Category Archives: Ms. Firecracker

Homeschool Classroom ~Christian Studies

One area of our older kids’ high school curriculum is their Christian Studies.

Some of what Christian Studies includes studying is God’s word and taking opportunities to serve in our community.  I have previously shared one of their assignments, and you can check it out here.  Today, I want to share one of my absolutely favorite assignments for this class.

Once a month each one of our oldest four students presents a teaching (aka sermon) on a topic they choose.  This gives them a different method of studying God’s word than the verse by verse method we use for our morning Bible study.

The requirements for this assignment:

  • minimum of 5 minutes in length
  • must contain 3 different verse references
  • 1 Greek definition
  • 1 Hebrew definition
  • 1 story to illustrate the teaching

How I score this assignment:

  • time length of teaching- 10 points
  • 3 verses- 5 points each
  • definitions- 5 points each
  • story- 10 points
  • overall presentation- 5 points
  • = 50 point assignment.

Though this is a part of our high school curriculum, Emily Grace (13- 8th grade) and Hannah (11- 6th grade) also participate to expand their knowledge of God’s word and be better prepared for the more difficult topics and higher expectations of their high school years.

Each of them get to choose their own topic, but they have to clear it with me before they get started.  Sometimes the topics they choose can be too broad and need to be a little more focused.

A few of the chosen topics so far:

  • Biblical Courtship vs. Worldly Dating
  • Drawing Strength from God
  • Intentionally Be An Encouraging Person
  • Having a Thankful Heart

I greatly enjoy listening to their presentations and hearing what they have discovered.

What are some other topics do you suggest?

All for God’s glory,


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In the homeschool classroom- scavenger hunt!

Our family’s favorite classroom:  God’s great big world!

Today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed outside with our science.  The scavenger hunt assignment in Hannah’s (10) Exploring Creation with Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures by Apologia was the perfect activity.  I had Emily Grace (13) join in.  It really accents her science studies, Botany by Apologia.

First find:  a huge bird’s nest.  Now, normally we would not collect a bird’s nest, but this one was in one of my feed buckets that is stored with our tools and equipment used on our homestead.

We took our little adventure down to the pond.  We passed a gnarly looking tree that offered up one of the other items on the list, a hole in the trunk of a tree.  As you can see, Emily Grace was fully prepared for any surprise attacks from whatever could be lurking in there.  I was so tempted to scream and run just to freak her out.  I didn’t.  This time.

Another item on the list was to find a bird, other than a duck or goose, around the water.  What did we find?  Our chickens.  That works!  Often we will find cranes, but there were none today.

How cool is this prickly looking caterpillar?!  Another item marked off the list!

We spent about half an hour trekking around our property to find everything that we could.  We will continue the hunt after the sun has retired for the day, so that we may have the opportunity to spot a few other items on the list, like bats.  🙂

Being a part of their education is far more than book work.  It is also the joy of getting them out and encouraging them to be hands-on.  Listening to their conversations and bad jokes while on the scavenger hunt was all gravy!

Next up on the science front: bird watching 101.

What is happening in your classroom?

All for God’s glory,


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Our Girls and Makeup

Though I speak often in emails and in person with moms about daughters and makeup, the amount of questions I have received regarding this topic have recently gotten numerous. So, rather than email this out multiple times, I am going to share our views in a post!

The makeup question often comes in one of these forms:

  • What age do you allow your daughters to start wearing makeup?
  • How do you view little girls and makeup?
  • How do you decide what makeup to allow?
  • Do you allow your girls to wear nail polish?

We do not allow our girls to wear makeup or nail polish until they are 13 years old. That’s it. At 12 they are introduced to the much-anticipated path of growing up into a young woman and the makeup adventure by allowing the frosty colored lip balm.

At each birthday, beginning on their 13th birthday, they are gifted with a new item of makeup.  By their 16th birthday they will have received all of the different kinds of makeup they need (i.e.:  foundation, powder, eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, etc.)  and be instructed on how to properly use each one.

This is how it lays out at each birthday:

  • 12th- frosty colored lip balm (we love Burt’s Bees)
  • 13th- light-colored lip balm (pink or watermelon), mascara, and they are now able to paint their toenails with young, fresh colors (light pink, light purple, light blue)
  • 14th- now we add light shades of eyeshadow that are the appropriate colors for their skin tone and eye color.  If their fingernails are kept clean and in good repair we will now let them start wearing nail polish to match the colors they have on their toenails.
  • 15th- this is the birthday we add eyeliner and allow for slightly darker and brighter nail polish.
  • 16th- at this birthday each young lady now can use all items of makeup and is fully instructed on how to wear foundation, blush, and powder.  I take the time to teach them about their season, their coloring, what matches their eye color, and how to apply each stage of makeup.

We view make up as a privilege and an important part of a young girl growing into a young lady.  I don’t want to take away the excitement and joy of their first make up experience and each new one as they cross the threshold from little girl to young lady by giving it to them at too young of an age.  Each birthday from 12th to 16th has such anticipation.  By slowly adding new makeup each year, the amount of makeup they are wearing corresponds with how they have matured over the year.

I don’t want to burden them with feeling the need to “put their face on” or worrying about mussing their makeup when they are 9, 10, 11 years old, when they should be focusing on having fun with their friends, riding bikes, playing games, and enjoying the freedom of being so young.  All of the privileges and steps in the journey of growing into a young woman are not going anywhere.  There is no need to rush through such exciting and beautiful experiences.  Once you’re grown up there is no going back!

Do I think parents are wrong for letting their little girls wear makeup and nail polish?  No.  It is not my job nor my place to tell anyone how to raise their daughter(s).  What you choose for your family you do so because you know it is best and what you want for them.

We have put a lot of thought into planning out and guiding our six daughters on this adventure.  We want our daughters to realize that God made them beautiful without makeup, and we feel that making them wait and allowing new makeup over the course of their teenage years helps them to stay grounded in that.  They do not need makeup to be beautiful!

Our oldest is 16 and can wear any makeup she wants, though she usually keeps it simple with eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss.  Our second daughter will be 13 in September, and the excitement over her upcoming introduction to makeup is palpable!  I find myself in almost as much anticipation as she is!  *grin*

Have you already been through this experience with your daughter(s)?  Are you soon facing it?  What are your thoughts?  Any advice or encouragement for moms who are looking to hold off on makeup until the teen years despite the media pressure to apply makeup younger and younger?  I would love to hear!

All for God’s glory,


View From My Porch (Link Up)

Welcome to this week’s edition of View From My Porch!

This week’s post has been provided courtesy of our five-year old tornado, Susannah.

Beautiful glass, isn’t it?

Can you guess what it is?

Here is a little bit of a wider shot.

It is the fifth gazing ball that has been smashed into tiny beautiful shards that are so incredibly difficult to find and clean up.

While the untimely demise of my gorgeous glass ball lies firmly on the shoulders of Susannah and her bike, she did not break all five of them.  No, no, no, the whole family has joined in on the attacks against the lovelies I like to adorn my gardens with.  Mark (hubs), Noah (14), Emily Grace (12), and the roughness of moving have all done their part.

It is a conspiracy, I tell you!

As is so apparent, I cannot have glass or anything breakable in my gardens, but I love the look of a colorful orb.  So, that brings me to my next question.  Can you help me?  What can I repurpose, make, and/ or create to take the place of my far too delicate glass gazing ball?  We are talking a need for Superman durability here!


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So, what are you going to share from the view from your porch?

To God be the glory,


Ahhhh, the smell of an apple orchard in the fall.

What screams homeschooling in the fall better than a field trip to an apple orchard?  Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  *Warning*  I have lots of pictures to share!

Aren’t the Arkansas Black apples beautiful?  They become almost black with a hint of deep red when they are ready to be eaten and enjoyed.

Our fantastically fall field trip (say that five times fast) took us to Mountain View Orchards where we were warmly greeted by a father/ son team.  They were extremely knowledgable, very capable in sharing that information with kids of a wide variety of ages, and they were wonderfully generous with their apples and their time.

Did I mention they were brave?  They let us loose on their apple orchard!  *grin*  Well, actually, the kids were well behaved.  The adults, on the other hand… just kidding.  We had a great time!

It is not always easy to find a field trip that will appeal to Littles, Middles, and Bigs.  Sometimes, if the field trip is fitting for the older kids, then the information  that is being shared is over the heads of the Littles.

Then there are times that whatever adventure we are on fits the younger children, but it is completely boring for the older ones.  Not so with an apple orchard!  Be still my homeschooling heart!

The bouncing bumpy tractor ride back to area of the orchard where we picked wasn’t too long and gave the kids an opportunity to plan their apple-picking strategies with their friends.

The question/ answer period gave a lot of new information and knowledge to our older children, yet wasn’t so long that our Littles grew restless.  The time and energy we spent picking and enjoying the apple orchard took just long enough for the bigger kids to get hands-on with some of their new knowledge, but it didn’t tire the Littles out to the point of whininess.  *love*

The children were paired up, I prefer to pair a bigger kid or two with a little one, and given a box to fill with apples.  That day we filled multiple boxes with Golden Delicious, that is, whatever apples the children didn’t eat while picking.  I told you, the father/ son team was generous!

My favorite shot of the day?  This one.

This is Renee’s sweet, sweet friend, Arianna, as she toted Israel’s not-so-light tush around the apple orchard.  My little man had an apple in each hand.  He would take a bite of one apple and then switch his attention to the second one.  He consumed every bit of both apples.

We even brought in grandparent reinforcements for those apples that were way up there in the trees.  Reach!

Everyone, wave to Paige and her sweet little guy, Gabriel.  Israel and Gabriel hang out together every Sunday at church.  The cuteness is almost unbearable.

Our bounty from the day was enough to fill my counter and keep me busy canning, dehydrating, and freezing fruit for days!

There was much making of pear sauce and Foo.  Emily Grace was my right hand girl.

Our pantry has added many quarts of pear sauce, 6 pints of Foo, and 6 quarts of dehydrated apples.  These will be yummy and a reminder of warm weather and the sweet smell of the apple orchard when we are in the midst of winter.


I shared with you earlier this week that our family’s schedule is becoming a little overfilled and things will be a little crazier than usual.  In addition to my fill sensor going on out my washing machine (which means no washer for about 3 days), we are moving!  We have been extraordinarily blessed to have found a different house to rent for the time being.  There will be more details and pictures coming soon.  Until then, I am up to my eyeballs with packing and cleaning and preparing to move in a week and a half.  Wow!

It is a good thing we school year round and are so far ahead.  Taking a couple of weeks off to get moved isn’t a big deal at all.   Getting a family of ten packed and ready in about ten days, that, my friends, is a big deal.  Pray for me!  *wink*

God bless,


But Before That

Today, September 11th, is a date that holds a somber meaning for us all, but before that it was a date that held, and continues to hold, a very special meaning for our family.  The year before the attacks on this country, God blessed our family with our third child, Emily Grace.

Her birth was one of my harder ones, not her actually delivery, but the months leading up to it.  Our first child was born via c-section and our second was a natural VBAC.  By the time Emily Grace was due to be born, the hospitals had turned a 180 on supporting VBAC’s and were attempting to force pregnant women to have a c-section if a child had previously been born via c-section.  I refused to allow a c-section after a successful VBAC, and I had the support of my doctor in my decision.  It took a little planning and great timing, but we had our second natural VBAC.  *this is where I do my touchdown dance*

18 month old little brothers are essential for proper cake cutting!

For the first several years after the 9/11 attacks, I felt guilty celebrating EG’s birthday.  It didn’t seem right to celebrate when so many people were reliving a day that forever changed their families.

Over time we have learned to balance this difficult day.  We gather together, as a family, and pray for each and every person who lost someone on that day.  We pray for our country.  We pray for those who survived.  We remember.   Then, we turn our focus to being thankful for and celebrating the addition of Emily Grace to our family.

This year, we gathered together family and friends this past weekend to grill out burgers, devour cake and ice cream, play games, and enjoy the fellowship of those we chose to share EG’s day with.

One of the huge hits of the day were the balloon piñatas, thank you, Pinterest.  We stuffed large balloons with bead necklaces, bracelets, candy, a couple of small prizes, and confetti.  Everyone chose which balloon they wanted to pop, and they kept the items that came flying out.  The confetti was great!  Every time a balloon popped, the confetti just exploded!  I will never use a regular piñata again.

Our SuSu winding up for the big smack!

….aaaaannnnndddddd POP!

All ages loved smacking the balloons.  *grin*

EG’s friend, M, at moment of ballon explosion. Can you see everything flying?

You know Emily Grace’s favorite part was opening the gifts.

Daddy and I surprised her with a new bike. The girl looked like she was riding a clown bike when she rode her old one! My, how they grow!

There was one gift in particular I enjoyed seeing her “open”.  I made a jewelry display frame that matches the name sign I made her last year.  It came out better than I expected, and she is crazy about it.  Score!

A close up shot.

Not only are we celebrating EG’s 12th birthday, we are also celebrating my grandfather’s birthday.  Happy birthday and many, many more Emily Grace and Papa.  We love you both!

God bless,


You Capture! ~Play~

With a house full of Littles, Middles, and TWO new puppies, there is a whole lotta play going on in here!

We are working diligently to make sure our Little Man, Israel, knows his way around a kitchen!  One day, his future bride will thank me for this.  *wink*

One of the many pleasures of homeschooling is the ability to get the kids outside periodically to stretch their legs and have a little fun before hitting the books again.

There is nothing quite like the sweet giggles from Israel and Susannah as she chases him in his swing.  Every time she would almost “catch” him, he would swing out of reach and she would have to chase him back the other way.

There are rare moments in the day when one of the children isn’t playing with our newest furry family members, Ezekiel and Judah.  I am ever so grateful that when they feel like chewing on something, they chew on each other.  They will stalk and romp and play as the kids watch with delight on their faces.

Noah takes great care to ensure the puppies are tired out and completely ready for nap time.

It does this Momma’s heart well to watch as the children play, catch butterflies, and enjoy their time together outside.  Sometimes I wish I could freeze these moments and keep them in my pocket.

God bless,


Why not join up and check out the other links to I Should Be Folding Laundry’s weekly photo challenge, You Capture!.