Finally! The Writing Program That Is Working For Our Family!

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I think every homeschooling family has areas they’re strong in and areas they’re weak in. For our family, English is our weaker subject. I’ve tried several different programs, but I’ve found a lot of them to be expensive, which makes trying out new ones, well, expensive. 🙂

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked by the Institute in Excellence for Writing booth, and longingly looked at their products but walked away feeling overwhelmed by it all. That all changed however, the day we went to a convention in Nebraska with our Character Badges business and I had the chance to hear Andrew Pudewa speak in person, and also talk with the amazing salesperson at the booth.

The Student Writing Intensive course from IEW has been such a blessing for our family! Our 5th and 7th grade sons are using it, with great success! Check out why in the post.

Somehow I managed to walk away from hearing Mr. Pudewa speak on spelling feeling renewed in all areas of homeschooling. He’s a very engaging speaker and I was disappointed when the talk ended! I immediately left and went to visit the IEW booth, and there met the sales lady who walked me through the different programs. Kudos to her – she did an amazing job!

This year we are using the IEW level B writing program. I was originally going to use it for our 3rd grader as well, but after looking at it more closely I decided she wasn’t up for it quite yet. So our 5th and 7th grade sons are doing it together, and it couldn’t be a more perfect fit.

A daily week of using IEW looks like this….

The first day they watch the DVD where Mr. Pudewa is teaching. The setting is a live classroom, so you watch him interact with students. He can be incredibly funny, and my boys have been known to go back and watch parts over again just because they want to hear the funny parts more than once!

It will change as we get further into the curriculum, but for now the rest of the week they learn how to pick out key words from each sentence, give me an oral narration, and then write the story out again using the key words they had written down. The rest of the week they have reinforcement paragraphs to work on.

IEW Writing Program for middle age school children. This has been the best writing curriculum ever for my homeschooled boys!

I really love all the helpful checklists which are great for not just my boys to follow along, but for me to instruct them in.

Institute in Excellence in Writing level B.

Also included in this set are DVD’s where Mr. Pudewa teaches the homeschooling mom how to teach the lessons. I’ll admit, I’ve only watched 2 of these sessions and we have just kept going without me staying on top of watching the DVD’s. I think they’re great, but I just don’t have time right now.

So what do my boys think about this? We all know that boys are known for not liking to write. 🙂

My 7th grader is in love with the program. He really enjoys all the different aspects of it and rarely complains about doing it.

My 5th grade son normally groans when I say it’s time to do writing, but after he gets going he usually does a good job without any difficulty in following the instructions. Writing just isn’t his thing, (unless you ask him to write about the civil war all the time). 🙂 Overall, I’m pleased with how he has done as we have tried other writing programs that have not been nearly as successful. He told me he loves the videos as he enjoys Mr. Padua and how he teaches.

IEW writing program

Never fear dear mother. At first glance this program can look overwhelming, but once you dive in and get started, it’s really not as difficult as you think! Be as involved of a teacher you want. If you are a large family homeschooling mama, you might be more hands off, because you are off chasing the baby and trying to keep the toddler out of the toilet while your older children are actually learning from someone besides yourself for a change. 🙂 Enjoy the break as Mr. Pudewa instills in your children a love of learning!

To find out more, go to the IEW website and browse by subject. You can find the exact writing program I talked about here.

*Disclaimer – I received these products free of charge to review. I was not paid for this review, and all thoughts are strictly my own.


4 New Fall Items On My Wardrobe Wish List!

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I’ve been trying to look around the stores and see what current styles are out there for fall. Beyond that, I’ve looked at my own closet to see what gaps I might have in my wardrobe for fall.

I like to be stylish, but also realize I have six children and a husband to purchase clothing for as well. My budget only goes so far! Shopping online at places like ThredUP can help when I just can’t find the time to get to the thrift store, or search out good deals in stores.

While I could make a really long list of things I want, here are a few things I’ve narrowed it down to for this fall season (and into winter).

Quilted Vest

A Quilted Vest – I’m not sure yet if this will be flattering on me or not, but it’s high on my list to try. I want to get this white vest from JCPenny, and maybe the navy one as well. I can see it looking really cute with my Rainbow Denim Skirt.

Striped, floral and solid color shirts would look cute under these vests.

Brown ankle boots

Ankle Boots – These have been in style for awhile now, but I’ve put off getting any. I wore ankle boots when I was 13, and it just has always reminded me of that time. I finally found a pair I like on Zulily, and absolutely love them! I’ve always liked the Naturalizer brand, so I’m hoping they work for me. If you missed them on Zulily, they are also available at Kohls!

Choose Joy and Choose Hope shirts

Choose Joy and Choose Hope Shirts – I love the short sleeve Choose Joy shirt I have, so I’m going to get one (or both!) of these long sleeve tees. A Halftee tank under them will solve the v-neck problem. 🙂 I’m leaning towards the Choose Hope shirt, as I’m really trying to cling to hope that we will be able to move someday, and buy a house. 🙂

Through October 20th you can get either shirt shipped free for $16.95 with the code: CHOOSEMSM2 at the checkout! 

Solid colored long sleeve shirts from Land's End for fall and winter!

Solid Color Shirts – Somehow my closet is sadly lacking in solid color shirts. It’s hard to find good shirts that are thick enough to not see through, and hold up through washes without pilling. These solid shirts from Land’s End have good reviews, and they don’t look skin tight. For a little cheaper option, there are good reviews on these cotton tees from JCPenny.

So there you have it! I would love to know what you are looking for this fall!

*We are having a flash sale at Deborah & Co. through Thursday, October 20th! Receive free shipping in the USA on any $20.00 or more cami order placed! Use the code: FLASHFREESHIP at the checkout!

4 Must Have Items for your Fall and Winter Wardrobe!






Stop Running On Empty: An Amazing Resource To Help Busy Women!

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Physical and mental exhaustion is something I am far too familiar with. Trying to juggle being a wife, a mom of six children, homeschooling, homemaking, running a business, support my husband as he currently is the pastor at our church, and be a sister and friend as well, can be a bit overwhelming!

Now, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I am so blessed and thankful for my amazing family…but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had to learn a thing or two these last few years about taking care of myself. 

You see, I stink at it. I don’t often get enough sleep, I struggle to drink enough water, I struggle to get in my exercise routine (even though I know I desperately need it), and tend to just push myself to do more and be more.

Does this sound familiar? 

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in this. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most women stink at really taking care of themselves and investing in themselves.

But the thing is – it’s vitally important to stop every once in a while, even for 5-15 minutes, to refresh ourselves, fill ourselves up, and maybe even spend a few minutes reading a book or sitting outside in the sun. As women, we have to stop and refuel. To pour back into ourselves so that we have the energy and the JOY to pour back into serving our families and the Lord. 

And that’s why I’m so excited to share with you about this brand new 7 part audio series all about investing in yourself…all for God’s Glory! (Find out how to get it for FREE below)


Taking the time to invest in myself, to care for my body, and invest in my spiritual life are all vital parts of being a homemaker. I need to take a little bit of time each time to invest in myself so that I have the energy and joy to pour back into my family…otherwise I might just face some severe burn out and face my days with a begrudging attitude instead of joy in the Lord!

Do you crave a little more energy, joy, and enthusiasm when facing your day? Do you wish that when you hear the kids stirring after their nap time, that you had the energy and focus to greet that sound with joy and energy to tackle the rest of your day instead of the dreaded 3 o’clock exhaustion?

This all starts with taking just a little bit of time to invest in yourself. I have learned this the hard way after years of running around like a mad woman trying to get everything done…and then hitting a wall of fatigue and despair. I want to greet my day with joy and energy! 

Throughout this 7 part audio series, Jami Balmet (a dear blogging friend!) will be diving into all the aspects of taking care of ourselves (and why this truly matters if we want to have a thriving home and relationship with the Lord). In the series she will talk about:

  • Avoiding burn out and letting go of GUILT when we do invest a little in ourselves
  • Making time for what you love (in 15 minutes a day)
  • Taking care of yourself – exercise and eating well
  • Investing in your Spiritual Life
  • Giving yourself GRACE…especially when life falls apart
  • Wrapping it all together for God’s Glory!


When it officially launches next week, you can purchase it for $25 and get access right away to go through it. BUT when you purchase a premium ticket to this year’s Homemaking Ministries Online Conference through October 20th, you will get FREE access to the audio series! 

The conference officially kicks off next week (October 25th-28th) and when you register by Thursday for a premium ticket not only will you get free access to this audio series but you will also get a full ticket to the conference (you can listen to the sessions anytime…you get to keep them forever!) and a brand new goal setting course (which you get immediate access to).

Find out more & sign up today! >>

This year’s conference is shaping up to be incredible!! We’ve got 17 amazing speakers lined up to deliver 20 conference sessions throughout the four days. The theme for this year is Finding Balance in Your Home and each session addresses various aspects of how to find and achieve balance in your home…all for God’s Glory!

Here’s the incredible line up we’ve got:

Session #1: Achieving Balance in Our Lives (A Definition) – Jami Balmet
Session #2: Cultivating the Lovely in the Everyday – MacKenzie Monroe from Bold Turqious
Session #3: How to Create a Lasting & Loving Marriage – Jolene Engle from
Session #4: Balance in Spending Time Online – Mandy Hoffman from
Session #5: Balance in Housekeeping – Hilary Bernstein from No Place Like Home
Session #6: Finding Balance in Spiritual Disciplines (What’s Really Important) – Jami Balmet
Session #7: Balance in Meal Planning (So You Won’t Go Crazy) – Stacy Myers from Humorous Homemaking
Session #8: Finding Balance in Healthy Living (Or, how to be crunchy without being a nut) – Trisha Gilkerson from Intoxicated on Life
Session #9: Balancing Priorities for Greater Joy in Your Home – Jennifer Ross from The Focused Homemaker
Session #10: Balancing Homemaking and Homeschooling – Tauna Meyer from The Proverbial Homemaker
Session #11: Focusing on the Gospel Throughout the Week – Jami Balmet
Session #12: Balance in Motherhood – Christy Fitzwater from
Session #13: Creating Balance for the Working Homemaker – Caroline Allen from The Modest Mom (Me!)
Session #14: Finding Balance in Relationships – Angie Tolpin from Courageous Mom
Session #15: Living a Life of Ministry (Even When You Can’t Leave the House) – Katie Bennett from Embracing a Simpler Life
Session #16: Making Scripture Memory a priority in your day – Carlie Kervechal from Today’s Frugal Mom and Fulfilling Your Vows
Session #17: Balance in Planning – Marlene Griffith from A Diligent Heart
Session #18: Balance in Healthy Eating – Kelly Smith from The Nourishing Home
Session #19: A Startup Guide to Simplifying Your Stuff – Elsie Callendar from Richly Rooted
Session #20: Finding Purpose and Cultivating Joy in Your Home – Jami Balmet


Bonus #2: Goal Setting Course and Workbook

Do you still need another reason to sign up for the conference? When you purchase a premium ticket you also get access to our brand new Goal Setting Course and Workbook all about setting priorities for you day, effectively planning, creating a family mission statement, and more!


Modest Monday and a Link Up!

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This weekend was full of visiting with friends, two of my children had their very first sleepover with friends, and my husband ran his first half marathon since high school! It was so awesome! We all got up super early (5:00 AM!) to go with him and cheer him on. He did even better than he thought, which is making him excited to try it again!

We went and visited some friends who live in the country. We found an obliging field on their road and pulled over to take these pictures. Every time we go visit friends in the country it just makes me long to live there myself! So far God has not opened those doors, but I remain hopeful. 🙂

Maxi dress from my Stitch Fix box. A favorite dress, and it's so comfortable! It will be great for fall with a cardigan.

Maxi dress from my Stitch Fix box. A favorite dress, and it's so comfortable! It will be great for fall with a cardigan.

This is my favorite dress that I have received from my Stitch Fix boxes so far! You might remember seeing this before. I had an orange cardigan on with it earlier in the day, but it warmed up quite a bit as the day went on.

I plan on scheduling a fall Stitch Fix box, and I’m excited to see what I will get!

Lilla Rose Headband

Here is one of the Lilla Rose headbands. They are so comfortable, and are some of the few headbands that I can wear without getting headaches. The special for October only is a free headband of your choice with any $75 order or more! Considering these normally cost $24.00, that is an amazing deal!

Lilla Rose Autumn Compass Flexi Clip!

This is the brand new Autumn Compass flexi clip that was just released for fall! It’s a limited edition clip, and I love the fall colors! I’m wearing a size medium.

Maxi dress from Stitch Fix

What I Wore

Dress – From a hand selected Stitch Fix Box

Shoes – Nude flats from Zulily

Flexi Clip – Medium Autumn Compass from Lilla Rose

Headband – Lilla Rose

Makeup – L’BRI Pure and Natural, Smashbox blush and eyeshadow and Make Up For Ever Lipstick.

Link Up Time!

Please feel free to share posts about anything concerning being a godly, feminine woman. Topics include: modesty, being a wife, mother, homeschooler, homemaker, cooking, sewing, etc.



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