adding it to my coffee. My youngest son loves me to put it on brownies with pecans for turtle brownies.
Take out your butter and cube it. Measure the heavy whipping cream and allow it to come to room temperature along with the butter. It must be lukewarm or room temp before cooking.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add your white sugar to a dry pan. After a few minutes the sugar should start to melt.
Stir sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk as it continues to melt. You should notice the sugar starting to brown. Do not leave the sugar unattended as it can go from melting to burning very quickly. Continue caramelizing sugar until it reaches an amber color. Don't let it go too dark.
Once it reaches amber color, add your room temperature butter. The butter and sugar will resist coming together a little, but continue stirring until combined.
Once combined slowly add your room temperature cream. If the cream is too cold, it will turn hard similar to toffee. Stir in cream until rich and creamy.
Caramel will appear runny when hot. Allow caramel to cool and set for about 15 minutes before using or storing. Refrigerate in a mason jar with a lid. Stores for about 2-3 weeks in a fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Tuscan Tortellini Soup is an easy weeknight recipe that can be done in just 20 minutes.
Soup has become one of our favorite family meals. As a single man, my husband never ate soup. I however loved soup. Soup is a great way to stretch meat if you are on a budget, it’s often healthy, nourishing and typically inexpensive to make. I used to make what I called “throw down” soups. If I had a bunch of random veggies left from other meals at the end of the week, I’d throw them in some chicken stock with a bit of rice or pasta and some meat and make a soup.
These days, soup has become a regular weekly staple on our menu. My husband and kids have grown fond if it. I especially love soup during the Fall and Winter. There is something cozy about a hot. steamy bowl of soup. Of course, I love to make homemade bread with it. Even a simple white bread is good. You can get my recipes for simple white sandwich bread here. It is wonderful out of the oven with some butter.
What You Need
There are no special tools needed for this soup. All you need is a stockpot and the best thing about this recipe is that it is a one pot meal. You don’t need to worry about dirtying multiple dishes. Thats another reason why I love this meal for weeknights.
As far as ingredients go, the recipe is simple. For spices, you’ll need garlic and Italian seasoning. Then you’ll need tortellini. You can use fresh, dried or frozen. It doesn’t matter. Fresh will always have the most flavor and be the quickest to cook. I keep frozen tortellini in my freezer all the time for making soups or for a quick meal.
I recommend using chicken stock or bone broth. In the past, I prefer to make my own stock and bone broth and freeze it for soups, but canned broth is perfectly fine. When I was creating this recipe, I tried various adaptations of tomato base. I tried tomato paste, tomato sauce and condensed tomato soup. If landed on tomato sauce being the better ingredient for this dish. When combined with the stock the condensed soup and tomato sauce become too diluted.
Also when cutting your kale, be sure to remove the stems which are tough. Trim the leaves only and cut them small some they aren’t problematic on the spoon.
One question I get a lot is substitutions. In a pinch you can dissolve some bouillon in water to make a stock, but I don’t think it is as good as actual stock. But if you’re in a bind, you can do it. The recipe also calls for heavy whipping cream. The cream tempers some of the acidity of the tomato. I highly recommend cream over milk for a richer, creamier broth. You add more cream if you like, however, if you add a lot of cream it might give it a slightly pink appearance which you may not like.
This recipe calls for Italian sausage. As a lighter substitution, you can use turkey Italian sausage. Brown your meat in your stockpot and deglaze with your broth.
Also if you don’t have Italian seasoning you can make your own using dried spices:
In a large stockpot, brown ground Italian sausage with a tbsp of olive oil if needed.
Once browned, deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and bring it to a boil
Add your tortellini, kale, and spices and cook it according to the package instructions. Reduce heat after a few minutes and cover pot.
Once tortellini is cooked and kale is tender, add whipping cream. You may adjust cream according to your desire for creaminess.
Keyword bisque, chicken stock, chowder, comfort food, creamy, creamy enchiladas, fall recipe, italian sausage, pasta, pasta soup, soup, tomato
Serving and Storing
We almost never have left overs, but if you do you can store it in an air tight container for 1-2 days. I don’t recommend storing it longer than that just because the kale doesn’t hold up too well. I have never tried freezing it, so I’m uncertain how it will freeze. If you try it, let me know in the comments.
Looking for other Soups?
Before you leave, try some of my other soup recipes.
Looking for things to do with your sourdough discard? Here is a recipe for sourdough cheddar bay biscuits that will be the perfect addition your weeknight dinner.
Can we be honest? The only reason I really love to go to Red Lobster is for those amazing cheddar bay biscuits. I mean the fish isn’t anything to write home about, but I can make a meal out of those biscuits. So today, I’m sharing a recipe for those lovely cheddar bay biscuits but with a little twist.
Just recently I decided to start a sourdough starter. I had started one last year, but with the multiple moves and taking care of my dad in hospice, I neglected it. So here I am starting it over again. If you have thought about starting a sourdough starter, I highly recommend Ballerina Farms. They take out a lot of the guesswork of a starter. They sell dry starters that you can reconstitute and then feed with detailed instructions. It’s great. They even sell the weck jars if you need them, though you can also purchase them on Amazon.
One question I get asked a lot from new sourdough bakers is, “why you have to discard your some of your sourdough starer?” Well the answer is pretty simple. Your sourdough needs to be fed a certain amount of flour based on how many grams of starter you have. The more you starter you have the more flour you have to feed it. So it can require more and more flour very quickly. To remedy that, we discard some of the starter.
Now you can throw your starter away, although most people don’t do that. We can just add the starter to something we are baking and their tons of things you add it to – pancakes, waffles, cookies, and of course bread. I don’t recommend ever throwing it down a sink. It will become like concrete in your pipes. The best thing to do is just add it to something you are making. What if you don’t have anything to bake? No problem. You can keep a jar of sourdough discard in your fridge. Keeping it in your fridge slows down the bacterial growth and you won’t have to feed it for a while. Try to use the discard as quickly as possible though.
So this week, I decided to add it to a copycat cheddar bay biscuit recipe I had. The turned out amazing. They were fluffy and light and well…cheesy of course. I shared it on my Instagram and people asked for the recipe. So I agreed I’d include it here.
Are They Different?
Sourdough definitely yields a different texture when added to breads. Sourdough crusts tend to be tougher on the outside. Sourdough breads will typically have a tougher crust and a stronger center. Now you may ask why honey is included in this recipe. It offsets any sourness and it so small that you won’t even taste in the biscuits.
Ingredients and Tools
Sourdough cheddar bay biscuits are drop biscuits. This means that you don’t need a biscuit cutter or anything like that. However, I do recommend using am ice cream scooper for your dough. I have found using an ice cream scooper will help keep your biscuits, all the same size which ensures, even baking time and keep them looking uniform. Other than that you just need a cookie sheet and a large mixing bowl.
Some people make them like scones. If you prefer the triangle method, form your dough into a pie shape, then using a dough scraper or pizza cutter cut the pie into ⅛ slices. I still really prefer the round shape because they cook more evenly in my opinion.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add 1 cup of sourdough starter and 1 cup of all purpose flour along with the baking powder and salt
Add the honey and fold in the cheddar cheese until its fully combined
Using an ice cream scoop place scoops on a greased baking sheet
Bake in 400° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
For the topping
Melt the butter. Add butter, powdered garlic and dried parsley. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter on the warm tops of the biscuits and serve warm.
Keyword bread, drop biscuits, easy bread recipe, garlic bread
I would recommend storing the bread in an air tight container or at least a covered cake dish or something similar. They store for about three days so eat them quickly. You can rewarm them in the oven if needed. I find it is best to sprinkle the tops lightly with a little water before you put them in the oven. Be careful not to over bake.
If you are interesting in yeast baking, be sure to try my simple white bread recipe. Baking bread is not as hard as you might think. It takes a little practice but most people catch on very quickly. With all the rising inflation, baking things from scratch is definitely a way to save some money. Thanks for stopping by. Let me know how they turned out in the comments.
The roaring twenties brought us the romance of the Great Gatsby, flappers, and the beginning of art deco. Today I’ve compiled a list of roaring 20’s baby names for both boys and girls.
What comes your mind when you think of the 1920’s. Some might call to mind speakeasies, women’s suffrage, and art deco. I personally loved both the art deco era which began in the mid 1920’s. Of course, the show Downton Abbey, revived a love for the 1920’s. Honestly, I loved the elegance of that era, although I probably favor Edwardian a tad more.
I personally am not a huge fan of modern names, just my personal preference. I find that vintage names are more charming and elegant. Regardless, I decided to put together a list of names from the twenties from both America and the UK. Some names were popular in both countries, while others were favored in either country.
Older Names Are Making a Come Back
Classic names like William, Charles, and Jack I think will always be stylish and regal. But over the last few years older names have been resurfacing on birth certificates. Classic names like Owen, Olivia, Caleb, Charlotte, Scarlett, and other names have resurfaced. Also recently biblical names which had not really been popular since the 1800’s and turn of the 20th century like Elijah, Josiah, and Micah have all experienced a resurgence over the last 20 years. Vintage names are timeless. That’s why I think you love these roaring 20’s baby names.
Before I share the most popular names of the 1920’s, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the most popular celebrities in the 1920’s and their names. The twenties brought with the invention of silent film and so the dawn of Hollywood made stars out of ordinary people. Let’s take a look at some well known people in the 20s.
Coco Chanel, fashion designer, owner of Chanel
Jack Dempsey, boxer
Jospehine Baker, dancer
Charles Lindbergh, aviator
Gloria Swanson, film star
Greta Garbo, actress
Georgia O’Keefe, artist
George Bernard Shaw, writer
F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer
Al Jolson, Jazz singer
Albert Einstein, scientist
Scott Joplin, musician
Charlie Chaplin, film star
Louis Armstrong, jazz musician
Henry Ford, automobile manufacturer
John Rockafeller, oil tycoon
Duke Ellington , musician
Ernest Hemingway, writer
Pablo Picasso, artist
Al Capone, gangster
Salvador Dali, artist
Daniel Guggenheim, mining mogul
Bessie Smith, blues singer
Louise Brooks, entertainer
William Randolph Hearst, newspaper publisher
Charles Schwab, steel magnate
Andrew Carnagie, steel magnate
Now let’s take a look at some of the most popular names of the decade.
The Top Five
So what were the most popular names of the decade in each respective country. Well in the United States, the top five boy names were: Robert, John, James, William, and Charles. The top five girl names in the US were Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Betty, and Margaret.
Are you searching for a gift for the tea lover in your life? Take a look at my Amazon gift guide for tea lovers.
I absolutely love tea. Years ago, when I was in my twenties, I used to live in England. One thing, I learned when I was there was how to make a proper cup of tea. I am from the south and so when I came there with my version of tea which was essential iced sweet tea, they gave me looks that could kill. You would have thought that I had eaten roadkill. We all had a good laugh.
Although it has been twenty years since I lived there, I still find myself enjoying tea time just about every day. As a homeschooling mom and stay-at-home wife, I am busy all day long. But sitting down to tea is one of my treats during the day. It is quiet time. Sometimes I’ll write letters to friends. Other times, I may read scripture or do my bible study. Either way, it is quiet time for me.
It is also a good time to invite a neighbor or friend over before getting back into the kitchen to start dinner preparations. Friends of mine also know I love tea gifts. So I thought I would put together an Amazon gift guide for tea lovers like me.
Beehive Honey Jar
Friends, if you have a sore throat, I highly recommend some cinnamon tea with honey. You can even add a little echinacea to it if you like. Elderberry tea is also a really great choice for flu season. One of my favorites is an elderberry tea with echinacea.
I hate serving tea with a squeeze bottle of honey. I have found that this sweet little beehive jar that is meant for serving honey. I think this is perfect for entertaining as well as everyday use.
This is my own personal tea caddy. I purchased this 12″ bamboo tea caddy a couple of years ago and I love it. It has quite a bit of storage and it has an acrylic window so you can view the tea without opening. It is nice enough to display for entertaining so that guests can make their own selections. It has become one of my favorite, most well-loved pieces in my kitchen. I personally love that instead of having all these boxes of tea in my pantry it is all contained to a pretty chest.
A Blooming Tea Pot
I really love blooming tea pots. Tea is already a relaxing, calming exercise and blooming tea pots make it all the more fun. If you aren’t familiar with blooming tea pots, allow me to explain. Blooming tea pots are glass see-through tea pots. Most all can be put directly onto the stove. You can of course use it for any tea, but there is also flowering tea that you can purchase. This flowering tea contains whole edible flowers and plants that rehydrate, steep, and “bloom” in hot water. It is really pretty and makes for a fun entertaining experience as well.
This particular tea pot can go in the microwave or on the stove top making it very versatile. It also has an infuser for loose teas. It holds about 40oz which is enough for about four cups. If you have a tea lover, I know they will enjoy this!
Honey Spoons and Honey Sticks
A great stocking stuffer for tea lovers are honey spoons and honey sticks. The honey sticks below are really great. They even come in different flavors like pina colada, raspberry, peach and wildflower. What a great way to flavor up your tea. This also makes for a great hostess gifts as well, either way, these are some of my favorite things. Its a sweet way to sweeten up your cup of tea.
Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook
If you haven’t watched Downton Abbey you don’t know what you’re missing. The period drama begins during the Edwardian Era (1912) and continues through the 20’s. It centers around an English aristocrat family and their servants at the precipice of changing times. The series, certainly inspires the beauty of old tradition which includes afternoon tea.
This adorable cookbook is filled with afternoon tea recipes which includes, classic British sweets, puddings, cakes, scones, and savory tea sandwiches. There are beautiful pictures from the series as well as etiquette to include how to make a cup of proper tea, how to prepare for tea service, and even how to properly dress for tea. So quaint and sweet and a charming keepsake for us tea lovers out there.
3-Tiered Cake Stand
You can’t do afternoon tea and not have a three-tiered cake stand. So traditional afternoon tea includes a small meal which consists of three small courses. On the bottom tier is savories which may include sandwiches, (One of my favorites are pimento sandwiches as well as cucumber sandwiches.), meat pies, and canapés. The second tier typically includes things like clotted cream, jams and jellies, scones, popovers, and other breads. Lastly, last and smallest tier is for the sweets like petite cakes and sweets.
I’ll be honest. I have several three tier cake stands. I will give you a few of my favorites on Amazon.
Traditional Tea Set
What good is tea without a traditional porcelain tea set. As a tea fanatic, I have several tea sets. I thought I would put my five favorite sets that you can find on Amazon. I’ve even bought a few of these as gifts.
Tea samplers are always a great gift for tea lovers. Vahdam is one of the most respected tea growers. In fact, iI’ve heard t’s Oprah’s favorite tea brand. I concur. Vahdam has delicious tea varieties. All the tea is loose, so you will need an infuser. My favorite is this 24 sampler pack which contains Chai teas, Green teas, Herbal teas, Oolong teas, Turmeric teas, and Black teas. Its perfect for Christmas because it is almost like a tea advent calendar!
Tea For One
I admit, I love my Yeti, but I certainly enjoy drinking out my cups. If you want to keep your drink warm at your desk, cup warmers are awesome. Obviously you can use it to keep any hot drink warm including a cup of soup. Today I’m sharing the cup warmer I keep at my desk. I think you’ll love it. If you are concerned about using a cup warmer, I’ll also include a link to my favorite Yeti for coffee and tea.
Smeg Tea Kettle
Allow me to introduce you to the Rolls Royce of Tea Kettles. Smeg is
Iced Tea Brewer
Ice Tea is practically its own food group here in the south. I absolutely love sweet tea. I’d prefer it over soda any day of the week. If you love freshly brewed ice tea, but hate making it in small batches, an iced tea brewer needs to be at the top of your wish list. This iced tea brewer makes 12 cups of iced tea. You can also do iced coffees with this wizard.
We are leaving San Antonio and uprooting to a new city. Today I’m sharing why we’re moving and how I’m dealing with it.
Why Are Moving?
Last Friday was the last day in our house. It was such an emotional day as we prepped our house for sale. For those of you who have been following along, we’ve been dreading this moment for more than a year. We have gone through numerous layoffs and job changes over the last few years. It has been an incredibly stressful three years, with multiple rounds of layoffs.
Last year, when the world locked down, oil tanked on the stock market and so layoffs began again. Even though it eventually rebounded we found ourselves facing a move as our employer was bought out by another. May I be really honest? I didn’t really expect to move. I somehow thought that God would make a way for us to stay. After all, my father is extremely sick and we have been helping care for him.
There is another caveat as well, I’ve spoken about this before, but I have lived with bipolar my whole life. It is extremely hard some days. Some days the depression is disabling. The idea of moving far away from all my friends and family is downright frightening to me. When I am sick, I rely on my family a lot to come to my rescue a lot.
I Struggle to Cope
I have been very spoiled over the last year and a half. In March of 2020, my husband was permitted to work from home. As a stay-at-home mom, this was such a welcomed opportunity. I had spent the better part of five years in our house with our two children. I was so lucky that I had my parents nearby. So many of those lonely days, I’d find myself over at their house for company. So having my loving husband just inches from me in the office brought such a comfort. I felt safe with him in the house.
My bipolar really causes me to struggle with basic changes. It is why I strictly adhere to a routine. Familiarity helps with my bipolar. Uprooting completely takes me out of routine and comfort. I even find myself extremely hesitant to explore. I didn’t use to feel this way. In fact, in my youth, I backpacked all around Europe and lived their for several years. I wasn’t afraid to explore in my twenties, but I feel vulnerable now in my forties. Funny how that happens.
I’m Worried About Homesickness
When I lived in Europe, I really struggled with homesickness. I was there for several years and I lived in Norther England in the moors which was absolutely breathtaking. In fact, I lived in West Yorkshire where Wuthering Heights was written. It was picturesque, but after the novelty wore off, I really missed home.
I desperately missed my family and friends and event though I wanted to live there and I had wonderful friends there, I sank into a deep depression. I haven’t even been here a week and already I am ready to go home. I want to sleep in my own bed, work in my own kitchen, sit on my own porch with tea, write in my own office. I had my favorite places and gosh, I love the area around my home like al the stores and restaurants. I am already missing all of that.
Please keep me in prayer that I learn to love it here and that I adjust quickly. I am so nervous about all of this. I do think that once we are in our new home, and I’m surrounded by familiar furnishings and items that it will feel more like home.
I also hope I can make friends here. I think getting into a church will help with that. Although the church we are looking at is all the way in Spring, TX. We definitely want to attend a reformed Baptist church. This one, Founders Baptist, came highly recommended and so we are willing to make the trek there every week.
I’m also looking for homeschool groups and mom’s groups. I think once I have some friends, I will also feel more at home. My poor babies need friends as well. This is such a huge adjustment for all of us. I recently logged back onto Facebook for the sole purpose of trying to find groups to join. Wish me luck!
Our Housing Situation
My husband, graciously wanting to slowly transition me into this move, wanted to originally come work over here by himself until our new house is finished. I wasn’t sure what to think about it, but after a few weeks of prayer, I did not feel that was wise. I really considered that for the sake of our marriage and for the sake of our children, I should follow, even if it meant repeated, frequent visits back to my parents house in San Antonio.
We’ve rented a cute little townhouse. It is quaint and is in a quiet, small, gated community filled mostly with retirees. Thankfully, it is only about three miles from my husband’s office as well.
The New Home
Our new home isn’t going quite as planned. We stopped by on our way into to Houston and discovered that they failed to put in our fireplace. It’s fixed now, but on our second visit we discovered additional mistakes – big ones! In case you don’t know, I used to be a property adjuster. I use to help rebuild homes after hurricanes, floods, and fires. So I’m pretty familiar with the construction process. Also this is the second home we’ve built.
They put the gas line for our outdoor kitchen on the wrong brick column. Also, they failed to allow for a window in one of the bedrooms. Having an emergency egress is fire code in Texas. Pretty big mistake! A bedroom without windows! Then they are building our media room like a flex room. So they added windows where there shouldn’t be windows and failed to account for the electrical conduits that need to be installed. We have a meeting scheduled with them to discuss they errors they are making. All these errors mean additional delays. Additional delays mean staying in our rental house longer which of course is coming out of our pocket.
There have also been material delays due to COVID. Please keep us in continued prayer that we don’t have any more delays and the process goes smoothly from here on out. I certainly am anxious to move in. I don’t really feel like I can settled until I am in our new home.
That’s the Latest
Thanks for tagging along with our current adventure. I’ll provide updates again soon. Have you ever uprooted? I’d love to hear what helped you feel settled or helped with homesickness. Drop a comment below.
Fall is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with warm, scratch pumpkin spice muffins.
So today, I’m going to share one of my favorite things. Pumpkin spice muffins. They are delicious and they are very easy to make. Years ago, I was very intimidated by baking from scratch. These days, I rarely used boxed baking goods. Today I thought I would share a funny story before we get cooking. If you’d rather head strait for the recipe, I’ll put a jump link below.
Once Upon a Time in England
Right after I graduated high school I went to England where I studied art. I was only 18 years old and so many things in England were different. First of all they use the metric system there. So trying to figure out how to make things with grams, etc took a lot of practice. Also, their temperatures on the oven aren’t just in celsius, but they actually have gradients called “gas mark.” I was stunned when I looked on the oven and it read “gas mark 1, 2, 3, etc.”
Anyway, I hadn’t been there long and I want to bake a birthday cake for someone. I went into our small co-op grocery store and searched the aisles for cake mix. Finally, after I couldn’t find it, I asked someone who worked there. “Where are the cake mixes,” I asked. The poor guy stood there confused. He had no clue what I was talking about. “Cake mix? What is that, love?” I was equally confused. How could someone not understand what a cake mix was. I began to explain. He stopped me mid-sentence and said, “we have flour and chocolate powder.” After a few more times back and forth I realized there was no such thing there. It was the first time, I realized just how spoiled Americans really are. We have so many conveniences here and we still complain about doing things. Well, that was back in 1998. I’m sure it may be different now.
That experience though, was the first time I had to bake a cake from scratch. Now, I bake nearly everything from scratch, but initially, I was terrified by it.
Making Scratch Pumpkin Muffins
I know that not everyone is a fan of pumpkin spice. I personally don’t really care for pumpkin spice flavoring when it is artificial. However, I love pumpkin spice when it is fresh. That’s why I love my Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte which uses fresh pumpkin! You don’t need any special equipment to make this recipe. Just a standard muffin tin. You can totally hand mix this recipe as well. No need for a beater or stand mixer.
Full disclaimer, I’ve never tried making this recipe with fresh pumpkin. I’ve always used canned pureed pumpkin. The most important technique with this recipe is that the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients will need to be mixed separately first. I have found that this helps reduce lumps. If you don’t do this, you will have to do a lot of mixing to get the lumps out. This results in tougher muffins. If you are new to making breads, let me explain. The more you mix or knead a bread, the stronger and tougher it becomes. Muffins should be fluffy, moist and soft. That means you don’t want to over mix. Mix just enough to fully combine ingredients.
This recipe calls for vegetable oil but I have found you can use melted coconut oil just fine. This recipe also calls for baking soda in lieu of baking powder similar to many banana bread recipes. Don’t worry. I promise it will come out perfectly.
Scratch Pumpkin Spice Muffins
No need to run out to a bakery to get some pumpkin spice muffins. This easy scratch recipe is simple to make and will satisfy any pumpkin spice lover.
Line your standard sized muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease with cooking spray
You will need to mix your wet and dry ingredients separately so prevent lumps and to keep the bread soft. In a large bowl, combine your flour, sugar, spices, salt and baking soda together. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add your, pumpkin, oil and vanilla and whisk well until egg is well combined.
Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and using a spatula, lightly mix until they are combined and flour pockets are gone. Do not over mix.
Using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin wells. They should be filled up about ¾ full.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for ten minutes before serving.
Keyword bakery style, breakfast muffins, comfort food, fall, fall desserts, fall muffins, fruit muffin, pumpkin, pumpkin spice
If you want you can also do some variations.
Turn your regular muffins into chocolate chip ones by adding a half cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
Brown Sugar Glaze
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp milk
¼ cup chopped pecans
To make the glaze, add all your ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes before
Cream Cheese Icing
½ cup butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add your softened cream cheese, softened butter and vanilla into a stand mixer and and mix on medium with a paddle attachment. Lower speed and slowly add your powdered sugar one cup at a time until fully combined.
You can also create different varieties by adding a half cup to one cup of any mix in such as chocolate chips, cranberries, or nuts. I’d start with a half cup and add more if desired. Some times add ins can be overwhelming so I suggest starting with a half cup first.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. This makes for a yummy fall breakfast or even afternoon snack for the kiddos. Be sure also to take a look at my Fall Bucket List before you leave.
Are you feeling hum drum about homemaking? Take a look at 10 inspiring homemaking books that will encourage you to enjoy making a home for your family.
Homemaking is something that has become really dear to my heart. As I have grown closer to Christ, I actually see how important home is to a family. Homemaking has been made into some drudgery to be avoided in exchange for a career outside the home. That is not a slight by any means to the working mom. Working moms work very hard and both provide for their families and lovingly provide a home for family.
What I mean is, the idea of homemaking (yes, even for the working mom) has been demeaned and reduced to some sort of lower-status job. As I’ve grown older, I realize, it is actually one of the most important. Our children won’t really remember or appreciate what we did for a career, but they will absolutely remember the home you made for them.
When I lived in Europe, I was surprised at how much slower life was than in the states. I think many women would like to slow down and actually enjoy homemaking. So today I thought I would share 10 inspiring homemaking books. They vary slightly. Some are secular. Some are Christian based. Others focus on organizing and some entertaining. I’ve tried to vary a little bit. I’m sure I’ll be sharing other similar homemaking books in the future. Let’s get started.
This book entitled, Little House Homemaking: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life by Melissa A Alink is a great book about simple living. In this book, she shares how to make a lot of your own staples like food and even household items like sunscreen, furniture polish, homemade anti-bacterial wipes, etc. The book additionally focuses also on recipes and homestead living. There is a lot of practical advice when it comes to running your own. I think it’s a great little encyclopedia for must have formulas and recipes when it comes to self-sufficiency.
I’ve been following Lisa Bass on her blog, Farmhouse on Boone, for three years now. If you don’t follow her and you are inspired by farmhouse living, you definitely should. Lisa curates a beautiful home and always shares DIY projects and this boo, Simple Farmhouse Life, is no exception. She shares simple sewing projects, delicious recipes, and natural cleaning which includes tons of recipes for natural cleaning products. Her photos are beautiful and clean. She even shares simple decorating and basic, natural gardening.
I am old enough to remember a time when we were taught home economics in school. I will be teaching my sons a lot of life skills as a part of our homeschooling. In this book,Introduction to Home Economics, veteran homemaker Mrs. Sharon White, shares how she runs her New England household. Her blog, A Legacy From Home is simple but very informative when it comes to old fashioned homemaking. I found this book more pragmatic and encouraging than ainstructional. Mrs. White is lovely and gentle with her words of wisdom. I think this book is good if looking for encouragement and advice as opposed to a step by step playbook of homemaking. Mrs. White actually has a whole series of Christian homemaking books. I would say that Mrs. White book is not very flashy and may even be a little old-fashioned for some readers, but frankly, I like it. It was like having a talk with my grandmothers, both of who have passed.
Kim Brenneman is the author of Home Management: Plain and Simple.This book is really designed to be a manual for the woman who wants to know how to run an organized home. She covers a number of topics including budgeting, cleaning, organizing, etc. The author is a homeschooling mom of nine! She shares how she manages to be productive.
The most important topic she covers is how to actually get things done with kids. I know that early in my mom journey, I found it really hard to get things done with the demands of children and constant interruptions. She offers a lot of practical advice as well as how to stay on top of never-ending chores like laundry, dishes, etc and how to delegate chores to family members. The author also focuses on the fact that homemaking should be a way to honor and glorify God so there is also special attention to having the right attitude.
Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs compiled a book, Gather at Home, full of her favorite recipes, DIY projects and interior design. I found her recipes to be delicious and simple. Hibbs shares a great deal of information on entertaining including how to dress a table, etc. One thing I loved was how to make everyday events special for your own family. For example, she has ideas for a mother’s day brunch at home, family game nights even an evening outdoor barbeque in the backyard. The book is largely about making memories for your family at home. My only caveat would be that the lifestyle represented here is maybe upper middle class. If you are simple homemaker, on a strained budget, or offput by Pinterest-perfect living, this book may not be relatable.
In the book, White Cozy Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long author Liz Glavan shares how to make a home a fun place to be. She shares to how DIY and repurpose old furniture and how to decorate even on a budget. She shares how to incorporate vintage, antique or farmhouse pieces into a modern home and also combines fun activities like setting up a hot cocoa bar for the holidays and how to use houseplants in your kitchen and home for a natural organic feel in your house. I enjoyed this book and it is actually a fun coffee table book as well.
This book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, has been an extremely popular book since its original publication back in the 1980s. Edith Schaffer, writes about homemaking from a Christian perspective and I’d say that if you are struggling to find joy and contentment or even purpose at home, this is a great book for you. Before Pinterest, there was Edith and the book is not about making your home picture-perfect. Rather, it is about the calling and ministry of being a homemaker. In the book, she explains why https://amzn.to/3uAo2nBhomemaking is far more than just checking chores off a list, but rather how to bring elegance, creativity, peace and most of all, Jesus into your home. If you need reassurance that your contributions at home matter, read this book.
Home Comforts has been a valuable encyclopedia of homemaking art and skills for years. The book is written by Cheryl Mendelson who is a both a Harvard graduate and lawyer in New York City takes great detail to explain why housework is not “beneath us,” how it is necessary to enjoying your home life and painstakingly explains how to do housework chores. What nice is she doesn’t just explain the how. She also explains the why behind methods. She is very practical, good-humored and also provides a number of preventative routines to cut down on time and chores later. This book is perfect to read in full or as a reference.
Recently, as I have spent more time in scripture, I feel more called to embrace the calling of being a wife, mother and homemaker. This book is unique because while it focuses on practical homemaking, it uses a biblical lens of how by serving our families we are also serving Christ. If you are a Christian wife and you feel like the monotony of homemaking is beneath you, unappreciated, or even just dead in the doldrums of chores, I highly recommend reading this book for inspiration. Oh how we forget how important it is to build a home that nurtures both the body and soul. The book provides a Christian mindset for everything from meal preparation, to planning joyful gatherings and how to open up your home to those around you.
There is one caveat which you may not care for. The book is unapologetically Catholic. There is Catholic iconography in the photos and the author speaks of the mass and Catholic theology. That may be off-putting for some Protestants. In this particular case you can probably chew the meat and spit the bones. If you are sensitive about this, then you can avoid this one. Perhaps we need to write a Protestant one! The book has a lot sequel, Theology of the Home II which I think it also very good. I’ll include the links to both.
This book, Vintage Course in Homemaking, is actually a peak into 1930s homemaking. If you are inspired by vintage homemaking and want to know how women of the past ran productive households, I think you may really enjoy this little gem. is available for free in kindle format if you have kindle unlimited. I’m not much of a kindle person. This book contains some unique advice such as how to care for the sick, how to furnish a home, manners and etiquette, and more. The book is full of common sense and practical advice but there is something incredibly charming about the vintage homemaking aspect.
Thanks for letting me share 10 inspiring homemaking books. I hope they inspire you the way they inspired me. Do you have a favorite homemaking book? I am started to keep an eye out for vintage homemaking books because I think they contained more helpful information in them. If you have any favorite books on homemaking? Share your suggestions in the comments below. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later and I’d love it if you subscribed before you go.
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Are you trying to decide what homeschool curriculum to use? Today I’m sharing our first grade homeschool curriculum for classical homeschooling.
Hey there, friends. It is hard to believe that we are done with this school year. I don’t know about you, but our homeschool year went by in a blur. I always get lots of questions regarding the homeschool curriculum we are using. If you are new to homeschooling, you may want to take a look at my posts, How to Start Homeschooling and Homeschooling Methods Explained to see what kind of method you would like to use with your children. We definitely prefer classical education as that is how I was homeschooled.
If you are looking for our previous years you can find them in the posts. Our Preschool Homeschool Curriculum and Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum. Today I’ll be sharing our homeschool curriculum for first grade. I am still waiting on a few backordered things to arrive, so I will update this post with additional photos once they come in. Thanks for being patient with me.
For Kindergarten, my son used Horizon’s Math and he absolutely loves Math because of it. I personally cannot say enough good things about Horizons. I had considered using the Math You See, but it looked like a ton of prep work. Saxon Math, though it had a lot of rigor, seemed like extremely dry course work. Horizons is the perfect compromise. There is very little prep work for parents. Horizons uses a set of two student workbooks (teacher’s manual also available). The first-grade curriculum is very similar. It contains two workbooks and a teacher’s manual. The first-grade curriculum focuses on the following areas:
Units of Measurement (Dozen, Pound, Ounces, Pint, Quart, Gallon, etc.)
We saw amazing success with the Kindergarten curriculum. I was surprised that in the Kindergarten books, they were al rv,ygfgdggvxbd vuynobukmb jkoiiiio kbk bioready introducing algebraic concepts with addition. My son did so well with it, he started doing multiplication and square roots on his own! Math has become his favorite subject. I will absolutely advocate for you to buy some manipulative. Manipulatives were also a huge part of our success. Manipulatives help children visualize the math and turn it into a practical exercise. Using the blocks has really helped my son do mental math.
I highly recommend purchasing the teachers manual. The manual will help you plan out your lessons as well as provide hands-on, fun activities to teach the lesson. It will also provide additional explanations or exercises for the struggling learner. It also provides ways to make sure your child understands the concepts before moving on.
Where to Purchase
You can purchase Horizons Math through Amazon or Christian Book. It is currently cheaper on ChristianBook (links below)
Build a strong foundation for math learning with this balanced, well-organized first grade curriculum! Using a spiral-based approach, 160 brightly illustrated daily lessons follow a pattern of introduction, reinforcement, and repetition to ensure thorough understanding of counting, addition, subtraction, time, and other concepts. Includes two student workbooks; teacher’s guide with answer keys, tips, and activity ideas; lesson plans; and reproducible work sheets. From Alpha Omega Publications.
This year we are using Science in History series by Berean Builders. Every lesson has a hands-on activity which is great for tactile learners who learn best by doing. This series is compatible with classical, traditional, and Charlotte Mason methods. One very interesting aspect of the particular curriculum is that it is in chronological order from the early days of creation through discoveries and inventions, to our modern world.
Another unique aspect is that this curriculum isn’t designated into grade levels, rather mastery levels. For example, in the first series Science in the Beginning, the course work is separated by younger students, older students, and oldest students. This is wonderful if you are teaching multiple grade levels because you can teach all your children with the same curriculum. Younger students like kindergarten and first graders are given comprehension questions rather than written work. Also, once you buy the full curriculum, you can use it from Kindergarten to sixth grade.
I do want to clarify that this curriculum teaches Science from a Christian worldview. If you are non-religious and want secular Science, this curriculum is not for you as a Christian worldview is often discussed.
Because this curriculum is hands-on, there are experiments with nearly every lesson. Most of the experiments use everyday household items. However, since we plan on moving this year, I don’t want to have to worry about sourcing those things, so I purchased the lab kit which provides it all for you. The lab kit is only available on Christian Book and not on Amazon.
Where to Purchase
Berean Builders is available on both Amazon and Christian Book. Links for both below.
Science in the Beginning is an engaging, exciting, hands-on, multilevel elementary resource that is the first in a planned series of books by Dr. Jay Wile.
Introducing scientific concepts in the context of history, the days of creation are used as a structure through which a wide variety of scientific topics are introduced, including: light, energy conservation, air & water, botany, the solar system, zoology, and some aspects of human anatomy and physiology.
A total of 90 lessons are included; 15 for every creative day in the Genesis account. The first 12 are “normal” lessons and the last 3 are challenge lessons. Depending on how much science you wish to teach in your homeschool, there are enough lessons to cover every other day for the length of a school year, or, you can finish the book by only doing two lessons a week (and skipping the challenge lessons).
Students will love the hands-on activity that begins each lesson. Most are experiments (that have been field-tested for homeschoolers!), and include step by step directions to keep you on track. As this curriculum was designed for all elementary-aged students to use together, the main lesson text takes a conversational, easy-to-read tone that all students can comprehend; illustrations and photographs are integrated throughout. Review assignments close the lesson; questions are grouped for “youngest, older, and oldest” students. Students are instructed to keep a notebook, and the activities include both drawing and writing type notebook assignments. For evaluation, the notebook or oral questions can be used; tests are not included, but are in the Helps & Hints book (sold-separately).
Experiments use common household goods, though for some items that may not be on-hand, a list is provided at the beginning of the book. A full materials list for each creation-day chapter is also included for easy preparation.
299 pages with glossary and index. Hardcover. Elementary Grades K-6.
I had a very hard time choosing history. I liked Story of the World, but I heard a lot of reviews from Christian parents who didn’t care for a lot of the course work. It seems many parents were concerned about the emphasis on pagan religions. Children need knowledge of other religions, but typically this is introduced at a much later age once children are first grounded in the faith.
Ultimately, I ended up choosing Bede’s History of the US by Veritas Press. The is a very simple book that doesn’t go too in depth. I’m fine with that because I am going to be heavily focused on reading, phonics, spelling, and math. Each lesson is only two pages and the book is about 74 pages total. There are a few hands-on projects throughout the study and the book is in full color. Each lesson provides a very basic introduction of a social study concept.
The book opens with with the creation story as the very first history lesson. From there, it goes on to US relevant events. Some of the topics are The Civil War, Lewis and Clark, Pocahontas, Native Americans, The Wild West, history of inventions, Jazz, flight, immigration, the great awakening, the history of hymns as well as some art and music history.
Bede, the adorable ball of yarn with googly eyes, is a timeline. This cute character introduces young children to the basics events of American history in a fun, once-a-week lesson that emphasis what happened when. Chapters are written directly to children in a child-friendly font, with simple activities that involve drawing, lapbooking, and hands-on activities. Topics cover the breadth of American history including Pocahontas, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Jazz, Immigration, flight, Reagan, and more. 83 pages with cut-out activity pages in the back, softcover. Grade 1.
Reading has been quite the challenge for us. Jack started off really well in Kinder, but quickly lost steam during the second quarter of the year. We limped through the rest of the year. While my mother-in-law was here (she was an middle school English teacher for 20+ years), we talked to her about Jack. She stated that we should switch up the curriculum and try something different. So over the summer we added First Start Reading to our curriculum and we will continue that to help him with his reading.
A wonderful introduction to early language arts skills, First Start Reading covers consonants, short & long vowels, common words, and manuscript printing. Simple, effective, and reasonable, this enjoyable curriculum accompanies the lessons with artist-drawn coloring pictures and drawing pages for every letter. Your child will begin reading in the very first lesson as he or she progresses through five student books and two teacher’s guides.
The teacher’s manual will guide you through the program; reduced student pages are prominently placed at the top of the page; beneath, a scripted introduction and lesson are provided, incorporating letter names and sounds, ear training, letter formation with pencil checks, blendings, workbook exercises, reading comprehension questions, and other applicable exercises.
Workbook A features coloring pages with items with the same beginning letter as the accompanying handwriting page; students trace letters and can draw their own picture. Short stories are included in the back (with room to again draw a picture), and a word mastery list is provided.
Workbook B includes the letter pages, short stories, and word mastery list, as well as room to write in dictation exercises
Workbook C features handwriting practice that focuses more on words, longer stories, and a word mastery list.
Workbook D covers CVC common words, final consonant blends, and completing words.
Workbook D covers CVC common words, final consonant blends, and completing words.
Workbook E covers long vowel teams, soft c and g and the three sounds of y.
This Kit Includes:
Teacher Guide A-D, 327 pages, softcover, with blackline masters
Teacher Guide E, 80 pages, softcover.
Workbook A, 68 pages, softcover.
Workbook B, 76 pages, softcover.
Workbook C, 106 pages, softcover.
Workbook D, 72 pages, softcover.
Workbook E, 80 pages, softcover.
For Spelling we are using Traditional Spelling by Memoria Press. The student will have ten new spelling words once a week. Each day of the week, there is an exercise for your child to complete. The exercises include finding rhyming words, counting syllables, and focusing on short and long vowels. The will have four days of lessons. You can purchase additional practice sheets if needed or you can simply choose to have your child practice the words as homework. On Friday, you child will have a spelling exam. Both the teachers manual and the student workbook are coil-bound books.
The Traditional Spelling series from Memoria Press is a comprehensive, mastery-based phonetic approach to teaching spelling!
Each lesson of Traditional Spelling I has a four-page spread of written activities in the student book; at the beginning of each lesson students are given a word list that aligns with a phonics focus. The main focus of each lesson is on the phonograms being taught, but all aspects of each word are addressed. In each lesson, students identify consonants and consonant teams/blends with one colored pencil, and vowels and vowel teams with another. This aids in visualization of each word and its phonetic chunks, and makes students better decoders as they begin to see patterns in words. Students will also use different colored pencils to outline or mark different parts of the word. Word-Bank exercises, room to record dictation exercises, and a short story that utilizes that week’s spelling words are also included.
This course was designed to be the culmination of the Memoria Press Primary Reading & Phonics program. It is designed to follow completion of the Memoria Press Kindergarten Curriculum or First Start Reading Books A-D, which ensure students have mastered reading “consonant-vowel-consonant” words with short vowels. It can also be paired with StoryTime and More StoryTime Treasures in first grade, or with the literature study guides in second grade.
146 pages with glossary, softcover spiralbound. 34 Lessons. Grade 1.
This set of practice sheets is a supplemental resource designed to be used in conjunction with the Memoria Press “Traditional Spelling I” curriculum. It includes room for students to copy each word in the lesson twice. 37 pages, softcover. Consumable and non-reproducible.
This teacher’s guide is designed to be used with the Traditional Spelling I Student Book (sold-separately). It includes reduced-size student pages with overlaid answers and notes to the teacher in the margins. Lessons include an introduction and a day-by-day teaching overview with instructions on integrating the Memoria Press Phonics Flashcards and Classical Phonics (both sold-separately and both required to use this curriculum). Activities and instructions for guided student work are also provided. 179 pages, softcover and spiralbound.
Jack still struggles a little with handwriting, but compared to where he was a year ago he has made tremendous strides. Handwriting without Tears was the program that helped Jack break through his hatred of handwriting. He still a little reluctant, but he has come so far in such a short time. This year, we will continue with the program which includes three books
My Printing Book: Workbook were student will practice word drills
Writing Journal: Workbook for writing stories or paragraphs.
Building Writers: Workbook for child to start writing complete sentences
We also use the student chalk board for practicing.
This workbook is designed to be used alongside the My Printing Book Teacher’s Guide (not included and sold-separately), which contains the lessons and directions. Lessons emphasize the correct use of lowercase letters in words and sentences and teach writing on different styles of lines. In addition, activity pages combine handwriting instruction with other language arts skills.
This curriculum can be supplemented with the wood pieces set for capital letters, capital letter cards and mat for wood pieces, Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn CD, Magic C Bunny, slate chalkboard and blackboard with double lines, slate chalkboard, Flip Crayons, and Pencils for Little Hands.
This edition features more expanded room for writing, accelerated capital letter instruction, and more opportunities for practical application of handwriting skills.
94 pages, softcover. Page are reproducible for a single child only; copies cannot be made for other children other than the child the workbook was purchased for.
The Learning without Tears Building Writers composition workbook series offers extra practice for developing writing skills. Students become better, more fluent writers as they write about cross-curricular topics and practice narrative, information, and opinion-based writing styles. Simple black-and-white illustrations are paired with age-appropriate writing prompts that ask students to write facts about animals, to write a story, write an opinion essay, copy sentences, and more. 86 pages, softcover. Consumable workbook; pages are reproducible for one child only. Level B is for Grade 1.
Building Writers B covers the following skills:
Narrative: writing a story in order with details and an ending
Information: writing topic sentences, facts about their topic, and an ending
Opinion: writing an introduction that states their opinion, reasons that support their opinion, and a conclusion
This journal is designed to be used with the Handwriting without Tears Yellow Level B/Grade 1 “My Printing Book” resources. This journal is appropriate for first grade students and provides a place for strengthening handwriting and creative writing skills during independent writing time. It includes regular double lines plus space for drawing. 80 pages, paperback.
Handwriting without Tearsaims to make legible and fluent handwriting an automatic, mastered skill. Simple for home educators to use, lessons take only 15 minutes a day. The main objective for students is to achieve goals, not to finish a set number of pages.
The student workbook provides the examples, practices, and exercises for the 1st Grade Handwriting without Tears student. Perfect for students who are learning to print lowercase letters and could use some capital and number review, students who are writing words and simple sentences should be placed in this level curriculum. Lessons emphasize the correct use of lowercase letters in words and sentences, while “Learn & Check” sections help teachers and students check letter, word, and sentence skills. Activity pages combine handwriting instruction with other language arts lessons. 95 pages. Pages are reproducible for the same child‘s practice and benefit. Pages are not to be reproduced for siblings or others. Grade 1.
This 1st grade teacher’s guide provides tips and lesson plans that emphasize letter skills, word skills, and sentence skills. There’s plenty of information on how to prepare for lessons, stages of learning, instructional stages, a scope & sequence, posture, grip, spacing, and other helpful hints. Lessons include scripted questions, reproductions of reduced-size student pages, multisensory activities, finger trace and check models with instructions, page numbers, word lists, and more. 182 pages, softcover.
Designed for use with Handwriting Without Tears K-1 curriculum, the Big Sheet Draw & Write Paper‘s 11″ x 17″ sheets are perfect for writing and drawing. Use for full length sentences or to build a 8.5″ x 11″ journal by folding pages in half. The Wide Double Line Paper solves the problem of line confusion and helps keep letter placement uniform and neat.
The Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn Audio CD features songs to help develop coordination and rhythm, developing self-esteem and body awareness through upbeat and “rocking” songs. Tracks will help students develop pencil grip and writing posture, as well as letter and number formations. 25 songs and Lyrics booklet included.
Teach your students letter formations and placement of letters on double lines with hands-on blackboard activities. Measures 10″ x 17″. The sets of little sponges and little chalk pieces can also be used with the slate for parents using the Wet-Dry-Try method.
This Grade 1 kit includes:
1st Grade My Printing Book Teacher’s Guide, 182 pages, softcover. Updated Edition.
My Printing Book Student Worktext 95 pages, softcover. Updated Edition.
Big Sheet Draw and Write Paper, 100 sheets
Wide Notebook Paper, 100 Sheets
Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn Audio CD
Blackboard with Double Lines, 10″ x 17″.
Little Chalk Bits
Little Sponge Cubes; cubes are 0.5″.
Now aligned to Common Core State Standards in English, Language Arts, and Math, this new edition makes it easier to integrate handwriting into your curriculum. In the new teacher’s guides, applied writing activities provide additional lesson ideas, and home links provide strong school-home connections. Expanded teacher guidelines are also provided. The student workbooks provide new features to benefit your child, including lessons that now integrate cross-curricular connections.
So I’ve noticed that the Traditional Spelling curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears and the First Start Reading all contain elements of phonics. However, because my little guy is behind the curve, I’m going to also incorporate a dedicated phonics program. So we are adding Horizons Phonics and Reading as well. It is set up very much like the Math books of Horizons. It is in full color and workbook style.
Memoria Press’ Music Enrichment book is designed to be used alongside the Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade Memoria Press Curriculum Manuals (all sold-separately). This volume provides parents with a short backstory on each piece and biographical information for its composer, as well as a few questions for discussion about the music being studied. Teach your child more about what the song is about, interesting facts about the instruments used in the song, interesting aspects about the song’s structure, and why the composer wrote it. Purchase of this book also includes links to Spotify and Youtube playlists where you can listen to the selections, as well as iTunes links if you would like to purchase them. This book is organized by grade-year first, then by the week; the backstory on the piece and discussion question(s) are provided here. The composer biographies are at the back of the book. 178 pages, softcover. For use with Grades K-2.
I purchased some art cards through Memoria Press. These 5×7 full color cards are basically flash cards. On the front is a piece of art. On the back there is the name, the artist, the date, the genre/style, the medium and lastly where the art is currently displayed. The goal is to have my son familiar with all these pieces of art. Some of the art included in this pack:
Enrich your child’s educational experience with beautiful pieces of art from all periods, including the Renaissance, Romanticism, Impressionism, and more! The front of the card features a full-color work of art; the back of the card notes the name, year, author, artistic movement, type of medium, and where it currently is housed. These supplements are coordinated with the Memoria Press primary First Grade Enrichment Guide: Classical Core Curriculum (sold-separately), which contains short biographies of each artist and information about each piece. Set of 33 5″ x 7″ Art Cards. Grade 1.
We decided on Christian Enrichment by Memoria Press. Like the Music Enrichment textbook from Memoria Press, the Christian Studies Enrichment Book from Memoria Press also provides lessons from Kindergarten through Second grade. Since we didn’t use it for kinder we will double up the lessons in first grade to twice a week.
The Christian Studies Enrichment uses The Story Bible as a companion. You will read the assigned bible story. The you will study the definitions in the study guide and have your child answer the questions. You can choose to have your child complete it orally or as a written assignment.
Memoria Press’ Christian Studies Enrichment: The Story Bible for Kindergarten through Second Grade features week-by-week lessons for use with The Story Bible from Concordia Publishing (ISBN 9780758619020) (not included and sold-separately – this book is a required resource).
Each week’s lesson plan has a list of unfamiliar vocabulary words with definitions; before reading each story in The Story Bible, go over the vocabulary words and discuss their meanings. A list of questions is given for after reading the story; answers for teachers are provided right after the question for an easy discussion flow. Lesson plans are organized by grade, with weekly plans given for Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. 128 pages, softcover.
Introduce your child to the wonder of the Bible with this Bible storybook written especially for children who are beginning reading to help them grow confident in their reading and understanding. With more than 130 Bible stories and magnificent illustrations, children will be captivated with the adventure and excitement as they discover the Old Testament promise of a Savior and the New Testament fulfillment of that promise with the coming of Jesus. The Story Bible also includes includes:
Wording drawn directly from the Scriptures
Read-aloud, or read-along format
Glossary of key terms
Recommended for ages 3+.
That’s it for our first grade homeschool curriculum. I will update this post throughout the year if needed. Also, please excuse the odd lengthy links. I don’t care for how Christian Book has their link system set up. I’ve provided a Christian Book link since they are the most reasonable price wise, but you can find many of these titles on Amazon as well. I’ve linked to both when available.
We have some news. We’re moving this year and other news like job changes, changes to my Instagram and our new homeschooling year.
You may have noticed, I’ve taken almost a month-long hiatus from the blog. I’m sorry about that, but I needed a long break. There has been so much going on in our lives over the last few months, that I needed to step away for a little while. I hope to be back now. However, you’ll see that I will have a lot of change going on in the next few months, so my blogging may be a tad sporadic. Allow me to tell you why.
If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you may know that for the last few years we have been facing job uncertainty. Like one thing after another. We’ve been office closures, layoffs, more layoffs, and now we’ve been acquired by another company. In light of that, we are moving to the Houston area. We tried to find something else that would allow us to stay here, but we couldn’t find anything.
I am not thrilled about it. All my family is here in San Antonio and I uprooted years ago. I struggled heavily with homesickness then and vowed I would never do it again! I am very concerned about being isolated without friends or family. Well, here I am, doing it again, mainly because we didn’t have any other options.
We have just started construction in a semi-custom home and I have a lot of heartache because of the cost just to stay in the same kind of home we are now. Still, I am trying to be obedient to God and trust in His plan and timing. Obviously, I’m also trying to get our current home ready to sell and that is taking a lot of my time right now. I’m sure I will be writing more about this later on when things get real! We probably won’t move into our new home until late Fall this year.
We Could Be Displaced for a While
So it is very possible that our family will be displaced because of this. My husband will have to report to work in Houston before our new house is finished. Therefore, we will very likely be separated for several months before we can be reunited permanently. I expect my boys to struggle with that. Also, we will have to sell our home around the same time. So there is a good chance I will have to live with my parents for a few months while construction concludes and we close on our new home. I have no idea how that will impact my blog schedule.
My Father Is Very Ill
My dad, who suffered a heart attack years ago in 2003, has had congestive heart failure since then. In recent years, his health has taken a serious decline and has needed a lot more care and help in the last twelve months. With every month that passes, he requires more care which has been difficult for my mother in particular who has her own health problems. Please keep him and her in prayer during this tough time. He has been in and out of the hospital since last June. It has been very hard on him emotionally and physically. It’s hard to see someone you love, suffer. Still, I must acknowledge how faithful God has been to grant us peace through all of this. Truly, His grace is sufficient.
We are trying to also wrap up our homeschooling year. I admit, we are running a little behind in Math and Reading. We took time off throughout the year and we still need to wrap up some subjects. We finished Handwriting but should finish up Science, Geography, and Spelling in about a week. I expect that we will continue Math and Reading into July. In August we will start our new school year.
I have received a lot of our homeschooling curriculum and I will be creating a blog post that goes into detail about our choices. I still need to order a few subjects and should hopefully have the post up soon. Then comes planning the year out which is always a major undertaking! I’m not sure how all of this will play out including starting our new school year with moving so be patient with me and this blog.
My Little Guy Is Turning Six
My little guy is turning six this weekend and we are having a family party. I am so excited for my cute boy and his birthday request was very cute this year. Or nerdy? Maybe nerdy is the better word, but I think it is still cute. He absolutely loves Math and has really enjoyed the Netflix show Number Blocks and so he asked for a number block party (Math party).
I should note that they don’t make any number block party stuff, so this mama is going to have to figure out how to make that happen!
My Instagram Has Changed
If you are following my Instagram, you may notice a huge shift in my content. I’ve gone from promoting this blog to promoting Christ. I had been so bothered by all the things going on in the world and to me the solution is simple. It a sin problem and the Gospel is the solution. I am still trying to figure out where my account is going to settle. I really want to keep sharing theology, but I feel such a beginner Christian compared to other Theology accounts. It’s odd since I have been a Christian all my life. I have been prayerfully considering what exactly God wants me to do with it. Either way, I want God to be glorified, not me.
I used to only share things about my homeschool life and life as a stay home mom and for a while there, boldly proclaiming the Gospel seemed most important. I still think that should take front stage, but I am also considering that glorifying God also includes living out biblical womanhood. Therefore, I think I will be interjecting more of my daily life back into my IG schedule.
Sharing the gospel and Theology has really been an interesting experience. When I first started sharing about Christ I lost about 200 friends. These weren’t strangers. These were people I knew. Five women from my mom’s group unfollowed me within the first few weeks. One, deleted and blocked me on every social media account. Another even removed me from all her accounts including her business accounts. Ten different old co-workers unfollowed me. People I had been close to. I expected to lose a lot of my atheist friends. I did not expect to lose friends who were professing Christians. But that just tells you that many Christians are receiving a watered-down gospel with no real substance or conviction.
I’ve Been Praying About My Old Posts
Over the last year and a half, my theology has changed dramatically. My theology has gradually become more reformed. Reformed theology seems to be a very love it or hate it thing in the Christian community, but I do think it is the correct lens from which to view scripture. It also radically corrected me on worldly ideas that I had adopted. In particular, things like self-love and other worldly things that I feel God has convicted me on. Therefore I think I will be going through my old blog posts and deleting things where I feel like I have misled my readers away from God.
I have repented to God for adopting secular world views that are masquerading as Christianity. I’m very glad that God allowed me to see the truth about where I was deceived because when you were deceived you don’t know that you were deceived.
I’ve also considered removing some of my journal prompt posts because as I dig deeper into scripture itself I feel that things like self-discovery or looking within yourself for answers is a very secular worldview.
The Bible is sufficient to understand ourselves, to understand the world to understand our problems. So I am seriously considering removing some of my journal prompts. I myself personally stopped journaling for that reason.
For now I’m going to continue to pray about it and to also see what the Bible says I am about things like that. Sometimes the Bible allows us some Christian liberty on secondary issues I’m also going to seek wise counsel from other women who I feel have very sound theology and ask them what they think before I do anything really drastic so bear with me.
One of the major changes that have taken place in my life in the last six months has been the fact that I have almost entirely given up television. I was always an avid reader when I was young but once I had children it just sort of fell by the wayside. Instead, I actually spent a good amount of time vegging out in front of the TV which is very unproductive. About six months ago, my husband and I felt like we were wasting too much time in front of the TV. We were also very off-put by the content on TV. As we became closer to Christ we could not fritter away our free time watching some of the very things that Christ died for. We started by cutting out some of our favorite shows because they glorified sinful things. We started to replace that time with bible study or reading and honestly, we just found we had little to no interest on TV.
In an upcoming post, I’m going to share the books that I have already read this year with a quick review I and links if you’re interested in reading them yourself.
That’s it for now, friends. I will keep you posted on our moving news.