Common Care Needs YOUR Help

In the past 19 hours alone, Common Care has had over 140 requests for Care Packages… and they keep coming!


If you can knit or crochet, please consider making a few hats to donate to those who have lost a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth. Common Care needs hats from a very tiny “penny hat”, which is about the size for an early miscarriage, to hats made for preemies.

The most needed size are the smallest ones. The smaller the better because most requests are for babies who have passed away between 6-12 weeks gestation.

These Tiny Hats mean so much to those who were never able to hold their babies or who only had a very short time to spend with their child. They make beautiful mementos and are perfect for memory book or shadow boxes. Please use gender neutral colors as much as possible.

Each Care Package costs about $3-4 total to assemble and mail.  All monetary donations are used exclusively to package and mail Common Care Packages.  Common Care is strictly a charity and all funds go directly back into the organization.  If you would like to donate, please send an email to me via Common Care.

Thank you!

Here are links to patterns:
Penny Hats (knit & crochet)
Bonnets (crochet)
10 Minute Preemie Hat (crochet)
Knitted Bonnet with Eyelet Brim
Tiny Toques (knit) (leave off the string to hang)
Wee Hats (knit)
Preemie Hats (knit)
More Tiny Toques (knit)
Premature Baby Hats (knit)
Tiny Knitted Hat with Lace Edge
Tiny Baby Cap (knit)
Tiny Jayne Hat (knit)
Mini Santa Hat (knit) (do NOT use red and white)
Santa Baby Ornament (knit) (leave off the string to hang)

If you would like to donate Tiny Hats to Common Care,
please send an email to Michelle.

Snow, Ice and Sickness

The last week or so has been a rough one in our home.
It started with John getting sick last Sunday, and the illness traveled through the entire family over the course of the last week and a half.  Nathaniel and I were really sick, which was difficult for everyone.  I have had a really hard time fighting it because the kids haven’t been sleeping well at night, so I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in… well, years… but it has been especially bad during the last week or two.
IMG_20160125_135350We also dealt with the snow/ice storm that left us without power for over 12 hours.

Thankfully, we didn’t have it as bad as others who were without power for days and those who endured feet of snow. We had our enclosed gas fireplace on and the kids slept near it, so they stayed warm enough. It doesn’t give off a lot of heat, but it was definitely better than nothing. We also have a gas stove top, so I was able to make tea and oatmeal in the morning.

We’ve experienced our first North Carolina “Snowpocalyse” …
and it wasn’t too bad.

10 Inches!

No, I’m not talking about snow.
I’m talking about hair!

Our sweet Grace asked me to cut off 10 inches of her hair and she was delighted when I told her that she can now donate it to a good cause: Children With Hair Loss. IMG_20160125_151139

I’ve been cutting my children’s hair their entire lives, but I have never been so nervous to do so! I loved her long hair, but she had been begging for short hair for at least two years. I finally gave in when we found out that she could donate it.


Grace looks adorable and did it for a great cause!   We are proud of our girl!

The Kitchen and Attic are Demoed!

The kids and I spent this very chilly day at the new house while Habitat for Humanity took apart the kitchen and laundry rooms.  After, the contractors came over to finish the job.

IMG_20160120_142859Say goodbye to the kitchen! IMG_20160120_160644

We encountered a little hiccup during demo: we didn’t know this sewage pipe was under some cabinetry.  Now my plan for open cabinets on the wall next to the windows is not quite possible.  We are brainstorming ideas tonight.

One very full dumpster after the attic demo:IMG_20160115_170619

Last week, the attic was demoed and the siding was replaced (it will be painted soon). IMG_20160115_165709IMG_20160115_165053The kids did some school while we were at the house today. For the rest of the time, they either explored the backyard or ran around the house. IMG_20160120_102543 IMG_20160120_144530

Nearly eight hours later, we headed back home, exhausted, chilled and fighting colds.  It is going to be a lazy evening in our home tonight with lots of tea and a warm fireplace. 

Free Printable: John 1:1-18 Memory Project

In an effort to combine scripture memorization, spelling, handwriting and vocabulary,
I have put together a 12-week study of John 1:1-18 for older elementary aged children.


Here is a sneak peek at what is inside: IMG_20160114_144037 IMG_20160114_144142IMG_20160114_144056

The booklet is 50 pages (which you can print 2-sided, if you’d like), and I used brads to hold it together.  I also took a long piece of washi tape and sealed down the backsides of the brads, so that the booklet does not come apart.


Here is the link to the PDF:

John 1:1-18 Memory Project

Please leave a comment below if you plan to use this.
Thank you!

The Reluctant Reader and 8 Great Reading Quotes


Back in Kentucky, Gregory missed the cut off for Kindergarten by about a month and a half, so we decided to wait to start Kindergarten until he was six year old.   As we began Kindergarten this past fall, it was obvious that Gregory was a very reluctant reader.  He rushes through his work and makes educated guesses rather than taking the time to read.

IMG_20160114_113959 We are using the workbook from Phonics Museum for Kindergarten.   I cannot say enough good things about this workbook; however, the entire program is a bit too much for us.  It requires a lot of space to store and set up, and Gregory doesn’t learn well with a lot of manipulatives.  He does well with listening and repetition- he is an auditory learner.    


Grace taught herself how to read at about four years old, but it took her until she was seven to really get the hang of reading.  Now, she reads quickly and consumes books she loves in no time at all.  David didn’t learn how to read until he was six years old, even though he understood phonics at the age of four.  It took him a long time to understand how those sounds form actual words.  Even after he was able to read, it took him until he was nearly eight to find a love of reading.  Now, he can read at a very high level for his age.


I have learned, as a homeschool mom, that it doesn’t matter so much what age a child begins to read; what is important is to create a love of reading and to encourage your child to keep trying.  It might click at an early age or you might end up with a nine year old who is still struggling.  Just keep working at it.

Read together.
Read often.
Read for fun.


8 Great Quotes About Reading

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. — Emilie Buchwald

It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations—something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own. —Katherine Patterson

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift. —Kate DiCamillo

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. — Frederick Douglass

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader. — Margaret Fuller

So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky. —William James

A book is a gift you can open again and again. — Garrison Keillor

One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children. —Carl Sagan

Love & Responsibility

Mommy guilt.
We all have it in some form or another.
And there is this idea that is pushed upon all of us that we must
pay attention to every single moment of our child’s life.
While it is certainly important to spend time with our children
and value their accomplishments and interests,
it is also imperative to teach our children the importance of responsibility.

I saw a meme this morning that really bothered me.
It went something like this:

I need to clean the house
I missed the art she was holding up
I need to get going
I missed the song she was trying to teach me
I need to make dinner
I missed hearing about her rough day
I need to give her a bath
I missed the funny dance she does
I need to slow down. 

My biggest problem with this is that the “need” to get things done isn’t something that is unimportant or mutually exclusive .  We all need to clean, go places, prepare meals, and take care of our children’s hygiene.  There is no reason why we can’t all do both: give our children the attention they need and complete the necessary tasks that are part of our daily lives.

Here is my own version of what I read today:

I need to clean the house
Let’s do this together, sweet child
I need to get going
Walk with me and sing me your song
I need to make dinner
Stand by my side and tell me about your day
I need to give her a bath
Let’s play together in the bubbles.
I need to take time for both.

Our own responsibilities do not have to take away
from spending time with our children.

There is no reason why we cannot accomplish things with our
children OR allow for small pauses in our work to listen.
When we show our children the importance of completing chores
and cooking food, it doesn’t teach them that those
things are more important than they;
it teaches them responsibility.

Giving our children a life where they are the center of attention
all the time doesn’t benefit them at all.
Show them that they are loved, spend time with them,
and, also, teach them the importance of responsibility, of being on time,
and of knowing how to prepare meals and tend to others.
These are important lessons that they can learn at a young age,
lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.


And… I’m stepping off my soapbox now…

Beginning the Work

We spent the day at the new house working to get it ready for the contractors.

The kids helped us take off all of the outlet and switch plates, and we took down any curtain rods, blinds and hardware that would get in the way when the painting is done.  We will be donating everything to the ReStore so that others can use the brass knobs and blinds for their own homes.  We decided to take all of the blinds and curtain rods down because, eventually, we plan to put up plantation shutters.   IMG_20160109_131908The kids were really, really helpful and, after the work was done,
they got to play outside for a bit.


I know that the house really does seem to look beautiful in the photos and videos,
but up close you can see how much work needs to be done.


Soon, the roof and siding will be replaced and the work will begin on the inside of the home.


It’s Happening…

We bought a house!
New House

After living in North Carolina for only four months and looking at many, many houses, we found a home that we fell in love with.  It is in an established neighborhood in a great location, but the clincher for us was the yard and the unfinished attic. IMG_20151111_125237
IMG_20151111_125535New HouseWe are finishing the attic with a full guest suite, laundry, and bonus room.  We are also updating the entire house with new hardware, fans/lighting, carpets and paint.  The kitchen is getting a complete overhaul, and we are excited to be working with the Habitat for Humanity Restore for the demo and the new kitchen cabinets.  They are going to carefully remove anything in the house that would have just gone to a dumpster in a normal remodel and sell them in the store, and we are purchasing new cabinets, made locally, for the kitchen.  What a excellent opportunity to support a great cause.

New House

We are also knocking out a wall.  Thanks to Fixer Upper for the idea.  (If you like remodeling and design, you definitely need to watch that show!)  This wall divides a formal sitting room from the family room.  Since we don’t really have a purpose for a sitting room and we would prefer a more open floor plan, we are removing most of the wall to open up the space.  The contractor said we can come in and knock part of the wall out ourselves- Grace is very excited!

New HouseWe are also updating the outside of the house.  Unfortunately, it needs a new roof because there are some active leaks and part of the siding has water/woodpecker (yes, woodpecker- there are so many amazing birds, animals, reptiles and amphibians in our backyard) damage, so that has to be replaced, too, with solid hardy board siding.  There will be fresh paint on the outside of the front of the home and the deck will be repaired. New HouseNew House

It is a lot of work and will take several months!
This weekend, we are removing all of the hardware throughout the house- lots of brass to hand over to the Restore since we are switching to bronze throughout the house.  And, as of last night, we were approved by the HOA to do all of the outdoor updates, so this project is about the begin.

New House I am planning to update on here as we work through the projects.
I hope you enjoy watching the process along with us!