My Obsession with Houses

I have a confession to make.

My name is Monica and I’m obsessed with houses.  There.  I said it.

I’m not sure exactly when this started but houses just make me happy.  It could possibly have roots in the Tuesday night trips to Pizza Hut from my childhood.  While there was nothing special about Pizza Hut (although in that day the Tuesday night “smorgasbord” was my daddy’s favorite), it was those drives around through neighborhoods after we ate that I looked forward to.

Driving around and peering into windows (from the street of course) and spying little lamps and cozy little comforts just made me feel all warm inside.  It still does, actually.

Before the flood, I kept a little table in my front entrance that could be seen through the front door for just that purpose.  It gave me such comfort to drive up and see my lamp shining.  So cozy.

I realize while I’m typing that those ideas might sound really weird.  Ha!  It’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I love houses.

I adore “home.”

I absolutely love to be surrounded by pretty things, things that hold a special memory for me.  Things that appeal to sight and smell are my favorite.  If I could sit in lamplight, curled up with an afghan and a good book with the scent of cinnamon filling the air….Ahhh…..that’s where I would stay.

Here are a few glimpses around my house that make my heart happy.

We purchased these antique knobs at a store in Jackson, MS and couldn’t wait to get them installed.

This countertop was made from a board that washed into our yard during the flood.  My husband made it with a living edge and it’s just perfect in every way.

I really like the way this star light looks there.  I found it on clearance at our local Cracker Barrel.  It is a pendant but I have no where to hang it. I’ll eventually detach that chain. 🙂

Our stairs could not be repaired to their original condition so I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in black and distressed them.  I really like how they turned out.

I was recently gifted this pony plant (no idea what the real name is) and it makes my mantle complete.


So those are a few things around here that make me smile.

I love house snooping 😉  I’d love to see photos or links to photos that make you feel all cozy and warm inside.




Homeschool – One Month In

We’ve been “in school” for one month now and are about to take our first day off tomorrow for Labor Day.  All four of us are welcoming that tiny break!

Here’s an overview of what I love and what I don’t so far from our curriculum choices for third and fifth grades.

I feel like one month is enough time to gauge whether or not my curriculum picks are a fit for us this year.  So far, most things have been a hit.

We continue to love Grapevine Studies for Bible.  My children (and I ) retain so much from studying this way.  We are currently studying Ruth.

I do like the Veritas Press History curriculum. I feel like I’m not quite doing it justice because I didn’t subscribe to the online portion.  We go through the material but it is a little dry when you are just reading the cards and answering questions about the material. I’m sure I could look up some fun activities to liven it up a bit, but I’m not there yet.

We still feel that Math U See is a good fit for math.  I like the use of manipulatives and I like knowing that the girls have fully grasped the concept  before moving on.  Sometimes I think they might benefit from more of a spiral type review each day but I can’t seem to have it both ways.  So, for now we are good and learning.

I ended up using the Abeka readers for third grade science.  Thankfully, the girls love to read so that seems to be enough.  I’ve added a few videos here and there but they are learning the basics.

My fifth grader has continued the Apologia Anatomy that we started (half-heartedly) last year.  It seemed very in depth for third and fourth grade but seems better suited for fifth grade.  I’m glad we waited to fully dive in.

I’m using IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) for all three girls.  I’m taking the third graders through the American History books that coincide with Classical Conversations Cycle 1.  Even though we are not meeting weekly with a CC group, we have continued that portion here at home.  I love the IEW approach to writing.  The fifth grader will use the Ancient History book this year.  Up until now, she was finishing up a few papers that we didn’t get around to last year.

Fifth Grade Literature Selections

While I love the Veritas Press literature selections and comprehension guides, it has taken quite a bit to get the girls interested enough to read them in their free time.  That makes the process a little slower than I would like.  The third graders are reading Stuart Little and Pinocchio.  The fifth grader started with Swiss Family Robinson.   In order to meet our goals, we will have to take that up a notch.  We will be bringing books along for any errands and adding in some reading minutes during the school day so that I can choose the books.

If you’re interested in our daily schedule at all, you can watch for that in a future post.  I’m always tweaking and I have a goal to make going to bed and dragging  back out of bed both earlier!  I”m always a work in progress.

So, that’s it for now.  We are busy.  We love homeschooling.  We really enjoy our days and are looking forward to continuing on this journey as long as it is what fits us best!

If you homeschool, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about what you’re doing that you love, like, and loathe. 🙂






Gaga Ball and Jesus- What’s the Connection?

The pledge of allegiance to the flag

The pledge to the Bible

A song from the hymnal – probably Stand up, Stand up for Jesus or Standing on the Promises.

Rotations through crafts which probably included some type of string art or finger-painting.

The preacher preached from the Bible

Prayer dismissed you and you took the 10 things you’d created with you and looked forward to coming back the next night.


I’m reminiscing about Vacation Bible School, now shortened to VBS.  Those good days in the summer when you went to church at strange times and all the little old ladies made as much kool-aid and as many cupcakes as you could possibly consume.


I dropped my children off tonight at our church’s version of VBS.  We have amazing leaders and volunteers who work very hard to make this happen.  There are HUNDREDS of kids who are coming to the church for this event.  The amount of work that is put into it is not to be taken lightly.  It’s a heroic effort.

However, I left sad.  I also left with a headache.  During the five minutes that it took for me to drop my kids into their respective color and number groups, the noise level was mind boggling. There were no less than fifty kids screaming just to be screaming.  There was NOTHING peaceful in this place at the moment.

Two and a half hours later, I picked them up.  One of my daughters has a bit of trouble processing things when she is overstimulated.  She was literally staring ahead and didn’t even seem to notice me when I went to her group.  I jokingly said “Hey…do you recognize me?” She teared up to cry.  She was obviously overwhelmed.

One of the three could tell me that there was  a short story given about Jacob.  No details, but Jacob was the subject.

The other two were sad that they had forgotten their crazy socks and wanted me to turn on the interior lights of the van so that they could read the flyer to see what was coming after crazy hair night.

Now, I know I’m not young.  But I am struggling just a little bit.

I feel like I might be promoting the idea that we might need to be loud, chaotic, wild and crazy to learn about Jesus.  I’m not saying there is anything “wrong” with that.  I’m just struggling a bit with it.

Be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

I think that the mission is to get children to enjoy coming to church so that they might want to return to hear about Jesus.  That’s a noble mission.

What about the children who are already coming?

I know that it is not the sole responsibility of the church to teach my children about God. I am thankful that I have that privilege.  However, I desire to have the support in a corporate setting.

Maybe that is my take away.  Maybe the church is there to initiate the conversation and then the work is mine.

Either way…..there’s a lot of Gagaball being played in the southern states this summer.

I’m going to trust that Jesus is in there too!