Teish Knits

Teish Knits -

My New Favorite Planner

I’ve mentioned before how much I love the planners from Home Educating Family. Well, they’ve done it again! Today we’re launching My Well Planned Day (MWPD). It’s an online planner that will help you keep track of homeschooling, appointments, events, shopping lists, meal planning, and more! Now, I’m not exactly a digital planner gal. I’ve been using MWPD for a few weeks though, and it’s changing my mind about digital planners! The big selling point for me was that it’s mobile device compatible. I love that feature! I can access our schedule and lesson plans from my tablet or iPod touch. You can also print off the assignments for the day if you want a paper copy. Another awesome feature is how easy it is to move around assignments. Sick day? I can bump the lesson to the next day, and it will bump all subsequent lessons as well! There is so much to love about the new MWPD. And, you can try it out free for 30 days. Just follow this link and see for yourself why I’m so excited: http://mywellplannedday.com/

Another Year Older…

This afternoon I baked cupcakes while singing “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore”. Tomorrow is my birthday. My kids are far more excited about it than I am, but they don’t quite understand that birthdays look different once you get past 30!


When I look back on the past year, there are good and bad things of course. I decided to list some of the good things that have come out of the past year, and I’m sharing them here. (In no particular order.)

This year I…

… made peace with the fact that I dress like I did in high school. Jeans and tennis shoes are practical and comfortable, and you seriously can’t beat a good denim jacket.

… ditched the makeup. If Mom’s makeup routine consisted of Oil of Olay and lipstick, then I’m not going to worry about my minimalist look.

…decided to keep the rock star red hair dye and bright nail polish.

…realized that I’ll be fighting some dragons for the rest of my life, but that’s OK. This is my struggle for a reason, and God knows that reason, even if I don’t. He can even bring something beautiful out of it.

…discovered the music of For King and Country. A number of their songs have been a huge encouragement to me through some pretty rocky days.

…joined team HEDUA! I’ve been a fan of Home Educating Family for so long, and reviewing and writing for them the past few years has been an amazing experience. I’m so excited to be working in their customer service department!

…fell a little more in love with my husband of 14 years. I still can’t figure out how I ended up with such a great guy, but I’m so very thankful that I did!

…watched our kids gain a few more inches. They grow so fast that it takes my breath away. I see bits and pieces of the people I’ve loved the most in each of them, yet they are still unique individuals. This year, I got to know each of them a little better.

…accompanied Aaron to the first gallery showing of his photography. It was wonderful to see some of his beautiful work hanging on a gallery wall!

…laughed with my sister. Mom always said that we would get along someday, and of course she was right.

…watched starry skies, and remembered that there is always, always hope.

…counted more blessings, and saw that I’ve been given more good gifts than I realized.

…slowed down and enjoyed the moments with my kids a little more often.

…wish I’d gained a bit more wisdom, but I guess I’m still a work in progress.

Some days this year have been so. Hard. There’s been a whole lot of good too though, and even the hard stuff isn’t for nothing. I can see God’s fingerprints all over my life; that alone is enough to make me look forward to the coming year.

English Teatime Baked Donuts

I love Pinterest. I can keep track of recipes, patterns, school ideas, and so much more without having to print off a ton of stuff! Seriously, it’s a huge paper and ink saver for me.

Lately, I’ve been looking for baked donut recipes. I have a fabulous donut pan, and the kids love it when I bake a batch of donuts! Considering how much I love tea, this particular pin caught my eye…

I did change up a couple of things. First, I used Earl Grey tea. Second, since I didn’t have heavy cream, I just made a regular powdered sugar glaze and used that. I think they came out quite good!


If you want just a hint of tea flavor, then three bags of tea should be fine. I’d use a fourth next time because I would prefer a stronger tea flavor to the donuts. I’d also really like to try the glaze made with heavy cream next time. My glaze was pretty thin, and didn’t have the rich flavor that just a bit of cream can give to icing. I’ll probably also bake it a couple of extra minutes too. I like my baked donuts to be a bit crispy on the outside.

All in all, this recipe is a keeper. It’s a lovely with a good cup of tea!

Homeschool Must-Haves

July is here! Do you know what that means? Time to start thinking about school in the fall! I’ll be talking now and then about some of my favorite books, resources, and ideas for home educators over the next couple of months. First up are two things that are on my must-have list! The Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner from Home Educating Family, and The Homeschool Experiment by Charity Hawkins.


You may not be surprised that I mentioned The Well Planned Day. Before I ever started writing for Home Educating Family, I fell in love with this planner! I cannot imagine trying to homeschool my kids without it. It includes pages for keeping track of the curriculum and books that I use for each of my kids, and you can also keep track of their schedule and grades. There’s a two-page monthly calendar, followed by weekly calendars. The monthly calendar is great for keeping track of appointments, trips, and such. The weekly calendars have plenty of room for planning out each day’s assignments for up to 4 students. Have I mentioned the holiday planning pages? They are a huge help when I’m trying to keep my Christmas lists organized! I also love the page of tear-out shopping lists for each month. The Well-Planned Day is also one of the most attractive homeschool planners that I’ve come across. I’ve just started my fifth year using these planners, and I have no intention of switching anytime soon!

Why did I put a novel on my must-have list? Well, the first time I read The Homeschool Experiment, I felt like it was a book written to moms like me! Homeschooling can be tough, and some days it seems overwhelming. Julianne is the homeschooling mom in the story, and I feel like I could sit down over coffee or tea and get along wonderfully with her! This book shows the good, the bad, and the messy when it comes to parenting and home educating. I read this book every summer because I always feel encouraged and come away with a few good ideas to try out myself. Julianne is a mom to younger kids, so parents of high-schoolers may not get as much out of it as I do, but I’ll bet they would still get a laugh out of remembering what it was like back when they had little ones in the house!

Now it’s your turn… What books or resources are at the top of your list for home educators?

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Five Glass Slippers Review

Five-Glass-Slippers-CoverI’ve got something of a soft spot for fairy tale and classic literature retellings. That’s why Five Glass Slippers first caught my eye. Five different authors, each putting their own spin on Cinderella? Sounded fabulous to me!

I think my favorite thing about the collection is that it encompasses a variety of genres. There really is something for everyone. Five Glass Slippers is perfect if you want to try reading a new genre, or just want a few quick reads that are still fabulous stories. The best part? All of the stories are clean! It will definitely appeal to both teens and adults.

What Eyes Can See had a pretty traditional Cinderella setting for the story, but the plot twist… Oh how I loved that plot twist!

Broken Glass was a steampunk take on the tale that drew me in from the beginning. And I was intrigued by the ending that seems to leave us with the possibility of a sequel.

I loved the heroine in The Windy Side of Care. She’s a take-charge type of gal who’s not afraid to step up and get things done.

Of course, the science fiction story of the collection, A Cinder’s Tale was my favorite. I loved all of the characters, and it was a brilliant take on Cinderella!

The fifth story, The Moon Master’s Ball, is a slightly creepy fantasy. I’ll be honest, that’s not the genre that I usually read. Even so, I really enjoyed the story and just couldn’t put it down.

Whether you are looking for a beach read, or something to curl up with during a winter storm, take a look at Five Glass Slippers.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not paid to write a positive review, and all of the opinions expressed are my own.

Daybook for June 23rd


Outside my window… the sun is out today and the sky is clear.

I am thinking… about what a peek into my homeschool looks like… I’d have to say, it depends on the day!

I am thankful for… the opportunities that God keeps sending my way. The last few years have been a wild ride, but I’ve also been able to get involved in some really wonderful projects.

From the learning rooms… seeds are sprouting, and my jr. gardeners are so excited to see their plants grow.

From the kitchen… caramel apple cinnamon roll coffee cake. Whew, that’s a mouthful! Pretty good, but I think it needs a few tweaks if I make it again.

I am wearing… jeans, black t-shirt, and my TPCs. (Working from home has its benefits!)

I am creating… a summer sweater for me. Let’s see if I can get it done before winter.

I am going… to be working for Home Educating Family! Woo Hoo! I’ve loved their planners and magazine for years, and I am just over the moon excited to be officially on staff!

I am reading… actually, I’m in between books. So many good ones to read that it makes it hard to choose one!

I am hoping… that I remember everything I’m learning this week. I guess that’s why I have notes, lots and lots of notes.

I am hearing… our pet cockatiel chirping away.

Pondering these words… “Worry is a misuse of your imagination.” – Unknown

Around the house… all kinds of little bits of playdoh on the floor. How does that stuff make such a mess?

One of my favorite things… is visiting family out at the lake.

A few plans for the rest of the week: work, laundry, school with the kids, and all of the other usual stuff!

For more daybooks, please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Daybook for June 16th

Outside my window… the sun has returned after a week of not much more than rain and clouds.

I am thinking… about writing, and how much of themselves authors pour into their stories. I’ve heard both schools of thought. Write from your heart, and don’t write anything too personal in your stories. I don’t know that either one is strictly right or wrong. Maybe which one we lean towards depends on why we write…

I am thankful for… easy access to music. I don’t think we always realize what a wonderful gift that is.

From the learning rooms… learning about plants is definitely more fun during garden season!

From the kitchen… sun tea brewing today.

I am wearing… jeans, pink balloon festival t-shirt, and my TPCs.

I am creating… still knitting the blanket. I might be knitting it forever, but at least I’m not tired of working on it yet.

I am going… to try out a couple of new essential oil blends. Aromatherapy is a more recent interest of mine, but I’m quite fascinated!

I am reading… My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren. It’s startling to pick up a random novel and find something unexpectedly relevant to where I’m at right now. Maybe this book landed on my reading list for a reason.

I am hoping… the sunshine gives me a bit of extra energy today!

I am hearing… a bit of everything on my mp3 player. I have pretty eclectic music tastes!

Pondering these words… “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” — CS Lewis

Around the house… windows are being opened and the fresh breezes are once again drifting through.

One of my favorite things… chocolate. No explanation is needed!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Just the usual. Nothing exciting planned, but life has a way of tossing in a few surprises!

For more daybooks, please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Daybook for June 9th


Outside my window… I can hear the birds singing!

I am thinking… about how fast my not-so-little-ones are growing. Little Guy asked me to cover him up with his blankie, and it’s now too short to reach from shoulder to toe!

I am thankful for… the meaning of my name: Joyful & Thankful. It seems ironic for someone who has lived a life filled with anxiety. I’m going to look at it as a promise of the kind of person I can become through the grace of God.

From the learning rooms… lighter schedules in the summer are nice, and it’s easier to take messy experiments and projects outside!

From the kitchen… it’s getting too warm to do much baking. Time to stock the freezer with popsicles!

I am wearing… a grey t-shirt, denim shorts (since I’m not going anywhere today), and my TPCs.

I am creating… a skirt for me, in polka-dot fabric no less! Also still working on the knitted blanket.

I am going… to have to plant our beans and cucumbers soon. The packaging suggested waiting until June in our zone.

I am reading… One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp again. I need the reminder again.

I am hoping… to fit a little extra reading in today.

I am hearing… fans swirling.

Pondering these words… “In Christ, you’re a native of Heaven right now. You aren’t a citizen of here trying to work into Heaven. You’re a citizen of Heaven trying to work through here.” – Ann Voskamp

Around the house… there are plants sprouting in our garden! The peas look to be thriving, and I’m not sure who is more excited about it, me or the kids!

One of my favorite things… is the bright beaded jewelry that Munchkin makes for me.

A few plans for the rest of the week: A bit of writing catch-up for me, trying to fit in laundry during the cooler hours, and sorting out a warm weather menu now that summer is here.

For more daybooks, please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Handling High School: How My Parents Made it Work

It’s not uncommon for kids to be homeschooled during the elementary years, and then transition to the local public school for high school. I did the reverse. I spent six years in the school system, and then my parents decided to home educate me during the middle school and high school years.

Homeschooling for high school can seem pretty intimidating, but there are a few things that my parents did to ensure that I had a great education:

And if you want to read the rest, you’ll have to visit the HEDUA blog post here: http://hedua.com/blog/handling-high-school/

There are some great articles on the HEDUA blog about homeschooling during the high school years. Definitely check them out while you are there!


Cereal Boxes on My Desk

Our home office gets a lot of use. I spend most of my writing time in there, and my IT staff spends many, many hours working in that room! From time to time, we have to just clear out the empty boxes that have piled up, and do something with the stacks of paper that multiply on the desks. That was my project yesterday afternoon.

My desk is actually just a table, so I don’t have any drawers or storage other than the flat surface area around my computer. It was while clearing off my desk area that I realized how useful a desk organizer would be. I briefly looked around online but quickly decided that I wanted a cheaper solution. A google search for “desk organizer diy” turned up plenty of ideas.

I settled on making a desk organizer out of cereal boxes, toilet paper tubes, glue, and leftover spray paint. I used clothespins to hold it together overnight while the glue dried. Then I spray painted it first thing this morning. The spray paint didn’t completely cover up the cereal box pictures, but it works. You really can’t beat practically free, right? A lot of the pictures I saw during my google search showed organizers covered with scrapbook paper or fabric. You could definitely do that if you’re so inclined. I grabbed the spray paint because it was faster. I also like the idea of covering it with fancy duct tape. I’m out of duct tape at the moment, or I’d have tried that instead.


It’s not the sturdiest thing of course, but it does hold my pens, pencils, printer ink, bottled ink, notepads, and all sorts of odds and ends that cluttered up my desk.


Mr. Q was impressed with my desk organizer and even asked if I could make him one for his dresser. Maybe I’ll hand him the cereal boxes and duct tape and let him have at it!