Wednesday, July 4, 2012

9 Months Pregnant

I just wanted to post an update.  I'm 9 months pregnant with baby Baker #9 so I'm not doing a whole lot of writing right now.  Actually, I'm not doing a whole lot of anything other than my energy healing business & spending time with my kids...well...and resting.

I'll keep you all posted!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Books That Helped me Become a Better Mentor to my Children

Books That Helped me Become a Better Mentor to my Children

Mentors can come into our lives in various shapes and sizes.  The following books have been mentors to me at the times I needed and since then.  They have helped me become a better person, a better mentor, and a better mother and wife.  This list of books has my thoughts on the books and how they helped me in my journey.

Mentoring in Home Education

How to Read a Book

By Mortimer Adler

This book was monumental for my understanding of how to read a book, what questions to ask of each book, and how to read specific genres.  It has been helpful for me to know how to lead discussions with my children in their readings and what I want to teach them to get out of books.  He also teaches you how to mark your books and the importance of doing so.  This has to be one of the most valuable books on educating myself and my children that I have read.  It is full of the tools you need.  It goes along with the Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Arm the Children

By Arthur Henry King

One of the most intensely intelligent books I have ever read. I had to pauses after each chapter and truly digest the rich meat of wisdom. I have written several articles based on a few things he talks about in this book. Every LDS parent should read this book.  It isn’t just about children, however.  This title may fool you a bit.  It includes everything from Arthur King’s conversion to education in the home, to art, to his views on the atonement. This is on the top ten of my lists of books to read and reread.

The Well Educated Mind

By Susan Wise Bauer

This book was very helpful to me as a mother learning about the classic books that are available and trying to decide which ones will be worth reading.  I’m always trying to find classic books that will help make us better individuals while discerning which ones may not work well for our family.  Her lists helped tremendously for me to know which ones I’m interested in and which ones to steer clear of.  I also appreciated her knowledge and insight of how to read certain classics and along with How to Read a Book I feel I have a good idea of what to look for in books.  I also have a greater understanding of the classic trivium now thanks to this book.

The Read-Aloud Handbook    

By Jim Trelease

This is an excellent book filled with information that every parent and grandparent should read. It is one I will often re-read to keep myself inspired on reading aloud to the family and the importance of keeping up with the sustained silent reading (SSR) as a family.

Honey for a Child's Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life

By Hunt, Gladys

Both this book and the Read-Aloud Handbook together give you excellent lists and resources sharing and explaining the importance of reading to your children.  

All of the books by Oliver DeMille regarding the Thomas Jefferson Education {or leadership education} and have been helpful for me as a mother and mentor. These books in succession began me on the journey to homeschool and giving me knowledge and confidence when I needed the boost.  They keep me inspired and empowered again and again.

Mentoring in Keeping my Children’s Hearts and Nurturing their Spirits

Our family’s central canon includes the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  These are read regularly as a family and also individually.  As a mother, I go to my religious sources {our central canon} and in prayer to find many answers in raising my family and to be more in tune to their needs.

Keeping Our Children's Hearts: Our Vital Priority

By Steven and Teri Maxwell

Written by parents of eight children, I've looked to the Maxwell's book for wisdom in raising my large family since 2005.  This has been a core book detailing why we do what we do and make the rules we do as parents.  We started implementing the suggestions in this book at a crucial time when I felt that I was losing my children's hearts. This was upsetting to me and just at the time I didn't know where else to go, a mentor lent me this book and it was instrumental in changing our children and reclaiming their hearts.  Because of this knowledge and the information shared in this book that we implemented in our family, we've entered the teen years with our children with confidence and peace.  I can't say enough great things about this book and how helpful it has been for me as a mother.

Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves

By C. Terry Warner

This book has changed my life. It has helped me see something I've tried for years to figure out, but could never quite get it and that is self-deception. Self deception causes many problems in relationships and in yourself and the struggles you may be having. It was an amazingly powerful book. The first half explains in great and simple detail what self deception is and the many forms it takes. The latter half explains to you how to get rid of it. I love how this book makes you do the thinking and is not a "step by step" process on how to live your life. As a mother it has helped me in making sure I’m coming from a pure place and being able to see the signs of self-deception in my children so that I can teach them another way.

As I’ve been putting together the previous resources I’ve used over the years I’ve had many memories of the searching and struggles before I found these books.  Tears have come to my eyes as I’ve recalled these moments of searching and pondering.  The tears are mostly from gratitude that I’ve been so blessed to be led to these resources.  Please keep in mind that this is not a randomly thrown together list, but a list full of years of searching and finding, asking and receiving, and because of this these are some of the most important books I have been blessed with thus far {as my journey is far from over}.  I’m grateful for the journey and I’m grateful for the knowledge presented to me in these books.  I hope they are helpful to you for your journey as mentor and mother.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I paid $4 for 24 books- SQUEE!

I've noticed something while going through bookstores both new and used.  As I've been preparing these lists for you, writing lists of books for me and my family, and studying book lists from various places I've gained a large knowledge of book titles and authors and now its easier to find books that I might not have otherwise. 

Yesterday, while I was waiting for my ultrasound appointment, my husband and I went to a thrift store.  We originally went to look for a coffee table for our "Chalkboard Table" business, but while I was there, I HAD to look for books.  {Smile}  I ended up taking out 24 books, many of them nice hardcovers, for $4.35~ what a deal!

Here's what we brought home:

Adult/Scholar Books:
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The Deerslayer by James Cooper
20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (This I got because it was small.  We have 2 other hardback copies)
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Sorry for it being sideways.  Thanks to the cellphone for that one.

Kid books:
Heros Don't Run
A Boy no More---both by Harry Mazer.  {We have A Boy's War also written by him}
Junie B Jones is not a Crook
Junie B Jones loves Handsome Warren
A Bargain for Frances by Hoban
Bedtime Stories for Frances by Russell Hoban
Golden Book: Old Mother Goose
Arthur's Pen Pal by Lilian Hoban
Lyddi by Katherin Paterson
The Rescuer's by Disney
Pluto Detective by Disney
Hardy Boys 1 & 2
The Incredible Journey by Burnford
Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell

More soon!

Tales from Belleview Cottage: Preparing for Spring

Our house feels like a small zoo with animals and kids galore. Just in time for spring we ordered butterfly larvae and a butterfly garden to keep them in. Painted ladies to be exact. They just emerged from their cocoons today and the children are so excited. What a fun learning experience it has been.

We have five chickens now. They won't be ready to lay until this summer. They are so sweet and so fun.

We have a Buff Orpington, a New Hampshire Red, and a Brown Longhorn. We also have some pure breeds which are a blue cochin and a black silkie bantam.

Last year's garden was so successful that we decided to expand it and also to give each child a small plot to grow what they want to. We suggested themes and many of them chose color themes. I ordered the seeds from an Heirloom site online called Here is what we ended up with. 

My flowers:
Black Prince - Snapdragon

Meredith's Cowboys and Indian plot {7}
Royalty Purple Pod Bush Bean
Giant Indian Flint Corn
Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry

Makenzie's Assorted Mix plot {10}
Stone Mountain Watermelon
Yok Kao Cucumber
Albino Bullnose Pepper

Cailynn's Snow White plot {16}
Alaska Shasta Daisy - Wildflower
White Emerald Cucumber
Snow White Carrot

Madison's "Scarlett" Red Garden plot {8}
Early Wonder Beet
Red Mini Bell peppers
Chadwick Cherry tomatoes

Bella's purple extravaganza plot {5}
Pandora Striped Rose Eggplant
Cosmic Purple Carrot
Cupani Original Sweet Pea flowers

Benjamin's Pepper Bonanza plot {13}
Golden Cal Wonder peppers
Sweet Yellow Stuffing peppers
Lemon Drop Pepper

Charisa's kitchen garden plot {14}
Tendercrisp Celery
Corne De Belier Snow Peas
Early White Vienna Kohlrabi

Until next time...

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Inside Look into Scholar Phase

My daughter Cailynn and I
My eldest daughter, who is 16, is knee deep into scholar phase. I'm so pleased with trusting the process of TJED.

When we first pulled her out of school we went through a two year "detox". She had such a difficult time with school and her self esteem was shot. By the time I pulled her out, I put her into Core phase and my only goal with her at that time was to nurture and build her self esteem. The other children were going through similar experiences but not to the extent that she was. She was also diagnosed with autism: Aspergers with high anxiety.  She could barely read and hated learning and hated school.

As I read, I mentored and we did {do} a LOT of reading aloud. This post isn't to go over our long journey, but if there is interest in that I can post more on it later.

She is blossoming, happy, centered, and I'm very pleased to say you can barely tell she has anything going on with autism.

This is what has been working best for her now...

Here is what she has read so far this year {2012}:

Religious Books
  • Finished the Book of Mormon
  • A Marvelous Work and A Wonder by LeGrand Richards
  • The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball
  • The Last Days by Avraham Gileadi
  • A Witness and a Warning by Ezra Taft Benson
Classic Literature
  • Song of Roland ~Unknown
  • The Confessions ~ St. Augustine
  • Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
  • Hamlet by Shakespeare
  • All's Well That Ends Well by Shakespeare
  • The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare
  • Othello by Shakespeare
  • The City of God {book 8} by St. Augustine
  • The Virginian by Owen Wister
  • The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Koran {The Cows}
  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
  • Beowulf ~Unknown
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede

Other Literature:
  •  Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
  • Ten Peas in a Pod by Arnold Pent III
  • Nancy Drew and the Sky Phantom {She loves Nancy Drew, but only gets to read them every now and then or on her own time}
  • Nancy Drew and the Mysterious Mannequin
  • Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with the Circus by James Otis
  • ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
  • Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

  • Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide
  •  On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres by Nicolas Copernicus

Reading for Educational Subjects:
  • A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston
  • Lives of the Musicians by Kathleen Krull {We all agree this was kind of negative}
  • The Annotated Mona Lisa {Art History}

This Week

We have our mentor meetings each Sunday evening or Monday morning.  Here's this week's list of things to do that we prepare together.  She sets the goals and sometimes does more and I encourage and mentor where needed.

History Timeline: 400 AD-1600 AD

Book Report: The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede


Begin the Inferno by Dante.  Get to at least page 213 by Sat.  (Our copy has Italian on one side and English on the other so it's half of that first #)

The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer read to page 777.  {Pretty sure she is finishing the book}


Daily Scripture readings for seminary.
Whom the Lord Loveth by Neal A. Maxwell ~ finish


Julie of the Wolves ~finish
Candleford by Gaskill ~ finish

Read one storybook a day to the little kids.

Journal: 3 times this week.

Copywork: 100 words a day in 20 minutes.

Lost Tools of Writing Workbook ~ get to page 102 by Friday.

Science:  {Astronomy}

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei ~ finish

2 experiments.  Write a paper on one.

Foreign Language:

5 Lessons in French {Rosetta Stone}

Latin: {Henly} get to lesson 31  {Almost finished with year 2}

Greek: to lesson 5

Personal Improvement:

Run: Tuesday and Thursday
50 crunches/15 pushes every other day
Work on Personal Progress.  {She just earned her Honor Bee}
Help brother with his Duty to God and Scout Merit Badge


30 min. Piano, 30 min. viola daily
Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers {book} ~finish
Listen to 10 minutes a day of Classical music, composer of your choice.

She checks in often with me and we have seen our daughter blossom into a confident, happy, and progressing young lady.   I love Leadership Education!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Elevate your Life

We are like rubber bands. When we grow and progress in any area or get past any obstacle in our lives it is like we are stretching to new heights. We’re stretching beyond our limitations. Once we’ve stretched, learned and gained the wisdom from those experiences we can never go back to the previous shape. You are a better person with what you’ve learned through the growing process.

Read articles written to enhance your home, self, and family. Discover new and delicious recipes. Enjoy the support and encouragement shared for women...

This ebook features articles previously featured on the‘s Deluxe Edition emagazine and is considered a back-issue.
This ebook includes articles such as:
  • Elevate your Life
  • Pita Pizza with Squash and Tomato
  • Book Rating System
  • Bless Your Home With Gratitude
  • Ratatouille Bake
  • Namaste: Yoga before bed
  • Ten Things I Am Letting Go Of
  • Reach Out: Recycle
  • Mommy Maintenance
  • Go Ahead and Make Mistakes
  • Burgers With Cucumber Sauce
  • Cheap Home Makeovers
  • The Rhythm of Our Days
  • And so much more!
Features 19 unique and inspiration articles.

Pages: 40+

This ebook is coming soon! Get a special pre-order price on it today! This ebook will be available March 22, 2012.

Price: $8.95 $7.61 {15% savings!}

Don't forget to subscribe to our Deluxe Edition magazine!

What will I get with my subscription?


  • Unique username and password.

  • Access to articles 24/7.

  • Each month we feature 20-50 articles that are home, garden, seasonal, and family related with original, high quality articles.

  • We have themes each month related to home, family, and caring for self.

  • All subscribers have access to 6 months of previous magazine issues {back issues}

  • Browse the extensive home and garden online library of over 300 articles.

  • Did you not learn all the housekeeping and homemaking skills that you wished you had? We are here for YOU!

  • Learn tips and ideas on how to incorporate you family and children into your homemaking routines.

  • Have you ever wanted a mentor to share ideas on how she runs her home? We are here for YOU!

  • Requested topics/articles accepted.

  • Access to all Deluxe Edition recipes and crafts since 2002.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Notes from Writing Conference

My husband and I really enjoyed seeing Andrew Pudewa from the Institute of Excellence in Writing and Andrew Kern from the CiRCE Institute today. I love that we live in a place that has the option to go to these various conventions and programs.

Here are some notes from today. I hope they help. I'm so inspired and uplifted

and would love to pass some of that on to you too.

Notes from Andrew Kern's Lectures:

*Small improvements are the way to move on your path.
*Husband means to nurture and bless what is in your care.
*Israel means to wrestle with God. We gather strength from what we wrestle with.
*If you want to understand language better, read Tolkien.
*All of your life is determined by the questions you ask.
*The quality of teaching is determined by the questions you ask.
*Children learn by the questions they absorb.
*Training depends on the questions you ask.
*Everything begins with a question.

*Engage the will to seek answers to questions:

1 Attentive Perception {the father of learning}
Pay attention
When you give something your attention it shows that you care. It's fidelity.
It is being faithful to what it is. It is the 1st act of love.

2 Recollection {re-collection} {the mother of learning}
Go back and recall it
Memory makes you smarter and its been removed from public/private curriculum.
We are making fools of ourselves by not using memory.

*A child is a soul that contemplates as it receives.
*Recollection is faithfulness

3 Contemplation
Recalling and comparing
Comparing is a gift from God.
It is: acceptance, adoration, a gazing

4 Conceptualization
The fruit of contemplation
Our souls are then changes
Formation transforms us from within.
When truth enters our souls we are transformed.

5 Represent {re-present}
When truth is formed this can happen.

*Train these five faculties to become good at anything.
*We love memory. We feed on these things. This is what learning is.
*Blessed learning begets enchantment.

Reading Great Books {Notes}

*A great book has a form/analogies that embody truth.
*Every culture has great folktales and myths.
*Avoid the formless and the void.
~Creation is making forms and filling them. Avoid informal, non-imaginative, and relevant books.
*Read aloud, narrations, copy, memorize, and discuss.
*Read attentively
*By reading great books you are ordering the mind to think.

*Image from Google Images

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Books to Read

To add more to our reading collection and some fun this cold January, we went used bookstore shopping several times. After trading in books we don’t want, we brought in a bunch of great books! Here’s what we got today…many are books we’ve been looking for to add to collections.


A Child’s Book of Lullabies
Raggedy Ann and Andy in the Tunnel of Lost Toys
In a People House by Theodore LeSieg

Love of Learning:

Come Back, Amelia Bedelia by Parish
The Littles by Peterson
Paddington Helps Out by Micheal Bond
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk by Thornton Burgess
The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
Heidi by Johanna Spryi
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Ozma of Oz by Baum
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
The Case of the Exploding Plumbing {Encyclopedia Brown series #11}
Five Little Peppers Midway
Doctor Dolittle Tales
National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
Indian in the Cupboard by Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard “
The Key to the Indian “
The Bobbsey Twins and the Horseshoe Riddle
Alice’s Adventures under Ground by Carroll
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
The Little Washington’s by L.E. Roy
Mary Poppins on Cherry Tree Lane


When Wagon Trains Rolled to Santa Fe
Flatboat Days on Frontier Rivers
When Men Panned Gold in the Klondike
Outrageous Women of Ancient History
Patsy and the Declaration {Daughters of Liberty Series} by Elizabeth Massie
Royal Diaries: Anastasia
Faithful Friend: The Story of Florence Nightingale

Cornerstones of Freedom Series: {we <3 this collection}
The Story of the Underground Railroad
The Story for the Battle for Iwo Jima
The Story of the Mayflower Compact
The Story of the Battle of the Bulge


We Shall Not Be Moved by Joan Dash
Phantom of the Opera {the red hardcover}
The Scarlet Pimpernal

I love seeing my children reading. I believe strongly in providing an environment rich in books to improve their minds. Used book store shopping is like treasure hunting and saves us hundreds of dollars on our collections.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Homeschool looks like with a Tired, Pregnant Mom

Of course, I can’t speak for other homeschool families, but here is what ours looks like right now. We have 8 children ages 15 (almost 16)- 19 months. I’m in the first trimester with baby #9 and some days I have energy and some days I have none.

Mentor Meetings

These begin either Sunday night or Monday morning depending on my energy level. During our mentor meetings we plan what they are to do that week. I have the kids set their goals in everything from math to reading and I add my opinion/challenge if I think they can reach a little higher or do a little more. They keep planners/calendars with their goals and add other things as they achieve them such as hours of service, etc.

The scholar aged kids get up early to do seminary and start their day’s worth of studies. I have two scholars age 15 and 14. My son is an emerging scholar or practice scholar at age 13.

Mornings Start with…

Morning devotional. I do not leave my room until I call everyone in for it. I’ve noticed if I leave my room before we have devotional I tend to get distracted by other things, so I’ve discovered this works best for us if I want consistency. With morning devotional we have scripture study. We are currently reading and discussing Esther. Next we have a morning song and prayer. The younger three usually rotate leading these things. We always end by standing for the Pledge of Allegiance and singing Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue.

DROP Everything and Read

10 Minute DEAR sessions as Jim Trelease suggests. Basically, you have ten minute “Drop Everything And Read” times at least once a day. We try to have several in addition to the assigned school reading they have.

Since we’ve started this in 2010, several things have happened. The children are all reading more. I also found that I get more reading in. But, most importantly, my two reluctant readers are finding their books fascinating and they thank me daily for providing this time to sit and read uninterrupted. They are now finishing books as well as improving their reading skills. And ten minutes isn’t that much time to stop for a break so I feel that it is well worth the effort it takes to stop and read. My husband has even mentioned he appreciates the break time and he enjoys getting time in for his reading.

Scholars are independent and come to me in the late afternoon to show me their papers and share with me about their readings. I really look forward to discussing their books with them and even sharing bits and pieces of mine.

Music & Language

I learned that it is so worth it to buy DVD’s or CD’s for their language programs. The kids are doing Latin (Henle) and they can rely on the DVD and CD’s for corrections and help. They are doing French with Rosetta Stone- another self-paced learning program. I’ve really learned to take the monkey off my back with these resources.

The oldest four children: 15-10 all take music lessons. Cailynn (15) plays viola and piano, Charisa (14) plays violin, Benjamin (13) plays piano and this year we hope to start him on the Cello, and Makenzie (10) plays piano and violin. I can really see the benefits in their playing music in connection to retention of their studies.

Speaking of getting Outside Help

We found a math tutor for the older kids. I’m so thankful for that help. While I work with the younger ones ages 10 and younger I know the older kids are still progressing too.

We also have the kids doing Andrew Pudewa’s grammar and writing systems and with the DVD teaching portion it has been wonderful. Again, they are self-pacing it and I’m always so amazed with their progress.

Older kids help with Younger Kids

They help read to them, or tutor them in math or science if I’m having down days. They love to come up with projects for them too. The benefits I’m seeing in this, for the past seven years, is aside from the obvious learning for both the younger and older children, is the connection and closeness the children have established with each other.

Mother Helpers

I was trained to do all things homemaking growing up and it has served as an invaluable skill in my life. It has given me an advantage over other women my age and allowed me to serve as mentor for others in this area. For four years I’ve been doing the same and the rewards have been showing forth for all. My older girls can cook or bake anything from fresh breads to creating their own successful gluten free foods to soups, stews, beans, etc. I believe strongly that teaching “life skills” is just as important for a child as are education and thinking skills. Chores also fall into this category and everyone in the home has chores except the baby. Ages 3 and up.

Family Reading

I have fond memories of gathering around the dinner table in the evenings while my mom or dad read aloud to us. They stuck with classic works such as: Ten and Twenty, Pinocchio, the Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, and the Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Scripture reading was always something we had and it was just thought of as “what we do”. We have continued this tradition in our own family and once we began homeschooling we realized the educational benefits in this as well as emotional. Most people listen to stories or books and have a higher listening reading level than actual reading level. This has been proven true as all of our children enjoy the classics regardless of their age. We’re currently reading Mary Poppins aloud along with evening reading of the scriptures.

I remember when I began homeschooling seven years ago. I worried how I could possibly do it all. It seems silly to me now as I’m at this end, but it was real then. How would I handle pregnancy and homeschool? I learned right away to start having the family help more. Homeschool has touched our family in a way that nothing like it could. We have a close bond and connection. The children have an open communication with my husband and I. I love being the one to help tutor and educate my children for their life’s mission. Who better to do it than someone who knows them so well and loves them so much?

I see homeschool as being far more than education. I see it as also helping to light the fire for learning, to spark a passion for life, and to help them discover who they are and what their mission is in this life. Pregnancy doesn’t slow down the progress; it is just another learning experience for us all.

*Last image found on: