East Tennessee Bloggers Blog Hop: Introducing…

I’m teaming up with a group of bloggers from East Tennessee to bring you well, just about everything! There are foodies, homemakers, homeschoolers, minimalists, decorators, multi-taskers, organizers… see? Everything. Welcome to our first blog hop!

We’ll be posting these once a month, so you’ll want to be sure to check back so you don’t miss anything! Without further adieu, introducing….

Meet Candace from His Mercy is New! I’m Candace and I blog at His Mercy is New. I’m married to David and we have 3 children that we homeschool; we live just east of Knoxville where my husband and I met at Carson-Newman College about 15 years ago! On my blog you will find homeschooling posts, great reads, posts about faith and especially encouragement for moms struggling with depression. I pray you are blessed and encouraged each time you visit!

Meet Christina of Mouse in Your House blog! Living in 400-square-feet with our new sweet baby boy. I blog about the hilarious side of parenting, and keep things exciting with DIY and home decorating ideas and projects. I throw in the occasional Q&A with crafty people and dig into lifestyle trends. Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while!

Meet Edie who blogs at Life in Grace! I’m Edie and I’m a lifestyle blogger, wife, momma, writer, home cook, foodie, keeper of chickens, and reader of many books. I’m a lover of home decor, truth, beauty, goodness, cowboy boots, and all things Appalachian.

Meet Heather and her site Kiser Ridge Farm! Hi, I am Heather, stay at home mother of soon to be 5 children. We live on a small farm in East Tennessee. We raise chickens, goats, rabbits, hogs, dogs, cats and kiddos. Kiser Ridge Farm is also my herbal shop, where I combine my 15 years of experience in herbal medicine, with my 20 years in Emergency Medicine, researching and mixing natural remedies. My blog is new and so is my business.

Meet Megan of Lifesong blog! Hi! I’m Megan, a wife (to one) and homeschooling Mama of three. I am passionate about Jesus, teaching my kids, and taking pictures. But I also love baking, Amazon, reading and writing. My blog is a little of everything – homeschool days, recipes, stories, traditions, and encouragement. We have made East TN home for the past eight years, and we love it here! Come say hello at Lifesong!

Meet Meghan and her blog KMac Creations! My name is Meghan and I write. Streamlined & slapstick stories of memories made. Not perfectly, but purposefully. Under blankets snuggled, my space for words is covered with stories of family, fashion, homeschool and design. Faith finds its way in too. Always. My blog documents time honest, hilarious and most certainly hope filled.

Meet Melissa and her blog Finding Joy on the Journey! Finding Joy on the Journey started as I felt moved to record the blessings that occur in the every day. The beautiful blue sky, the warm sunshine on my face, the sweetness of a good book finished. I used to say, “simple pleasures” in high school and college. Only now they’re deeper than that. It’s deep-seated joy that isn’t based on circumstance. So I write here about joy in the midst of infertility, food allergy frustrations, depression, chronic health problems, and life just not turning out to be what we thought it would. (Is it ever?) The Lord’s name is to be glorified in it all, and that is what I want to do here on my little home on the web. I hope you’ll join me!

Meet another Melissa from Life Off The Paved Road! Hello there! I’m Melissa. I am wife to Stacy and homeschooling mom to five children. We live in East Tennessee, just north of Knoxville on land that has been in my family for five generations. Life Off The Paved Road is my online home where I talk about natural living, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, and adoption. I hope you will stop by, hang out for a while and come back to visit from time to time.

Meet Rebecca of Life Changes! Hello! My name is Rebecca and I have been married to Brian for almost 21 years. We have 3 adult sons and a 7 month old Granddaughter! I blog about our life, encouraging stories, our faith, things for the home such as frugal decorating/organizing and freezer meals and anything else that comes to mind. I appreciate you taking your time to read my blog and if you have a blog I would love to read yours!

Meet Sara from The Happy Brown House! Sara is a Chattanooga area blogger that writes about life in the Happy Brown House: homeschool, crafts, kids, adoption, and faith.

Sara has started Chattanooga Families! Sara is also the blogger behind the site, Chattanooga Families, a blog dedicated to helping local families find resources and local fun. Sara shares the real nitty-gritty details about local events and places that are relevant to families in the Chattanooga area through a weekly newsletter. Want to know where the best park is or what restaurant has a free kids meal? Chattanooga Families is your answer.

Meet Sarah and her blog Sarah’s Heart’s Home! My name is Sarah and I am a homeschooling mom to three young children. I blog at Sarah’s Heart’s Home where I write about daily life as a mom, recipes, homeschooling ,and more. I strive to find Joy in the Journey (as my subtitle indicates.)

Meet Stephanie from The Multi Taskin’ Mom! Being a wife, mother, full time work-from-homer, and a homeschooling mom, means that I must be able to multi task. Come join in as I share the journey along with several other moms on The Multi Taskin’ Mom.

Meet the writing team at Knoxville Moms Blog! At Knoxville Moms Blog we are passionate about parenting, community and the city of Knoxville. We strive to provide moms with relevant, timely and fun information about all things mom here in the Knoxville area. We are a collaborative blog written by and for local moms with daily posts on things to do around town, ways to get involved in the community, parenting solutions, personal essays from local moms, local business spotlights, giveaways, and an opportunity to share with one another in the journey of motherhood.

A Day in our {real} Life

I have the privilege of being a part of the new writing team at The Busy Mom! Twenty of us are teaming up over there to encourage and lead moms to grace, rest and truth in the word of God! As part of that announcement today, we’re sharing a Day-in-the-Life for us just to let our new friends get to know us a bit!

Because I’m a work-at-home homeschooling mama, my days might look pretty different from yours. Honestly, they look pretty different than they did this time last year! I am the Community Manager for Five in a Row, A Virtual Assistant to Heidi St. John, The Busy Mom and the webmaster for my church. And I homeschool our two children: a spunky very full of life seven year old, Mattie and our deep-feeling humor-loving eleven year old, Jacob.

What do our mornings look like?

I get up between 5:30 and 6… hopefully. getting up earlyI make my hubby’s lunches and coffee which gives me a reason to commit to roll my sleepy body out of our warm bed. (I’ve learned I can be a night-owl or an early-bird, just not both!) So I enjoy some quiet with my man as he gets ready for work, get him off and enjoy some quiet time in the Word. It’s so tempting to sit down and get right on my to-do list, but when I do I’m always so sorry. I NEED that time in the Word to fix my eyes on Him, fill my soul and set my sights on the big picture, because we all know by 30 minutes into the morning it will be very easy to forget about anything except the frustration two feet below my nose!

So between 7:30 & 8 my peeps rouse and wander down, hoping I’ll let them start the morning on their ipods or the beloved LEGO message boards. You’d think I usually say yes, as the more frequent “no” seems to catch them by surprise as if they’ve never heard it before! I wrap up the morning little bit of work I started, and we settle in for breakfast. Because I was given active, verbal children, mealtime has always been a challenge. I often read while they eat, and this is usually when we do our Bible time. I have to be very diligent to not jump back on the computer while they eat, because when I do I pay for it. I lose them and we never get back on track… plus they are way more important than work, and they need this face time with me as we start our day together.

laundryIGAfter breakfast we get moving on schoolwork right away.  We don’t do a lot of bookwork in the earlier years, but Jacob is getting into a groove of some more traditional looking work now that he’s in 6th grade.  Thankfully, he’s also pretty independent with it. He often sits in the room as Mattie and I do a lot of reading as he still wants to hear the children’s books. (Don’t tell him I notice.) While they do some of their work I try and work on the mountains of laundry. (We’re keeping it real, remember?) Anyway, we try reeeeaaally hard to be finished with most of our structured stuff by 1:00. It just takes twice (or three or four times) as long to do it in the afternoon.

But you haven’t had lunch yet.

True. We seem to be late eaters.  Usually the kids eat lunch between 1:30-2:30. Hey, it works for us! I try to read a chapter book if they are eating at the same time, though as they’re getting older they fix their own lunches and don’t always eat at the same time. Once they eat, they get hyper and I send them off to play somewhere else. 🙂 Mom of the year here! But really, in the afternoons as long as their school work is done, they are fairly free. Because we don’t have neighbors with kids anymore, we have cousins over a lot to play to fill that void.

I do quite a bit of work in the afternoons as it’s when the kids are occupied and free.  Sometimes it’s quiet bedroom time (an hour to two) and sometimes electronic time (an hour limit), but it’s when I try to get stuff done.

Shoot. I’m supposed to cook dinner?

That’s about how it happens lately.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m struggling to find a groove and really get it all done well.  I need to school, fill love tanks, feed food tanks, clean & cook. Because I have a husband who doesn’t really care if I cook or not, is often not home until well after a normal dinner hour, and I don’t like to cook anyway, it’s usually what goes. We do eat, but it’s not a well rounded several colored plate like we should be eating.

Woohoo! Bedtime!

Because we eat lunch late, we eat dinner late and soon after it’s time to round up the kids for bed.  We’re pretty structured with bedtime. I love these two little people dearly, but I am done by this time of night.  The talking and picking and jumping talking and wrestling and talking and oh, did I say talking? are just enough to make my brain shut down sometimes. But thankfully bedtime shows up right about this time every day! Our one bedtime tradition is that I get the kids settled in bed and read in the hallways. No more reading on the couch and getting wild on the way to bed and starting all over… they are already calm and very often fall asleep while I read. (In case anyone worries that this is cold and detached, we sit together reading for many other hours through the day on the couch.) About 9:30 we wrap up reading and saying good night. Hopefully, Robert and I still have some steam left in us to visit a bit before we konk out.

Don’t you work after bedtime?

I used to.  Until May I would work very late into the night, or early into the morning, really. But I realized I was almost never going to bed at the same time as Robert. That’s when I flip-flopped to the early-bird schedule that I try and stick to now. I like it much better, and I think Robert might too. 🙂 We won’t talk any more about what happens at this time of day, but after that, we sleep and do it all over again…

YWAM Heroes of History Stories {Review}

We were privileged to review this Heroes of History Book Set this month. We’ve studied US History this year, so this has fit in perfectly! From their website:

Heroes of History is a unique biography series that brings the shaping of history to life with the remarkable true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history.

The stories of Heroes of History are told in an engaging narrative format, where related history, geography, government, and science topics come to life and make a lasting impression. This is a premier biography line for the entire family. [Read more…]

Staycation in the Knoxville Area

We’re not planning a family vacation this year, but we still want to make memories. Knowing that thousands of other families are in this boat, we’re all teaming up to give you ideas for your area!!  If you’re like I am, you’ll want to visit the host website for all the information anyway, so I’ve linked to site for specific information and only included a short summary here that includes our favorite family friendly characteristics. Almost everything I’ve listed is FREE, and I’ve noted where that is not the case. If you’re in the Knoxville or surrounding area, here are some of the things we’re going to do this summer: [Read more…]

Titus 2:1 Conference! I get to go!

I’m so looking forward to the Titus 2:1 Conference. I’m so excited about going to the conference thanks to my sponsor, Heidi St. John (The Busy Homeschool Mom)!  But I’d be lying if I said that the flight, airport-people-watching time and silent, beautiful hotel room aren’t part of the fun for me too!  
In short, from the conference page:

The 2:1 Conference is a faith based conference for homeschooling parents who blog (not just about homeschooling), or are otherwise interested in social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Anyone who reads here knows I’ve gone AWOL since I started working part time in August… because being on the computer for work comes before pleasure! I do thoroughly miss the therapy I get when I share stories about our family though. And I have a several month long God story that I have to get down on “paper” before too long, because it’s still getting better! 

So… on to the reason for this post! An introduction of myself to the other Titus 2:1 attendees: [Read more…]

Maybe I shouldn’t feel guilty

So as Mattie’s first grade year is well into the first semester, I find myself sad that she’s getting so much less of the fun stuff that Jacob got.  When Jacob was little, there were several of us that got together to do the fun things (that aren’t my strength). We don’t have that now for her, and it makes me sad, because honestly, she’d probably enjoy it much more than he even did!  There were cousins his age – lots of them, and we don’t have that with her, so it’s all just different. But as I was lamenting tonight and feeling sad that I’m just not doing well enough in that area for her, I realized that Jacob’s early years were very special… only him, activities geared toward only him, interests chosen for him, time with only him, books chosen for only him, etc.  But then I realized that her high school years will be the special time with only her as Jacob will have likely gone to college… activities geared toward only her, interests chosen for her, time with only her, books chosen for only her, and I guess it will all balance out. I still get frustrated that I’m not so good at the fun stuff, but this did balance it out a bit!