My New Summer Space #HomeschoolMinimalist

I had an epiphany this week! I kind of stumbled upon it by accident…due to a rickety old bookshelf.

I had decided to finally clear off the bookshelf. Two of my teens graduated in 2014. The third, my husband’s other brother, was sent back to live with his father, my father-in-law, a few months ago…but that’s another post about prodigals. Today we’re focusing on my happy epiphany. As I said, I was cleaning off the bookshelf…

It was a mess. Algebra and Calculus books, Civics and British Literature (for THREE students). Once I got everything off the shelves, it practically collapsed. Years of abuse brought it down. Literally.

So there I was, frustrated. I had planned to replace all the upper-level materials with beautiful living-book readers I’ve collected over the years. I had visions of plucking a different piece of relevant and heart-touching literature off the shelves each week. But, alas, it was not to be.

And sister, I wasn’t about to run out in the middle of the afternoon and buy a new bookshelf. Not happening.

And that was when I decided I would pack up everything except our summer essentials. I had an old cart out in the den collecting dust. So, I packed up all my teen materials and beloved elementary literature and put on the cart only what we needed for summer.

And I could hear the angels singing.


I’ve never been a minimalist. I’m a bit of a clutter bug. I love books and things. Any empty space is a display shelf. Am I right?

But this, this is new, and I think I love it. I don’t feel pressure to start cracking the books. I don’t feel overwhelmed and closed in. I just feel laid back, looking at that cart. So I think I’m going to start implementing more minimalization in our homeschool.

We’ll be starting Classical Conversations in the fall. And rather than trying to make CC work with all the materials, I’m going to make the relevant materials work with CC.  Freedom feels good!!

What’s on my cart?

The top shelf has math manipulatives, pens, pencils, sharpeners and Bibles

The second shelf has the subjects we are keeping up over the summer (on a light schedule for retention): Our favorite reading curriculum from Memoria Press, Math-U-See, a book on science unit studies (for interest led science), and the Apologia Field Trip Journal for recording the summer fun.

The bottom shelf has dictionaries, maps, atlases, and nature journals.

And, we’re set for summer!

The Great Storage Room Clean Up

This post is linked to the Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


Oh, what a week!  I was busy, and focused.  This week the desire of my heart was to clean out our mess of a storage room. When I say mess, I mean mess.  And I did it!  It took me four days of hard work but the room is empty.  Woot!  Tomorrow the room will be reclaimed as a bedroom. Finally!

Let me back up and give you a little more context so you can understand how much sweat and tears went into cleaning this room…

We’ve been playing musical bedrooms for some time.  As we’ve had children, and moved in grandparents, the big boys have been shuffling bedrooms around for some time.  Thankfully they don’t see to mind.

We’re in the middle of another shuffle that calls for two of the big boys to move down from the third floor, to the second floor.  This was not a big deal because their old room on the second floor was empty.  Well…not so much empty as unused.

Two years ago, after the boys moved to the third floor, their room became my “storage area”.  And by storage area, I mean the place I stuck everything I didn’t have time, or make time, to organize or find a home for.  It became the dumping ground.  Packed full of boxes and junk.

I called it the Pit Of Despair (name that movie!).

You could open the door and take two steps into the room. That was it.  I didn’t know where to begin.  I was overwhelmed.  I knew this was going to be a tough task because it was a large room, filled to bursting.

However I’m proud to say after 4 days (averaging about 4 hours a day) of sorting, moving, throwing away junk and cleaning, the room is empty!!  Tomorrow morning it will become a bedroom once again!!

Empty Bedroom

I am so proud of myself!  

Now, I am in no way finished.  I referred to this week as The Great Storage Room Clean Up Phase 1:  Purge.  I spent four days deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  Everything we’re keeping (boxes and boxes of books!) was stacked in my office.  They will sit there until Monday when I begin Phase 2: Organize.

Next week will consist of moving everything down to the real storage room on the 1st floor – which is a tiny “bedroom” the size of some walk people’s in closets.   I’ll also be separating the room into two sections – 1) stuff I’m really keeping (craft supplies, old paperwork, photos, vacation souvenirs) and 2) stuff I’m keeping for an upcoming yard sale.

After that, everything will have to wait until I’m retired and have time to actually enjoy those crafts or scrapbook those photos. Ha!

That was the focus of my week.  Not very exciting, I know but I feel SO GOOD having accomplished the goal, that I can hardly wait to move on to Phase 2!



Yeast Diaper Rash Treatment

home remedy for diaper rash
I’ve been cleaning up this blog, going through old posts and categories. I was excited when I came across an old post of a recipe for wipes solution.

When I had Bram almost 7 years ago, I ventured into the world of cloth diapers.  I L-O-V-E cloth diapers. During that time, I learned so much about cloth, essential oils, home remedies and (who would have guessed) yeast.

Yeast can be a problem for babies, whether they cloth diaper or not.  In fact, knowing what I know now,  I realize family members whose children battled constant diaper rashes, were probably battling yeast.  I wish I could have helped them then.

Yeast can also be an issue for nursing moms. Yeast (thrush) can be passed from mom (burning, red, sore nipples) to baby (mouth and diaper yeast/rash) and back again.  On and on until everyone is miserable.

Let’s see what we can do about that, shall we?

In addition to using cloth diapers, I also made my own wipes solution.  I would soak wash cloths or paper towels in the solution to clean up messy diapers.  Over time, I found my children never got yeast (or diaper rash of any sort) whenever I used my own wipes solution.  So this more of a yeast diaper rash treatment, than a simple wipes solution recipe.  The combination of ingredients really nourishes the skin and keep the yuckies at bay.

If your baby has been battling with yeast – or any diaper rash.  Give this recipe a try.  It worked wonders for us!

Baby Wipes Solution

Prep time 5 minutes
This is an easy, make at home recipe for baby wipes solution. This is easy on baby's bum as well as good for diaper and yeast rashes.


  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Aloe Vera Juice
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Oil (I use grapeseed or olive)
  • 3 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (I use Young Living)
  • 3 Drops Skin-Safe Essential Oil Of Your Choice (I use Lavender, Chamomile and/or Bergamot)


Step 1 Combine all ingredients in a container with a secure lid.
Step 2 Shake or stir until well combined.
Step 3 I like to store my wipes solution in the closed container and dip washcloths or paper towels as needed. You may also store your cloths or paper towels in the solution so they are ready to go when you like.