Homeschool Week 1

We did it!  We survived our first week of homeschooling.

Can I tell you a secret?  We loved it.

As a quick update here are 5 lessons we learned

nomadic homeschooling

We really like being together.  I’m a recovering type A control freak and the thought of homeschooling has always overwhelmed me.  Turns out my time around Lakewood Montessori and tons of prayers has eased that a little.  Our girls also really enjoy learning together.


Christina RossettiNot having a printer makes us much more creative.  Never have I been more aware of my dependence on that machine than I was last week.  Every time I came across something useful it was thwarted by the last of printer.  Not thwarted but the effort was greatly increased.  Such a writing out the poem we were memorizing 2x for the craft.

Poems and songs all the way.  I have a treasure trove of Maranatha Kids and other traditional songs saved in my heart because I sang them as a child and I plan to burn those in the girls minds as well.  Everyone needs to know Father Abraham, right?  We also started memorizing poetry because it is food for the soul

  • Online preschool optionsABC Mouse is picking up where I would have previously used print materials and tactile objects.  While I’m not a fan of children learning from screens at this age our current situation (nomadic living and lack of printer) have caused me to add this to our daily activity.  Each girl is working through their own learning path. I use the time they are on the laptop to clean their room.  Keeps me within arms reach of the screen at all times.

Field Trips are vital.  Early on I caught myself buying into traditional models that say we have to do x amount of “school work” before fun.  No way.  Interacting with the world counts.  I keep a journal of what we do everyday to account for educational experiences like learning out to navigate the ferry system and visiting museums.

Nature in ManhattanEducation via Natural History Museums







All of this is so very new to me.  I’m just proud to say we made it through week 1 and I still think homeschooling is a great option for us this year!!!!!

For those wondering why we started so early – we will be traveling again in September and I plan to ease up on what is expected of the girls and myself then.

I am a sponge right now.  If you have unschooled, world schooled or homeschooled what is your major word of advice for the first year?

 Any books you recommend?

Podcasts I should be listening to?

Loneliness, Risk and my Summer with Sally

When God considered how to ensure that pleasure would fill our hearts, He thought up friendship.  Companionship is where we can relish the intimacy of being known and still loved; it’s where dreams are heard, broken hearts are soothe, play is mutually enjoyed, and ideas are expressed.  – Sally Clarkson – Own Your Life. 

Having left a month long visit with my very favorite state park ranger and former college roommate, New York City could never had met my friendship needs.  My heart had been filled to overflowing with daily conversations with someone who shared my passion for history and who had grace for my quirks.

NYC had my husband so we took the journey across the country to be with him but it would be weeks before he could spend more than a few hours with us in the evening.  I was not prepared for loneliness when it snuck into my heart.  How grateful I am that I have been spending my Summer with Sally.

She and Kristen Kill have been going though Sally’s book Own Your Life on Sally’s podcast.  In a season where my life is so completely out of my hands it has been challenging and encouraging to move through this book.

I am in control of the relationships that already exist in my life whether I am in the same state as these wonderful folks or not.  Whether we will move back to where we have been or live in another time zone I can choose to stay connected to those whom I love.

Loving others is the oxygen that breathes satisfaction and happiness into our souls (1)

Sally follows up her statement that “Loving others is the oxygen that breathes satisfaction and happiness into our souls” with the explanation of why that matters.  Because we are people who are desperate for connection and the security of place every force in hell is against us to keep us from finding our tribe.

So what to do?  Pull on your big girl panties and take a risk.  For me it meant reaching out to the church we were attending and signing up for their moms group.  I had no idea if they were meeting during the summer, if we will be in NYC this fall or what the future held.  Within 2 days I was having a lovely back and forth email exchange with a warm and encouraging former Texan.

One step of faith open the floodgates of encouragement.

We don’t yet have people beating down our down to invite us over to watch the Olympics but we also have opportunities to meet other if we choose to.

Are you feeling like your life is totally out of your hands?  Do you wonder what the future holds for you?  Ask God for one small thing you could do to connect with someone.  Write a note, send a card, go to a library book club.  Be with others and be open.

Please let me know if you are struggling with loneliness.  You do not have to be isolated.  There is a vibrant community online and I would love to help direct you to the right corner.


Staten Island Children’s Museum

Our summer has been full of adventures, each with a flavor of it’s own. Recently we took a detour from the usual tourist traps in NYC.  Some of the best found adventures can be found where the locals go.

Children’s Museum on Staten Island wasn’t found on any lists of places to go that we could find but it should be.

Staten Island Children’s Museum in Snug Harbor Park, Staten Island

What a fantastic little gem we found and for a bargain.

Most tourists take the Staten Island ferry for a free chance to see the Statue of Liberty and that is how our adventure began.  But a quick Google search proved there was a day of fun waiting of us on the other side.

The cost of entrance is $8 for anyone over 1 year old.  It wasn’t a super cheap day but as museums go that is a very good entrance fee.  They do have free entrance on Wednesdays from 6-8pm.

Was it worth the train ride to catch a ferry to catch another bus?  Absolutely and actual all that public transportation was a breeze.   The train dropped us off at the ferry and we picked up the bus in front of the St. George ferry station and it dropped us at Snug Harbor Park.  Note: you do have to walk through the park and it could use some cosmetic work.

We aren’t quite sure why our ferry was escorted by police across the harbor but we felt quite safe as we passed Lady Liberty and all the children were excited by their presence.

The Staten Island Children’s Museum would not rank high on a tourist listing of top things to do in NYC but if you find yourself in the city for an extended time like we are I would recommend it.

IMG_20160721_131032855A wall sized Lite Brite is reason enough but this fun through back to the 80’s was in a room of giant games.  There was a bowling alley and children’s size connect 4 games.

We painted, played with water boats, pretended all day long in situations from the frozen tundra to the jungle.  After 4 hours the adventures were asking to stay but this adventure mama knows when to pull out before everyone falls apart.

One of the nicest things about this museum was that they allowed outside food to be brought into the cafe.  But we would recommend buying at least as snack.

The café is collaboration with On Your Mark, (OYM) an agency which provides services to children and adults with disabilities.
Stop by and meet the OYM staff and the day-habilitation participants. The café is a program that helps teach participants responsibilities including grocery shopping, preparing meals, cleaning and maintaining the premises, simple math and providing customer service. By the way, the program participants use their tips to save up for trips they take on weekends. –

Trying out the exoskeleton of a lady bug.  Guess who loved it more?

We love these little hidden fun adventures that don’t make it on to the map.  If you are looking for other off the beaten path adventures look into the Guidrr app.  It was my plan at one time to be a guide and write some of these fun adventures but my plate is very unorganized right now I haven’t gotten it together.  So for now check out other people’s adventures and be ready of some of our recommendations in the future.

If you liked this post you might also like these other stories of our wild adventures.


Expanding Your Expectations


Motive Accelator

How I met my Entrepreneur – When God Writes Your Story

20 questions Where is your home?

The Grace of Accepting Help


Yes, I would love an extra set of hands.

Sure can you assemble the flower arrangements.

It would be a huge help if you could drop my dog off at the vet.

Don’t you just love those people who say “yes” when you ask if you can help?

It’s not a normal response or the first thought but they have learned over time to value relationships over results.


For most people it easier to say “no I have this under control.”  To be fair it is easier to whip out a batch of cupcakes then to make them as an activity with your child.  There is a time when the task just needs to be done.  Yet most of the time the task is more rewarding and pleasant with help.

Accepting help like most learned behaviors is going to take time and effort.

  1. Stop – when you are asked if you could use help, stop.  The gut response will most always be no.   Challenge yourself to take a moment and ask yourself “Is there a way I can include this person and deepen my relationship with them.
  2. Be prepared – if you are situation where lots of people will be asking to help i.e. justing having a baby, setting up for an event or a  major move write out a list of ways someone could help you if they ask.  For type A personalities and other high achievers it can be hard to let us others do for you but it will develop relationships and bless others.
  3. Remember –  If nothing else remember that if you deny the kindness of others whether help or gifts you are taking from them an opportunity to receive a return blessing from God.

Challenge yourself this week. Find a way to include someone this week into an activity would have normally done on your own or would have denied help for.  Who knows you may find yourself an apprentice.

Want to see how this worked for another woman?  Read Kate Motaung’s story of letting her daughter paint with her –

Like this post?  You may also enjoy The Art of Visiting a Church

This post was created from the Five Minute Friday group’s prompt help. Each week a group of wonderfully supportive people gather together to chat on Thursday night and at 9pm central time a 1 word prompt is released.  Join us at Five Minute Friday to learn and to join in. (disclosure: this post took much longer than 5 minutes because I was distracted with handwriting work for my big girl and jumping off the couch for my little one).

The Art of Visiting a Church

Our family has not only moved many times since we were established in 2007 but we are also frequently get invited to hear special speakers or visit a friends church.Visiting a new church
Let’s be honest visiting a church is a bit like being the new kid in the lunchroom.

Even if there is well layout signage and a very welcoming hospitality team you are still a guest and this is not your home. 31603_Curve_Ahead To be fair you are far more aware of this than anyone else.

There a few tips I have picked up along the way that would have been helpful if I had known them earlier.  My hope is to help you make the visit a little easier.

We don’t have to fix the church.  As a guest we might see things that are out of line or perceive that there is a better way of doing something.  However, if we haven’t been invited in to help with the running of the church it’s better to just make a mental note of that.  For some of us it is hard to just sit back and let others do things the way they want to rather than chiming in our two cents but really who wants a guest coming and telling them how to cook dinner.

kidsIt is equally hard on your children.

 If you have children visiting with you, go easy on them.  They are going through the same culture shock, fear of acceptance as you are and their security blanket is trying to drop them off in childcare.  Plan for it to take a little longer to check them in if they are going to be in childcare.  Be willing to sit with them for the whole service if you need to.  Many churches now have crying baby rooms or places where you can listen in without being in the main room.

No one is expected to entertain you.  This includes the style of music, the humor of the person doing announcement or even the temperature of the room.   When visiting another space it is easy to feel out of sorts and want to be catered to but that mama with 4 little ones is still a mama whether you are there or not and she may not be able to graciously welcome you each time.

Honor the home you are in. This IS someone’s home space.  They have deep connections to it and they love their home just as you did the one you are coming from.  Attempt to find beauty and appreciation of the space and place that you are in.  Time and again I hear stories of those who have very little welcoming first world people into their homes giving up their only meal for the day, standing so the guest can have the only real chair.  Whether room is made for us or not let us honor the home we are in.

If you are looking for a new church be engaging.  This is the hardest.  If we are honest.  When we are looking for a new church home it is easy to wait for someone to approach us or to be on our guard.  DON’T.  Yes always guard your heart as scripture suggests but be engaging.  If groups are listed in the bulletin – contact one, help out if they need someone to stack chairs.  Yes, the first 5 minutes can be awkward but space will be made for you. No one wants to drag others into their circle however, if the church is healthy they will quickly welcome you in.

Let’s be honest not every church you visit will be healthy and ready to engage you.  That’s okay.  We are called  “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18).  It’s not always going to work.  Just dust the dirt off your sandals and walk on.

What tips have you learned?  What advice would you give to people who are frequently visiting churches?



Stop Screen Go

Mentally preparing to go through TSA with 2 preschoolers. Teaching them the people are there to protect us.

We are preparing for the next leg of our nomadic summer.

(If you have missed our journey we have chronicled it on our Facebook page.)

This will be my first time flying with both of our girls on my own.  In the past we have gone man to man with them and I have still had to be pat down.  The little one gets half way through the metal detector and runs back to me thus setting off all the alarms.

I started preparing them by showing them videos and role playing.  Friends this video put out by the TSA is fantastic.

We are now chanting STOP, SCREEN, GO as we mentally prepare.


Watching the video and talking about this topic brought up thoughts about the bombing in Turkey in my heart.  I have a deep love for all things Turkish after having the opportunity to study there during a summer of college and learning to love the people.  These are wonderful people who love big and want to protect their country and the honor of their people.

It came as no surprise when I read this article –  Officials: Early airport security helped disrupt Istanbul attack . Of course they did.  That is the job they are committed to.  

As we experience delays and TSA shortages at the airports here in the states I am challenged to find ways to be grateful and supportive of these people who are committed to protect my children and me.

Thank you to everyone who serves as a line of security in our airports. 

Now if I can just convince the little one that the airplane is not going to leave without her, I think we are set.  Suggestions?

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday flash mob writing group.  This week’s word was Protect.  I had already been thinking of this topic when the word was released Thursday night during the Twitter party.  Join us.

Expanding Your Expectations


 Walking a mile in her shoes.

In all but the rare cases it was the men, the husbands who came home and told of opportunities and adventures out West.

In some homes there discussions but in many homes it was simply an announcement.  He saw the vision and the opportunities.  Many of the women saw the hardships ahead and the loss of schooling for their children.

Neither really knew what was in store for them or their family.  How could they?  That was the appeal of the journey west.  Uncharted terrorities.  No one to tell you how to live and what to do.  A chance to be your own man and build something new.

The Oregon Trail was a hard and brutal walk to the land of opportunity.  A large percentage died.  Women who started out with a husband and many children might find herself arriving at the destination and widow with possibly one child.

Why talk about this grueling hard time in American History?

To begin with – it’s the where I came up with the name of this blog.   If you haven’t guess it was based on Home on the Prairie novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her adventurous Pa.  Spoiler alert for anyone wanting to play 2 Truths and A Lie – my undergraduate degree is History.  Third, there is so much correlation between the Oregon Trail and my life right now.  You can read a post from when we started this journey here Prairie Madness.

In May we loaded everything we needed into our car and headed out on the road with no idea where our next home might be.  We thinned out our belonging and the rest was loaded into storage (Startup Families on the Road).

We have been traveling for over a month now and will soon join up with our pioneering papa in New York City for a few months while we wait to discernment on the next step.  No we really don’t know what our lives will look like after we house sit for July and August.

As a recovering EXTREME type A-Person (read CONTROL-FREAK) you would assume I am struggling with all of this but I know the captain of my ship and I trust HIM.  There is more peace in my life right now then there has been in years.   That’s one of the commonalities of this journey – these pioneering women brought their faith with them.  That is all they had to live on.

With each call, message or text I am being asked to Expand My Expectations.  No longer is it okay to hold on to the dreams and hopes I had as a young girl as if they are a sacred thing.  The challenge now is to think bigger.  Go outside of the box.  Dream and trust for things that were never on my 5 year plan.   Women heading west had no idea they would find beauty like this (1)
Twin Falls, ID




There are so many examples throughout history of men and women forging forward without really knowing what lie ahead.  Hearing the call and leaving.  Expanding your belief beyond what they have ever known or believed.  Yet we champion most those who have laid out a definite plan and obtain just what they set out to get.  Where’s the adventure in that?

We did our research and now we are ready to go.


I would love to hear your thoughts on our great adventure.  Don’t worry like the pioneer women who have gone before me I have heard it all.  The accusations that my children will be scarred, the whispers of  the possibility of disaster, the realities of the risk we are taking.  And still we taking the risk and believing.


Rest Why are You So Elusive?


I hear the Lord telling you to sit back and rest.

Now is a season of rest.

You need to find a way to rest.

Why is REST so elusive for me?

Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.

So why do we continue to SEEK rest?  Spend hours researching ways to rest?  Buying books that teach us how to mediate and quiet our minds.

 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:1-2

What! What do you want from us?  To sit and wait, doing nothing?



As in all things this is about the heart not the actual actions.

Will we rest only our bodies or will we chose to rest our self-reliance?  Our desire to be the Almighty who holds all the answers?  Will we choose to let go of the idea that we can accomplish anything if we just work hard enough and put our minds to it.


If we rest what will we find?  Perhaps that we really like who we are?   Perhaps things are not as out of control as we think?

This short musing is part of a series.  It is inspired by the wonderful writers over at Five Minute Friday Party.  Each Thursday a group of bloggers get together on Twitter building a supportive community while they wait for Kate Motaung to release a one word prompt.  Then we all get busy free writing for 5 minutes.  Join us!

We are celebrating the release of Kate’s book Letters to Grief.  Hop over and check it out.

Becoming the Mom I always wanted


worth itIn the past I have shared parts of the story of my mom and I – Nothing Can Stop God’s Plans for Your Life but this week I had a moment of pause and gratitude.   As  I sat by the pool watching my very different children enjoying themselves, I realized I was becoming the mom that I always wanted to be.

Most days we spend our time looking at weaknesses and shortcomings as a parents. Moms worry if they are doing enough or if they have forever messed up their children by yelling at them AGAIN.  What if for just one day we celebrated what we are doing right.  We take a moment to see where we are being the change we want to see in the world.

That day by the pool I wasn’t doing anything special but I was there.  With over 100 kids in the pool there were less than 15 parents on the deck.  That was my childhood mom couldn’t/didn’t come to the pool.  Usually it was because she was busy but there were times when she could have come but was too embarrassed to come.  I am determined that no matter what my body looks like I will Put on that Swimsuit and get in the Pool.

I do have to brag for a moment.  This little minion has passed 2 swim tests this summer during our travels.  1 at Twin Falls in a lake and another at this pool.  She was required to swim across the pool, backstroke across and tread for 30 seconds.  She wanted to go down the waterslide and I was not going to stand in her way.  Not sure if she could actually  do it I was waiting at the side to jump in and save her but she did it with flying colors.  Way to go my sweet 5 year old.

Tell us your story.  What change do you want to see in the world and how are you willing to step out and live that change first?


NOTE:  I know many people struggle with body issues and would like to be in better shape.  If that is you – I would love to walk that journey with you.   I participate in online community groups that start about once a month. We use the Beachbody line of products.  Contact me if you want to talk about how to get started.

What am I willing to LOSE – Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday again.  How fast the days go when you are resting and re-energizing.  Well, if it’s Friday that must mean it’s time to connect with my friends at Five Minute Friday for a quick unedited post.  What does that mean?  Each week Kate Motaung releases a one word prompt via Twitter that is followed by a crazy bunch of bloggers who take that one word and see what will spill out of their fingers.

This week the work is


What I am willing to lose to be the mother I want to be?

A double-minded man (woman) is unstable in all her ways?

This summer I am spending my time reading through Sally Clarkson‘s books.  Right now I’m deep into the Mission of Motherhood.

Having been raised by a teenage mother who had no idea what she was doing and was not a believer, biblical motherhood was not modeled for me.  Living most of childhood in object poverty all I wanted was to get out of that kind of life and to make a name for myself.  At every turn the question we ask is “what do you want to be when you grow up”.   Not what do you want to change when you grow up?  How do you want to effect the world?  What are you willing to give up for others.  So now I am asking those questions.  Wondering if my desire to go back to work is really what is best.  Questioning if the demand I feel to “make something” of myself means what I think it means.

In the early chapters Sally quotes Matthew 6:19-20.  What if the things we are storing up in Heaven are the hearts of our children?  What if that is the most important thing I am to be putting my education towards, my best hours, my most creative energy.

Will I be willing to lose my opportunities in the business world?  Will I lose sleep?  Will I go hungry another meal so I can feed my children first?  Would I be trust that my gifts will be used to their best in creating a home and haven for my family?


I love being a part of the Five Minute Friday community.  To read more of my posts you can click on the links below. To read other writings on this prompt click on the link below.

Creating a Haven without a home

Creating a Family Mission Statement – stop giving away the power over your own desires

she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow