Posted in Homeschooling Corner, My 52 Stories

My First Homeschool Conference

I’m not sure why I didn’t write about this much sooner, but it is still relevant and I hope it might help a homeschooling mama considering whether or not to attend a similar conference. In all of my nine-plus years of homeschooling, I had never attended a homeschool conference until September of last year (2017). I just never took the opportunity until then, but I had always wondered what they were like. Now I know!

This conference took place at The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee.

This was a Wild + Free conference. I had never heard of Wild + Free before I signed up for this event. My lovely friend, Audria, told me about it and before I knew it we had each booked our tickets, months in advance. I definitely recommend going to something like this with a friend. It makes the whole experience sweeter, plus you can figure things out together. ūüôā

The location for this conference was a lot of fun, and it was my first visit to Tennessee so that was exciting, but what I want to focus on is the experience itself: There were dynamic speakers and talented musical performances. The focus was on building one another up. There were hundreds of other homeschooling mamas, from all backgrounds, in attendance. Honestly, it was thrilling to be there because I felt a part of something bigger than myself. I realized that I am not alone on this journey, and that was my biggest take-away.


The speakers tackled a variety of parenting, family, and homeschooling topics. Some were addressed to the entire group while others took place in what I’d call “workshops” which we chose to attend in smaller groups. Each was motivational, yet realistic. By that I mean that the speakers were down-to-earth and relatable. There was also musical performances which were upbeat and energizing. I came away feeling encouraged and supported in my homeschooling. And that is why I’m glad I seized an opportunity to attend a homeschool conference.

‚ô• If you homeschool, have you attended a homeschool conference? I’d love to hear about it! Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.¬†‚ô•

Posted in My 52 Stories

Beautiful Motherhood


It’s been a while since I’ve posted a 52 story. Since it’s May and Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d jot down a few pregnancy and birth memories and a poem I wrote to express my feelings about motherhood.


I absolutely loved being pregnant. Each kick and movement felt like a secret between baby and me. Life is sacred and precious. Every baby is a gift from my Heavenly Father, one of His children that He has entrusted to my care.

I craved different foods with each pregnancy. I remember dragging my husband from restaurant to restaurant in Park City, asking each one if they had garlic bread on their menu. None of them did. So we found a grocery store and bought some from the bakery and that was our dinner that night! That was with my first pregnancy. With my second, I craved spinach. Lots of spinach!


My husband knew I was pregnant with our third before I did. He figured it out when I had a sudden craving for strawberry Pop-Tarts, which I hadn’t eaten in years. I practically lived off the stuff when I was a senior in high school (I kept a box in my locker) and early in our marriage, but then I think I tired of them. One day we were grocery shopping as a family and on a whim I voiced that our young son and daughter should try strawberry Pop Tarts. I placed a box in our cart as my husband quietly walked away to hunt down a pregnancy test. He insisted I take it when we got home and sure enough, it was positive.


Our third child was born on our living room couch after my water broke for the first time on its own, a mere 30 minutes before. We had started out for the hospital, but at the head of the neighborhood I felt baby’s head crowning. David looked for himself, turned the car around and ended up delivering our baby at home with the paramedics on their way and a 9-1-1 dispatcher coaching over the phone. She thought I had passed out because I wasn’t screaming. I was intensely focused on the emergency instructions we’d received at our last birth preparation class (which we’d taken just for fun), which was to do the candle-blow (hold your head back and puff out air) to slow things down. My friend, Carly (the same one I taught to towel-fold), had to tell me when it was okay to push. She was visiting us from Utah (we lived in Washington at the time) and had planned to watch our children while we were in the hospital delivering, but ended up co-delivering instead. Baby came out with her cord wrapped around her neck. David remembered more emergency instructions, and placed two of his fingers between the cord and her neck. 5 minutes later, the paramedics arrived and took over. They cut the cord, gave both baby and me oxygen, warmed a bunch of my peach-colored towels in our microwave and dryer, and at one point, wondered why David wasn’t taking any pictures! That was my first and only ride in an ambulance, and the paramedics tried to get me to nurse my baby on the way. I told them that was nearly impossible as I was laying down flat with an oxygen tube attached to me.

Later that night, after poor Carly had cleaned up the mess on her own (because David drove after the ambulance to the hospital), my funny husband forgot his senses and instructed her to sleep on the same couch (it was a couch bed) where I’d just given birth. Carly hyperventilated and he ended up taking her to the emergency room! With our fourth and last child, she wisely waited until AFTER he was born to visit us.


Because of the hurried way Marissa was born, my doctor insisted on a planned delivery for my fourth. My due date was late December. He really wanted to deliver this baby himself, but he had planned a vacation right after Christmas. He told us on the morning of Christmas Eve that he wanted to deliver, but a bed wasn’t available to me until that evening (I think it was a full moon or something). And that’s why Marcus was born at 6 minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve. Best Christmas present ever!¬†


My babies are 14, 19, 21 and 24 now. Sometimes I have missed their early childhood years so much it hurts. I honestly rocked those years! I do cherish each stage of motherhood, however. Each is rewarding and filled with love and laughter. It is fun to have adult conversations with my college kids and to watch them pursue their dreams. And this morning as my teenager and I were homeschooling together, I couldn’t help feeling a deep satisfaction at what we’re accomplishing and how far we’ve come in our homeschool journey. I would miss out on so much of his life if we did not homeschool.

Beautiful motherhood,

Wrapped in moments of pure joy, mingled with hope and reflection.

Surprising motherhood,

Unleashing fierce mama bear and hidden talents.

Delightful motherhood,

Brimming with hugs, laughter, happy tears, boundless love.

Imperfect, messy, chaotic motherhood,

Sometimes terrifying, often mystifying, on occasion- heartbreaking,

Worth every sacrifice, ounce of patience, worry, and toil.

Beautiful motherhood,

My essential breath; the core beating of my heart.

~Camie Madsen

Thanks for visiting my blog! (Credit for the Popeye clipart goes to All Things  ♥ Feel free to share a pregnancy craving, birth story or something you love about motherhood (or your wife or mother) as a comment below.

Posted in Family Corner

2016 Reflections

This was an interesting year for me and my family. We started the year in Arizona and ended it in Utah and spent a lot of time going back and forth.

Marcus’ first chalk pastel masterpiece.

In January we discovered chalk pastel art in our homeschool. We like to use the free tutorials on Hodgepodge.


In February we discovered a fun desert park in Tucson called, Tohono Chul. We also visited Tombstone for the first time.

My cousin made this fun cake to go with the travel theme.

In March, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s eightieth birthday. Also, my oldest son was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 23.¬†David and I were able to be with him through most of his tests and when his neurologist confirmed his diagnosis. It was the roughest part of our year.


In April, Marissa went to her senior prom. Also, my girls and I went to a performance of Ballet West’s Beauty and the Beast.


In May, we went on a magical Disney World vacation as a family along with my baby brother and his family. It was so much fun!


In June, we experienced our first bloom night in Arizona. We saw an amazing cactus flower commonly known as the Queen of the Night, bloom right before our eyes. It only blooms once a year at night. Also, Marissa graduated from high school as a homeschool graduate. She was accepted into the university of her choice with only her transcript and ACT scores.


July was all about time with family and friends. We enjoyed a special week with favorite cousins, a summer concert with friends, a rodeo with my brother, a visit to the aquarium, a downtown parade and family time in a canyon.


August featured a country fair and preparations to send Marissa to college.


September started with moving my baby girl into her college apartment before David, Marcus and I returned to Tucson.

Creepers, spiders and Minecraft pumpkins, oh my!

October brought my first Halloween with only one child at home. We decorated our trunk for Trunk or Treat in a Minecraft theme.

My four amazing kids. I am so blessed to be their mama.

In early November, David, Marcus and I flew back to Utah for my niece’s baptism. Then Marcus stayed with his big sister for a week and a half while David and I returned to Arizona to pack. We moved home just before Thanksgiving and spent that holiday in our home as a family.

Christmas Day snow

And that brings¬†me back to the here and now. I have felt so much joy since returning home. We have owned this house for four years now. It’s been our home-base while we’ve lived elsewhere (Peru and Arizona) for the most part. We’ve vacationed in this house for a few weeks to three months at a time, every year, and now we get to live here for hopefully¬†all of next¬†year (keeping fingers crossed!).

♥ Thanks for reading! I wish all of you a Happy New Year. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

3 Surprising Ways Homeschooling Has Blessed Me as a Mom

We often hear how¬†homeschooling¬†benefits the child, as well as improving the quality of family life and family relationships.¬†But did you know that homeschooling can benefit¬†the parent who¬†is directly involved in the homeschooling process? That¬†is how it has¬†been for me¬†ever since I embarked on this journey seven-plus years ago. While¬†I could make a lengthy¬†list of ways¬†homeschooling has blessed me as a mom, today I wish to focus on three blessings I did not anticipate. So,¬†without further ado…


#1. Homeschooling has given¬†me¬†opportunities¬†to truly be apart of¬†my children’s passions.¬†In¬†public school, my son’s enthusiasm for science and my daughter’s flair for art¬†would merely be scratched on the surface. Our relaxed homeschooling days have provided unrestricted¬†time and freedom for my¬†daughter to create her own inspired artwork¬†and for my son to conduct¬†his own¬†science experiments (with parental supervision of course). There is time to thoroughly study the lives and historic periods¬†of famous artists and their masterpieces,¬†scientists and their inventions.¬†I have been front and center as I’ve¬†witness each child¬†embrace¬†their natural curiosities and discover new talents.¬†This type of learning¬†has become a part of their hearts and minds. It’s truly beautiful to witness that kind of¬†meaningful growth in my children.


#2. Homeschooling has reconnected me with classic literature.¬†I love to read, but daily life often gets in the way of good intentions and there are always newer novels¬†competing with the classics. Homeschooling to the rescue! I wanted my son and daughter to know more classics than I did when I was in school, and there’s something magical about reading a classic together with your children. Some of the classics we have enjoyed are: The Secret Garden, Little Women, Swiss Family Robinson, Mary Poppins, Treasure Island, Around the World in 80 Days, A Christmas Carol, and The Hobbit, just to name a few.

Last week my son and I created these original art pieces after an inspiring fieldtrip to a little museum.

#3. Homeschooling has¬†brought out my creative side.¬†In a homeschooling frame of mind I have rediscovered classical music and poetry, two things I would’ve otherwise only thought to share with my children on special occasions.¬†Our unit studies have led me to creative ways to bring multiple subjects together. For¬†example, while reading The Hobbit, we ended up composing our own riddles and creating foil art. It’s been fun for my children to see me try my hand at creating alongside them. I just know I never had this much fun when I was in school and there’s something immensely satisfying about using my own hands and mind to create something original and unique.

Hobbit foil art
My daughter’s Hobbit foil art

‚ô• I’m extremely thankful to homeschooling for giving me these blessings! If you homeschool your children, what surprising blessings have you discovered?¬†‚ô•