Just A Little While

Adventures of a wife and mother

March 1, 2017
by Allison
Comments Off on Art for Early Elementary

Art for Early Elementary

I wish I had discovered this tool long ago.  Instead of turning on a show for your elementary student, try giving them an art sketchbook and turning on Youtube.  There are lots of instructions for drawing that they can follow without any extra help.  Our recent favorite is the Young Rembrandts channel.

November 13, 2016
by Allison
Comments Off on How We Homeschool

How We Homeschool

Over the years our style of schooling has changed out of necessity with four kids in different grades now.  We began following The Well Trained Mind by Susan Bauer, fell in love with books with Charlotte Mason style instruction, and finally found freedom through self-directed learning with Robinson Curriculum.  Our current style is a mix of all three.  We participate in Community Bible Study for our Bible curriculum (non-denominational, expository, book by book study).

School is five days per week.  No electronics during the week.  Electronics time is Saturday until noon and 2-4pm on Sunday.  Lights out is an hour after bedtime, and each kid has a reading light so they can read in bed if they like.

Kindergarten-1st Grade :

Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills by American Education Publishing ( K and 1st Grade books)

Zaner Blozer Handwriting

Hooked on Phonics (K-2nd grade)

Memorize math facts (add, subtract, multiply, divide), counting to 100 on the number chart,  and skip counting.  We love TimezAttack (download HERE) and Xtramath for fact practice.

Abeka Science

Abeka History

Miscellaneous workbooks on Geography or other topics of interest.

Music- piano

Chores- daily chore


2-6 Grade:

Zaner Blozer Handwriting (one page per day)

Vocabulary/Spelling- Wordly Wise online (one lesson per week) discounted at Homeschool Buyers Co-op

History- Veritas Press self-paced history

Math- Saxon Math beginning with 4/5 once math facts are mastered (at least add and subtract, keep working on multiply, divide).  Kids complete one lesson per day and grade their own work (Younger kids start at half a lesson per day and work up to a full lesson).  Lessons must be repeated if they are below 90%.

Grammar- IXL (discounted at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op) 20 minutes per day.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op
#1 Way to Save

Homeschool Buyers Co-op is FREE to join.

Science- Apologia Science and ABeka Science readers.  Science is a reading assignment only.  Kids will complete many of the experiments without being asked.

Writing- copy work then original work at 10 years old.  Each day of the week has a different topic for writing: Monday- Scripture, Tuesday- write a letter, Wednesday-fiction, and Friday-science.  There is no writing on Thursday.  We use composition books for the writing assignments and the expected length of each assignment is increased with age and ability (1-3 pages).

Keyboarding- Typing club in 4th grade.  One lesson per day.

Music- weekly piano and voice lessons and daily practice

Chores- daily chores

Testing- Beginning in fourth grade, we use Abeka testing services to take the Stanford 10 from home.  The test is online and administered by a teacher on the phone the whole time.


7-8th grade:

Science –DIVE online science lecture based science course/curriculum with online grading (Earth Science, Integrated Chemistry and Physics)

History/Literature/Theology- Veritas Press self-paced Omnibus I and II, Primary and Secondary

Math- Saxon Math ( Math 7/6 and Algebra 1/2 minimum)

Vocabulary/Spelling- Wordly Wise (one lesson per week)

Grammar- IXL (20 minutes per day)

Writing- PREP Reading and Writing 1 & 2 (EIW writing course), available in Katy and Cypress TX.

Foreign Language- PREP Latin or online Spanish

Music- weekly piano and voice lessons and daily practice


9-12th grade (still building these years)

Science- DIVE online science lecture based science course/curriculum with online grading, plus AP Prep courses (Biology, Chemistry, Physics).

History/Literature/Theology- Veritas Press self-paced Omnibus III, Primary and Secondary and Omnibus IV,V,VI at home.

Math- Saxon Math, plus AP Prep courses Algegra 1, Algebra 2, Pre-Cal, Calculus 1 minimum (Geometry is built in to Saxon Math and is not a separate course)

Foreign Language- PREP Latin and Spanish 1 and 2 via Homeschool Spanish Academy

Music- weekly piano and voice lessons and daily practice, and learn a second instrument if interested


For an exhaustive list of home school classes available in the Houston area go HERE.


November 6, 2016
by Allison
Comments Off on Pressure Cooker Beef Tips and Gravy – Gluten Free

Pressure Cooker Beef Tips and Gravy – Gluten Free

Total prep/cook time 45 min.

4-6 servings


3 T corn starch

2 t salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

1/2 t paprika

1/4 t mustard powder

2 lbs top sirloin steaks, cut into 1″ cubes

2 T avacado oil

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T Better than Bouillon Beef

Add 2 T of avocado oil to pressure cooker pan.  Saute beef until brown, then add onions and garlic and saute until onions are clear.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add 1 cup water. Stir well.  Pressure cook for 25 min on manual setting.  Quick release and serve over rice or noodles.



September 1, 2016
by Allison
Comments Off on Everyday Scripture

Everyday Scripture

Psalm 119:11King James Version (KJV)

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

My challenge is to fill the minds of my family with scripture.  So, here’s the plan.

1.Scripture memory system.  I have an index card box that sits on the breakfast table so we can practice our verses throughout the day.  Kids will just open the box and challenge each other, and my husband is really good at practicing with the family after dinner at night.   The whole system is available for FREE here.

2. Scripture memory songs.  These are available in kids tunes at Christian bookstores, and I particularly like Integrity Music’s Scripture Memory Songs.  Here’s one example at Amazon. “God’s Grace”  These songs are appropriate for adults and kids with all kinds of different music styles incorporated with the scriptures.

3. Use scripture daily.

2 Timothy 3:16-17(NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

When the occasion arises, speak scripture.  Declare “This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.” when you get in the car for a drive.  Remind the kids to “Do everything without complaining or arguing”.  Reflect that “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise(Prov. 17:28).”

4. Read the Bible daily.

This year we are reading the Bible as a family every night.  If we miss a night we just double up readings to keep on track.  We are using a one year chronological Bible in an easy to understand translation.  The kids love it and take turns reading.


July 18, 2016
by Allison
Comments Off on Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe


  • 6 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
  • 5 drops of Lemongrass essential oil
  • 3 Tbsp vodka
  • 5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil


Mix all of the ingredients in a spray bottle and add water to fill up the bottle. Spray away!! Please make sure you are using therapeutic grade oils.

full article at: http://livingtraditionally.com/mosquito-repellant-linked-to-neurological-damage-use-this-natural-mosquito-repellent-instead/

June 7, 2016
by Allison
Comments Off on Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Eggcakes) GF

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Eggcakes) GF

These were a hit.  Another way to eat fresh eggs in the morning.


(serves 2-3)

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Beat banana and eggs until smooth with a hand mixer.  Pour sand dollar sized circles on a 350F griddle.  Sprinkle chocolate chips in the batter on the griddle.  Cook until bottom of pancakes is medium brown then turn with a quick spatula.  These are delicate cakes.  Serve immediately.  I made two batches for four kids.


May 31, 2016
by Allison
Comments Off on Great Gluten Free Goulash for Stovetop or Instant Pot

Great Gluten Free Goulash for Stovetop or Instant Pot

Well my goulash this evening was so well received that my husband requested that I put it on our menu regularly.  So I don’t forget, here’s what I did.

Cooking time: 30min

Feeds: 6


1 lb grass-fed ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

28 oz can diced organic tomatoes with liquid (Aldi)

24 oz jar Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (Natural Value from Azure)

1 lb Goldbaums Brown Rice Pasta, Penne (Costco) (4 cups)

1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

1 tsp.  minced garlic

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

In deep saucepan, brown beef with onions and green peppers.  Add all other ingredients and simmer 15-20 minutes until noodles are desired tenderness.  Add a little water (half a can or so) if needed to achieve desired consistency.  Serve with warm organic bread and shredded parmesan cheese.

Instant Pot Instructions:

Brown beef with onions and green peppers on “Saute”.  Add remaining ingredients plus two cups of water and stir together well.   Close the lid and cook 7 minutes (or half of the time required for your noodles on the package) on “Manual” with quick pressure release.

December 19, 2015
by Allison
Comments Off on Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue Recipe – Allrecipes.com

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue Recipe – Allrecipes.com

This is our favorite BBQ chicken for sandwiches or with baked potatoes.  I skip the sugar and use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce.  -Allison

Use your slow cooker to prepare this great twist on basic barbecue chicken. It is easy to prepare and the sauce also makes a great topping for baked potatoes.

Source: Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue Recipe – Allrecipes.com

May 16, 2015
by Allison
Comments Off on Vinegar as Mosquito Repellant

Vinegar as Mosquito Repellant

With many summer days ahead, I am on a quest to live peaceably with Texas mosquitos.  I want to find natural ways to keep the little vampires from my family as we enjoy our time outdoors.  

First, I planted mosquito repelling plants around our front porch: citronella, lavendar, and marigolds.

Then I discovered they don’t like vinegar.  I placed a shallow bowl of vinegar on the back porch where the mosquitos are usually so thick you can’t open the door without letting some in.  Voila!  It works great.  We can stand on the back porch and no mosquitos.   

Next I tried repelling them from ME.  I have taken two tablets of Apple Cider Vinegar each morning with a glass of water for two weeks.  I have been sitting by an outdoor pool for three hours weeknights as the kids swim, and no bites yet.  


March 2, 2015
by Allison
Comments Off on Crunchy Mama 101

Crunchy Mama 101

For those who would like the idea of a cleaner diet and lifestyle, but the task seems overwhelming, I give you a simple start.

Crunchy Mama 101.


  • Buy organic only for the Dirty Dozen.  Learn more HERE.
    • Peaches
    • Apples
    • Sweet Bell Peppers
    • Celery
    • Nectarines
    • Strawberries
    • Cherries
    • Pears
    • Grapes (Imported)
    • Spinach
    • Lettuce
    • Potatoes
  • Read ingredients before buying.  If you don’t know what it is, don’t buy it.
  • Cook simple meals.
  • No nitrates in lunch meats or sausage.  Buy white fresh sourdough bread instead of whole grain (when you have time read Grain Brain).



  • When you run out of laundry detergent, buy Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent.  The big bucket will last a year.  Use OxyClean (or the generic) for stain treatment.  No laundry dryer sheets.

  • When you run out of Lysol or bathroom cleaner, buy castile soap (Target, Amazon, AzureStandard.com, etc.) and a bottle of Mrs Myers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner.  When Mrs. Myers runs out refill with 3 Tablespoons white vinegar, 3 T castile soap, 20 drops essential oil (optional)( try tea tree, orange, lemon, or peppermint), fill the rest with water.

  • When your dishwasher detergent runs out. Make some.  You will still need a drying agent (e.g. JedDry).
    • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax (Walmart)
    • 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (Walmart)
    • 1/2 citric acid (Amazon)
    • 1/2 cup kosher salt (any grocery store, Walmart)
  • Plug your wifi router into a “vacation” timer (like our parents used when we went out of town to turn on a light)(buy at Walmart or Target) so that is off during sleeping hours.  More on wifi and cell phones HERE.  Always have kids use cell phone on speaker to keep some distance from the phone.  Do not sleep within 5 feet of your cell phone.
  • Always be in bed from 10pm-2am and have a regular bedtime for the kids.  Read more HERE.



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