What's the big deal about Young Living

Blast From the Past

Screenshot 2015-11-15 19.53.58

One of my Facebook friends recently tagged me in this photo, and it brought back a flood of memories and emotions.

That’s me on the back row, third from the right, rocking the Holly Hobbie shirt. I was shocked to see that I looked pretty much like an average fifth grader, like all the other kids in the class. I didn’t remember myself that way.

You see, this was the year I moved to a new school, and there were a couple of girls who let me know right off that I did not fit in. They were sort of the unofficial leaders of the class, so they let all the other kids know it too, and they reminded everyone regularly so we would all be keenly aware at all times that CONNIE DID NOT FIT IN.

I didn’t wear name brand clothes like they did. My mama shopped at garage sales and resale shops. I didn’t know the songs the other kids sang on the playground. My parents listened to country music, not KVIL, the popular music station.

That last oddity was the most problematic for me that year because it just so happened that the music teacher structured the entirety of her lessons so that each day our class would file in and sit down and she would take song requests to play on the piano so we could all sing along. Well, all except Connie, who did not know “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tennille or any other songs played on KVIL. And since the music teacher did not know “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, or any other songs played on WBAP, you can see how this all played right into the CONNIE DID NOT FIT IN scenario, right?

I’m not sure how long I endured the torment of those two girls cajoling everyone else into making fun of me for my lack of Top Ten Pop Song knowledge before I cracked and told my mom about it. She promptly made an appointment for a meeting to speak with the principal and the music teacher and they all agreed that the best solution would be to change the structure of the music class so music would actually be taught (imagine that!) instead of strictly being a song request and sing-along format. (Now you know where I get my “I Need to Speak to the Manager” attitude.)

As I’m sure you can guess, this change made me even more wildly popular among my classmates than I ever was before. The students had to give up their beloved sing-along class, and they would not soon let me forget it.

I spent the rest of that year in misery.

Looking back now, it seems such an insignificant blip on the screen of the entirety of my life so far. I hadn’t even remembered it until the photo appeared on my Facebook timeline. And then it all came back. The enormity of it all. The misery. The embarrassment. The longing to fit in, to be liked.

These days I try to ask myself what God wants me to learn about certain things that weigh heavily on my mind. With this memory that won’t let me go, I imagine God is telling me to remember that 10 year old girls have big feelings. What now, to my adult mind, seems like a rough patch can feel like a whole landslide to a little girl. What is no big deal in an adult’s eyes can seem like the whole world is falling apart in a child’s eyes. That one year in fifth grade is now 1/49th of my life so far, but to that Me Child in the picture it was Everything. It was The Present. It was all that existed.

And now, as I type this out, I know why that Very Hard Year happened for me. It was so I could empathize with and comfort little girls I have living right in my own house. When they have spats with sisters or don’t get invited to the party or when they are the only ones who don’t know how to “whip and nae nae”, instead of minimizing the impact of those things, I can recognize that those are big feelings.

I can listen and nod and hug them close when they tear up telling me about their big hurts that didn’t seem all that big to me before I saw my blast from the past.

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DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

DIY instant Oatmeal packets

I whipped up a bunch of these DIY instant oatmeal packets in snack size Ziploc bags and wrote the instructions on the outside with a Sharpie. I keep these in the pantry in a basket on a low shelf so they can be easily reached.

These were a huge hit with my kids! Even the 7 year old could read and follow the instructions and prepare her own breakfast.

I also tried making a big batch altogether in one container for scooping out, but the dried fruit and sugar tended to sink to the bottom and didn’t stay mixed well. I ended up going back to the little bags, which I had saved instead of throwing away. The instructions were already written on those, so no added work. SO simple!

Be sure to check out the link above for lots of different variations to include. We love this simple breakfast idea!

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Homeschool Winter Summit Twitter Party! {$25 Gift Card GIVEAWAY}

Winter Summit Twitter Party


Do you ever feel like you need some homeschool encouragement? Someone who has been there and done that to come along beside you and tell you

“You’re doing it!”

“I know how you feel!”

“Keep going!”

“I got your back, sister!”

“Don’t give up”?

Well, the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is having a Twitter party to do just that!

Join us next Thursday, October 29th at 8:00 p.m. CST for a half hour of homeschool encouragement. Follow the party by going to Twitter and searching‪ #‎HomeschoolEncouragement‬. Then join in that night by telling us about yourself and answering the questions there.

And for an extra dose of encouragement SOMEONE participating in the party will win a $25 Amazon gift card!

See you at the party!

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Usborne Books Online Party ~ FREE PRIZES!


Do you like high quality, award winning educational books?

I am hosting an online Usborne book party tomorrow, October 23rd at 2:00 p.m. CST, and there will be FREE PRIZES! You don’t even have to order any books to win a prize! Simple RSVP here by clicking “Going” or “Maybe” (under the picture at the top) and show up some time during the party to leave a comment, and you’ll be entered to win.

Usborne publishes high quality, award winning children’s books (ages newborn – young adult). These books are also used in many homeschool curriculums such as: Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, The Well Trained Mind and Veritas Press just to name a few. I would love for you to come and hang out with me, learn about these great books, and possible win a prize!

You can get a head start in entering to win a prize by commenting right now before the party starts!

Hello? Christmas shopping anyone? This is the perfect opportunity to knock out some of the gifts on your list without waiting in long lines.

Even if you can’t be online during the time of the party, go ahead and click “Maybe” so you can drop by the page later to see the great deals on these wonderful books.

See you at the party!

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Scheduling and Taking Your CLEP Test

A Homeschooled Student's Guide to CLEP Tests


This is a guest post, written by Madison Hughes, homeschool graduate and college senior. This post is part 4 of a 4-part series on CLEP tests for homeschooled students. Find the rest of the series below.

The popularity of CLEP tests is currently on the rise, and you may have heard about them from friends or acquaintances as a way to earn college credit.  Homeschoolers especially can take advantage of this easy method.  This 4-part series will guide you through learning about and choosing a CLEP test, studying for and taking a CLEP test, and transferring CLEP credit to a college.  In part 1, we explained what exactly a CLEP exam is and how to determine if it is right for you or your student.  In part 2, discussed how to consider your options and choose a CLEP exam.  In part 3, talked about how to prepare for your test.  Now we will finally discuss scheduling and taking your exam.

Ok, at this point you’ve learned about CLEP tests, chosen a subject, studied hard, and now you think you’re finally ready to take your exam!  What next?

As we learned before, CLEP tests are given at designated testing centers in many locations across the country.  To find a nearby location, use this link and enter your zipcode.  Once you have found a conveniently located testing center, you will need to get in contact with them directly either by phone or via email.  If you aren’t sure who specifically to contact, the college’s registrar should either be able to help you out or at least point you in the right direction.

When setting up a test date, be sure to understand that most centers are located on college campuses and that the computer lab is probably being used for other functions as well.  With this in mind, know that when you book an appointment it may need to be a couple of weeks in advance.  For your first CLEP test, I would recommend booking your appointment only when you feel ready to take the test now even if you end up with a wait time.  In the future, you may be able to figure out how to time it so that you book your test date when you aren’t yet ready, but are prepared by the time of the exam.

In addition to scheduling a date and time, be sure to ask your testing center about methods of payment.  CLEP tests cost $80 each and most testing centers charge a proctoring fee of $20 or less.  Some locations may have a pay-in-advance voucher system, while some may require you to pay before the test.  Additionally, ask about what all you need to bring with you to your test.  Most tests will not need or allow scratch paper, but your center should provide scratch paper for you if needed.  You may need a calculator for some exams.  For any exam, you will need a photo ID and your social security number.

Be sure to get to the testing center early as, typically, late entry is not allowed.  Your exam will probably be given in a computer lab.  The center’s staff will help you to get set up and you will answer a short questionnaire about your CLEP experience before viewing a demo on how to use the program.  You will also have the opportunity to choose one or more colleges that will receive your CLEP score.  If you are currently attending college or know what college you want to attend, use this opportunity to make your selection now in order to save trouble later.  If you’re not yet sure where you should send your scores, leave the form blank.  CLEP will retain your scores for 20 years and you can have a transcript sent to any school at any time for a marginal fee.

Tests are 90 minutes long and generally contain between 80 and 120 questions.  You will be able to see time elapsed and time remaining with the program in use.  When you finish and before your score is revealed, you will have the opportunity to void the test if you felt that you did very poorly.  If you choose this option, you will not be shown your score but can retest again at any time.  If you choose to see your score, it is automatically reported and, if you did not pass, you will not be able to retest for 90 days.  If you complete the exam early, you may quietly leave – you don’t have to stay for the rest of the allotted time.

You did it!  You took (and hopefully passed) your first CLEP test.  If you didn’t report your score to a specific college, you can do this at any time by contacting CLEP customer service at 800-257-9558.  You will be charged a fee of $30 per transcript, and each transcript will include all reported CLEP scores for that student.  If you did report your scores to one or more colleges, they should receive and add them to your transcript within 6 weeks.  You can contact the registrar’s office of the college with questions or concerns.

And that’s a wrap!  I hope this series has been helpful.  CLEP tests have really helped to give me a leg up in the world of college, so I hope that they can do the same for you!  If you still have any questions that were left unanswered, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP.

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Back to School – College Edition

Welp. It’s done. Both of my college kids are tucked away hours from home on their college campus. (I’m so glad they are together. I know they love each other enough to tattle to Mama if there are any unlawful shenanigans taking place. Right, kids? Right?!)

Jackson leaving for college

My boy was so much simpler to send off. I don’t mean less emotional. I mean his answer to almost every question about preferences was “I don’t care.”

Me: Do you want to take these C.S. Lewis wall quotes you got for your birthday to hang in your dorm room?
Him: I don’t care.

Me: Do you think you’ll need a new pillow?
Him: I don’t care.

Me: Do you want a bed skirt to cover the things you’ll be storing under your bed?
Him: I don’t care.

The girl, on the other hand, had many and sundry opinions about what was necessary for going away for college.

Girls packing Madison


Girly suitcases? Yes! Decor and wall hangings? Yes!

Schick Disposable Razors for College


And razors must be “the good ones.”

Schick Extreme 3 Razors for college

That meant specifically these pink Schick Extreme 3 razors we picked up at Walmart. (As an added bonus, Schick is giving away 4 prizes of $10,000 each when you post a selfie using #SchickSelfieSweeps! You better believe we are doing this! Somebody has to win, am I right?)

college apartment

We finally got everything unloaded at her “new” apartment, which gave me the distinct feeling I had traveled back in time to 1963.

We unpacked and arranged and decorated and strung up flowery lights above her bed.

Schick disposable razors for college

And here she is in her very own 1963 bathroom with her “must have” disposable razors.

What are your Packing For College “must haves”?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schick®. The opinions and text are all mine.


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