Homeschooling in the Time of a Pandemic

Homeschooling in the Time of a Pandemic

This post may contain affiliate links.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave or on your own personal island for the past few months, you’ve already heard about the rapidly spreading virus hitting our world. With this understanding, I’m not going to get into what it is, not only because it’s all over the media, but because I honestly don’t understand it any better than the next random person.

What’s Changed

Recently state governments have been taking steps to help prevent the spread of this still-debated illness. These steps include asking people who might be infected to self-quarantine, practice social distancing, banning group gatherings of 50 people or more, canceling large events, and most recently closing schools.

That’s where I come in.

Homeschooling in the Time of a Pandemic

If You’re Unexpectedly Homeschooling

Last week your kids were attending classes at their public or private school, and today they’re home for a few weeks or more. You could use this as an extended vacation, or you can help them stay ‘on-track’ by creating a life of learning. 

Homeschool, Not Public School At Home

I’m sure your head is already spinning. 

You not only have to figure out a whole new daily routine, which might include working from home or finding childcare, but now you need a way to make sure your children aren’t being adversely affected by this unexpected change.

It’s going to be okay.

Take a breath, Momma. You’ll get through this. 

First, homeschooling doesn’t have to be, and in fact shouldn’t be, about trying to recreate public school at home. You don’t need to come up with eight-hours a day of table work for your children. 

Below you’ll find several ways to make sure your children continue to learn even while the doors to public education are locked.

Read Good Books

The best thing to do during the public school closure is to make sure there are high quality books available to your children. These can be in the form of physical books, e-books, and audiobooks.

Reading aloud is one of the most important things we can do for our children, but this doesn’t mean you have to read an entire book in one day. 

Take your time, even a little time is better than no time. 

Your children should also read books and listen to audiobooks for themselves.

If you don’t already have an Audible account you can get a free trial by heading over to Amazon.

Educational Shows

With all the different streaming options available, as well as YouTube, there is no end to what your children can learn while they’re home. Decide on a subject they’re interested in (or one they were studying when schools closed) and do a search for shows and movies that focus on those topics.

Currently my children are enjoying the show The World According to Jeff Goldblum (available on DisneyPlus) as well as videos on the various rain forests in the world.

Play Games

At our house we have a closet full of board games and card games. They range from games my three-year-old can play to advanced games like Bible Pictionary. Game Wright has several games that are both fun and educational, and most are available through Amazon.

There are many homeschool families who exclusively learn through games, this is referred to as game-schooling. 

Games You Might Enjoy

There are endless options for you as a family; this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, just a sampling for a starting place.

Plan and Make Family Meals

One thing that doesn’t change is the need for our families to eat. This is the perfect time to work together to plan and make meals. Search online for recipes that would be as simple or challenging as you and your children could handle. 

The point of this experience is to make memories with your children. To slow down, and do something together. 

After all, everyone knows food you prepare yourself tastes better. 

Get Outside (Just Not Close to Other People)

Being conscious of social distancing is the name of the game during these times of closure. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside your house, though. 

Get into the yard and play together.

Watch birds, and look for bugs.

Smell the flowers as they begin to bloom.

Spend time in nature, and remember how wonderful God’s work is.

Slow Down and Talk to Each Other

We’re a society that is constantly on the go; over-planning our schedules so there is a neverending rush to do,do,do.

Take this time to slow down. Spend mornings enjoying breakfast together and discussing whatever interests your children. Read books as you lounge around the table after lunch. Answer questions they might have about what is going on, and how you as a family can help those less fortunate (while still maintaining social distance). Our children grow up so quickly, and if they’re usually in public school you don’t get as much time together as you’re going to get over the next few weeks.

Make this time count.

Something to Consider

Don’t look at this shutdown as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to really connect to the children God has blessed you with. Embrace the experience with joy and acceptance. Consider ways to make the long days God-centered, and remember this is just a short time in our lives.

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father, 

During this time of uncertainty and doubt may we embrace the opportunities to connect with our children not in fear but in praise of You.

In Your Holy Name,



A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

Busyness, the New Social Competition

After a conversation the other day, with my dear sister-in-Christ, Jeanne, I began thinking about the busyness of not just motherhood, but of the busyness of childhood.

Admittedly this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this topic, or written about it on this blog.

In fact, this post on, “saying ‘no'” was written in 2015.

Although many things in my life (and in my writing) have changed since that post, much still remains the same.

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Just typing that was exhausting. It makes my brain hurt.

But What About Socialization?

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

If you’re reading this you’re likely a homeschool mother, or at the very least are familiar with the homeschool community. The constant question from the general population is always, “what about socialization”?

Having had to answer this a time or twenty, I understand the frustration.

Sadly though, I’ve discovered the continual barrage of this question on homeschool mothers has led many to over-socialize their children (and themselves).

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Mothers are humans too (although they’re often more superhuman than mere human), and they want to fit in with others just like their children do. This leads to worry about their children missing out on all the ‘things’.

Things = extracurricular activities: drama, music, dance, cooking class, various sports, etc.

There are quite literally more options for activities for our children than I can even wrap my head around. There could be several posts spent discussing these possible options.

Some of them are even good.

However, do our children really need to be overwhelmed by a smorgasbord of ‘good’ activities if it doesn’t leave them (or their mother) time for things that would prove to be more than just ‘good’?

Yes, I’m “That” Parent

I’m an introvert by nature, and a homebody on top of that. My family is convinced that I’m one step away from becoming a hermit. Especially since I can now have pretty much everything I need delivered to my doorstep.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

Being a mother of highly social and obviously extroverted children, I’m not likely to see hermit-hood anytime in the next eighteen years or so.

So instead, I know that I need to maintain my sanity, while still providing for the interactive needs of my children.

This means making sure my children have outlets and activities to participate in.

Activities in and of themselves aren’t ‘bad’.

Over-scheduling ourselves and our families is.

I’ll be honest, there are tons of things my children want to get involved in.

There are even quite a few I’ve considered for my children.

However, after prayerfully considering these activities, and my own sanity–as well as God’s call for me to raise my children for His glory, I always come to the realization that these extra activities are just ‘good’.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

Does this mean I say ‘no’ to a lot of opportunities for my children?


Is my twelve-year old daughter bummed about missing out on a social group or activity her friends are participating in?

Also, Yes.

As Mothers We Need to Know When to Say “No”.

My children are already busier than I would ideally like. However, the activities they’re in were prayerfully considered.

Whenever possible they’re in activities at the same place and time.

Since my husband works nights and is often gone for long hours of over-time and commuting; I treasure the time he is home, and try to make sure the kids are home to get every extra moment they can with him.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

There are times when this actually causes us to skip a particular activity for the week, simply because, to me, family togetherness far outweighs social activities.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

Our Activities:

  • As a family we attend church together on Sundays.
  • Tuesdays my husband takes the three older kiddos to the gym where they participate in homeschool PE (and I stay home for much needed snuggles with the youngest).
  • Wednesdays the kiddos and I participate in Awana at our church. Two Wednesdays a month my eldest works with the tech team for the middle school worship team during our Awana time.
  • Thursdays we have our homeschool Co-Op

The days we don’t have scheduled activities we have game time, and just take it easy.

Children need time to “be bored”, and if every moment of their days are scheduled with activities they never have the opportunity to discover ways to entertain themselves.

There are weeks when my eldest is invited to a birthday party, or to spend a few hours at a friend’s house.

Most of the time she’ll be allowed to go, and always enjoys her time.

Other times, I’ll use my motherhood superpower and say, “no”.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

Not because I have anything against her having friends, or experiencing life; but because sometimes there are things more important than those moments of excitement and fun.

Sometimes, there is a voice whispering in my heart “no, not this time”.

I’ve learned to listen to that voice.

Give Yourself Grace

One of the hardest parts about being a mother, is remembering to give ourselves grace. We often forget that God shows us all grace everyday, but we find it nearly impossible to show that same grace to ourselves.

Saying no isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll second guess your decisions. That’s normal.

I’ve learned in the last four years so many amazing things about myself, and my children. Had I said yes to every activity that sounded good, I don’t think there would have been time or closeness for these discoveries.

Saving my ‘yes’ for only the best things, has made a huge impact on my family’s lives.

We may not be doing ‘all the things’, but we are getting to know each other; to learn together, and to live our lives together.

Not just living from one activity to another, but actually living in the moment.

Something to Consider:

Start small. Try setting one day a week aside where you don’t participate in any activities outside the house. Use this time to connect on a more relaxed level with your children.

Something to Pray:

Heavenly Father,

May we strive to prayerfully know what the best use of our ‘yes’ is. We ask for guidance in saying ‘no’ when everyone else is saying ‘yes’. Help us to make intentional use of our time with our families that we may raise our children for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name,


Until next time,

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

If you’re looking for a good book on this topic, I recommend this book by Lysa Terkeurst.

12 Christian Gift Ideas for

Christmas Shopping Guide 2019: 12 Gifts for Christian Women

12 Gifts for Christian Women

It’s That Time of Year Again

The harvest festivals are over, and the Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t been made yet; it’s obviously time to prepare for that year-end holiday, Christmas.

I’m firmly in the “not preparing for Christmas until after Thanksgiving” camp, (and by after I mean, at least a week after) but I know that not everyone procrastinates as I do.

Many people even prepare for Christmas right after Halloween.

So for those of you who are already knee-deep in Christmas music and decor, this series of posts is for you.

To begin the series I’m including gift ideas for that Christian woman on you shopping list (or maybe for you, if you’re looking to treat yourself).

This post does contain affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase something through one of the Amazon affiliate links in this post I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

12 Christian Gifts for Women

12 Christian Gift Ideas for
Photo by Alizee Marchand on

Faith T-Shirt

Mansy Women’s Vertical Faith Tee makes a comfortable and stylish gift for any woman who is boldly living their faith, and it comes in several styles and colors.

Titanium Therapy Bracelet

Crosstraxx titanium therapy bracelet with Philippians 4:13.

Delicate Cross Bracelet with Isaiah 41:10

This cross bracelet is both beautiful and delicate. A gorgeous gift for the stocking or under the tree.

BPA Free Glass Water Bottle

I’ve heard nothing but good things about these glass water bottles, and the inspirational quote will get you through the tough moments (like finishing all the water you’re supposed to drink each day.)

Table Cross

How gorgeous is this table cross? Do I really need to talk it up anymore? I actually want to add this to my personal list. It will look great on my seasonal shelf–and would likely stay there throughout all the seasons.

Cozy Faith Blanket

This “blankiegram” faith blanket would be super comfy to cozy up with during chilly nights. It comes in several colors as well as different themes.

Coffee for Jesus

Even though I don’t drink coffee, this Bold3 coffee delivers the Word of God to three children with each bag purchased. If that doesn’t sound like a perfect Christmas gift, I don’t know what does. I hear it tastes pretty good too. If you like that sort of thing. 🙂

Vintage Coffee Cups With Verses

To go along with that Bold3 coffee, this set of four biblical mugs is a perfect compliment. Maybe a nice gift basket arrangement.

Sterling Silver Infinity Necklace

I’d be willing to wear jewelry again with this necklace. How beautiful.

Gratitude Journal

What gift list would be complete without a gratitude journal? This one is gorgeous and would make a great gift by itself or as a stocking stuffer.

Too Blessed to Be Stressed– by Debora M. Coty

Too Blessed to Be Stressed 3- minute devotions for women. A nice gift that will keep blessing your loved one long after the holiday has passed, and the leftovers are gone.

Too Blessed to Be Stressed for Moms– By Debora M. Coty

This one, Too Blessed to Be Stressed for Moms is a perfect gift for the harried and overwhelmed mom. Or, if you’re reading this honey, for me. The title alone is a good reminder for our daily lives, right sisters?

Hopefully this guide will be a helpful starting point for you holiday shopping.

Something to Consider:

While you’re searching for the perfect gift for your loved ones, have you considered helping another family in need? Local churches often adopt families for Christmas, providing gifts for the children. Our church does an event called Holiday Hope, and it is such a blessing to be able to help another family this year since we struggled so hard last year.

Something to Pray:

Heavenly Father,

May this holiday allow us to share your love and Spirit with all those we come into contact with.

In Your Glorious Name,


Until next time,


Before you go, might I recommend this article for your reading pleasure?

Also, make sure you’re following the real life of this crazy mom on Instagram.

Join in the discussion on Facebook too.

Prayer Warriors: This Family Could Use Our Prayers

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Needs Our Prayers

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Needs Our Prayers

(And Support)

Not My Usual Friday Post

Hello Dear Sisters,

Daniel, Ashley, and their three kiddos

Today my heart is filled with sadness.

A family I know from my days working at the local YMCA has suffered a sudden and heartbreaking loss.

Ashley’s husband, Daniel passed away suddenly while at work. He was 35 years old. He leaves behind three kiddos, and a sweet, caring, Jesus loving wife.

This family could use prayers not only for healing, but for the strength to get through the basic needs of every day life.

I can only begin to imagine the heartache this dear family is experiencing, and although you may not know them personally, I felt led to share their story with you.

After all, we’re all in this life together.

Join me, please?

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father,

Bring this family closer to You.

Lay Your healing love on them.

Surround them with Your strength.

May they know Your peace as they walk through each day without Daniel.

May they know compassion from this world as the struggle to make sense of this unexpected loss.

In Your Name,


Something to Consider

If you are interested in helping financially, please prayerfully consider donating to their GoFundMe account.

Thank you all so much.

Until next time,

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Could Use Our
3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your Day

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your Day

A Bad Moment

We’ve all been there, right?

Swimming along, staying in our own lane, when something happens and our forward momentum stops.

Our good day disappears like smoke on the wind.

Enter the bad day.

This is caused by anything from major to minor; being transparent here, it’s generally something so incredibly minor I’m hard-pressed to remember what caused my day to go off the rails.

A telling sign that I’m a mother and have children who insist on bombarding me before I’ve had a chance to shake off the sleep fog; there are days when this moment happens even before I get out of bed.

Other times I might pat myself on the back for the great day we’ve had, and then bedtime becomes my unraveling.

You know the drill. The kids refuse to brush their teeth, or are running back and forth in the kitchen after repeated reminders about the house rules.

These bad moments happen without warning. Each time I promise myself that I won’t let it ruin my day.

That’s often easier said than done.

So what can we do to fight against these itty-bitty day destroyers?

Stop Dwelling on What Was Wrong

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your
Photo by Pixabay on

Those itty-bitty day destroyers only have the power we give them. Focusing on what we did wrong, what we missed, the way we reacted; those things sap our energy.

I’ve always been an overachiever when it comes to tearing apart everything I’ve ever done. I’ll analyze each action and reaction for the flaws I know are there. Then I’ll dwell on what I could have, should have, would have done better.

You know, if I were perfect.

The problem with this course of action? It’s inherently flawed. I can never be perfect. No one can be. We were born into a sinful world, and we’re sinful beings.

This said, we need to change our focus.

We must accept that we’re imperfect humans, that we’ve already been forgiven for our sinfulness by a perfect and loving God.

Then we face the next moments with joy and peace.

Remember to Be Thankful for the Good and the Bad

When the good-day feelings vanish with the onslaught of those itty-bitty day destroyers, it’s difficult to be thankful.

The good mood has vanished, and the last thing on my mind is giving thanks to God for anything at all. Let alone giving thanks for that itty-bitty day destroyer that just wrecked my flow, and proved just how flawed and imperfect I am as a person–let alone a parent.

This is exactly when we need to be thankful.

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your
Photo by Pixabay on

It’s easy to be thankful when everything is going smoothly. When the kids are being those oh-so-perfect (and totally unrealistic) children of our imaginings. It gets much more difficult when chaos is running the ship.

When everything is going wrong, and the itty-bitty day destroyers have taken over, that is the most important time to be thankful.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Our wonderful God knows exactly what we’re going through, and He isn’t leaving us to struggle during these moments of struggle. He is right there with us.

Be thankful for that.

Those struggles we’re facing–the screaming, crying, negativity–they’re building us up and making us stronger for the days ahead.

Be thankful for that.

Then be thankful when everything has calmed down, and there are smiles and laughter again.

3 Ways to Overcome a Bad Day


Prayer is always the answer. No matter what the question might be–pray. It can never hurt, and it will always help.

Turning to God in prayer and praise is like talking to your best friend and you father at the same time. You know the goodness and wisdom He shares has been proven time and again through thousands of years.

You’ve seen it in your own life, and the lives of others around you.

He brings you the comfort you need, while you wallow in the negative emotions you’re feeling.

Then He gently reminds you that He also suffered, and that there will be bad times, but they won’t last.

You’re not alone, and with His love and guidance you’ll get up and move through the rest of your day with the joy that only His love and redemption can provide you.


After you’ve prayed, rejoice.

Sing a Hallelujah song, raise your hands in the air and rejoice in God’s love.

Your sinfulness has been forgiven.

You’re loved beyond reason.

You’ve got a whole day, or another day, to do better.

Rejoice that you can learn from your mistakes.



Just smile.

Even if it’s strained and hard to manage–smile.

Let your children see you smile.

Smile at them.

When you speak to them, make sure you smile.

A smile can go a long way to changing the outcome of a day.

It can do a lot to mend fences and bring back the joy and happiness those itty-bitty day destroyers tried to steal from your family.

Something to Think About

The next time you feel like your entire day has been ruined, consider three think that have blessed you that day.

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father,

You alone know the struggles I’m facing. May the Holy Spirit fill me with joy and gladness, that I may be thankful for each up and down throughout our day.

In Your Glorious Name,


Until next time,


Might I recommend this article next?

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your
Quick Recipes: Green Chili Chicken

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas

Happy Food Friday, Sisters!

It’s November 1st and enchilada week! This makes me incredibly happy. Well, the enchiladas, not so much that it’s the first of November. This year has flown by, and now I have to start getting serious about Christmas shopping.

Anyway, back to those cheesy and delicious enchiladas…

I absolutely love enchiladas (even though I can guarantee mine aren’t really authentic), and since it’s been a heck of a week recovering from our family vacation this Momma is in need of a little comfort food.

As much as I enjoy this green chili and chicken enchilada recipe, I tend to only make it once in a while (which translates to about once a month in our family).

I’ll admit they’re not the healthiest dish we eat around here, but they’re not nearly as bad for you as food from the local restaurant.

Quick Recipes: Green Chili Chicken
Look at all the delicious cheese!

This recipe makes enchiladas that are the perfect comfort food, and can be prepped (ideally) a day ahead and stored in the fridge overnight.

Something about letting them soak up the sauce overnight makes them that much more delicious.

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken
Pair it with veggies and a salad and boom!

An added bonus to making them the day before, means I can just pull them out of the fridge and slide them into the oven. This allows me to continue lessons (or snuggling–sometimes both) with the kids, or even take a shower!

So without further ado…

Green Chili and Chicken Enchilada Recipe

Green Chili and Chicken Enchilada Ingredients:

  • Approximately 4 Cups shredded chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken from Costco or Walmart)
  • 1 large can of green (or red if you prefer) enchilada sauce
  • 1 can of mild green chilies
  • 8 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 pound shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella, but have also used Colby-Jack and Cheddar)
  • Toppings of choice: Salsa, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), avocado, etc.


This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the links I will make a commission–at no extra cost to you.

To make these delicious enchiladas, grab a large casserole dish and pour in just enough enchilada sauce to cover the bottom.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine chicken, approximately a cup of cheese, chilies, and just enough sauce to add a bit of moisture and color.

Mix well.

I roll the enchiladas right in the casserole dish so the tortillas grab moisture and are easier to work with.

Scoop meat mixture evenly into each tortilla.

Roll tortillas and fit snuggly together in the casserole dish.

Pour remaining sauce over rolled enchiladas.

Cover in cheese.

Refrigerate or bake immediately.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warmed through.

Top with your favorite garnishes.

I hope you and your family enjoy this quick meal perfect for the busyness of life.

Until next time,


For more quick recipes take a look at this one and this one.

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken
Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to Read

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You’ll Want to Read

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You’ll Want to Read

We All Have Christian Parenting Goals, Right?

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to
One of those days when the “goals” weren’t a top priority.

Being responsible for the Christian parenting–not just the physical well-being, but the spiritual life of our young children, can be especially daunting.

We often have amazing ‘goals’ we are striving for as we follow God’s teaching of how to raise our precious little ones into God honoring adults.

Raising and loving on our children is what can only be considered a long season; sometimes it seems incredibly lonely when you’re in the trenches.

Knowing we’re all in this together can definitely help.

The wonders of the internet have brought amazingly insightful posts from Christian mothers who are just like us; with a few more years (and possibly meltdowns) under their proverbial belts.

Sometimes It’s All About Grace

There are days when all those big goals we have for raising our kids get lost in the dust and chaos of crying and disobedience. Our sinful natures are always only one breath away from our choices.

When these moments inevitably happen, we need to remember that Our Father has shown us unending grace. All we have to do is remember that, and accept this precious gift.

Then share that gift with our children.


Christian Parenting Resources

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to Read
Photo by Nate Hess on

Once again, I’m using the wonders of the internet to find a community for us all. Answers, connections, and recommendations from other God honoring mothers.

I pray the following list of posts meets you right where you are today.

Christian Blog Posts

Until next time,

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to

If you’re interested in other collections of Christian posts from around the web click here.

Make sure you’re following me on Instagram, where there are no perfect pictures, and reality is messy.

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Chocolate-Orange Shortbread

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Sugary Chocolate-Orange Shortbread Recipe

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Sugary Chocolate-Orange Shortbread Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through a link, I receive a profit at no additional cost to you.

Baking Shortbread: Embracing the Kitchen Chaos.

Good Morning, Sisters!

It’s time for another peek into baking with the kids. I’m happy to say, this round was quite a bit easier on my anxiety than the last one.

Improvements, even if they’re little, are still important.

Today, I’m sharing a shortbread recipe that I tweaked one day after discovering all of my chocolate chips had vanished.

I’m still not 100 percent sure they didn’t grow legs and walk away, but I’m moving on (and keeping a better eye on the chips I’ve bought to replace them).

This recipe is a quick, easy, and versatile shortbread recipe that will work perfectly for gifts or gatherings this holiday season.

Bonus, it is simple enough for your children to do (mostly) on their own.

Quick and Easy Sugary Chocolate-Orange Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread Ingredients:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Spray
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark bakers chocolate chopped (or mini-chocolate chips)
  • 2 teaspoons orange flavoring (or flavoring of your choice)
Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Chocolate-Orange Shortbread
Look at all that sprinkled sugar sparkle.

Shortbread Recipe:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cover an 8×8 pan with foil, allowing the foil to hang over two of the edges.

Lightly coat with bakers spray (I use Crisco baking spray).

Sprinkle with 1 TBS of the granulated sugar.

In a stand mixer (or large bowl with handheld mixer) cream butter.

Add powdered sugar and beat well.

In a separate bowl stir together flour and salt before gradually adding it to the butter mixture.

Beat until well blended.

Stir in orange extract. Then fold in chocolate pieces.

When combined, press dough into the foil-lined pan.

Sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake at 325 degree F for 40 minutes or until golden.

Cool for 30 minutes in the pan before lifting the foil edges and removing the shortbread.

Gently remove foil and slice into squares.

At this point, you can sprinkle even more sugar on top of your shortbread squares, or dip them in a bowl of sugar for a sparkly finish.

See, a super simple and quick shortbread recipe.

I hope you and your kiddos enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. If you experiment with it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Until next time,


For other great recipes check out here and here.

Follow my behind the scenes life at instagram.

Wonderfully Easy Bread Machine Hamburger Bun

Wonderfully Easy Bread Machine Hamburger Bun Recipe

Wonderfully Easy Bread Machine Hamburger Bun Recipe

This post contains affiliate links.

Why Homemade Bread Machine Buns?

As someone who hates being rushed, and never feels like there is enough time in the day, why would I choose to make something like bread machine hamburger buns from scratch?


They taste amazing, and they don’t stick to the roof of your mouth when you take a bite like so many store bought versions do.

Wonderfully Easy Bread Machine Hamburger Bun

Plus, added bonus–I can pronounce all the ingredients!

Since I’m Not Exactly A Culinary Wizard

I appreciate a never-fail recipe that allows me to feel like I’m not completely failing at the homemaking thing. When my children look back they’ll have memories of mom baking breads and desserts, as well as healthy, colorful meals.

Hopefully they’ll also remember they’re loved.

The Bread Machine Book

When I first received my bread machine, the only recipes I had were those that came in the box. Eventually I stumbled across this book at a book swap. Suddenly my homemade bread game was on a whole new level.

One of my favorite recipes from this book is actually the recipe I’ve modified and shared here. It comes from page 75 of The Bread Machine Book written by Marjie Lambert.

Hamburger Buns


  • 1 egg
  • 7/8 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast


Begin by placing all ingredients in your bread pan in the order suggested by your machine instructions.

Set machine for dough stage.

Press start.

When the machine’s cycle is finished, remove the dough and punch down.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut dough into eight even sections.

Allow the dough to rest for 5-minutes.

Oil two baking sheets (or use a Silpat mat like I do).

Roll each piece of dough into a round ball.

Flatten ball into a patty measuring approximately 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.

Place rolls onto the prepared sheets.

Cover loosely, and allow to rise for 20 minutes.

Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Cool then slice down the center for the traditional hamburger bun look.

Just a side note: These are amazing to just munch on as dinner rolls as well.

If you like this recipe, in the comment section below, let me know how it turned out.

Until next time,


Have you tried my favorite muffin recipe? If not, check it out here. You won’t regret it, and your kiddos will sing your praises.

Wonderfully Easy Bread Machine Hamburger
Dealing with the Chaos of

Making the Best Life for Your Family: Embrace “Mediocrity”. #LifeHack

Making the Best Life for Your Family: Embrace Mediocrity. #lifehack

Pinterest Perfect Life Doesn’t Mean Best Life

Pinterest is one of those sites designed (in theory) to make life easier for people.

Making the Best Life for Your Family: Embrace
My baby girl’s third birthday. Homemade cupcakes and buttercream frosting that didn’t set well because it was too hot.

What I’ve noticed instead, is that it often just makes us busy moms, struggling to give the best life to our children, feel guilty for not giving the little ones Pinterest worthy birthday parties, meals, craft projects, or homeschool assignments.

Feelings of inadequacy do not help us live our best lives, or teach our children what is actually important in life.

You know, actually living it.

Those home-cooked meals you’ve made may not look like the stylized photographs you’ve found on that favorite pinning site, but they’ve filled those empty bellies. They’ve provided needed nourishment to growing minds and bodies.

Related: Sare’s Favorite Quick and Delicious Ramen Soup Recipe

Sometimes they’ve even tasted pretty good.

That family birthday party with a slightly lopsided, mostly homemade cake, may not have all the razzle-dazzle or high price tag, but it was still filled with love. Also, who says a cake has to be perfect to taste delicious?

I won’t even get into craft projects. Being real here–I hate arts and crafts. They cause me so much anxiety, and could take an entire post just explaining the whys of that.

As for homeschool assignments repeat after me: Less is more.

So step away from the site of “perfect” and give yourself grace.

Dust Bunnies Aren’t a Sign of A Bad Life

We’ve all seen them, those wispy balls of fluff floating across our floors or huddled in the corners of rooms.

Dust bunnies.

Even for someone who vacuums every day (when you have a dog shedding all the time, and a crawler, vacuuming every day IS the answer), dust bunnies can be a reminder of how imperfect our housekeeping is.

It’s taken a long time for me to accept this next part, and I still have to battle with myself over it from time to time.

Your House Doesn’t Have to be Perfect.

In fact, your family can be living the absolute best life; surrounded by dust bunnies, a sink full of dishes, and peeling paint.

I spent years (yes, years!) of my life stressing out about the cleanliness of my home.

Whenever anyone visited I was positive they were judging me based on the mismatched furniture or the sparsely decorated walls.

Making the Best Life for Your Family: Embrace
Not actually my kitchen, because I forgot to take a picture of my sink before I washed the dishes. Again.

Not to mention the dog hair that had once again appeared on the rug in the center of the room.

It’s only been since my youngest was born, that I started to let go of that particular stress-inducer.

Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be the baby snuggles.

As it turns out, a happy home doesn’t have to look like Martha Stewart decorated it, or that a personal maid cleans it.

Don’t Focus Too Much On Appearance

Appearance isn’t everything.

In an age where society is so caught up in what the one-percenters are doing, it might seem like the way things appear are actually the way things are.

That’s not the truth.

The truth is that some of the happiest people are living lives that appear to be lacking.

They aren’t driving fancy cars, carrying expensive cell-phones, or sporting the latest fashions.

In some cases the happiest people, the people living the best lives they can, are barely scraping by.

So how could they possibly be happy? How could their lives be considered good?

They’re Actually Living

Without all the trappings the world has decided people need, truly happy people get to enjoy the life they’re living. They focus on their loved ones; making memories, working together, sharing struggles and successes, supporting one another.

They’re not worried about posting perfect pictures on social media, or selling people on the idea that a particular product will bring instant happiness.

Making the Best Life for Your Family: Embrace
Notice the lack of decor, and the abundance of leaves on my steps?

No, the people who are living life most likely are chasing around a toddler with a runny nose, praising God for providing food for the table, and tripping over a child’s toy while listening to someone demand that their sibling stop looking at them.

They might even be burning dinner, because they forgot to set the timer.

Those people aren’t likely staging a beautiful scene with white furniture and impressionist artwork.

That impossibly perfect living room.

The thought alone boggles my mind.

Though, they might be studying the new crayon drawing their budding artist drew in the stairwell.


The Perfect Life Requires Embracing Mediocrity

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying to go all in on a mediocre life. Don’t sit around in filth, or give up your dreams.

What I am saying is it’s okay to not do everything perfectly.

Embrace mediocrity in dinner making (unless you’re a gourmet chef, then that’s another story).

Embrace mediocrity in house keeping. Those dust bunnies won’t rule the world, but the children you’re raising might change the future of our world. A clean house can happen after those precious gifts from God have moved out. Then you might even be able to afford a maid (you know, once you’re no longer feeding the hungry masses known as your children).

Related: How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood

Embrace mediocrity in material possessions. Things don’t really bring us happiness. Memories, laughter, and the hugs from our loved ones do. This might look like you not working 90-hour weeks, because you feel like you need to ‘show’ that you’re successful. Or it might look like putting away your screen and connecting with those around you.

Related: Unstuffed Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul–Ruth Soukup

No one, since Jesus, has been perfect.

We’re all just trying to make the best of it until we go to our forever home.

So really make the best of it. Really live life. Stop worrying about how your life looks to others, and start embracing the way your life really is.

The messiness, the dust bunnies, the imperfectness.

That’s what living the best life really means.

Until next time,


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Making the Best Life for Your Family: Embrace