My World is More than Minecraft – enter Titanic


For well over a year now, Wyatt has been focused on one thing and only one thing. The boy lived and breathed and spouted and screamed and ate MINECRAFT! The boy couldn’t get enough. Everything was Minecraft – his Lego play, his pretend play, his food, his YouTube watching, his chatter. Every time I turned around, I was learning something new about Minecraft because he had learned something new from a “training video” by StampyLongNose or some other Minecraft guru.

The children discovered another game extremely similar to Minecraft. (I believe it is called RoBlox.) Through this game (I believe) Wyatt discovered the Titanic! He wanted to learn about it so I JUMPED on the opportunity to get something new onto this boy’s radar! Within seconds of his expressed interest, I was on the library system ordering books. I needed to visit the library anyway in regard to some overdue fees, so I grabbed all the books on that topic off the shelf to tide us over until the others arrived.

titanic image

Now my life is completely immersed in Titanic. All the children are reading the books; we’ve watched the movie; we’ve watched documentaries. We read “Tonight on the Titanic” by Mary Pop Osborne in just two sittings. (We even skipped ahead in the series to read it.) Marrissa is reading me facts from a National Geographic Kids book as I type this.

Can you tell I’m EXCITED?!?!?! Oh my!! I was sooooooooooooooooooo sick of Minecraft. No one tell him there is a Titanic Minecraft Mod; (this one is based on the movie) I haven’t figured out how to get the mods working on the computer. It’s a little beyond my skill.

Guess what we did?!? We took my husband’s measuring wheel to the Ag grounds and measured the length of the mighty “unsinkable” Titanic ! (I didn’t take any pictures of the actual process, but here’s a group photo I coordinated while we were out.) Wyatt LOVED it.  He says, “Mom, you were as small as an ant! I could hardly see you!!!” Marrissa sat at 400 ft and for them, even that was a long way from one end.


group shot


I’m so excited that we’ve worked math facts and operations into this study and history and social studies. And we’re not done. I have more books coming from the library – a series by Gordon Koran, recommended to us by our homeschool facilitator. I also scoured the internet for free Titanic unit studies and found a number of options. I’m sure we’ll have more to share over the course of our study!


Encouraging their love of learning,


Homeschool Checklists

I have been racking my brain to find a way to easily transfer information to the children on what their tasks for the day include – homeschool, zone chores, etc – and I came across this planning method. This also solves another problem – following through with checking that their work is done.  With this check-list method I have the children mark what has been completed. I can review their work and zones at my earliest convenience.


Now I just have to follow through.I think that’s my biggest hang-up!


checklistHere are our current lists that I will update and tweak. Most of the chores repeat every other day and are similar from child to child.  I hope we have a smooth transition to this process after the long weekend.


This works well with our partner system because partners work on zones together – the older one directing and demonstrating the tasks for the younger ones. The jobs on these lists take the family about an hour to complete, when they work diligently. I’ve used the zone and partner systems for a number of years now and our house maintains an acceptable level of clean that increases in excellence as the children have grown better at their household jobs.


The school work listed here looks minimal because these things are the minimum I like to complete each day. There is so much other learning happening each day that I don’t track the same as this book work. An audio book is almost always playing in someone’s ear. They are learning computer skills through daily usage. Many of the girls make meals – at their request. I have shoppers that run for groceries. The summer reading program and other library programs are not listed.


Learning as we travel this road called life,


Budgeting Inconsistent Income

budgeting inconsistent incomeMy husband and I are self-employed and his business is somewhat seasonal. Budgeting inconsistent income has become an adventure for me.


I love working the numbers and figuring out the best way to pay the most bills and still allow for groceries, gas and business expenses.


We do have a couple of consistent amounts that come in each month – one through the summer and then my Child Tax Benefit through the year. I use those to pay most of the bills as many of our utilities are due on or around the 20th and the first week of the month. Any automatic payments also get set up for after the 20th because I know the money will be there. I plan for that.


So what’s my nitty gritty process?

Almost all my bills come via email, so I go back through and determine the “paid in full” amount to get each bill to zero dollars owing. Some months we can do this, some months we can’t. Then using Quicken Home and Business I enter in the money I know is coming, deduct the automatic payments and bills I pay manually and pray the number is “in the black”. If I can’t get all the bills to zero and still buy groceries, I juggle the utility payments until I can. Once the bills are covered, any extra money that comes into the account gets put back into the business first (because that’s what generated the income). As needed, we pull our wage to purchase groceries, fuel for the suburban and other necessities.


Based on Dave Ramsey’s Four Walls, we cover the utilities, the vehicle fuel, groceries and basic/required clothing. If the power and heat are not in danger of being shut off and there is food on the table, we worry less and can focus on bringing in more income. With fuel in the trucks and the necessary clothing, we can make that income to get the rest caught back up again.


Tell me about your budgeting process. Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants? Do you face the struggle of budgeting inconsistent income too?


Learning as we go,


Yom Teruah – The Feast of Trumpets

May it be a Day of Unspeakable Joy for you

Yom Teruah

Oh I know it is more than a month away yet, but I started reading about this holiday already. My desire for the coming year is to make these holidays from the word of Yahweh more meaningful and exciting for my children. Yom Teruah, the New Year, a day of Unspeakable Joy, is such a great time to rekindle the excitement of Yahweh’s holy days!

We have taken from our children (and ourselves) the holidays of our society and need to replace them with the things of Adonai. The children are asking for Halloween and Easter celebrations which we no longer celebrate. I believe it is unfair of us to withhold from them the holidays of Yahweh, our God, who has so many better things for us!

With growing excitement for the coming year,

Carrot Seed Sunscreen


I don’t like sunscreen. I never have, not even as a child. I always preferred to cover up or stay inside to avoid the heat. I hated the way my skin felt. My temperature seemed stuck, like I couldn’t get cool.

carrot seed sunscreenAnd then I discovered carrot seed and lavender oils! This year while scrolling through my news feed, either on Facebook or Instagram, a recipe for sunscreen came through. I didn’t have the exact ingredients but I knew I had what would work. The recipe I saw called for another of Young Living’s hand and body lotions, but I happened to have the lavender one on hand (got it free through the Essential Rewards program). Since lavender is in the recipe I figured it would work.


Carrot Seed Sunscreen

1/4 cup lavender lotion (the bottle was about half full)

20 drops carrot seed oil

10 drops lavender oil

I dropped the oils into the lotion bottle and had the little ones shake and shake it.


Does it work?

Yep!  My sister in law burns easily, like I do, in the sun. They were here helping us BBQ for a party and she felt herself getting crispy. We applied the sunscreen which had a duel effect. Not only did the oils help to prevent further burning, but the lavender soothed the damage already done.


Some have said that this recipe hadn’t been effective for their skin type and the suggestion is to add more carrot seed oil until you reach the desired effect. There may be some trial and error involved to get the recipe just right for your family.

Problem Solving Taught

I have excessive quantities of audio input into my life on a daily basis; for a moderately introverted individual that can be extremely draining. I felt the need to dispose of at least one constant source of auditory clutter. This is what I came up with:
problem solving

On my way out the door to run an errand, I wrote this on the whiteboard attached to our stainless steel refrigerator. Upon my return, I was presented with a couple of viable solutions to the dilemma. Their solutions were required to meet my approval and coordinate well with our daily interactions with each other and with the world.

The first suggestion was to grant a new person the privilege every half an hour, rotating the 6 computer savvy children throughout the day, a couple of times each.  Not gonna fly. For one, I don’t want the computer on all day.  Two, we don’t run on a specific time schedule but rather a loose routine of sorts that could start anywhere from 6 am to 9 am, leaving the people in those early time slots without their privilege at no fault of their own.

I sent them back to the drawing board with those comments. They came back with simply rotating through the children, youngest in age to oldest. How do they know if it’s their turn? Look at who is currently on the computer. Investigate to see how long that person had been there and make a plan to switch. I suggested half hour to 45 min time slots and they could work with that.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and when I’m asked about computer usage, I simply say that I don’t know. Magically, they walk away and ask a sibling. They are working this very simple problem out on their own; social skills and common courtesy are being developed. Problem solving at it’s finest… or something like that.

Education and parenting WIN, in my opinion!

I get essentially free product.

So what is Essential Rewards?

The Essential Rewards program is Young Living’s fancy name for Auto Ship. Each month a new order automatically ships to you! But it gets even better than that. There are added bonuses.

  • free products delivered to your door each month
  • flat rate shipping
  • saving Product Value points to use towards ordering Young Living products for free.

You get to choose what gets delivered to you each month. I use my Essential Rewards as my shopping cart. When I think of some oil or product that I need or want through the month, I add it to that cart. (I review the cart before my processing date so that the dollar value matches my budget.)

I like Essential Rewards for the free stuff.

How Much Do You Spend on Essential Rewards?

As much as you want to.

You have to order 50 PV (product value) which is about $50. (For those in Canada, the PV is almost always lower than the dollar value, but it’s not too far off.)

You can always order more than 50 PV. For example, I normally order around 150 PV.  Why?  Because I’m a business builder and in order to get all my commissions, there is an minimum order of 100 PV per month.  Now my family and I (there’s 9 of us) we could easily use more than that minimum 100 PV each month but budget-wise at this point we keep it pretty close to that. I often use my commissions to purchase our oils.

How Do You Earn FREE Points?

So, if you order 100 PV the first month, you would earn 10 PV points towards free products.

After 6 months, if you place a 100 PV order then you would earn 15 PV back.

Guess what, at 13 plus months, your 100 PV order would earn you 20 PV back.

I typically use my points as we need them. Some people let their’s sit and accumulate so they can place a bigger order and save even more on shipping. You can only redeem 350 PV at a time and you must redeem your points within the 12 months you accumulated them.

Can I Quit Essential Rewards?

You are allowed one “grace month”.

Yes, you can also cancel your autoship.  However, you will loose your points, so use those up first.  If you decide to rejoin – you have to start back at 10% earning level.

How Much Is Shipping?

Our Canadian shipping is $9.75 which is cheaper than what a normal order would be.

Sign Me Up!

To sign up for this great program, you have to be a wholesale member. If this is something you are interested in, I have a sign up page or you can message me and let’s have a conversation. Within that process, you can get started with the essential rewards program right away, with a pre-made essential rewards package (just like the start up kits) or with items that more specifically fit your family and their needs.

To find joy, you have to dig a little.

Some of us are really good at talking about our problems
because we have lots of practice. Time fora  new skill.
Let’s practice talking about our blessings
and what’s going right in our life! ~ Charlotte Siems

To find joy, you have to look for it. ~ Reagan Kerr

Are you finding yourself down in the “depths of despair”? (Remember this scene from Anne of Green Gables) Lately it seems that at every turn something goes wrong, or doesn’t go MY way. I know it’s my own perception of the situation and not reality; or it’s my self-indulgent nature, not the way things truly are in my life.

So why the dramatic “depths of despair” moments? Because, like Charlotte said in the above quote, you get what you focus on. If I’m focused on how hard life is (or appears to be), then life is going to be hard. Instead, I desire and choose to focus (from this point forward) on what is going right. I choose to find joy in the blessings all around me.

Starting right now.

  1. Bedtime went smoothly tonight and I was able to spend some time writing.
  2. I ran; my body is strong enough to carry me fast than a walk.
  3. Lovely friends popped in for a visit.
  4. There are sunny dandelions in a vase on my desk. (The kids assure me they are leaving lots for the bees.)
  5. The wind has died down; the night is so still that the frogs seem loud!
  6. Technology allows me to contact friends and acquaintances, on a regular basis.
  7. I look forward to my parents’ visit in June.

So tell me something that’s going right in your life!

Searching for joy,


He never prays so she can hear, but she knows he prays

She waits anxiously, hour after hour, for him to return, thankful for the text messages he sends from time to time though they aren’t enough to put her mind at ease. Why is this call taking so long? It came across the lines as routine. He should have been home hours ago.

She comfortingly explains to the children that their plans have changed because he is needed to save a life, or someone’s property. They are disappointed but after years of similar situations they have become accustomed to changed plans, walking home from events and holiday meals where he was serving his community, instead of visiting with them. They aren’t angry. The children are gracious and understanding that their father has a special passion; he fulfills a calling that not many desire to meet.

When they are finally united, and the afternoon’s activities completed, just a lot later into the day than originally planned, he shares with her a little more of his experiences through that long day. He tells of the scared pets, the damage to the building, the lives affected. At her request, he leans on her and she holds him as he processes the day, thinking nothing of how the information shared may affect her later. She thinks only of him and what he needs in the moment after such a taxing day that didn’t end when the trucks were put back in service. She thinks how he continued to sacrifice for his family after the not-so-routine call ended.

Life goes on for a fire fighter and his family, but not always for his wife. Like Mary, the mother of Yeshua, she takes and ponders these things, mauls them over, contemplates how they will affect her man, how they will change the families affected. Having suffered great loss herself, she knows acutely the emotions and the fears they are experiencing.

And, though not always, this time the nightmares start. Days later, the fire fighter’s wife, lays down to sleep but sleep is the enemy. So unexpected the images come, a terrifying inaccurate retelling of scenes never experienced by her or by her man, but so real and so disturbing that she can’t tell reality from the dream. And she clings to him. Rousing him from his near slumbering state, tears streaming down her face and screams stifled into his strong shoulder, so as not to wake the children sleeping nearby.

As he comforts her, his words are as you would expect.

I’m sorry.

It’s gonna be okay.

You don’t have to be sorry.

And just as suddenly as the terror started, there comes a unexplained peace. The room slowly fills with a presence, a peace she can’t explain. But she doesn’t fight it, she allows the peace to fill her body, to fill her soul, as she lays, safe in her fire fighter’s arms. Her mind pushes to recapture the images, to see the horrifying scene again. Not of her own desire but from somewhere deep within. But the images are gone. An inky blackness stands between her and the terror. A thick wall. A comforting blanket of peace and her mind sees nothing, nothing but complete peace.

In her heart she knows he prayed for her, but before she can form the question, she is asleep. Safe in the arms of Yahweh and in the arms of her man.

He realizes anew that his job of protection starts at home. And he decides again that night, that there are just some things, she doesn’t need to know, even if she asks, even if she has them already figured out. But his faith is strengthened, his prayers were answered. She is protected and the enemy can’t bother his family with those images ever again.


With much love,


I don’t trust God. I fear how he will use me if I do.

It’s crazy that I don’t fully trust him after all he’s brought us through. And it’s so unfair to make him prove himself over and over again, and yet I do. I don’t trust God and that is evident in my personal issue with prayer. Prayer seems so wrong to me.


To pray: to plead, to beg

That’s not a conversation! That’s a one sided give-me-give-me. The word prayer has a different meaning, or different connotations than we realize, I think. I don’t want to pray to Yahweh unless it is to beg and plead for my life, which I should probably be doing! I deserve death, so I guess that would make sense.  But that’s not relationship building.  If prayer is the way we talk to Yahweh, the way we build relationship, prayer, as defined above, is not it! Begging and pleading is not meaningful conversation with our Creator, our Savior and our King.

I admit that prayer is a powerful thing, a tool or whatever. I’ve seen it work in the lives of people around me. I’ve even seen it work in my life, but I feel as if I’m missing out on something. Something big.  I desire to build my relationship with Yahweh, and I need to talk to him and to hear from him to build that relationship, and so I must use prayer, or less formally, I must talk to him.

So how does this tie into my lack of trust and fearing how he’ll use me.  Well, I guess I fear that Yahweh will give me more change than I’m willing to handle; if I’m in an intimate relationship with him, he’ll expect too much of me too soon for my liking.  I fear the changes I know I’m required to make.  I am too content with my life the way it is; I appear to dread the good things he’ll do in and around my life if I let him get that close to me, if I allow his love and power and grace to truly and completely affect my life.

And I know that makes no sense at all.  Why WOULDN’T I want to have these good things in my life???

So what’s my hang up with prayer? Why do I turn my nose up at the word and the concept? Prayer has become “holier than thou” concept. It’s something Christians use to beat and berate each other with; it’s a measuring stick of holiness.

And it shouldn’t be.

And that’s what makes me angry.  That’s what causes my feelings of disdain for something that is so good for me, so beneficial.  And ironically, the best way to work through this, is to pray… the best way to work through this is by getting to know my Creator and my Father better!

I don’t know if this is a “fake it until you make it” deal or what, but I’m game.  What’s the worst that can happen? I stay the same.  And the best? I become more in love with Yahweh.

More in love with Yahweh…. that is the desire of my heart.