Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lessons for mom

 One thing about me, I love to talk homeschool. Ask anyone who knows me and they might tell you.."If you ask her about home school, grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable"  Or they may possibly say, "Don't ask her about homeschool, she'll talk your ear off!" 😬

I remember the year my oldest was getting ready for Kindergarten and I was searching for other moms who homeschooled. I felt completely overwhelmed and lost as to what I should be doing.

Curriculum was so overwhelming. Who would of thought that teaching reading and numbers was so popular that there were a million and one companies that taught you how to do it..

Yearly evaluations, where do I begin! All I could imagine was someone taking my 5 year old daughter into a separate room and asking her algebraic questions and her opinion on the critically acclaimed novel, How to Kill a Mockingbird. You then could only imagine my overly dramatic scenario turning into a child service social worker advising me to send her to school because I was clearly unqualified to teach.
                           Slightly dramatic thinking was happening over here..

Let's certainly not forget the social aspect of homeschooling. What kind of mom would I be if I didn't have extra circular activities outside of the home?! Not a good one of course!  Or so that is what I believed.

Then there were the constant fears and doubt of not doing enough.
-Not reading enough
-Not socializing enough
-Not doing enough "hands on" activities
-Not playing enough
-Not strict enough
-Not having enough fun
-Not having enough structure
-Not teaching enough science or history..or any at all...
This list of not enough can be endless, daunting and suck the joy right out of us can't it?!

  Occasionally I sit and reflect on those first few years of school. I think about the differences compared to how we do school now. The changes, the seasons...

 With that, there are a few things that I have learned and continue to learn along the way. Hopefully some of these will offer a bit of encouragement to another mom who finds herself in some of the same ruts or fears as I mentioned.

  Read Aloud. This is something I wish I would have begun in the very beginning of our homeschool journey. I have come to love this part of our "schooling"
It's never to late to begin. It may feel slightly awkward at first if this is not something that you or the children are used to taking time out for, but I promise the reward is great!

So grab some fun story-telling books, old classics, adventure, mystery, biographies. So many great ones to choose from.
 You can visit the library if you have not yet built a library of your own. Most libraries offer a "pre order" option now. They will call you once the book(s) is(are) available & hold it for you at the desk.  It's such a great tool if you're to busy to visit the library or if you have young ones.

            Lets be honest, taking young ones to the library is not always a good time. is also a great online thrift book store if you're looking to add to your library at home.

The thing I love about sitting and reading together is that it can be done anywhere at anytime at any age.  They are never too young or too old to sit and listen to mama read to them.

 My older girls still love to sit and listen to me read and most of the books they have they already read once or twice. It's just a precious time together and I have grown to treasure it so very much.

My oldest daughter laying on the couch wanted me to make it clear that she is not mad in the picture.  haha

On days that are not going quite the way you had envsioned or marked all beautifully in the school planner, no worries. Snuggle up on the couch with a good book or go pile on mom & dads bed. Stay there for hours if you'd like..

If it's crazy and you need some "down time"  Sit the kids at the table with some lunch, grab a book and read while they eat.

If the baby's cranky, the toddlers are to loud and your first grader (or 2nd, 3rd, 8th grader..) is complaining that they can't concentrate with all the noise (story of my life over here..😜)
Grab some blankets, a good book, paper & crayons, pencils & sketchbooks, a pitcher of lemonade or a cup of coffee for you and the older ones and head outside.
                     I would call that a successfully, good school day and so should you!!

Just as a quick side note; this time does not have to be "perfect" in any way. Whenever we do our reading time, there are always little ones running in and out. Interrupting me while I read. Sometimes I have to snap my fingers at the boys wrestling and remind them to do something that is quiet.
              If we wait for the perfect time to read together, it will likely never happen at all!

 Family Groove.
As families, we can all be so different. We have different schedules with work, school, activities, ect.

It's so important to find your family's groove.

Deciding what things are important to you, your spouse and children.

I can remember the first few years of our homeschool. I had this "idea" of what everything should look like.
It appeared to me that every "good" homeschool mom could sew, bake her own bread, had morning devotionals with the whole family, played games on the weekends, had very limited T.V.  time,  had each child excelling in their talents/gifts through extra curricular activities, took field trips and/or vacations to visit national Monuments, Museums and Parks.
 Not to mention the structure in their school day, the beautifully, organized school rooms, well planned out daily lessons & dinner menus.

When my children were sleeping at night, I would be searching online and reading all the big bloggers homeschool tips, clicking on all their links that offered "freebies" and downloading everything I could get my hands on. I was in awe at their homeschool room tours, the activities that they did and the way they incorporated lessons into each one.

What was meant to be an encouragement to me and offer me new, fun ideas had me walking away feeling ill-equipped, overwhelmed and at times jealous & frustrated.

As the Lord does in every area of our heart. He so gracefully began to teach me, soften my heart, and show me what He wanted for our family. 

As an example;
My husband has an hour commute one way to work every weekday, Monday-Friday. He is out of the house by 5am every morning.
I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with him before he heads off to work. Have breakfast together and have a family devotional or time to do some scripture writing together.
However, that would require us all to be awake by 4am every morning and well... that sounds just plain awful!

Since he begins work early in the morning, he is able to be home by 6pm at night, which gives us the ability to have dinner together as a family, talk about our day, laugh and have good conversation.
If there are biology questions or algebra problems, we usually leave those for dad to help with.

       We can usually sneak in another cup of coffee later in the evening together as well.😉

Because we have been adding precious children to our family over the years, we chose early on to not   heavily involve ourselves in co-ops, or sign our children up for extra activities that required weekly commitments out of the home. Even though we were available on weeknights, it just felt chaotic and not worth the time or financial requirements that came with it.

Though this season is changing, I'm thankful that we decided to spend that precious time as a family together.

Our daily schedules have shifted and changed many times over the years. Mostly because of babies, but at times because of my health or my husbands schedule and commitment to other things outside of the home.
 I'm excited to share and elaborate on this in a different post for another time, but for now these are just a few short stories of what works now or has worked for us in the past.

 The important thing is for you to find what will work for you and your family.

So for now,
I have learned to bake fresh bread, but not until I purchased a mixer that could do the work for me.
I can now sew a button on to a shirt and repair an injured stuffed animal.
Devotional, prayer and a love for the Word of God is another post for another time, but I can tell you it has not come naturally for me and it remains a fight for my time and attention daily.
Family games on weekends hardly ever happen, we're more of a grab some popcorn and watch a movie type of fam.
We rarely go on vacations and certainly have not crossed visiting the many National Parks we all long to see & visit off of our bucket day!
Organization and structure to our family and homeschool is again, another post, but it has been something the Lord continues to teach me and give me an understanding and love for.

Prayer.   When doubt, frustration and exhaustion creep in.
               When you feel unworthy or ill-equipped.
               When you're unsure, have no answer, and don't know how to teach a particular child.
When you feel overwhelmed. Have no more space in your home to organize all those books and you feel chaotic and disorderly.                  
 When someone seems to have it all together and you feel you have nothing together.
When you can't possibly look at one more algebra problem or listen to one more child complain they "Can't do it"              

Lean on your spouse, ask for help when you need it. He may not be home with you all day while you teach the children, but never doubt his ability to see whats happening and offer you some input.

Find a friend who homeschools as well and ask them to pray with you and for you.
Surround yourself with seasoned homeschool moms who will encourage you, share ideas with you, and lessons they've learned along the way.
You will learn great things from each other.

Most of all, pray! He will always give you ideas, encourage you, strengthen you, love on you and gracefully teach you.

                                                   Have a beautiful homeschool year!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Beauty Favorites

                             This is a little more of a random post for me. haha

I'm not any kind of beauty guru, nor am I very well educated in this department, but I have definitely come to appreciate a good skin care routine over the years since having children.

I know that pregnancy and age shows very differently for all of us. One particular thing I have dealt with through each pregnancy is hyper pigmentation and age spots. I also have rather dry skin.

There are all kinds of products out there that will help, but finding one that is affordable can sometimes be a challenge for me. I enjoy watching youtube "favorites" on this subject and reading other women's blogs about their skin care routine, so I thought I might share mine with you. 😊

Skin care
                                                Here are some of my favorite items to use.
                 ** I will also post some links to these items below in case you are interested.**

The CeraVe hydrating cleanser is great for dry skin. Ive noticed a big difference in my skin since switching to this cleanser. The best way to describe this face wash is it's as though you are rubbing lotion onto your skin, yet you're getting a clean face afterwards. For those with more oily skin, that may sound horrifying..haha 😅
But for those with very dry skin like mine, this may be exactly what you need. 
I purchase this at Walmart for around $8.

Thayers Witch Hazel with Rose Petal. This would be the one thing I would tell you to run out {or go online 😉} and buy today! This feels wonderful on the skin. All the ingredients in this witch hazel { aloe vera, rose petal water, grapefruit seed extract, just to name a few} will have your skin saying "Thank you!" It feels so refreshing and clean on your skin.Plus it smells like roses. 👍
 I do not wash my face in the morning, I will just use this to give my skin a fresh clean feel before applying moisturizer. It has no alcohol, so it is safe on your lips and under your eyes as well. I purchased this large, 12 oz. bottle on Amazon for $10.

                                           Now onto some serums and lotions that I love...
The Andalou naturals 1000 roses Beautiful Day Cream, is a moisturizer I purchased at Target. This is a great hydrating day cream. A little goes a long way with this stuff, which is nice. I don't feel like I will run out anytime soon. This moisturizer is a thick, but not at all tacky consistency. Its very creamy and soft on your skin. There is also no fragrance which I personally like. 😉

I actually purchased this day cream on clearance at the beginning of the year as Target was bringing out all of the new skin care lines. So I scored this for only $7. On Amazon its sells for about $18.         Andalou Naturals Day Cream

The RoseHip Seed Oil. This is a light oil but adds a beautiful glow to your skin. I personally like using one little drop mixed into my foundation whenever I wear it. It adds a great dewy look plus a little more hydration onto your skin so that there is no creasing into any fine lines and wrinkles.  I also like to  use just a tiny  amount and pat it onto my concealer under my eyes instead of a setting powder. Again, it just adds a little bit of hydration and keeps the makeup from settling into any lines or wrinkles. RoseHip Seed Oil

Sundown Naturals Vitamin E oil. This oil is 70,000 IU, a very thick vitamin e. I bought this from Walmart for $5. One thing I like about this vitamin e is that the ingredients are only Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)
 Some vitamin e oils will have a mix of vitamin e with other ingredients such as mineral oil, olive oil, ect. So that is something to keep an eye on.  I love to use this oil under my eyes as a good moisturizer before bed. I also like to use this on my lips. **This is not to be ingested**
I also like to use this vitamin E as an ingredient that I use to make my deodorant. {I will be sure to share that recipe soon 🙂}
Sundown Naturals Vitamin E Oil

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C. I began to look into Vitamin C as I was looking for something to even out my skin tone. This stuff has definitely been helpful in doing that.This serum also contains Hyaluronic acid & vitamin E.
 I have only used this serum for about 3 weeks and I can tell a significant difference in my skin tone, It is much more even now. A little goes a long way with this stuff as well. This serum does have  a sanitary smell, as I looked up the ingredients I realized it is the witch hazel in there. 😉
I purchased this serum on Amazon for $20.  TruSkin Vitamin C

Heritage Store Rose Water & Glycerin.  So you may now be noticing a commonality to most of these products..haha.  I do love Roses. I love the smell and what they offer in skin and beauty.  This comes in a spray and can be used many different ways. I personally love to use this spray as a quick way to hydrate my skin, as a makeup setting spray, and at times Ive also use it as a toner.  It has a very delicate floral scent {smells so good!}🌹
There three simple ingredients: Water, natural vegetable glycerin, & Rosa Damascena
I purchased this on Amazon for $11.Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin

And so that is all for my skin care and what I love. If there are any products that you love and are affordable, please let me know what they are.  I have not found a good sunscreen face moisturizer that I like, so any recommendations would be so appreciated. 😉
Thanks for stopping by, have a blessed day! ♡

Monday, March 13, 2017

My first Home Birth

 There is something special about hearing women share their experience with birth. The first time they hold their new born. The first time they feed the precious, brand new baby.  The smells.  The counting of the fingers and toes.  All the feels and emotions.  Its such a beautiful gift.

There are so many details I remember with each of my children when they were born. They are each so unique and different in who they are. Their arrival into this world is no different.

This time around, we did things quite different. It has not been an area of comfort for us in the past, but the Lord certainly used this time to stretch our faith and teach us even more how to trust in Him.

 So this was our first home birth.  Adam and I and our 8 children were home. Two of my closest sisters also came to be with me. **They to have birthed at home only assisted by family.**

 They gave me drink to stay hydrated, they rubbed my very sore back during labor, they sat with my children, they cleaned, they cooked, they truly just served my family and I.

They left Adam and I in our room alone as we prayed and I worked hard through those contractions.



Lindsey & Elizabeth sitting on my bed while they awaited the arrival of the brother/sister
{We didn't know the gender}
        Lindsey was praying for me.  💞

He came into the world after 4 hours of labor. So much love!

I have birthed many babies. Each and every birth is so special and something every woman should be  proud of.

This experience for me taught me joy in a whole new way. It taught me joy comes from truly trusting in Him.  💕
This is just another step of my journey to joy....

 Now anyone who knows me, knows that I can't possibly go without sharing a few funny tidbits. 😉

A few weeks before I was to give birth I decided to try my hand at making some natural deodorant. Though I like this deodorant, I can attest to the  fact that it DOES NOT stand against the hard work of labor.. 😅 I was definitely sending off a very earthy smell...

Another funny story my sisters told me. While I was laboring, my daughter Lindsey, she is 11, comes out of the room and into the living room where my sister Sarah is sitting. Sarah asked her how I was doing and Lindsey replies, "She does not look happy!"   😏


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oh goodness, its been quite a while since I've updated on here.  You know how it goes, just living life, keeping up with house, children, school and having babies...

Yes, thats right. We had another sweet baby boy.

Clayton Reed White. He was 7lbs. 14oz of pure sweetness when he arrived.

That makes 9 children that we've been blessed with.

5 beautiful girls & 4 handsome boys.

This mama could not be more proud of each and every one of them.

They're just keeping us young...  :)

 I'm looking forward to sharing my journey to joy, our homeschool, our favorite recipes & the many adventures of life and family on here again.

 Be blessed!

Monday, July 13, 2015

#WhiteHouseAdventures Part 1

That was my #hashtag for our family vacation we just took up to see our family in Ohio. 
It was such a great time we had visiting with all those we love and miss. 
We also got to have a few adventures along the way that filled our hearts with beautiful memories. 

It all began when one day we just decided.... "Let's randomly choose a week in June to go take a trip" 
Haha- I do not kid, we really did just randomly choose the week we left about a month before we took off. We already knew that we were going to try and make a trip up to Ohio, but we were not real sure when we would leave, as we were trying to figure out many of the logistics that would come with taking a trip. Especially for this family, as we don't tend to visit outside of the my uncles farm which is only an hour north of us.  :)

So I did what would only make sense and wait till two days before we left to do laundry, packing, shopping, ect.  As my brother-n-law would put it "that's the Sansom in you" :))

Just for good ole fashion fun I thought I would also wash all the bed sheets and blankets as if I didn't have enough laundry to hurry through. ;)

The boys were given the duty of helping me put all the clothes away, a big help they were too. :)

I may or may not have been slightly distracted and interrupted by this little guy! ;)

Finally the day arrived and we were off....yay! Mama had her coffee in hand, daddy had his Mountain Dew and the kids were loaded with paper, crayons, snacks, and movies for the player my sweet sister loaned to us for the trip. 

I had put together a little state "passport" for the kids to fill out as we passed through each state and I had the brilliant idea that we should pull over at every state sign and get a picture. ;) After we pulled off to the side of the interstate to snap this picture of the older kids in from of the Alabama sign we realized that it was a little scary jumping out on a busy interstate with kids to snap a picture...haha
You can tell we don't get out often! ;)

So off we went. The kids did great! Our first stop for the night was the Smokey Mountains.

We did, of course, have to stop and stretch our legs, use the restroom and feed little Carson every few hours. 
Rest stops were our great adventure for the first 8hours of travel.

Everyone waiting for daddy's  "Ready-Set- Gooooooo"

    Off they went...... * I adore this picture*  :)

  This is so Lindsey..haha :))

        Look at that serious face. 

We made very last minute plans to stay 2 nights at a cabin rental near Pigon Forge, TN. 
It was super dark when we arrived the first night and we were all laughing and screaming in the van as daddy weaved his way up the dark mountain. With it's very narrow, windy roads. We were so happy once we finally arrived to the cabin! :)

We grabbed some pizza for dinner.

Climbed in the big jacuzzi for a picture. ;)

Then off to bed before our great adventure in the Smokey Mountains. 

A nice cup of coffee and some praying while nursing bubba on the deck was just the perfect touch the next morning before we headed out to see the mountains.
*Imay have also text my mom telling her I wished she and my siblings with with me. :))

 There they were...the beautiful Smokey Mountains! Majestic!!  I just stood and soaked up the air, the beauty, the sounds the stillness. It was so beautiful! 

Here we are getting ready to hike up Laurel Falls. We started out looking so well put together..haha
It was so hot!  I was carrying the bubs and Adam mostly carried Lexi as it was a bit steep and a little hard for her to keep up. It was quite crowded and many people who were passing us by coming down the mountain did not look nearly as hot and sweaty as Adam and I did. We were laughing at how terribly out of shape we must be. We realized later, as we were heading down, that gravity coming down off the mountain will keep you maintaining a slight jog, which in return gives a nice breeze. So coming down the mountain we were not as sweaty either. Possibly a bit more wide eyed as we were a bit more afraid we may trip and fall of the side of the mountain. Haha
*I may exaggerate a bit when I speak of any kind of cardiovascular activity in my life. :)

We finally made it to the Falls. It was beautiful! 

  I love him so very much!! 

Adam took a few of the older children down into a creek below the falls. It was pretty steep, so the two younger ones and I stayed up where the water fall was. They played for a while in the water and skipped some rocks in the stream.

On our way back down the mountain we heard a man say to his wife while looking at Adam "that's the closest to a bear I've seen out here so far" It gave us a good laugh so I told Adam I needed to get a good picture of him hiding in the bushes looking like a bear.. :))

Visiting these beautiful mountains, even if for just one day, was a perfect way to begin the #WhiteHouseAdventures