She’s Still There {a Review}

I think one of every moms biggest struggles is with not losing themselves. Now, I don’t mean the not being able to pursue their interests and such, but really LOSING themselves…having no identity beyond being a mom. That they truly forget who and who’s they are.

From Amazon:
She’s Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst

What’s a woman to do if her life is not taking shape the way that she thought that it would? What happens when she looks at herself in the mirror, lingering just a little longer than usual and realizes that she no longer recognizes the person staring back at her? What does she do when she sees that, somehow, her life has drifted away from all her original hopes, dreams, or plans?

Speaker, blogger and writer Chrystal Evans Hurst wrote this book because she was that woman. One day she realized that she had somehow wandered away from the life that she had purposed to live a long time ago.

Chrystal since discovered that this moment of awareness happens to lots of women at different seasons of their lives. Poor decisions, a lack of intentionality or planning, or a long-term denial of deep hopes and dreams can leave a woman, old or young, reeling from the realization that she is lost, disappointed, or simply numb.

And she just needs encouragement.

This woman simply needs someone to hold her hand, to cheer her on, and to believe with her that she is capable of still being the person she intended to be or discovering the girl she never knew was there in the first place.

Chrystal uses her poignant story of an early and unexpected pregnancy, as well as other raw and vulnerable moments in her life, to let readers know she understands what it’s like to try and find your way after some missteps or decisions you didn’t plan on. In She’s Still There Chrystal emphasizes the importance of the personal process and the beauty of that path as it is shared authentically from one girlfriend to another. It’s a book of “me toos”, reminders of the hoped for, and challenges for the path ahead—to find direction, purpose, and true satisfaction.

Fantastic, right?! I know I feel that I’ve lost a lot of myself over the last 10 years. Chrystal does a superb job of telling her story, while at the same time making it YOUR story, showing you just how and why you have these feelings. How God is there with you, looking to draw you back to him, as a daughter, not just as a wife and mom.

Chapter by chapter Hurst takes you down the path of discovering who the girl is inside you, with helpful reflections, questions, and points of action to move forward and reclaim yourself and God’s purpose for you.

I received this book for free through BookLookBloggers, in exchange for my honest review. You can read my disclosure policy here.

This Homeschool Mom’s Summer Reading List

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission on any purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. You can find my disclosure policy here. All titles are clickable links.

We’ve just wrapped up year two of “officially” homeschooling: YAY! I still balk at the title of a “Homeschool Mom”. I don’t feel like a homeschool mom, for some reason I have it in my head that homeschool moms are neat-nik, bible thumpin’ women who manage to keep their house clean, their kids well mannered, and dinner on the table at 5. I am NOT that mom, and I know (deep down) that is not the majority of homeschool moms.

Our houses are loud, our children are messy, chaos is constant, and we like to think of ourselves as John Wesley’s mother with her apron over her head, quietly praying to the Lord, while we’re actually just trying to escape for 2 minutes. At least that’s my house. Some days I can deal with it better than others.

Now that the school year is done and the books are back on the shelves, it allows me a bit more freedom in my own time. There is nothing I enjoy more in my free time than reading.

Before we had children we had planned to homeschool. I wouldn’t say it was a life long dream or any kind of fancy, but we figured that was the path we’d pursue. I had read a few books before we had headed down this path, but not many, and only two since we’ve started on this journey.

Needless to say, there is quite the pile of books that I’ve collected (and many more I haven’t) over the years that I haven’t read. Looking at the pile, knowing the triplets start kindergarten, I decided that it was time to read some of them…you know, before they’ve graduated. This list is some of those that I’ve already read, as well as some books which have sat in the TBR pile far too long.

What I’ve Read

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Read this one last year and LOVED it! Sarah Mackenzie is the mom of 6, and the creator of Read Aloud Revival (as well as momma to preschooler twins). It was a quick read filled with lots of great ideas and tips on how to create a place of rest in your home. How having that base is what will allow you to not homeschool or educate your children but create an environment of welcomed learning. If you’re feeling as though you’re drowing in homeschooling and KNOW that it just CANNOT continue as such, then this is the book for you.

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us by Sonya Haskins

My family is not your average family. We have three kids the same age, and when we started homeschooling we had 5 kids five and under. There is no book that covers that dynamic. Most books assume that you have one child per age and that you can set your child up to be schooling independently, before having the next one start.

Haskins’ book has great information about not following a formulaic approach to homeschooling, and instead letting your family life determine how your homeschool functions. It’s truly the book that set me up for thinking about how we are going to homeschool next year.

The Digital Invasion by Dr. Archibald Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

This book isn’t specific to homeschooling, but I feel like the digital is very much invading homeschooling. Many curriculums are going toward computer based learning, which is great, but it comes at a price. Hart and Frejd go into how the digital world is reshaping our brains and the way we are relating with not only the world around us, but our families as well.

The thing I truly appreciated about this book, wasn’t that technology is a plague and should be avoided, but a very real presence in our lives and homes and how best to use it without being used by it.

When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul Jr.

I think I read this when Avie was a baby. It was the first book I had read on homeschooling, and one that I will probably be re-reading this summer (particularly since there are no notes or dog-eared pages in it). One of the things that has stuck with me from this book is the “why” of homeschooling.

Why are you homeschooling? What is your definition of success? Are you raising your children with the goal of being successful by the world’s standards or by God’s? It has continually made me rethink what our motives are when it comes to parenting.

What I Plan to Read

Obviously, these are the books I haven’t read. Other than saying that trusted people have recommended them to me, I can give you no incentive to read them for yourselves.

Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

From Amazon: Whether you are a first-time homeschooler or a longtime veteran, this comprehensive guide will equip and empower you for your journey of faith as a family. Discover the joy of bringing relationship-based, book-centered learning into the natural daily life of your home.

Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin

From Amazon: Featuring a carefully curated reading treasury of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe, as well as practical parenting suggestions and inspiration, Give Your Child the World helps moms and dads raise insightful, compassionate kids who fall in love with the world and are prepared to change it for good.

The Book Tree by Elizabeth MccCallum and Jane Scott

Very similar to Give Your Child the World in the sense, that it is an invaluable resource for choosing good books for your family.

From Amazon: They have provided a guide to the best of children’s literature serviceable for both veteran reading families and those just beginning their great journey of the imagination. I think you’ll find that their accurate descriptions, careful recommendations, and cogent insights will prove to be as delightful as it will be invaluable in your own family.

Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read by Diane W. Frankenstein

From Amazon: This engaging guide shares advice for parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers on how to help children find what to read, and then through conversation, how to find meaning and pleasure in their reading. With more than 100 great book recommendations for kids from Pre-K through grade six, as well as related conversation starters, Reading Together offers a winning equation to turn children into lifelong readers.

Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Raymond and Dorothy Moore have prepared this influential book to show how, by using the everyday resources and experiences of your own home environment, you can truly enjoy your child and give him or her a wholesome, first-class education that neither stifles creativity nor hampers character development.

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I know this list is in no way exhaustive of all of the wonderful homeschooling books that are out there. I’m sure if I looked through just the boks that I’ve pinned and saved on Instagram I could probably add another 15 easily. BUT…

I’d love to know what are some of your favorite homeschool books?

Sewing Room Reveal

For a while now I’ve really struggled with my creative needs. The triplets stopped napping soon after Peter was born, and, try as I might, I just haven’t had the time or energy to sit down and write or sew or anything. It sucked; it still sucks. Plain and simple.


One of the big struggles was every time I went to go in our unused dining room to sew, it was a project just to unearth everything. Not to mention that I was using a folding table for my cutting and a gate-leg table for my machine. Less than desired. It made creativity an impossibility.

This past winter we’ve tried to be really intentional about finishing some of the home projects that were put on the back burner after our major renovations. The two major ones were our basement and setting up a sewing room. The basement is still a work in progress, but the sewing room is  done (other than it’s been taken over by plants for the garden).

The Sewing Room Reveal

What I love most about my sewing room is the amount of light it has! Doesn’t matter the time of day, it’s always bright (probably because 3 of the 4 walls have windows). It’s a peaceful and enjoyable room to be in.

So let’s break it down…shall we?

really wanted a peg board in this room. I was so tired of things being in drawers and boxes and never where I could find them. I really wanted it to have a shelf above it too, so that I could store some baskets (that’s my grandmother’s sewing basket up there) and some jars with notions in them.

The peg board gives me a ton of storage for all of my scissors, rulers, tape measures and everything else that I need while sewing.I was all set to buy a counter top at Ikea, but then we found a piece of laminated particle board that we had saved from our old kitchen that was 9′ x 3’…it was perfect!

 

Heavy and strong enough to support the weight of two machines. Matt ripped the board town to 24″ wide and it fits both my serger and my sewing machine perfectly. Now when I’m working on garments I can roll from one machine to the other without having to stop and set things up.

 

I ended up taking some cheap pine edge molding to finish it, so that fabrics don’t snag. We mounted the board to the wall and then built a frame underneath so that it has two legs (we bought them at Lowe’s), so it looks more like a table. The best part was that other than the legs, we had all the materials, even the paint.

My spool holder became a nightmare. I got this as a gift several years ago and just never used it, because there was no place to put it. I ripped the stand off the back of it an hung it on the wall, only to find out that NONE of my spools of thread fit on the dowels. Ahhh!

I had two choices…toss it or cut all the dowels off and re-drill the holes for smaller dowels. I opted for the later.  It took me quite a bit of time, but I managed to fix 81 of the dowels to fit the new spool sizes. It was tedious. But, I’m pleased with how it came out.

The other big project we had in the room was creating me a cutting table. Try as I might a plastic folding table just wasn’t….wait for it…cutting it. My in-laws had a teak table they were looking to get rid of, so we built a base for the top (which was the perfect size, and has a side that I can lift up when I’m working with yards of fabric).

I think we spent about $40 on the wood for the base. We went with the stain-grade pine boards that they sell at Lowe’s. Now I have a place to store the projects I’m working on, as well as the fabrics that I have plans for. I also put one of those magnet strips above, so that I can put my rotary cutter and scissors right were I need them and away from little hands.

The other big obstacle in the room was my ironing board. I had always kept it up, but it was usually in the way. I ended up getting some hooks for the wall and hiding it behind the door. The iron sits on a shelf on my peg board and when I need it I pull them both out.

It’s such a nice space to work in now. I have all the things I need at hand and space to spread out when I’m working on projects. Now I just have to find the time to actually get in there.

Peter – 23 Months

Peter ended up having his well-child visit a month before schedule, due to a lovely rash he’s developed on the back of his one thigh (nothing serious). He’s the picture of two year old health!

  • Weighing 29.5 lbs (he wouldn’t stand on the scale, so they had to weigh me and him together and then me separate…lovely moment, and I’m not sure how accurate it is…I think he’s pretty close to that though)
  • Standing 34 3/4″ tall (so far he’s going to be the shortest of my boys..estimated 5’10”)
  • Wearing a 2T in most things…starting to wear some 3T, but not much
  • Wears a 7/8 in shoes
  • One of his two year molars is finally through…these things have been a beast
  • Getting to be a bit of a sassy-pants with his “Nos”
  • Loves being outside…he stands at the door and just repeats “Out, go out”
  • Loves splashing around in the water, whether it’s a puddle, tub, or bath
  • Starting to use the regular swings like a big boy
  • Isn’t happy if he’s not running with the big kids. They’ll run races in the backyard and he’s trying his darndest to keep up
  • His new trick is pushing the ride on (pedal powered) John Deere tractor. He’ll push it to the top of the hill and then ride it down, laughing hysterically the whole way. He’s gotten thrown off a few times, but just scowls and then gets back on.

Homeschool Planner 2017-2018

It’s here! As promised…I finished the 2017-2018 Homeschool Planner, which is now for sale on Etsy! Just like last year’s planner, this year comes in both blank subject and with subjects printed, but everything else is just as expected. Psst….there’s a special promo code just for you at the bottom of this post.

Only this year I’ve created several additional pages to help you homeschooling mamas keep track of things that you probably have to report to your school districts. Things like Assignments, Field Trips, Grades, Attendance, and a bunch of blank pages for you to create whatever you need.
Just like last year there are pages for those of you who are bloggers, to help you keep tabs on what you have written about, what things you still want to explore, and when you want to share them; as well as giveaways and reviews.

The other part of the planner that’s my favorite is the Life Pages; which include a place to list out all of your regular and favorite meal ideas, who you’ve invited to dinner, your goals for the year, and a monthly notes section with places to keep track of things you’re grateful, birthdays, to-dos, and relationships you want to invest in (this might just be my favorite part).

And just for launch week only…

I am offering a $5.00 off coupon with code HSPJMW17 for the planner, so you can get it for $10, rather than the regular price of $15.

Where can I order the planner?

You can click at the MY SHOP link above or visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/WhiteHouseEmporium Remember there are TWO different versions, the blank subject and a filled in subject…make sure you add the right one to the cart.

PS. if you’d be interested in a reviewing or promoting the planner let me know Hello at JessicaMWhite dot com