Today's Wisdom

Monday, August 31, 2015

Back To Goal Setting

We were on vacation last week so I'm trying once again to get my groove back.  That seems like a recurring theme around here!

Here are the questions I ask myself when planning my week:

Top 5 for the week
  1. celebrate Sarah - she's turning 12 this week!
  2. unpack and catch up on laundry
  3. ease back into to daily chores
  4. go to bed at a decent time
  5. update planner dates, reviews, school plans, etc

Menu Plan
Breakfasts and lunches are pretty much the same so I'm going to stop sharing those unless you want me too!
                Enchiladas, Spanish rice
                Chicken Quesadillas
                BBQ chicken, broccoli, mashed potatoes
                Spaghetti, salads
                Chicken and rice, peas  
Reading goals
  • Priscilla Shirer's Discerning the Voice of God
  • Judges study with Hellomornings
  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
Fitness goals
  • decided to just start slow and just start walking
  • I'm starting back with a simple water goal as well - at least 32oz per day (last week I think this lasted 3 days - back at it!)
New Habit for September
  • water, water, water (at least 32 oz per day)

Review of Last Week
This is a new section but I didn't make any goals last week since we were on vacation so it's a easy review this week.  :)

I would love to hear your goals for the week!  I'm linking up with Money Saving Mom and reading the goals of others there as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review of Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Does teaching literature class scare you?  Are you looking for a literature curriculum to use with your high school student?  Are you looking for a course you could use as a book club, with a co-op, or just alone at home?  If so, keep reading about today's review!

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide is a new literature program for Christian High Schools and Homeschools by Writing with Sharon Watson. We had the true blessing of reviewing this course plus the first 2 novels with my very reluctant high school reader.  I explain the blessing part later in the review during how we used the course.

About the Course
Writing with Sharon Watson Review

The course includes 3 physical books - The Teacher's Guide, The Student Book, and An Optional Quiz and Answer Manual:

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide (Student Book)

The student book can easily be completed by the student with very little input from the teacher.  You can set up a weekly, monthly, or every other week meeting for yourself and your student to discuss the lessons.  We chose to go over each lesson at the end of the day.  

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Teacher's Guide 

The Teacher's guide will be your best friend while teaching this course.  It has so much information including discussion ideas of what your student is learning in their student book.  It has your suggested schedules, reading plan, discussion questions, vocabulary quizzes, answers, grading grids and lots more.  I loved the fact she includes Facebook questions and links that she asked her own Facebook group of students.  This section makes it so simple to start your own group.  Just know that there is so much information included in this guide that I'm barely touching the surface!

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Quiz and Answer Manual

The quizzes found in the Quiz and Answer Manual can also be found online and completed online by the student.  This is an optional feature if you would rather your student take the quizzes and opinion surveys on paper instead of online.  Online quizzes are automatically graded for you and you will find the answer key to the paper version in the back of the book.  

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide:Novel Notebook (Free PDF Download)

The course also includes a free PDF download of the Novel Notebook which your student can use to answer questions from the lessons and make notations in while reading their novel.  They may also just use a composition notebook instead but the Novel Notebook makes the pages more visually pleasing and creates a nice keepsake book as well. 

The suggested schedule has your high school student complete the course in 2 semesters and earn 1 credit in either literature, language arts, or English.  The entire course consists of 70 lessons.  Some lessons occur before you read the novels and some after.  The course will take you through these 8 novels (which need to be purchased separately from the curriculum):
  • Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
  • Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie
  • Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
The novels were selected for their colliding worlds - physical, political, extraterrestrial, racial, spiritual, and philosophical.  Students will tackle these concepts as they analyze these works of literature.  It is also highly recommended that you use the novel versions listed in the teacher's guide to make following along with the page numbers easier.  The ISBN numbers are given in the teacher's guide and the novels are available for purchase on the website. Please note that this curriculum is written from a Christian perspective but the books chosen are not necessarily written by Christians. The books will contain words, characters, and events that many may find to be offensive.  The beauty of this course though is your student is taught how to analyze these works of art and evaluate these findings with the truths found in the Bible.

Some of the literary terms you will cover include text and context, pseudonym (nom de plume), foreshadowing, conflict, protagonist, antagonist, satire, irony, and so many more.  Scroll to the bottom of this page for a complete listing.

Our background story and use in our Homeschool

My Senior is and always has been an extremely reluctant reader.  One of the first questions of the course is why might passages or whole books written over 100 years ago seem boring to today's readers.  His answer was, "because I often cannot understand a word they are saying!"  Admittedly, I agree with him.  When you can't follow the dialogue, you really have no idea what the characters are feeling or trying to say.  As we began the course, he was again immediately reluctant but the course guides you through the lessons before you even begin reading the book itself.  It introduces you to the book, gives you words to look for that might be slang or unfamiliar to you, introduces to a little about the author, gives you literary terms, and more.  Still reluctant, he began to read the book, and he actually started to enjoy it. Honestly, I was so shocked.  We slowed the time frame down for him and that really helped him as well.  He just could not comprehend more than 2 chapters at a time so he did that 4 days a week taking him almost 3 weeks to complete his reading of the first book.  The suggested schedule said to complete the reading of the book in 2 weeks.  The layout of the schedule is completely flexible which lately seems like a must for our homeschool.  I don't think we follow any suggested schedules around here!  That's the beauty of homeschooling!


My son and I both would highly recommend this course for high school students of all backgrounds.   The literary terms and analyzing questions will certainly prepare your students for college literature.  The practical tips and writing style of Ms. Watson are so relatable to students.  Ms. Watson draws you into the book before you even pick it up by giving you background information of the author, time period, and intriguing facts that you may not be aware of - at least I wasn't!  The real beauty of this program is I don't have to read all the books to be able to have a wonderful discussion of them with my son - what a time saver!  However, after our discussions I must say that I was highly intrigued and do plan to add them to my own reading list.  A few of them I have read, but there are several that I have not.

The goal here is to grow a love tackling and analyzing the classics and seeing that they are not so scary after all.  Let's face it, the majority of us are just as scared to teach the classics as the students are to read them.  So, not only did the course give my son confidence in his abilities but it gave me confidence as well! 

You can check out some samples and information from the course and see for yourself why we will be continuing this course in our homeschool.  

Right now there is also an awesome giveaway and Facebook party going on to celebrate the release of this curriculum. The giveaway ends 8/26/15 so hurry!   Join the Facebook party on Thursday, August 27, 2015 for even more prizes and information on this wonderful literature curriculum.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, August 24, 2015

Free Printable - Bible Memory Verses

As a part of our My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times curriculum, we learn new Bible verses through out the year.  I like to include these verses on our school memory board. so I made some printable sheets with the verses. 

You can download the free printable sheets by clicking on the image of the one you prefer.  

Enjoy learning God's Word this year!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Make Over Your Mornings - My Morning Routine

(This post contains affiliate links - thank you for helping out our little family blog!)

Early rising has never been my strong suit and I strongly feel that each person has their "own" early rise time.  I love this course because it's not just about becoming a morning person but using the time that you do have to the best of your potential.  

My routine looks like a lot written down but some are extremely easy to accomplish and take less than a minute.

My current morning routine of habits that are already built in and going well include:

  • Putting on my Fitbit - Okay, I need to expand on this one! Is anyone else like me and could NEVER remember to put this thing on first thing?!?  I started placing mine on the bathroom counter because let's face it, I'm in my 40's so the first thing I have to do in the morning is use the bathroom!!  As soon as my hands are washed, I reach over and put on my Fitbit.  Aren't you glad I wash my hands first?  :)
  • personal prayer time
  • personal devotion time - right now I have my morning devotion time using the Hellomornings current study which  is currently in Judges. 
  • drinking my coffee :) - you know this is an important one!
  • breakfast
  • family devotion time
  • make sure kids do doggie duties
  • school
In the process of adding in - worked well last week at least!
  • walking after family devotions
  • drink one bottle of water immediately after walk
New habits I want to add back in gradually:

  • make a quick check in to my Hellomornings accountability group (new session starts tomorrow)
  • looking over my to do list - prioritizing what needs to be done first
  • writing a scripture verse daily - one per week to work on memorizing
  • start a load of laundry
  • dinner preparation
  • morning chores
  • time to just sit still, be quiet, and listen for God to speak - maybe light a candle for ambiance
Sometimes I shower in the morning but the majority of the time I shower at night to make more time for my morning routine.

Stay tuned for my nighttime routine which makes my morning routine even more successful as well as my afternoon routine.

Right now you can receive Day 1 of the Make Over Your Mornings Online Course for FREE!

What does your morning routine look like?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 2

Week 2 done and over.  We are slowly building up our new routine and things are falling into place well.

A peak into our school this week included.....

  • prayer and letter writing to the President
  • more States studies including rummy
  • more fun science experiments of of molecules and atoms
  • of course Math
  • a hilarious skit action of Christopher Columbus, Crew mate, and Queen Isabella 



Stephen received his new rank with CAP - he is now a Cadet Technical Sergeant!

Sarah also started back with dance and has already dropped another class.  I think she might be outgrowing dance.  She only takes 2 classes now - ballet and her first love, tap. She's a beautiful dancer but if she doesn't want to do it, I'm certainly not going to make her.  Less time and money for me too!

As I try to tackle taking back my morning routine, I'm trying to take the time to be still, quiet, and listen to what God is saying to me.  It was faint but brought tears to my eyes as He reminded right away of the glorious promises He has for me - yep, little 'ole me!

This is the study book some ladies in our church are going through.  Excellence!

And remembering this #everdayallday!

I hope you have a had wonderful week!  What was your favorite part of the week?  Mine would definitely be the conversations that have stirred up this week in our home.  We discussed some pretty deep topics but I enjoyed seeing and hearing this new stage of intellect from my children.  They are growing up - and so am I!  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mornings - Hate or Love?

(This post contains affiliate links - thank you for helping out our little family blog!)

Are you a morning person?  Have you trained yourself to be one?  Do you wonder why the most basic (yet most essential) parts of your day seem like such a struggle?  Getting kids up, fed, managing schedules, fitting in exercise, and making time for Bible reading and prayer?

Believe me when I tell you that you are NOT alone! 

So many women struggle to find the time in their days – and in their weeks and even months – to find the time to fill their souls.  Wouldn’t it be ideal to structure your morning so that you are placing TOP PRIORITY on nurturing your soul before launching into your day?

Have you yearned to get into a morning routine that begins with time to fill your soul before the rest of the household needs you?  Crystal Paine of has created a 14-day course that walks you how to do just that!  Her 14-day Make Over Your Mornings course walks you, step-by-step, through a process that creates a routine that will:
  • Prioritize nourishing your soul before launching your day
  • Streamline your mornings (and your whole day)
  • Create a to-do list that serves (not strangles)
  • Establish accountability
  • Set short- and long-term goals, and SO MUCH MORE!
I have to tell you that I am going through the course AGAIN as summer often throws my routine off completely and that's okay.  I love the practical advice that Crystal gives but my favorite part of the course was what to do when you fail (because we all do!)

For the next few days, you can access Day 1 of this course for FREE so head on over to to see what you think.

Let's take our mornings back, ladies!  Are you with me?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Melissa's Motivation Monday

Remember this post?  Well, I'm trying to get back to some goal planning that went completely away over the summer. 

Here are the questions I ask myself when planning my week:

What are your top 5 goals this week?  I'm going with the same 5 as last week.  I did pretty well with these last week but could use some more direct focus on them.
  1. School started back and in routine
  2. continue to brainstorm some blog posts
  3. ease back into to daily chores
  4. go to bed at a decent time
  5. walk 3x this week and wear fitbit everyday

What is on your menu?

Breakfast:  cereal, fruit & yogurt, egg sandwiches, waffles
Lunches: bagel pizzas, sandwiches, salads, leftovers
Dinners:   Rotisserie Chicken, green beans and macaroni and cheese
                Enchiladas, Spanish rice (STILL haven't eaten yet, lol)
                Chicken Quesadillas (didn't have these either - we ate out way too much)
                 BBQ chicken, broccoli, mashed potatoes
                 Fish sticks, garden peas, apple sauce 
What are you reading?
  • Priscilla Shirer's Discerning the Voice of God
  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
Fitness goals
  • decided to just start slow and just start walking
  • I'm starting back with a simple water goal as well - at least 32oz per day (last week I think this lasted 3 days - back at it!)

I would love to hear your goals for the week!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Illuminating Literature iPad Giveaway from Writing with Sharon Watson!

Coming soon we will be sharing about a wonderful new Literature curriculum that we have had the opportunity to review.  Does teaching literature scare you?  Do you get eye rolls and sighs when the big old bad literature books come out?  Then, the Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide set might be just what you and your student have been looking for!  My reluctant reader has so far jumped right in and this mama who had no clue what to do with him is happy, happy, happy!  Join in on the fun and a chance to win some amazing prizes!

Writing with Sharon Watson Illuminating Literature iPad Mini Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide, we are joining with Writing with Sharon Watson to bring you an incredible giveaway!  One of you may win ALL of the following prizes, a value of nearly $450:

Apple iPad Mini 16GB, WiFi Only ($329 value)

  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch Display; 1024-by-768 Resolution
  • Apple iOS 6; Dual-Core A5 Chip 1GHZ
  • 5 MP iSight Camera; 1080p HD Video Recording
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); 16 GB Capacity
  • Up to 10 Hours of Battery Life; 0.68 lbs

Illuminating Literature Curriculum Set ($64.47 value)

Literature in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere . . .

Your teens will appreciate the unstuffy way Sharon Watson teaches literature. They’ll read some great novels, encounter the hero’s journey, learn literary terms and elements, and gain an appreciation for fine literature. More important, eager and reluctant readers will become more discerning as they learn the secret craft of the writer. Prepare your teens for college literature courses and for the rest of their reading life.
  • Written for Christian high schools, homeschools, and co-ops.
  • Two-semester course earning one credit for language arts or English.
  • 70 lessons.
  • Student-directed, with clear lessons and reading schedules.

Illuminating Literature 8-Book Bundle ($52.84 value)

This book bundle includes the following books used in Illuminating Literature:
  • Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
  • Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie
  • Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  Writing with Sharon Watson Illuminating Literature Facebook Party  
To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below, then  join us for a Facebook Release Party on Thursday, August 27 at 9pm ET when the winner will be announced. 

RSVP for the Facebook Party

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to the Writing with Sharon Watson email list.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up - Week 1

School is back in session!  I say that but y'all know we never really stop.  :)  We had a fantastic first week!!  We always start back slow and steady hoping to set ourselves up for nothing but a successful year.  Of course, there are always bumps along the way but we learn from those too!

Here we go with our Senior, Freshman, and 7th grader - 2 in High School!!  Say what?  Where does the time go, y'all?  We have our fun Back To School traditions which now include coffee and of course - pajamas.  Yep, we are those homeschoolers!

What a way to start back - learning about atoms by beating an egg into meringue - that's my kind of science right there!

Seeing what states we can remember from last year and State Rummy - so fun and challenging!! 

The week began with my birthday celebration.  Loved these beautiful roses and my sweet salad complete with a candle made by Sarah.  She made every meal I had that day!

And this friends is what really goes on in this homeschool.  Enjoy your days!!

Linking up with Weekly Wrap-Up.