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Three things I never knew about the U.S. Presidents

First off, I want to say, I love all of you hard-working public school teachers who take your job seriously and put all of your blood, sweat and tears into your kiddos.


My husband was a public school teacher, my bestie is a public school teacher and I had some AMAZING teachers I’ll never forget …


I did forget about everything I learned about the U.S. presidents.

So, making this U.S. president game was so much fun for me, because I got to learn with my kids, like I usually do on this homeschooling journey.

I designed the Print-and-Go U.S. President BINGO, complete with 44 U.S. President Information Cards, which I researched and wrote. And, boy, did I learn A LOT.

Like what was actually going on while Bill Clinton was being impeached. I lived through that and didn’t know all the details.

But, to be fair, I was spending most of my time watching this:


Or about how Dolley Madison saved a portrait of George Washington from being burned when the British set the White House ablaze (and then the portrait turned out to be a copy). Apparently, the British troops had a fine meal at the White House using all the president’s china and silverware before lighting the first match. I definitely never knew that.


Of course, my insanely smart bestie already knew everything I’d learned.

But she acted shocked when I told her that John Adams’ last words were: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” But what Adams didn’t know was that Thomas Jefferson had died earlier that morning. (They both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.)


Thank you, friend. Thank you.

Other facts I never knew:

1. Harry Truman never graduated from college. His parents couldn’t afford to send him, and though he took many courses, he never earned a degree.

2. Even Alexander Graham Bell couldn’t save President James A. Garfield after he was shot in the back. Although Garfield survived for three months after being shot and Bell used a metal detector he invented to try to find the bullet, Bell was unsuccessful and Garfield died after the second shortest presidency in history.

3. Gerald Ford was the only president never elected president or Vice President. He became VP when Nixon’s VP resigned and then president when Nixon resigned.

What interesting things have you learned about the presidents recently?

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God bless the amateurs

amateur, gumption, fake it 'til you make it, God bless, faith

You won’t judge me if I tell you this post was inspired by Jimmy John’s subs, will you?

The truth is Chick-fil-A was closed tonight for Memorial Day or this post would be inspired by my home-away-from-home.

This is actual footage of the kids and I reading the “CLOSED” sign outside:

Anyhow, back to regularly scheduled programming.

While we were eating at JJ’s tonight, I was throwing myself a mighty fine pity party … not because CFA was closed, but because the introvert in me hates wet ink.

You know … when you put something out into the world and it’s so fresh that the ink hasn’t even dried and you’re scrambling to find the Magic Eraser before anyone sees the mess you’ve created? No? It’s only me?

No, you introverts get me.

My husband was reading all the quirky signs across the restaurant and blurted out: “HAH! Remember, one lonely amateur built the ark. A team of experts built the Titanic!”

And SNAP. Just like that. Pity party averted.

Not really … but that snarky, little saying reminded me that although I often feel like an amateur – or worse an impostor – I have God on my side. God bless the amateurs like Noah who are willing to trust Him. Because He can do amazing things with a little faith and fresh ink.

Even if I had the best education, the most advanced team and the newest technology, without Him, all my plans would be at the bottom of the Atlantic like the heart of the ocean.

More importantly, our kids need to see us try new things and trust God through all the new terrain we encounter along the way. They need to see us fake it ’til we make it or they may never have the gumption to follow through on their crazy, near-impossible dreams.

After all, no one’s a pro at everything. When we try new things, we learn that with God, all things really are possible … even if things don’t work out like we plan.



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Unplugging for a Quiet Summer

summer, quiet, peace, unplugged, kids









This summer, I’m giving my kids a gift – the gift of peace and quiet.

No … not that kind of quiet.

They have been surrounded by constant noise and gadgets consistently vying for their all-too-short attention spans. So, for three full weeks I’m shutting it all down. The television, the iPad and who knows what else we have hidden around this house.

I want them to focus on reading, using their imaginations and, mostly, just enjoying being kids.

Local radio personality Brant Hansen recently noted that while on a mission trip in a remote, adventurous locale complete with volcanoes and monkeys, the kids on the bus complained that they were bored.

He told them something really profound: You’re not bored. You’re boring.

That hit me. And it’s not because my kids are bored even when they’re constantly entertained (which sometimes they are). It hit me because I can be that way. Not just bored – but boring. When I’m focused on me, and only me, I stop thinking about ways to give back and creative ways to teach my kids and new recipes to try, and that makes life really boring. And it makes me miss out on the blessings headed my way – because I’m focused on anything but that.

I don’t want my kids to miss out on the everyday adventures found in our own backyard. And I definitely want them to learn how to handle themselves when they’re not being entertained 24/7. I hope our time unplugged builds character, but I may look like this when it’s all over:

One thing I’ll encourage them to watch is the Shutterfly screensaver on our Roku. It is an amazing reminder of all God has done for us and how far He has brought us. The kids sometimes choose to watch the slideshow of our old pictures over a movie or show now anyway. If you have a Roku or smart TV and haven’t downloaded the app, please do! Believe me, if your life is anything like mine, the slideshow will be anything but boring!