We’re Moving and How I’m Dealing With It

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.

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.

we're moving and how I'm dealing with it
Our Home

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.

Friends Needed

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 soul 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.

Our New Home
The New House is Coming Along

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.

We're moving and how I'm dealing with it

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.

Scratch Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Fall is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with warm, scratch pumpkin spice muffins.

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

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.

Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to add your batter to your muffin tin

scratch pumpkin spice muffins

Scratch Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Mary Lentz
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.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 27 mins
Course Breads, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins

Equipment

  • muffin tin
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • ice cream scoop
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ¾ Cups All purpose flour
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Ground cloves
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 15 oz Pureed pumpkin (1 can)
  • ½ Cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 375°
  • 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

Variations

If you want you can also do some variations.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip

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.

Other variations

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.

Scratch pumpkin spice muffins

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.

10 Inspiring Homemaking Books

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.

10 inspiring homemaking books

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.

1. Little House Homemaking

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.

2. Simple Farmhouse Life

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.

green potted plant in minimalistic bathroom with body care tools
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

3. Introduction to Home Economics

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.

4. Home Management: Plain and Simple

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.

happy woman with rolling pin cooking at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

5. Gather At Home

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.

6. White Cozy Cottage: Seasons

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.

7. The Hidden Art of Homemaking

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.

8. Home Comforts

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.

young woman rolling dough for baking in kitchen
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

9. Theology of the Home

This book really resonated with me. 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. 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.

10. Vintage Course in Homemaking

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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Our First Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Are you trying to decide what homeschool curriculum to use? Today I’m sharing our first grade homeschool curriculum for classical homeschooling.

Our first grade homeschool curriculum

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.

Math

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:

  • Counting to 200
  • Ordinal and cardinal numbers
  • Correspondence of quantities (greater than/less than; tall/short; equal/not equal; big/little, etc)
  • Money
  • Place value
  • Subtraction
  • Calendar
  • Fractions
  • Graphs
  • Shapes
  • Sequence
  • Estimation
  • Time (Hour, half hour, quarter hour)
  • Sets
  • Addition/Subtraction
  • Measurement (Inches, Centimeters)
  • 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)

10060: Horizons Math, Grade 1, Complete Set Horizons Math, Grade 1, Complete Set
By Math / Alpha Omega Publications

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.

If you want a one stop shop for all your subjects, Horizon sells a full first grade package.

These are the manipulative we use for our Horizons curriculum. They are worth every penny. My son loves to continue playing and doing math with them long after our school day has ended.

Math Manipulatives

math - our first grade homeschool curriculum

Where to Purchase

Science

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.

Lab Kit

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.

042406: Science in the Beginning Science in the Beginning
By Dr. Jay L. Wile / Berean Builders Publishing, Inc

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.

Social Studies

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.

Where to Purchase

648276: Bede"s History of US Bede’s History of US
By Veritas Press

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.

Language Arts

Reading

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.

Where to Purchase

First Start Reading: Phonics, Reading & Printing
By Cheryl Lowe / Memoria Press

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.

Spelling

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.

389094: Traditional Spelling Book 1 Student Book Traditional Spelling Book 1 Student Book
By Cheryl Lowe / Memoria Press

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.

Required Supplements: The Memoria Press Phonics Flashcards and Memoria Press Classical Phonics are required to complete all activities in this Traditional Spelling.

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.

389841: Traditional Spelling Book 1 Practice Sheets Traditional Spelling Book 1 Practice Sheets
By Cheryl Lowe / Memoria Press

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.
389100: Traditional Spelling Book 1 Teacher Guide Traditional Spelling Book 1 Teacher Guide
By Cheryl Lowe / Memoria Press

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.

our first grade homeschool curriculum

Handwriting

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.

HWT Chalkboard
our first grade homeschool curriculum

Where to Purchase

My Printing Book (Student Workbook; 2018 Edition)
By Handwriting Without Tears

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.

Building Writers Student Workbook B
By Handwriting Without Tears

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

Writing Journal B (Grade 1; 2018 Edition)
By Handwriting Without Tears

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 Tears Grade 1 Kit
By Handwriting Without Tears

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″.
  • Slate Chalkboard
  • 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.

Phonics

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.

Art & Music

Music

This year we are doing some introduction to art and music enrichment. I am very excited to teach my children how to read music and play instruments. However, right now, I really want to focus on appreciating music. We are using Memoria Press’ Music Enrichment. This book is actually good for Kindergarten through second grade. We did not use it for kinder. There is only one lesson a week, so I’ve decided that we will do two lessons a week to cover the kindergarten and first grade lessons.

The lessons contain one arrangement of classical music. You will listen to the music with your child. Personally, I have a subscription to Apple Music so I just listen to it on that. As far as I can tell, it seems to cover mostly the classical and romantic era. There is some Baroque covered by way of Bach, but not much.

There is some information about the musical selection which you can explain to your child. Also, there are a set of two questions for your child to answer. At the back of the book there is also biographies on the composers.

386024: Music Enrichment, Grades K-2 Music Enrichment, Grades K-2
By Memoria Press

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.

Art

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:

  • The Creation of Adam, Michaelangelo
  • The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Vermeer
  • The Thinker, Rodin
  • The Magpie, Monet
  • Three Musicians, Picasso
  • Titus as a Monk, Rembrandt
  • The Last Supper, DaVinci

There are more than 30 cards in the pack.

our first grade homeschool curriculum
381944: First Grade Art Cards First Grade Art Cards
By Memoria Press

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.

Bible Study

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.

our first grade homeschool curriculum
387786: Christian Studies Enrichment: Kindergarten - 2nd Grade Christian Studies Enrichment: Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
By Krista Lange, Leigh Lowe & Michelle Tefertiller / Memoria Press

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.

619020: The Story Bible, Over 130 Stories The Story Bible, Over 130 Stories
By Edward Engelbrecht / Concordia Publishing House

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
  • Easy-to-read structure
  • Discussion helps
  • Prayer summaries
  • Glossary of key terms
Recommended for ages 3+.

Good Luck

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’re Moving and Other News

We have some news. We’re moving this year and other news like job changes, changes to my Instagram and our new homeschooling year.

we're moving and other news
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

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.

We’re Moving

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.

Homeschooling

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!

jack

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.

No Television

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.

Signature

Mother’s Day After Miscarriage

I lost my babies in 2014. Still, Mother’s Day after miscarriage evokes lots of emotions even years later. Allow me to share how I feel when this day rolls around.

MOTHERS DAY AFTER MISCARRIAGE

Hi, friends. Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mamas out there. Today, I wanted to share some thoughts that have been on my heart. Several months ago, I wrote a post entitled 15 Comforting Verses for Miscarriage. Since I wrote it, my inbox and comments have been flooded with heartbreaking stories from mamas and daddies who have lost their babies. My heart breaks for all of you.

I have shared my miscarriage story in the post, Surviving Miscarriage. It was both therapeutic and gut-wrenching to write it. I won’t rehash all the details here. That’s not really what this post is about. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on Mother’s Day after miscarriage. Mother’s Day can be a very painful reminder of your infant loss if you are grieving. I want to give you hope that even though it is painful in the beginning, your grief will one day turn into acceptance and possibly even hope.

A Sobering Thought

It is a sobering thought to consider that half my children are in heaven. I have two beautiful boys and I am deeply in love with them. They are beautiful, bright souls. They are perfect in every way and I love them more than I could have ever imagined. But my first two babies are in heaven. Half my children aren’t here and even now, I miss the loves I never got to meet.

Before I had two miscarriages, I was really ignorant about the pain and grief that a mother felt. I realize how obtuse that was, but I don’t know that you can understand the very special grief that comes along with having both life and death inside of you. Both my miscarriages were back to back, which really compounded the pain and hopelessness. I was also very unprepared that much of my grief would be centered around self-blame.

As a mother, it is your instinct to protect your child and when you miscarry or your child is stillborn you spend a great deal of time wondering if you could have done something differently. You find yourself blame-shifting between the glass of wine you had before you knew you were pregnant or the exercise you did. Did I eat something wrong? Is something wrong with me? Grief plays terrible tricks on your conscience. Mama, if you are in this stage of grief, let me assure you, you did nothing wrong. Miscarriage is way more common than you think and often there are no answers.

Mother’s Day After Miscarriage

After my second miscarriage, I quickly became pregnant with my oldest living son Jack. While I was pregnant, just a month before I gave birth, Mother’s Day passed. I was honestly very surprised by my feelings. Even though I was about to give birth, I was still very grieved over my two babies. Mother’s Day was a painful reminder of what had happened the year prior. I ached to hold my babies. I longed to see their faces and hear their cries. It is the pain only a mother can understand.

I did not fully enjoy my pregnancy with Jack because I was so scared and worried about losing him. My point is that even the anticipation of another child did not dull my grief. Even if you have other children later, there is no replacement for the one you lost. It’s okay joyful at your next child and still grieve the one you lost.

What I was most surprised about was the years that followed. Even with my two boys, I can still say that Mother’s Days brings bittersweet feelings. Yes, I am so thrilled to be the mama of my beautiful boys. But there is also a part of my heart that grieves, even now years later. Of course, I don’t just think about my loves on Mother’s Day. I think about them all the time. I wonder what they would have looked like. What kind of personalities they would have had.

Hope for the Future

I’m convinced now, that those feelings will never go away. I’ve made my peace with the fact that the babies I lost are just as much a part of my heart as my two living children. I have arrived at this place of acceptance. Mama, if you have lost a child either by miscarriage or stillbirth, let me say that reminders are everywhere. Your due date, your miscarriage date, Mother’s Day, Christmas, they all sting those first few years.

But this is also where I would tell you that one day, it won’t hurt like this. Those first few years are really hard and the one thing that helped me get though my grief wasn’t any comfort friends and family gave me, but the comfort I found in the promises of God. Growing closer to Christ, assuaged my grief and gave me hope, that I will eventually meet my babies.

Please, take heart, mama. If you are struggling with grief, I urge you to stay in the Word of God. I’ve learned that the devil isn’t above kicking you when you are down. He will absolutely try to blame shift towards God. He will make you question the goodness of God, but by staying in the Word, you will see, he lies. Remember, that our God is compassionate and sympathetic. I’m going to close with one of the most comforting verses that helped me.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8

I’d Love to Pray for You

If you would like me to pray for you, you can leave a comment or if you would like your request to remain private, you can use the contact me page. Please know that I really do pray for you and I continue praying for you. You are not alone in your grief. Also, if your grief is turning into resentment or bitterness, I really urge you to visit with a trusted Christian counselor, pastor, or elder of the church. There is no shame in receiving help to work through your grief.

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Ocean Books for Toddlers

Jellyfish, whales and sharks. These are some of my family’s favorite ocean books for toddlers that your kids will love.

ocean books for toddlers
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps my small business succeed.

We are doing ocean week for our tot school so I thought I would share some of our favorite Ocean books for toddlers. Both my boys love the ocean. My older son seems to love it more which is why I decorated his room with an ocean theme. Right now, we are doing tot school with my youngest. It is sort of like a preschool, but more play time. It also focuses primarily on three things. Colors, shapes, alphabet and number recognition. He knows them pretty well, but we make sure to reinforce the knowledge everyday through play.

Our ocean week is lots of fun full of water activities and we make sure to read lots of books about sea life and our underwater world. By the way, if you enjoy this, you may also enjoy my posts, Classical Books for Kindergarteners and 12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children. Happy reading!

Ocean Books for Toddlers

Mr. Seahorse

My oldest really loved this book. Mr. Seahorse is a great book to add to your collection if you are an Eric Carle fan (Very Hungry Caterpillar). This sweet story tells the tale of how the male seahorse carries the baby sea horse eggs until they are ready. Mr. Seahorse has become a favorite of my boys. This book is offered in a classic paperback in a board book style. I’ll leave the links below for both.

My Octopus Arms

My Octopus Arms is a playful and colorful story by Keith Baker. My boys have always loved this book. This book is just plain fun. It’s the story of an octopus who uses his arms to do various things that humans do. This was a great way to teach about our arms as body parts and sense of touch. It is a simple book but it is so silly that the kids love it.

The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book. This sweet book has been around since the late 1990’s. The book focuses on a moralistic tale of a fish who has beautiful scales. The fish around him only have regular scales. A fish asks him to share one of his beautiful scales, but the rainbow fish refuses. The tale is a parable of sorts about both vanity and sharing.

The really special thing of this book is that the rainbow fish has holographic scales on every page which is sure to delight your child. It was a favorite of my cousins when they were young and now a favorite of my sons.

I Spy Ocean Animals

I Spy Ocean Animals is a fun book even for preschoolers. Even my six-year-old still loves it, So this is a great I spy books. It is in a board book which I always loved with little ones. I know they take up a lot of room on a bookshelf, but my boys were so rough with books I needed something that could survive them!

This book is a lift-the-flap book. If you are unfamiliar with it, a lift-the-flap book has flaps on the inner pages and your child can peek underneath to find a hidden illustration or words. If your child has a hard time sitting or staying entertained with books, lift-the-flap books can be really helpful. Honestly, they helped my oldest enjoy books since his attention span was so poor.

There are 100 ocean animals featured in the book and they also go through the ABCs to help build language. If your child enjoys, I spy activities be sure to visit my other posts, Halloween I Spy and Christmas I Spy which include free printable games for your kids.

Good Night Ocean

Good Night Ocean is a delightful little bedtime book. The book goes through all kinds of diverse sea life in the ocean. It goes through everything from beaches and reefs as well as sharks, whales, and various sea life. The story itself is pretty simple, but my children enjoy going through marine life. This book is actually part of a larger series that explores other locations and parts of our world.

Baby Beluga

Do you remember Raffi? Maybe I am showing my age here, but Raffi was a children’s entertainer. He was not a favorite of mine when I was a kid back in the 1980’s although many of my friends liked him. In any case, one of his favorite songs has been turned into this book and my boys have really enjoyed it. Baby Beluga tells the story of a baby beluga whale with a heartfelt ending that will make mamas choke up. It is a sweet book and it comes in both traditional paperback and a board book.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

I’m The Biggest Thing In the Ocean is a lovely book by Kevin Sherry. The book focuses on a giant squid and his travels discovering other sea life in the ocean like jellyfish and turtles. I definitely think this book is more suited for very young children. I have heard that the board book version and the classic book are not identical. Just something to keep in mind if you purchase. The board book appears to be an abridged version.

Way Down Deep In the Deep Blue Sea

Way Down Deep In The Deep Blue Sea is the story of a boy swimming through the ocean and meeting all kinds of sea creatures. At the end of the story, we learn that he is actually in his bathtub playing with his imagination. It’s a sweet story and both my boys really love this book. The story is quite simple, but sometimes that’s all a child needs. My boys enjoyed it so much that we bought a copy for their cousin since they refused to gift their copy.

Octopus’s Garden

Are you a Beatles fan? Well, my family is. The Beatles are my dad’s favorite band of all time. So when I found this children’s book, Octopus’s Garden by Ringo Starr, I was pretty excited. This book is just the complete lyrics of Octopus’s Garden. My boys love this book because when we read it, I always put on the song and we read/sing it together. Also, this isn’t the only Beatles children’s book out there. Paul McCartney has a book All You Need is Love and With A Little Help From My Friends just to name a few.

delighted ethnic little siblings reading interesting book on couch
Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com

Hello, World! Ocean Life

Hello, World! Ocean Life is a book that is perfect for babies to about 3 years of age. It will likely be too simple a book after that, but it is a great language builder for infants and toddlers. As far as I can tell this book is only available in a board book format. This is actually part of a larger series. The series includes other science-related topics like bugs, artic animals, rainforest animals, planet earth, etc. So you may also want to look at their other books if you like this one.

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Thanks for joining me. I hope you and your children enjoy these ocean books for toddlers. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of our favorite ocean story time books. This month I’ll be sharing our first-grade curriculum picks so don’t forget to subscribe and come back!

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10 Pretty Functional Diaper Bags

So you’re gonna be a mama! Being a mom isn’t all mom jeans and frumpy diaper bags. Here are 10 pretty functional diaper bags to add to your registry.

10 pretty functional diaper bags

Hey, friend. If you are here I’m guessing you are a new mama. Welcome to my blog where I share all about my life as a mom and try to help other mamas find their footing. One of the most important purchases you’ll make as a mom is in a diaper bag. In the beginning, you may be a little hesitant to venture out with your little one. That is totally normal. I promise that getting out is very important. In fact, you can read all about how I stay sane as a stay-ay-home mom.

In this post, I’m going to share 10 pretty functional diaper bags. Getting a great diaper bag is so important because being prepared when you are out will ensure you can get your errands and playdates done with minimal stress. Diaper bags don’t have to be frumpy. These days there are lots of cute options. As with everything on this blog, I only link to things I own, I love, or want to own. I’ll be sharing some diaper bags I adore that are owned by other mommies I know. I always do my best to recommend only the better products. Congratulations on your new baby! Let’s dig in, shall we?

LuliBebe Monaco Vegan Leather Diaper Bag

This premium luxury diaper bag comes with adjustable straps to use as it as a shoulder bag or you can wear it as a backpack. I really love that option. Believe me, you will too once you have more than one child! It also comes with stroller straps and a diaper changing pad. Complete with 9 pockets, this bag has plenty of room for large items as well. It has a quilted outside pocket that is great for keeping quick things at hand. This diaper bag comes in four shades – tan, black, blush and light grey. It’s also made of cruelty-free, vegan leather.

COST ON AMAZON: $159

Skip Hop Linx Luxury Quilted Vegan Leather Bag

Skip Hop bags make some of my favorite diaper bags. I really think they have a bag for every mother! This particular bag is one of my favorites. The gold metal accents make the bag look very expensive and the quilted vegan leather really makes it fashionable. This trendy diaper bag comes with stroller attachments as well. Working mamas will love this bag becomes you can even fit a laptop in it! It has two bottle pockets and a changing pad. If you are looking for a good quality mid-range bag this is a great one.

COST ON AMAZON: $79

3-1 Backpack Diaper Bag with Travel Bassinet

If you are trying to keep your cost down on a diaper bag, this one is my favorite. This really came in handy, but especially when we were traveling. There were occasions when bathrooms didn’t have a changing station or where there was no convenient place to change your baby. Enter the 3-1 diaper bag. This bag is pretty large measuring at almost 17″ long. It has stroller straps and a front pocket with 3 bottle pockets. Inside it has 4 inside pockets. This was really helpful for the mamas who are constantly on the go. It comes in black and a charcoal grey and has a wipe pocket on the side for easy access.

COST ON AMAZON: $39.99

Itsy Ritzy Large Capacity Diaper Bag

This is a really adorable, functional bag. This diaper bag comes in a large variety of colors: blush, black herringbone, black & white, handsome heather grey, coffee and cream, black with gold, and vanilla latte. Honestly the vanilla latte and the coffee and cream are my favorites. Really lovely. This diaper bag has a whopping 17 pockets. If you are like me and want everything to have a place in your diaper bag, I think you will really like this bag. One nice thing about this diaper bag is that the it has rubber feet on the bottom so when you set your diaper bag on the floor it doesn’t get dirty. Why don’t more diaper bags have that? Once I had two kids, this bag provided plenty of room for both my toddlers things, my newborn’s stuff and my own essentials. Its one of the largest ones at 18″. Comes with an easy “parent pocket” for your stuff as well as a changing mat and stroller straps. Backpack is made of faux leather for easy wiping. Itsy Ritzy has a lot of accessories they sell a la carte so you can customize your bag a bit more. I’ll include them below.

Itsy Ritzy Tweed Diaper Bag

Like the Itsy Ritzy this is diaper bag is also a large capacity diaper bag with plenty of room. I really loved this bag but saw only discovered it once my youngest was growing out of the diaper stage. I love Itsy Ritzy bags because they look stylish. This one looks like a Chanel suit! This lovely diaper bag is an elegant black and white tweed with gold hardware. They also have grey and black version in vegan leather if tweed isn’t your thing. This bag also has 19 pockets both internal and external. Itsy Ritzy bags come with rubber feet on the bottom to keep your bag clean as well as a changing pad. You can purchase a pacifier holder and accessories separately.

COST ON AMAZON: $185

Wren White Vegan Leather Diaper Bag with Charging Port

My days as a stay-at-home mom have always been so busy. I had no idea they even made bags like this until my friend bought this one. Wow. This diaper bag is white vegan leather with cognac (dark tan) accents. This combo really gives this bag a sophisticated look. For the mama on the go you can fit a laptop in this bag and best of all, it has charging ports! I wish I had this for all the times we were traveling with little ones. That would have been so helpful! The interior of this bag is very roomy. Has insulated pockets on the inside and non insulated bottle pockets on the outside. Includes shoulder strap and stroller straps.

COST ON AMAZON: $149

Hafmall Water Proof Multifunction Diaper Bag

This sweet pink and navy diaper bag is waterproof and is a both stylish and economical choice. This large capacity bag is very spacious and features a wide mouth opening. It has a back opening for quick reach and can be attached to a stroller. On the side you have tissue and wipe holder. You can carry by the handles or wear it is a backpack.

COST ON AMAZON: $30

Itsy Ritzy Crossbody Diaper Bag

I’ve included this diaper bag for the minimalist mama. This is for the mama that doesn’t want to carry a full diaper bag. I had a good friend from California that never wanted to carry a bulky diaper bag. Instead she used this bag which is basically a crossbody purse except it has a separate area to stash a few diapers and some wipes. In the front is a separate compartment for your things. This is also once you child gets older into the toddler years. You will find you don’t need all the baby stuff. Just diapers and wipes when you head out. This cute purse comes in blush, black, tweed, and taupe.

COST ON AMAZON: $75

Miger Leopard Backpack Diaper Bag

If you are an animal print lover, I think you’ll love this leopard print and black diaper bag. This is an inexpensive diaper bag This diaper bag is very light weight, only about a pound compared to the 2 lb weight of other bags. One thing that is nice about this bag is that it is machine washable which is why the bag is on the thin side. If you are looking for something more rugged, you may want to pick one of the more expensive bags. This bag has a bottle pockets on the front pouch and adjustable straps.

COST ON AMAZON: $30

I hope I’ve given you some ideas about some of the cute bags out there. Before you go, be sure to download my free Baby Registry Checklist to help get you started with all the things you need before baby arrives.

12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children

Join me as I share 12 beautiful Easter books for children, perfect for filling Easter baskets or just sharing the story of the Resurrection with kids.

12 beautiful easter books for children

Becoming a parent was very interesting. I never considered how I might share the Easter story with my children. My boys, ages five and three are interested in Jesus, but are barely starting to understand the concept of sin, much less theology like the hypostatic union and substitutionary atonement. That understanding will come in later years, but right now is really just about them being introduced the the passion of Christ, the crucifixion and the resurrection as it happened.

Today, I’m going the share 12 beautiful Easter books for children. Each book is different and I will try to illustrate some of those differences. You can give the book as a gift to your child or even tuck it in their Easter basket like I do. If I see any differences in denomination, I’ll try to mention that.

12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children

God Gave Us Easter

God Gave Us Easter is a favorite book. We actually have the companion book, God Gave Us You, which is a beautiful book about how God created us. In God Gave Us Easter, the book includes the same characters and similar beautiful language. I will say that this book doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of Jesus dying on the cross. It keeps it very light hearted. So if you are looking for something with more of a high-level overtone, this one is a beautiful book. This book is probably better for very young children that you understand death or the idea of crucifixion. See below for my more biblical choices.

The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Us Who Jesus Is

This is a beautiful storybook with a biblical foundation showing us the character of Jesus. The storybook has lovely illustrations for each story and a bible passage. The stories selected are designed to give children a look at the character of Jesus. We see Jesus as a teacher, redeemer, rescuer, friend, King, savior, Each story is one page long and includes a scripture passage. At the end of each story, there are questions for children to think about or answer. This one is a favorite of ours! I think this book is great for preschool age through about nine.

Notes From Jesus

This is a lovely book! Although it isn’t specifically Easter themed, I think it is really lovely because it lays the foundation for establishing a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. It provides answers to common thoughts and questions like, “how does Jesus feel when I mess up?” “Is it okay to pray with my eyes open?” “Does Jesus care about my day?” The answers are simple in a narrative that is easy for young children to grasp and thoroughly explains God’s love for us.

This book is recommended for ages six and up, but honestly, I find it perfect for my four-year-old who is just starting to build a relationship with the Lord.

We Believe: An Alphabet Primer

I’ve included this book, for those looking for a Catholic perspective. We Believe: an Alphabet Primer is a lovely book with simple, colorful beautiful illustrations. The artwork is vibrant and has a lovely color palette. In the book the alphabet is used by theological terms. If you are a Catholic, you will probably enjoy that this book discusses things like the Eucharist, the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. I was raised as a Catholic and this would have been a lovely book when I was young. If you are a Protestant, like I am now, you may want to skip this book as it does have Catholic theology. This book is best for children four and under.

Lift The Flap Easter Stories For Young Children

This sweet book, Lift the Flap Easter Stories for Young Children, is great for little ones who have a hard time sitting still for stories. When my boys were between the ages of two and three it was so hard to get them to sit for stories. This is where I think lift the flap books are very helpful. It gives them something to do while we are reading and keeps those little hands busy. This short book is about sixteen pages and is perfect for ages two through five. There are multiple flaps per page with colorful explanations. This covers the major events surround the resurrection story but omits the gruesomeness of the crucifixion because it’s designed for toddlers.

The Donkey Who Carried a King

This book by reformed pastor R.C. Sproul is a beautiful, endearing story and certainly one of my favorites. Now this book is going to be very different from other books in this list. First, this book is not really centered around the events around the resurrection, ( I mean it IS and it ISNT) rather it is centered around Christ coming in humility not to be served but to serve. In essence it is more of a moralistic tale than a play by play of the Easter story. I think it is a really good book especially when paired with other Easter stories.

Click Here for Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas

Twas the Easter Morning

If you like Twas the Night Before Christmas, you may really enjoy this Twas the Easter Morning as well. This book uses the same ionic pentameter of Twas the Night Before Christmas except it tells the story of Easter instead of Christmas. That makes if for a special telling of the Easter story. The illustrations in this book are really breathtaking. I have a feeling this one is going to be a classic story in years to come.

The Easter Story

The Easter Story book is great for kids around the kindergarten – first grade age. The book is biblically based with lovely illustrations and isn’t too long ( it is 32 pages). There is also a board book version available if you want tear resistant pages. It is not graphic for children who may not be ready for the crucifixion. However there is just one small thing I would change and it is probably a minor detail to most parents. It says that Jesus died so that we “will” all go to heaven. We don’t want to imply universalism to our children. It should read so that we “can” all go to heaven. This is probably such a minor detail that most parents won’t care. After all, that kind of theology is something that can be discussed when children are older anyway. Still, this is a great biblical story.

100 Little Bible Words

So I’ve included this book, 100 Little Bible Words, in the list because I don’t want to leave out infants or children under the age of two. This board book contains 100 words to build the vocabulary of your little man or lady. Throughout the pages it goes through major biblical themes like the creation story, Noah’s ark, etc. It provides a scripture, then provides words related to that part of the Bible. For example, Noah’s ark lists many animals. The creation story teaches words like Adam, Eve, apple, tree, sun, light, sky, etc. Although this isn’t specific to Easter, I still think it is a great book to start introducing biblical vocabulary. This little book is perfect for an Easter basket.

The Very First Easter

The Very First Easter by Paul L Maier is a beautifully illustrated book of the Easter story. The book is biblically accurate and Christ focused. The illustrations are really lovely and contains accurate scripture. However, I thought I would mention two things for the discerning reader. The first is that the book infers early on that the Easter bunny is not real. If your children believe in the Easter bunny, this might catch you off guard. Additionally, after stating the scripture verbatim at the Lord’s supper, the book says then explains that it is a sacrament which offers grace and forgiveness of sins. It is fairly subtle but obviously, your views on transubstantiation may find this verse troubling. I think it is subtle enough, but I still thought I would mention.

The Story of Passover

I thought I would include The Story of Passover by David A Alder in the list. While this book isn’t about the death and resurrection, I think it’s appropriate for children to understand what passover is referring to in scripture. After all, I don’t think it was any coincidence that Jesus died on the anniversary of God setting the Jewish people free from slavery. For we were slaves to sin and now we have freedom in Christ. This book centers around Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. The book is full of bold illustrations and is good for preschool and young elementary school children. My only critique is that although it explains the events leading up to passover it doesn’t not fully explain the passover seder.

The Donkey No One Could Ride

This sweet book, The Donkey No One Could Ride, by author Anthony DeStefano is a sweet tale of a donkey who felt unworthy until he meets his master, Christ. This adorable rhyming tale is best for kids under the age of seven. I will add that this book doesn’t really tell the Easter story like other books. Rather, this is more about our relationship with our master. It also centers around Palm Sunday. Still I think it’s a really lovely, innocent tale that will encourage children to see the love of Christ.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter. Be sure to check out some of my other book lists like 10 Books to Read as a New Mom, Classical Books for Kindergarteners and 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage.

12 beautiful easter books for children

The Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Living with less can actually help you enjoy your home more. Today, I’m providing the ultimate declutter checklist, a free printable to help you tackle clutter.

The ultimate declutter checklist

The Secret to A Clean House

Do you want to know the secret to a clean house? It isn’t having a maid that stops by every week. Nor is it spending all your free time cleaning. No, the secret lies in the amount of things you have. The more things you have, the more there is to put away. The more picking up you have to do, the more there is to make a mess.

The key to a tidy house is having a place for everything. If everything has it’s place, then there is order. It is impossible to be neat if you have clutter taking over every surface, every closet, every nook, every shelf, and every cupboard. You can’t put things away if there is no place to put it. We are always acquiring new things. Birthdays, anniversaries, well meaning family, trickle items one by one into our home and before you know it, closets are full. The less you have the more spacious and clean your house looks.

Decluttering your home is a something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Clutter is one of those things that makes your house look dirty when its not. What’s worse is that we kind of get used to our clutter but people who visit our home, notice it instantly. I try to do some amount of declutter every month.

Tips for Taming Clutter

There are lots of ways that you can tame the clutter that you decide to keep. One way is to contain small groups of objects in containers or in baskets. Decorative baskets mask the clutter making shelves or cupboards appear neat and tidy to the eyes.

I’ve also found that if you have a hard time taming items in drawers, draw organizers are a great help to guide you. Personally, I’ve grown really fond of folding towels and clothes up differently in order to maximize space. For instance, in my children’s drawers, I store clothes vertically in the drawers. You get far more clothes in the drawer and I find that we rotate all the clothes because they are all visible at once. It even helps my little pick out his clothes easier.

Time Method

I’ve also found that even spending fifteen minutes a day decluttering makes a huge difference when it comes to staying on top of clutter before it gets overwhelming. Focus on hot spots that attract clutter. Then if you have time pick a drawer or area to toss out things. Setting a timer and doing as much decluttering in that time can help you tackle clutter a little everyday.

Zone Decluttering

The printable I’ve created for you below is focused on zone decluttering. If you don’t have time to do a whole room, just pick one line item and work on that, working your way eventually around the house.

Some people swear by the trash bag method. Grab a trash bag and declutter until you fill it up. Once it is filled you are done. Some people do this once a week, every other week or even once a month. Other people have a 1 in 10 out rule, meaning for every new thing they buy, they throw ten things out. I tried this but don’t consistently remember to do this. So I do better with regular decluttering in other ways.

Take a look at my posts 8 Places to Cash in Clutter and 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now. If you need help decluttering books, my post 5 Steps to Decluttering Books might help you.

Questions to Help You Say Goodbye

I always ask a series of questions that help me say goodbye to unnecessary things. I think many times we hold on to things because we have good intentions of using them and I think we also feel guilty that we spent good money on it. Having spent money on it makes us feel obligated to keep it until we use it. However, chances are if you haven’t used it in a year or six months, you probably won’t ever use it. Sad but true.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself when I am purging:

  • Is it broken, damaged or missing pieces?
  • Is it very worn?
  • Do I have something else that serves the same purpose?
  • Am I holding on to it out of guilt?
  • If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it again?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it still in style?
  • Do I really love it?
  • Have I used it in the six months?
  • Do I really want to keep handling this item again?
  • Is keeping it worth the space it takes up?
Nate berkus quote

The Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Be sure to download your free ultimate declutter checklist and get started today. I have organized your checklist by room and I’ve included a list of questions at the bottom of the page to help you make decisions. If you are really on the fence about giving something away, you can do a little trick I sometimes I do. I pack it in a box and label it, “throw out in six months” and I put the six month date. Anything I am uncertain about goes in that box. If six months pass and I have not gone into the box, I put it in the trunk of my car and take it to the nearest donation place without ever opening it up. If you open it up, you’ll be tempted to keep it. If you don’t open it up, you probably would never miss it.

Your decluttering checklist includes 7 pages. You can print out multiple copies of the bedroom and bathroom page for however many bedrooms and bathrooms you have. I’ve included some extra spaces for you to add your own items as well.

What are some of your own decluttering tips? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Also be sure to share this post with friends who need a decluttering checklist!