5 Secrets For Standardized Testing Success

5 secrets for standardized testing success

Yes, it’s here once again! Standardized testing time in Tennessee. You can hear the collective groans around the state this week as parents, teachers, and kids feel the pressure of test-taking.

How do you prepare your kids for doing their best when they face any kind of exam, presentation, or project? I have a few tried-and-true tools that I always pull out during standardized testing week and anytime that the kids need an extra “boost” to perform at optimal level.

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Establish the Work of My Hands

establish the work of my handsI’ve been washing dishes by hand for several weeks now. Our dishwasher broke a few months ago, and it’s not repairable. We need a new one but have put off the purchase until we can find a great bargain and save up enough cash to buy one.

I don’t mind terribly dish washing by hand (don’t get me wrong,though; I’d love to have a working dishwasher again!) because I recognize there’s a real benefit in doing manual labor with your hands.

What is it about working with our hands that can be revelatory, inspirational, insightful, and, ultimately, healing?

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My Top 10 Parenting “Pearls”

Top Ten Parenting PearlsRecently, a friend asked me to share my top ten list of parenting “pearls”—you know, those ten phrases you’re saying over and over again; those most important things you’re always praying about or discussing with your spouse.

It was actually harder than I thought it would be. So much of parenting is intuitive and boiling down my “pearls” to a list of ten was helpful for me to see exactly where my parenting is currently. I definitely want to continue emphasizing those parenting areas where we’ve been.

But looking over the list also showed me a few areas where I want to address more intentionally, too.

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Mom, May Is Coming! Are You Ready?

April is National Poetry Month. In honor of that, I thought I’d try writing a poem. Inspired by the chaotic whirlwind that is the end-of-the-year and a classic children’s poem, I wrote “‘Twas the Week Before May.” I dedicate this to busy mothers everywhere! 

'Twas the Week Before May

‘Twas the Week Before May

‘Twas the week before May, and all through the land
Not a mother was ready for all that was planned.

The schedules were filled with too much to do
As everyone wondered how they’d make it through.

The children were waiting for the year’s end–
Summer vacation they wanted to spend.

With Mom in the minivan, the kids strapped in back,
We braced for May 1 as we would for attack.

As the clock chimed twelve and April turned to May
We dove headlong into the chaotic fray:

Final tests! And projects! And banquets and games!
“Help me,” I cried, lest we go down in flames.

Picnics! Elections! Concerts! And prom!
“I could use some wine to get back my calm.”

Graduation! And board meetings so next year we won’t sweat!
“Tell me, is it Memorial Day yet?”

To the end of the month, to the week, to the day,
Now go away! Go away! Just. Go. Away.

And then in a twinkling, the calendar was clean
Like that! It was over—my month fueled by caffeine.

I sighed a relief and gave a pat on the back
I’d made it through another May Attack.

I spoke not a word, but instead smiled inside
Sanity intact, I swelled with pride.

But my moment was short as I realized, now sober:
I’ll be doing it again in October.

Do you know about Grammarly? It’s a super-cool service that I’ve just discovered. I’ll write a full review post on it in a few weeks; but go check it out now, especially if you need some extra writing and editing help with your kids’ papers, your own business-related correspondence, or even blog posts.

The #1 Writing Tool

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Best Tips for Shopping at Aldi

Tips for Shopping at Aldi | save money on groceries without clipping coupons

I hate grocery shopping. Loathe it. Despise it. Always have.

Until I discovered Aldi, that is.

Aldi grocery stores offer terrific savings on outstanding products. The stores are “no-frills,” which both keeps costs low and makes shopping easier, I think. Groceries are stacked in boxes on pallets, which creates aisles. There are no fancy shelves, end-caps, or signs. At least in the Aldis in my area, they all have a similar layout, which means I don’t have to “re-learn” a store when I shop there for the first time. Aldi only carries the most frequently purchased items, which ensures that I’m not overwhelmed when it comes to choosing products. I love the simplicity that comes with fewer options.

What does all of that mean for us? Lower prices and fewer barriers to getting to the items you want to purchase.

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4 Simple Steps to Stress-free Homemaking

stress-free homemaking

I’m constantly looking for new ideas to improve my homemaking skills. I’m not very good at homemaking, I must confess.

Laundry? Ugh. I’m always behind.

Cleaning the bathrooms? They are usually a mess.

Organization, time management, budgeting? Oh, man. I struggle with all of these.

So, when I discovered this mini-ecourse, I was thrilled! I thought you may find it helpful, too. It’s free! Plus you’ll get a free downloadable PDF with each lesson to help you implement in real life what you’ve learned.

4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking

In these four videos, you’ll learn:

  • How to overcome laundry overwhelm and stay on top of laundry for good
  • How to conquer a messy kitchen and a sink full of dirty dishes
  • The 3 daily “must-do” tasks, which will keep your home on track
  • The key to making it all work well with your family

Just click the picture and get instant access now. Make sure you leave me a comment and let me know how you’ll make changes in your own homemaking routines.

stress-free homemaking

What I Learned Through Fasting

Fasting - What I Learned Through Fasting

Fasting from food is a common spiritual practice found in Scripture. Time and again, believers “fast and pray” as they worship and seek the Lord. Jesus himself goes into the wilderness and fasts  for 40 days and 40 nights.

So, what about fasting for us as modern-day believers? What’s it like to deprive oneself of food for a set period of time in order to seek God, to petition him, and to become more like Christ?

I remember as a young woman when a friend told me that she routinely fasted when she was struggling with something difficult. I remember she said something along the lines of “I get answers really quickly.”

Fast forward a few years and our entire (small) church committed to fasting for a church member who was awaiting a medical diagnosis. (All turned out well.)

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Good Friday

Good Friday

Thieves Essential Oil Better Than Bleach And Lysol

Thieves Essential Oil Beats Clorox Bleach and Lysol in Cleaning BathroomsI love school. I do. I always have. I’d be in school right now, getting another degree in something if time and money would allow.

But I must say that RE-living school through my children’s projects borders on torture. I straddle that line of trying to be helpful and guide them so they will develop excellent study skills and here-let-me-do-that-so-we-can-just-get-it-done-already.

The latest project in the parade of projects, however, was for the sixth grade science fair. And after the late nights and head scratching and double-sided tape fiascos, it actually proved interesting.

While some kids were sticking wires in potatoes and such, my 11-year-old wanted to focus on germs in dirty bathrooms. Specifically, she wanted to test my beloved essential oils against chemical household cleaners. Yes! I was hooked. I wanted to know, too, just how well Young Living’s Thieves essential oil blend performed when placed side by side against Clorox Bleach and Lysol bathroom cleaner.

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What Lies Do You Believe?

truth lies single woman lies

Have you ever given much thought about the power that lies have in your life?

Maybe it’s that persistent thought that, “I’m just not good enough.” Or what about the idea that surely God’s forgotten about you or that your past can’t be forgiven.

Sometimes the lies become so loud and so frequent that we start to actually believe them. That’s when we must offset lies by turning to God’s Word for truth. It’s this battle that is the subject of a new book by my friend, Allison Flexer.

Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press) is targeted at Christian women who long to be married and have children but who remain single.

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