Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is in March. It isn’t March, I know. Let me just preface this by saying that I started this list with a HUGE, honkin’ stack of books from our library in January. Yes, January. All because I was determined to have a list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month to you at the very beginning of March so you could include some books in your homeschool studies, if you wanted.

And then life happened because that is what is supposed to happen when you have a family, right? ūüėČ

But March will come again and we will have another Women’s History Month, so I’m just gonna leave this big list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month right here for you. You can bookmark it, pin it on Pinterest, share it and save it on Facebook, or whatever you want to do. It will be here when you need it.

And next year, when March rolls around, I’ll be all on my Facebook page saying, “Hey! Look at this post I wrote last year, I finished it two months after Women’s History Month, but still published it because I needed it to be finished and published. :D”

Soooo, enough of all that. Here is your big, honkin’ list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month. (Have you gotten the idea of what this post is yet? Hehe..) Also included is a bit of commentary by me on the contents of each book. You’re welcome…or I’m sorry, guess it depends on what you think of my opinion, doesn’t it?

Picture Book Biographies for Women's History Month - A big book list from Vicki-Arnold.com

Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box by David McPhail – This book would pair nicely with a Beatrix Potter unit study. You could read some of Potter’s beloved books, do some fun bunny crafts, eat some fun themed snacks, and maybe act out some of the stories.

Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M. Barry, illustrated by Jennifer Thermes – I did not realize the role dogs played in Helen’s life. Did you know she was the first person to bring an Akita to the United States? I didn’t.

Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rapport, illustrated by Matt Tavares – Another picture book biography of Helen Keller, this one is interspersed quotes from Helen herself.

Women Who Broke the Rules: Dolley Madison by Kathleen Krull – The books in this series are longer, more suitable for read alouds over more than one sitting for younger children. There are six chapters in each book that I read.

Women Who Broke the Rules: Mary Todd Lincoln by Kathleen Krull – Abraham Lincoln is one of the United States’ most famous presidents, his wife is a fascinating character. It’s quite a story she has.

Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully – Mattie’s prized possession was her father’s toolbox and the tools inside. She was a clever girl that grew into a great inventor. You won’t believe what her first official invention was, we use it almost daily!

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Pr√©vot, illustrated by Aur√©lia Fronty – This is a beautiful book. It tells the story of a woman who fought the odds and became a beloved figure in Kenya. She’s proof that one person can make a difference.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman – It is hard to imagine what it would have been like for Elizabeth, to have everyone against you. Her’s is an inspirational story about what you can do if you put your mind to it.

What to Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham – The subtitle was How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy. That pretty much sums up this powerhouse of a woman.

In Mary’s Garden by Tina and Carson K√ľgler – This is about Mary Nohl, an artist who created a famous garden of statues in Wisconsin. A good read if you are looking for a book to encourage the artist in a child who doesn’t have an interest in traditional art.

Shooting Star: Annie Oakley, the Legend by Debbie Dadey, illustrated by Scott Goto – The woman, the myth, the legend. This picture book has it all.

Soar, Elinor! by Tami Lewis Brown, illustrated by Fran√ßois Roca – Elinor Smith is a lesser known female pilot. Well, at least lesser known to me. She was the youngest flier in the United States, earning her pilot’s license at just 16 years old.

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson – The poetry style of this book lends itself more to elementary aged children, but the book is a beautiful read.

Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska – Read about how the famous impressionist’s encounters with Edgar Degas inspired her work as a painter.

The Bravest Woman in America by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren – Ida Lewis grew up by the sea, which makes me a wee bit jealous. Her father was a lighthouse keeper and the job eventually passed to Ida.

Women Who Broke the Rules: Judy Blume by Kathleen Krull – Judy Blume is a pretty controversial author. She was the most banned author from 1982 to 1996. This book does cover that, but it also shows just why she wrote on the topics she wrote about.

The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Ka’iulani of Hawai’i by Fay Stanley, illustrated by Diane Stanley – This is a sad story. It is an important story to read, but beware that it is quite sad what happened to the nation of Hawai’i.

Joan of Arc by Demi – The illustrations are the main focus of this book and they are lovely. Joan of Arc’s story is one that is marked with obedience to God and betrayal of man. Joan is burned at the stake, so this may not be a good choice if you have particularly young children.

Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham – Annette Kellerman learned to swim because she couldn’t walk. That simple act changed the course of swimming history for women worldwide.

Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema, illustrated by Diane Stanley – Read of the Tudor Queen who loved and ruled her country well. Her’s is a story of sacrificial love and one that helped a country recover from the bloody reign of her father and sister.

Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Lisa Congdon – I think that if Imogen had lived in today’s times, she would have been a wonderful blogger with her photos of family life.

A Picture Book of Anne Frank by David A. Adler, illustrated by Karen Ritz – This book is well done, it shares the horrible story of the Holocaust, but isn’t too heavy for kids.

Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story by S. D. Nelson – A look at what it was like to grow up near the Missouri River on the Great Plains for one girl. The story includes actual words and stories from Buffalo Bird Girl, along with artwork and archival photographs.

Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor, illustrated by Laura Beingessner – We can all thank Rachel for her work that changed many practices in the 50’s and 60’s like the spraying of DDT in neighborhoods to kill bugs.

Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Carl Angel – Maggie was one of two Chinese American WASPs (Women Airfare Service Pilots), she dreamed of being a pilot when her family would watch pilots like Amelia Earhart take off each Sunday and eventually made that dream come true.

Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland РOne of the most famous chefs around, Julia led an interesting life. This is not a traditional book, the story is all over the page with lots of illustrations on each page.

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by E. B. Lewis – Another woman pilot to be sure to read about. Her story is told in a series of monologues versus a traditional story.

And there you have it, a giant list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month. I have to say I learned a lot reading the books for this list. I’d love to do a second list so if you know of another great picture book biography about a woman that made history, please tell me in the comments so I can add it to my list to check out!

Picture Book Biographies for Women's History Month - A big book list from Vicki-Arnold.com

Simple Steps to a Healthier Life

A friend says, “Hey, how are you doing?”

“I didn’t sleep well last night, but I’m good.”

Another acquaintance asks, “How have you been?”

You reply with a genuine smile, “Busy, tired, but who isn’t?”

You find memes about coffee and caffeine being your daily fuel to be all to relatable. I mean, they are funny, but it kind of concerns you that your body doesn’t have the energy for your day without a stimulant like caffeine.

Or your body is so sensitive to caffeine that a simple cup of coffee too late in the day will wreck your night of sleep with a panic attack.

This has been the story of my life for the last few years. My 30’s haven’t been very kind to my body. Of course, I haven’t really been all that kind to my body most of my life. I guess turnabout’s fair play, huh? I think I’ve been due for a few simple steps to a healthier life to correct things for a while now.

With my panic attacks and some issues that come around (or not, ha) on a mostly monthly basis, I’ve finally found a regimen of supplements (herbs, vitamins, and minerals) and essential oils that I find extremely helpful, but they haven’t had near the impact that I’ve seen with tweaking my diet and adding more movement to my day. If you are interested in reading about my supplements and oils, let me know in the comments and I will find a way to tell you about them that doesn’t get me in trouble with the powers that be regulating. ūüėČ

Simple (I Promise!) Steps to a Healthier Life - Vicki-Arnold.com

Simple Steps to a Healthier Life

You may have picked up from the above paragraph that my simple steps have to do with food and movement. Before you roll your eyes or feel exasperated because you’ve tried this before, hear me out.

I’ve tried being intentional about exercising daily, I even made it about 6 weeks with this goal last fall. I’ve tried just about everything you can think of for cutting or reducing sugar in my diet because, frankly, I’m a bit addicted. None of these have stuck, but this spring, I think I have found a few simple steps that will stick.

1. Drinking a glass of water before anything else in the morning. I tend to not drink a lot during the day. I had days where I would get to dinner and realize I hadn’t drank any water that day. Not really helpful for my body. This way I have at least 16 oz. of water (one of our drinking glasses) in the morning. I usually take my supplements with this so it’s easy to get it all down.

2. Focus on veggies at lunch. I try to have a salad for lunch each day. As much as a creature of habit I am (I typically have the exact same salad), I also fight routine like nobody’s business so it’s ridiculous how hard this can be some days.

I’m not focused on specific items, just aiming to have vegetables. Previously, I’ve actually had days where I hit dinner and realized I hadn’t had a vegetable all day. Yeah, you can see why simple steps needed to happen for me.

3. Stop striving for perfection. This simple step has probably been the hardest to implement. I tend to be all or nothing and this often leads to a lot of nothing because who really can be “all” perfectly? Not me, that’s for sure.

What this looks like for me is that when I do great a few days in a row and my mind starts making all these grand plans of how I’ll get it right and do it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY from here to eternity, I tell myself to shut up. Well, not exactly, I just stop and take some deep breaths. Then I thank God that I’ve managed to do something right for a short consistent time because I know that isn’t me.

Then, when I miss a day or two, I don’t stress. I simply make a mental note to pick up where I left off or start again right then, depending on what it is. I’m aiming for every day, but realizing that isn’t always going to happen. For a lot of reasons.

4. Prepping vegetables and other items as I can. One of the things that annoys me about vegetables is all the chopping it takes to use them. I don’t have time to chop lettuce, broccoli, onion, shred carrots, etc. everyday for a salad. So I don’t.

I keep a large, covered Pyrex bowl in the refrigerator with cut up lettuce. Then I keep a sandwich size bag each of broccoli bits, chopped red onion, and diced bell peppers in the deli drawer. I buy my carrots pre-shredded. I shred hunks of Tillamook cheese that we get from Costco and keep it in a gallon size bag, also in the deli drawer. I only have to do this once every 4-5 days, depending on who else eats salads.

I used to think that I needed to have a set day to do this in order for it to be an official routine, but I’ve let go of that and just do it when it needs done. That’s routine enough.

5. Front load my day with productivity. This is the step I actually do the worst with, being intentional about getting the productivity wheel going each morning. I am NOT a morning person in the slightest and so it takes me a while to get going in the morning, and no, a cup of coffee doesn’t help this.

My productivity often looks different each day. I have days where I try to get a one mile walk in before breakfast. Some days it is reading my bible and reading an actual book for personal growth. Other days it is specific homeschool group work done before lunch. Some days it is dishes and laundry.

It really doesn’t matter what it is, just something that needs to be done and that doesn’t involve a screen. Screens are a big, time-sucking rabbit trail for me.

6. Whenever possible, exercise before breakfast. For me, this is my one mile walk. It takes me 15-25 minutes, depending on who ends up going with me or if I get to go alone. I have short legs and walking at 3.5 miles per hour is really moving for me (I know this from walking on a treadmill). This walk isn’t meant to do anything other than get me moving early, out in the fresh air, and clear-headed, so I walk at a relatively leisurely pace most of the time.

The point is movement early in the day, not a super sweatfest. If you want a super sweatfest, then have at it. It’s just not me yet.

7. Making breakfast very protein-heavy. This is hands down the simple step that has made the biggest impact for me. Sometime in March, I started focusing on protein for breakfast. Being the creature of habit that likes to think she doesn’t like routine that I am, this is fairly consistent in content, too. Typically it is 3 breakfast sausages (fully cooked, frozen ones from Costco that have no msg, nitrites, or preservatives), 1-2 eggs, and a few berries.

Sometimes I will saut√© some veggies in the pan and then crack my egg over that, just to get more vegetables in my day. This doesn’t happen often because it adds to the time it takes to make my breakfast since I only use one pan for my breakfast because, hello? Dishes.

Previously, I didn’t get much protein in my day either. At this point you may be wondering what the heck I ate and drank since veggies, protein, and water were often lacking from my diet. I’ll give you an example: breakfast would be cereal, oatmeal, or a bagel; lunch would be mac and cheese or pancakes (kids can make these); and then dinner would be some sort of pasta, which would have some veggies or protein usually. Add in there my sweets and snacks of pretzels, crackers, or such and you have a very carb-heavy day of food.

This is why the simple tweaks of a veggie-heavy salad for lunch and a hearty, protein-packed breakfast make a huge difference in how my body feels. And it really is hugely different. On the days I get all seven of these things in, I feel amazing. Like conquer the world amazing. I can definitely use more days like that, how about you?

Last week, after #7 being the only simple step that I had maintained consistently for a month, I realized that my mid-section was significantly less fluffy. My husband noticed it the next day. I haven’t stepped on the scale to see if those numbers have moved and my clothes don’t fit a ton better, but there is a definite improvement in my waist comfort of my pants. It’s enough to keep me headed in this direction.

One of the other results that I have noticed when I implement these simple steps to a healthier life is that I actually don’t crave sugar as much, and there is simply less time for me to eat it so I am naturally eating less sugar. I’ll take it!

If you are looking to make some improvements to improve your overall health and energy, be encouraged that small changes really can make a big difference. While I look forward to a day when all seven of these simple steps feel easy and natural, I am thrilled that even one makes me feel so much better. Give it a shot.

If you are the type who needs more direction, try them in this order – 7, 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. Keep #3 in mind the whole time and knock them off one at a time. You really can do this, trust me. If I can, you can. Tell me in the comments or shoot me an email and let me know that you started and I will pray for you and root you on!

Simple (I Promise!) Steps to a Healthier Life - Vicki-Arnold.com

Books to Help You Teach Art in Your Homeschool Without Any Talent

There are fewer things as daunting in homeschooling than teaching subjects you are not good at. In my experience, art and math seem to be the two biggest struggles for homeschool parents. I’m not touching on math today, but I think I can help you with the art thing a bit.

Art is really a fun subject and one that most kids really get into. Below is a big list of books to help you teach art in your homeschool either by simply adding it to your other subjects or giving it its own space. But first, a little pep talk from me:

Art is not an exact science like chemistry. You are not going to make something explode when you get something “wrong”. In fact, mistakes can often make a piece of art more interesting. Here’s the thing, your kid doesn’t care if you are a great artist. The whole point of this list isn’t to make promises of turning you into a great artist who can then teach your child art.


The point of this post is to provide you with some resources so you and your child can explore art together. Art is a great way to relax and explore your creative brain (no matter how little you think you have…) while creating memories with your child.

So get out there and create some art with your child!

End pep talk.

Right now I have a list of books to help you teach art in your homeschool…talent optional.

How to Teach Art in Your Homeschool When You Have No Talent!

Books to Help You Teach Art in Your Homeschool (Talent Optional)

Arty Facts: Weather & Art Activities by Janet Sacks РCombining science lessons with a specific art project, this one is a good choice for older preschoolers and early elementary students. There are some really great projects in here and a good chunk of them use recycled materials.

The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art written and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher – This book is written to kids, but to use it that way, you would likely need older elementary students. Add a parent to the mix and you have some fun projects for preschoolers. Great for nature studies.

The Kids’ Multicultural Art Book: Art & Craft Experiences from Around the World by Alexandra M. Terzian – Organized by continent, this book would make a great reference book to have on your homeschool shelves. As you cover topics in history or geography, you can pair a coordinating art project. I’m a fan of the two-birds-with-one-stone homeschooling philosophy.

Storybook Art: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of 100 Great Picture Book Illustrators by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Jean Potter – The charts at the beginning of this book make finding just the right project very easy. You can easily choose activities based on experience level, preparation time, or technique with all the icons they detail. There is a chart of contents that lists all the books, authors, projects, style, etc. I’d say this fits in with literature or reading, however you classify reading picture books to preschoolers in your homeschool.

Art is Every Day: Activities for the Home, Park, Museum, and City by Eileen S. Prince – There are 65 projects in this book. This book could be used for middle or high school students to study some art concepts independently, but I’m including it here mostly¬†for you¬†parents, particularly those who feel you do not know anything about art. You read the chapters and then do the projects with your kids. This falls into the fine art or simply art subject category.

Cool Flexagon Art: Creative Activities That Make Math & Science Fun for Kids! by Anders Hanson and Elissa Mann – These projects would be great for upper elementary students. These projects focus on geometry.

Cool String Art: Creative Activities that Make Math & Science Fun for Kids! by Anders Hanson and Elissa Mann – Find projects that will fit with geometry and astronomy lessons. Another great option for elementary students and bringing art into other subjects.

Modern Art Adventures: 36 Creative, Hands-On Projects Inspired by Artists from Money to Banksy by Maja Pitamic and Jill Laidlaw – I’m a big fan of books that ¬†tell you how to use them, give me clear, concise instructions any day and I’m happy. This book includes a bit of art history and I would say you could use it with just about any age in your homeschool.

Art for All Seasons: 40 Creative Mixed Media Adventures for Children Inspired by Nature and Contemporary Artists by Susan Schwake – As you would guess, this book’s projects are divided up by season. In addition to the projects, there is a section on materials and one on creating an art space. A lot of these projects would pair nicely with nature studies.

Art Stamping: Using Everyday Objects by Bernadette Cuxart – Part of a series of books written to be used directly by kids to explore art. This book focuses on stamping with objects like sponges, leaves, q-tips, and bubble wrap.

Art Painting With Different Tools by Bernadette Cuxart – These fun art projects are made with sponges, straws, cotton balls, and even homemade brushes. A total of 16 projects are included.

Art Painting On Everyday Items by Bernadette Cuxart – Paper is not the only thing that you paint on with this book. Aluminum foil, sandpaper, rocks, and bottle caps are just a few of the everyday, but not typical canvases used in these art projects.

Art Painting With Everyday Materials by Bernadette Cuxart – Have fun painting with chalk and salt, paint and soap, and even coffee with the art projects in this book. This series is a great fit for elementary students, especially those who may want to work more independently.

My Art Book: Amazing Art Projects Inspired By Masterpieces by DK Publishing – A great start into art history, it covers a lot of styles, mediums, and artists. Each has a famous piece of art with history on the style, artist, and other details. Then there is a project to complete for each piece. A total of 14 projects, great for all ages.

The Big Book of Art Draw! Paint! Create! An Adventurous Journey Into the Wild & Wonderful World of Art! by Walter Foster Jr. – I just love this book. It makes a great companion book for the Big Book of Color book I’ve mentioned before. I will likely use both of these with my little guy for his PreK year. This art book works best for preschool to early elementary aged students.

My Art Class by Nellie Shepherd – A fun book of art projects for toddlers and preschoolers. Beware, the projects and age range will likely create a mess, but just remember that is part of the process and maybe throw a tarp down.

My Animal Art Class by Nellie Shepherd – Ditto for these fun art projects and age bracket.

Get Into Art Animals: Discover Great Art and Create Your Own by Susie Brooks – Explore animals in art with this book and the included art projects. Each of the 13 works of art have a corresponding project. Great for kids of all ages.

Get Into Art People but Susie Brooks – Another in the Get Into Art series, this book explores the various ways people are portrayed in art.

Get Into Art Places by Susie Brooks – Yep, same series. This time we are exploring places like bedrooms and landscapes…and making projects like the famous art included.

Get Into Art Telling Stories by Susie Brooks – The final book from this series (at least that I perused) explores how art can tell stories.

Art Workshops for Children by Herv√© Tullet – I’ve become a fan of Tullet’s books, so has my preschooler. This book is for adults though. Tullet will teach you how to lead an art workshop (or lesson or co-op class) for children. The information is great, the projects fun. The photos at the end of the book of real-life art workshops is a great look through, too.

The School of Art: Learn How to Make Great Art With 40 Simple Lessons by Teal Triggs, illustrated by Daniel Frost – This book could be used by parents to teach or it could be used independently by middle school students and up. The lessons are simple, but lay a great foundation for budding artists.

That’s the list for now! We got books this time, in the future I’ll put together lists of other resources to help you with art. It is a fun subject, if you let it be!

You may also be interested in these other art posts I wrote:

Time Management Tips That Actually Work…

…unless you have your stuff together better than I do. Being horrible with time management is one of those flaws in my personality that drives various people nutso, chiefly myself. I’ve come along a bit in this and am not quite as horrible as I used to be, but still have a long way to go. I’ve been actively working on this and have found some things that really help me.

Time Management Tips That Actually Work


Time Management Tips That Actually Work

I’m calling them time management tips that actually work, but I need to make a couple disclaimers before we dive in. First, these tips work for me, your mileage may vary. Second, I don’t always do all of these at the same time. Sometimes I’m good to be able to remember one or two. Other times, I get bored with what I am doing and flat out ignore them. You can probably guess how this works out for me.

I think that’s it. Let’s move on now.

Stop Multi-Tasking

Seriously. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, or at least it did to me, but it isn’t. Trying to do three things at once usually means that something gets missed or nothing gets finished. I’m a serial starter, but rarely a finisher. Focusing on one thing at a time, even for minutes at a time, has helped me tremendously with this.


Ha. Yeah, I know what #1 said, but eventually I came to realize that multi-tasking wasn’t the issue so much as the activities I was trying to multi-task. Here’s an example, I’d put something in the oven and then run back downstairs to switch laundry or finish writing a blog post. Invariably, I would forget that I needed to do something else for dinner while whatever was in the oven cooked and that would set me behind. This always left me feeling like I was running in circles and never getting anything done.

Just recently I realized the “right” way to multi-task. Don’t leave the room. When I put something in the oven and have to wait 15-20 minutes, I find something in the kitchen to do. Like today, I put the chicken nuggets in the oven to cook and the apples were sliced and the carrots ready. Instead of leaving and doing something else on my huge, never-ending to do list, I cut up some cheese cubes and popped some popcorn for afternoon snacks. This actually saved me time later and I actually finished something. It’s a good feeling.

Make a List

I am a list person. I love making lists. It helps me to focus on what needs to be done and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can check things off of the list. A word of caution though, don’t over do it. Don’t put every possible thing on your list that you want to do. That is a quick way to get overwhelmed. I actually prefer to keep multiple lists. Here are a few lists that you may find helpful:

  • Grocery and household needs – Keeping a running list makes it much easier to create my grocery shopping list each week. It also helps me to make the most of my trips out of the house because I like to keep those trips limited each week. Unfortunately, I often forget to actually keep a running list, but I rarely go shopping without a meal plan and grocery list.
  • Household to do list – This is where I write big things like declutter laundry room and I also write the things I know I can get done like eat breakfast. Somedays things like eat breakfast, get dressed, and make dinner are what a doable to do list looks like for me. I’ve learned to be ok with that.
  • Big project list – Sometimes we have a really big project that will take more than a day and I need the motivation of completing tasks that all work towards that end goal, but are doable. This is when I will take a big goal like declutter the basement, which will take days, and break it down into tasks that I can accomplish in a few hours or so. Examples would be clear craft table, reorganize book shelves, and take items to Goodwill.

Ditch the List

With my penchant for list making, I can often prioritize the list making process more than anything else. I’ll spend lots of time making it pretty to look at and organized. Then when I’m done, all motivation for doing the things on the list is long gone. Some days, I just need to look at what needs to be done and do it. Sometimes I can take hours in a day and focus on a big project and knock it out. Or I only have an hour between errands and just need to get the most pressing things done. Lists are great, but we do not want to be a slave to them. Use them like a tool and ditch them when they are no longer useful.


Oh, you have no idea how hard this was for me. I didn’t know how hard this was for me. I have four children, four really great children. They are capable of doing dishes and laundry correctly if shown what correctly is. Yes, it has taken a lot of practice, but eventually we found a rhythm that means that they are helping around the house and I’m not going crazy over how they did things “wrong” according to my standards. I promise I’m not that strict, but I have certain things that I need to have done a certain way or they drive me batty.

Ultimately, it all comes down to balance and following where God is leading me each day. Some days, I need to multi-task and get things done and on others, I need to focus on one thing at a time to make sure those things are done well, with attention to detail. Sometimes I need a list to keep me focused and sometimes I need to focus on what’s in front of my face. And sometimes, I just need to let go and realize that not everything has to be done by me.

Be encouraged, ladies, you are not alone in this! And be sure to let me know if you have any time management tips that actually work, too!

ABC’s of Homeschooling Through the Holidays – W is for Washi Tape

It is no secret that I love washi tape, right? Well, today I am taking that love to another blog. I wrote a fun post for Heather’s ABC’s of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series. I chose W for…wait for it….washi tape!

I’ve put together a quick list of ideas for using washi tape for your holiday gift giving. The best part is, these are so easy that they are definitely kid-made-friendly. I’ve included a sneak peek of the post below, but you will have to head over to Life of a Homeschool Mom to read the whole article.

Homeschooling Through the Holidays - W is for Washi Tape

Homeschooling brings a freedom with it that our family quite enjoys. We love taking the last six weeks of each year to focus on gift making, cooking and baking, and other holiday fun. Today, I’d like to focus on the gift making and more specifically, gifts made with washi tape!

We are huge fans of washi tape in our home. I have grown quite a collection and we love finding ways to use it. I’ve rounded up a collection of ideas for using washi tape in your homeschooling this holiday season….

Continue Reading at Life of a Homeschooling Mom

Homeschooling Through the Holidays - W is for Washi Tape


Kid-Made Washi Tape Ornament – Inspired by Paris: A Book of Shapes

My kids love to be crafty. Some more so than others, but occasionally I will hit on a project that they will sit and do for hours. These simple ornaments were just that for two of my four. The third is planning to make hers tomorrow. The fourth isn’t very interested at this point, I need to find some Minecraft washi¬†tape or something.

This project came around when I joined up with the fabulous Melissa of Mama Miss and a LOT of the Kid Blogger Network bloggers to bring the kid made ornaments blog hop to life again. This has become an annual tradition that is a lot of fun. Last year, we made snowflakes.

This year, with Oliver being really into reading and having had the chance to see a lot of fun board books this year, I chose the book Paris: A Book of Shapes. It is part of a series of board books called Hello World and they are just the best little books. Such lovely illustrations and typography. Each book covers a concept like numbers, colors, or shapes.

Kid Made Washi Tape Ornaments - Inspired by the board book Paris: A Book of Shapes

Kid Made Washi Tape Ornament

This is another one of those simple craft projects that is only limited by your selection of washi tape. So consider this an enabler alert when I tell you to go ahead and stock up. ūüėČ You will have plenty of options for projects by the time I’m finished playing with mine so it won’t go to waste.

The steps for this were easy. We cut out shapes we found in the book from cardstock. The older kids cut their own shapes, I cut the one for my young preschooler. Then I let them go to town decorating their shapes with the washi tape.

Kid Made Washi Tape Ornaments - Inspired by the board book Paris: A Book of Shapes

My little guy is getting the hang of this crafting thing. The last time we did a washi tape project, he put somewhere around a pound of washi on his bookmark. It’s more of a display piece than a bookmark.

After we made the ones I needed to take a picture of, my little guy proceeded to craft for a good long time. This little guy likes to be busy and he likes to be independent. These ornaments are perfect for it. There is very little that he needs me to do for him (tying the knot mostly).

Once they were finished, we punched a hole in the shape and strung some pretty baker’s twine type string through it. We tied a knot to make a loop and voila! We had a¬†super cute, super easy kid-made washi tape ornament. I think they turned out pretty great. How about you?

Kid Made Washi Tape Ornaments - Inspired by the board book Paris: A Book of Shapes

Kid Made Washi Tape Ornaments - Inspired by the board book Paris: A Book of Shapes

Oliver’s ornament. See? Note the impressive lack of washi tape weight. ūüėČ

More Kid-Made Ornaments!

10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas

Be sure to check out the awesome series. Melissa is doing a weekly wrap up, but there are 10 bloggers each day sharing a kid-made, book-inspired ornament. This is a great way to add some seasonal themed projects to your homeschooling this year.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in the first day with me:

10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial

I am so excited about today’s post. For a long time here on the blog, my top posts have been my sewing tutorial round-ups. I love sewing. I’m not the greatest in the world at it, but I love it.

I also really, really love to shop for fabric. That’s probably my favorite part of any hobby really. I love all the possibilities. I love imaging all the fabrics (beads, papers, etc.) in various projects. I think most crafters can relate to that.

Earlier this year, I sent out a reader survey to my subscribers and the one thing they wanted above all was more DIY posts, specifically sewing tutorials. I was actually quite thrilled with this…and then I blanked. Ever have that happen?

To make this long story shorter, eventually I came up with some simple tutorials that I will be sharing over the next several months. Here’s where I should tell you to subscribe via email to make sure you don’t miss any of them, but that might seem too pushy so I won’t. ūüėČ

Let’s dive on into this fat quarter bag tutorial!

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial


  • 3 fat quarters – focal fabric, accent fabric, and lining fabric
  • thread
  • 1-3 buttons
  • iron
  • sewing machine (actually, I guess you could do this by hand…a machine is faster though)

1. Iron your fat quarters.

Fat quarter bag tutorial

2. Cut your focal fabric into a large rectangle sized 18″ x 11″ (mine pictured is 9×11 because it is folded).

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.
3. Cut your accent fabric into an 18″ x 5″ rectangle. Pin the right sides of the fabric together and stitch.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

4. Press  your seam flat.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

5. Top stitch down each side of the seam.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

6. Cut liner fabric to the same size as your joined focal and accent fabrics.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

7. Fold both rectangles with the right sides together to form a 9″ x 15″ (approximate) pouch. Stitch up both sides of each pouch. Trim the edges of the liner to be closer to the stitches.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

8.¬†Cut a 5″ x 18″ rectangle out of your accent fabric, then cut it in half lengthwise.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

9. Fold each strip in half lengthwise and stitch along the side. Turn the tube right side out and then press flat. These are your handles.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

10. Attach your buttons on the front center your bag, approximately 1 1/2″ to 2″ from the top of the fabric.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

11. Cut a long strip of the liner fabric (1″x24″). Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press with the iron. Fold each raw edge into the center of the fabric and press. This is a slightly tedious process, take your time. Stitch along the edge.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

12. Cut into thirds (8″) and set aside.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

13. Place your liner inside the outer fabric pouch. Be sure that the WRONG sides of the fabric are facing each other.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

14. Fold the top of each section and press.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

15. Take your narrow strips of liner fabric and make a loop. Place behind the buttons on the BACK side of your bag. These go in between the outer pouch and the liner. Pin in place.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

16. Place your handles the same as the button loops. You will put one on each the front and back of your bag. Pin these in place.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

17. Carefully stitch around the top of your bag, making sure that all your pinned items stay straight.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

18. Sew around the top of the bag again, this time closer to the edge.

Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial - A simple sewing tutorial to make a bag from three fat quarters.

19. Your bag is finished!

Little House on the Prairie

I don’t think it’s any secret around here that I love Little House on the Prairie¬ģ. I can’t tell you how excited I am that they have released a line of fabric with Andover fabrics. I jumped at the opportunity to receive a bundle of fat quarters from the line for this tutorial.

You can buy your own at a store near you. You can also enter to win a FABULOUS bundle below. It includes:

  • A fat-quarter bundle of all three Little House on the Prairie¬ģ¬†fabric collections
  • A limited edition tote bag made of Little House on the Prairie¬ģ¬†fabric
  • The Deluxe Remastered ‚ÄúLittle House on the Prairie‚ÄĚ Complete Collection DVD Set
  • ‚ÄúThe Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder‚ÄĚ DVD
  • TheQuilting with Laura¬†book
  • The World of Little House¬†book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the Little House on the Prairie website for lots of Little House fun!

Talking to Kids About Sex – Awkward Parenting Moments

I promise this isn’t going to be as awkward as it sounds. Or maybe it is, but that is kind of the point here. What am I blathering on about? Let me get straight to it.

For many parents, talking to their kids about sex is one of those uncomfortable subjects that fall into a “necessary evil” category sort of thing. For others, it is no big deal. I am somewhere in the middle of those two options. It is just not a natural conversation topic for me, but I know that I want to pass along a healthy, biblical view of sex to my kids. This mean I have to talk about it and with four kids, I guess I should get used to it sooner rather than later.

We have always been open with our children when it comes to talking about our bodies. We gave them the actual terms for their body parts, but also the general terms of private parts and bottom, and used those for the most part. They knew that those parts were private and we did have discussions about what they should do if someone tried to touch and/or talk to them about those parts.

With one exception, our youngest was given the term peepee for his penis because he is a very verbal boy and has been from a young age. This meant that his filter was utterly non-existent and he would randomly shout out words that he knew would make someone laugh because he is also a ham. With preteen kids, body parts were a sure success at this. Peepee made it a little less inappropriate (in my eyes) when this happened in public places.

And then someone gave him the right word and all bets were off. Now that novelty has worn off (thank heavens) and he only refers to it in matter-of-fact ways. Ironically, this cracks the preteens up even more. I can’t win.

Enough about us, I actually have a resource I want to talk to you about today.

Talk to Your Kids About Sex - It doesn't have to be awkward. There is a great resource available to help walk parents through a biblical way to tackle the subject with their kids.

Talking to Kids About Sex

I’ve written about, reviewed, and given away resources from Luke and Trisha Gilkerson of Intoxicated on Life here before. Heck, I even wrote for them for a while. I love their¬†resources and blog. This series is no different. They have written quite a lot about sex education on their blog, and now they have a trilogy of books to put resources in your hands to help you navigate this anxiety-inducing topic from a biblical perspective. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief…whew.

I purchased their book called The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality earlier this year to use in our homeschool. When Trisha was looking to put together a team to launch the second book in the series called Changes: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty, I jumped at the chance to get this one for free. ūüėČ

The third book in the series is called Relationships: 7 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical Sexuality and it will be available early 2016.

Let’s go over a bit of what is actually in these two books.

The Talk - Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality

The Talk

The seven lesson titles:

  1. God Made Them Male and Female
  2. Go Forth and Multiply
  3. Wonderfully Made
  4. The Two Shall Become One Flesh
  5. You Shall Not Commit Adultery
  6. Do Not Violate Me
  7. Bought With a Price

Each lesson gives you an opening thought, a section of scripture to read with an explanation of why it is relevant, a series of talking points to go over with your child, questions for your child, and concludes with a prayer. There are illustrations for things as well.

The ages recommended for this book are 6-10 years old. This may seem young to start this conversation, but if you take a while to look at our culture, you will see why parents need to start this conversation earlier these days. Our culture is more than willing to talk to kids about sex at any time.

Parents, if you want to be the first one to talk to your children about these topics, you need to be paying close attention and realize that this might need to happen sooner than you’d like. A bit more on my thoughts on this later.

Changes 735x1102


The second book contains these lessons:

  1. Just Like Jesus: Growing in Wisdom and Stature
  2. Puberty: Just One of Many Changes
  3. Hormones: The Catalyst of Change
  4. Girls and Boys: Changes We Can Both Expect
  5. Girl Changes: Becoming a Woman
  6. Boy Changes: Becoming a Man
  7. Changes in Desire: The Goodness of Sexual Attraction

The book follows the same format for each lesson as The Talk. The recommended ages are 8-12.

A Few Final Thoughts

These are fantastic resources for starting an ongoing conversation about sex with your kids. Each book also contains a section on what happens next. It gives you ideas for ways to continue the conversation you started.

When you get these books, pre-read them before diving in with your kids. This way you will not be caught off-guard about any of the subjects covered and it will give you a better idea of when you actually need to approach these subjects with your kids.

Luke and Trisha do a great job introducing parents to the material. A good chunk of the book covers some common questions and concerns a parent may have about starting this conversation so early with your children.

I’ll end this with a bit of advice, if you have both genders of children, you may want to consider going through these separately. Talking to preteen girls and boys at the same time may result in unnecessary awkwardness. Ask me how I know…


Coupon Code! The Gilkerson’s have generously offered a coupon code for my lovely readers who decide to purchase these resources. You can save 10% on either Changes or the Sex Ed Series (which already gives you a $2 discount on the two books) with code – SV10. The code is only good through November 11, 2015. So hurry!