About Amy

Amy is the homeschooling mother of 7 living children and 1 precious little girl playing at the feet of Jesus. Raising Arrows is where you find years of homeschooling and home management knowledge, as well as grief support for those who have lost a loved one. You can find Amy on

Week 36 Pregnancy Update

baby developmentLast week, I totally missed the fact that the baby above is in the final block of the ticker! Woot!

36 Week Update on Baby #9

In many ways, this pregnancy has flown by.  With all I have going on right now, these final weeks are going to end up being a blink of an eye I am sure.  However, I do find myself despising nights.  I just feel “off” at night.  I itch.  I feel a little panicky.  I don’t sleep well.  And I long for the day I get to hold this little one on the outside.  While I do not have cholestasis (a liver issue that causes itching in pregnancy), I am going to try the medication they use to treat cholestasis.  It is sort of a shot in the dark, but I am willing to try it.  I’ll let you know if it works!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and thankfully, I’m not lifting a finger.  While I think I could find something to cook with in my new kitchen, I don’t know that I have the energy to actually make something that would taste good.  I find myself saying, “next year” a lot.  And while I really hope the Christmas season doesn’t pass us by without our family being able to enjoy some of it, I know that it just isn’t going to be like other years — and we are all going to have to be ok with that.

Some of you may remember that 6 years ago I was due at Christmas with Baby #6.  I was actually due ON Christmas Day and I spent that day wondering if the little twinges I was feeling were real or not.  I ended up not having him until New Year’s Day (yes, he was the first baby of the year in that hospital!).  I don’t really anticipate going past Christmas this time since I am due the Monday before Christmas and typically, my due date is pretty spot on, but it does remind me an awful lot of how I was feeling back then.  So much wondering about when baby would come, what Christmas would look like, how we would celebrate if I was in the hospital, etc.  There is a lot to consider when you are due this time of year!

Yesterday, I had my GBS screen.  I’ve been positive twice, so I’m anxious to see the results.  I also had my Gestational Diabetes appointment.  My blood sugars have been great, so I’m hopeful this will all right itself once baby is here.  I will say that since being diagnosed, I’ve only had a couple of sodas.  One thing I’ve noticed is that soda BURNS as you swallow when you aren’t used to it!  It was NOT the enjoyable experience it once was.

I am dilated just a bit, which is normal for me.  Baby is head down, but a little off sides – again, pretty normal for me.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.  By the time I update next week, I will be in Baby Month!  Yippee!!!

And don’t forget about the WishBin Giveaway going on right now!  You could win $100 worth of your wish list!

Simplify Your Christmas Gift Giving with WishBin and Win Your Wish List!

When I first heard about WishBin.com, I was beyond excited!  Then, I found out it was free AND all my kids could be added – they had me hooked!  You are going to love this!

Put your gift wish list in WishBin - any site on the internet, all your friends and family can see exactly what everyone in your family wants!WishBin is a browser plug-in that allows you to drag and drop gift ideas from any site on the internet into a Wish List.  That means you can have items from Amazon, Cabela’s, and JM Cremp’s all in one wish list with one link for your loved ones to peruse!  Perfect!


And you don’t even have to WishBin items that can be purchased online.  Like that beautiful purple bohemian skirt you saw on Pinterest?  If you can Pin It, you can Bin It!

Here’s the other great thing – I was able to add individual WishBins for ALL of my children!Create a WishBin wish list for each of your children - drag and drop their gift ideas into  their wishbin where friends and family can see and purchase!

WishBin isn’t just for Christmas either!  You can separate each event – Birthday, Baby Shower, Mother’s Day – with a separate WishBin!  There is a Public or Private mode so you can keep gift items a secret from everyone except those with an access code, and you can set Reminders so you don’t forget any special events coming up.


And here’s the really exciting part…

You could WIN $100 worth of your WishBin items!

Win $100 Worth of your WishBin items!That’s right – just in time for Christmas!  What an amazing blessing!  All you need to do is install the plug-in, start adding to your WishBin, and if you win this giveaway, you will get up to $100 worth of your WishBin items!  See the Giveaway Widget below to enter to win!

This giveaway will end Friday night, so HURRY and get those WishBins filled!

(Reading via email?  Click HERE to enter!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 8

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 8 - Thanksgiving Week | RaisingArrows.net

Follow along with the series!

How did you do with the Week 7 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 8!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner (affiliate link). Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!


This week we will be focusing on preparing for Thanksgiving and then enjoying it with family and friends! You will be doing all your baking, as well as doing some fun things with the kids! See Sheri’s Thanksgiving {Learning} Pinterest Board or Amy’s Autumn Pinterest Board for lots of great ideas!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Note from Amy:  Take it slow with your Thanksgiving plans this week.  Don’t try to do it all the day before or the day of Thanksgiving.  Try to fit in one FUN thing, and be sure to count your blessings and encourage your family to do the same!

Week 8: Thanksgiving Week

[ ] Prepare for Thanksgiving! Use this week to prepare Thanksgiving dishes, pies, homemade rolls, etc., and enjoy the holiday with your family! See Marilyn’s Traditional Thanksgiving Menu & Recipes under the Our Favorite Holiday Recipes Section!

[ ] Make a Thanksgiving Quilt! Use the activity page provided to make a Thanksgiving Quilt with your younger children! Older children may enjoy making a larger quilt on a piece of card-stock paper, then covering it with contact paper to make a nice placemat!

[ ] Make door hangers! Print out the door hangers onto card-stock paper. Cut out around the edges, then cut out the hole at the top. You will then need to cut the slit by the hole so that you can hang them over the doorknobs! Enjoy!

[ ] Make Thanksgiving Placemats! I have included instructions for having your kids make placemats to keep or give away!


Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

To see all the posts in this series, CLICK HERE!

Week 35 Pregnancy Update

baby developmentI’m sitting amongst boxes as I type this, but by the time you read this, we will be well on our way to the new house. I’m sure much of the 5 weeks (4.5 by the time you read this ;) ) I have left in this pregnancy are going to feel rather quick! There will be so much to do to get ready – for the holidays AND the new house! Talk about whirlwind!

The photo I have for you today is a little grainy because it was taken with a phone at night, but I wanted to show you one of my favorite holiday outfits:

35 week pregnancy update with baby #9 | RaisingArrows.net

This black sweater and pants have been a comfortable ensemble this year.  I like to accessorize with a scarf around my neck (when it is chilly enough outside) and silver jewelry.  It seems very little fits and is comfortable these days, so I am thankful for this outfit for holiday gatherings!

I’ve slept pretty well this past week.  Several of the children have gotten to feel little baby kicks.  My 10 year old keeps asking baby to come out.  My 4 year old takes every opportunity he can get to just say “hi” to baby.  My blood sugars are great, and so far, the move has been pretty seamless and painless.

I was feeling quite a few contractions (I always start to dilate around this time frame), but a friend reminded me that I needed to be drinking during this whole moving process.  She was absolutely right!  So, I’ll remind all of you pregnant (and nursing!) mamas –

Drink your water during this next week!
You need it and so does baby!

How One Reader is Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas

Preparing for a Peaceful Advent & a Joyful Christmas {guest post on RaisingArrows.net}

Today, Rebecca from Real Mama Joy is sharing how she is
Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas!

It seems as though time keeps melding the days, seasons and years together, slipping by at a faster and faster pace, doesn’t it? Sometimes this is a comforting phenomenon; when one fun event passes, it won’t be too long until the next one. Also, each challenge is only a phase that will transform with the color of the leaves. However, for many of us moms, the quick pace of time can be overwhelming, with too much to do and not enough time to do it. Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is practically upon us.

Just beyond the turkey dinner lies the Christmas season! Each year, it seems to sneak up on me sooner.

As many of you know, in October Amy at Raising Arrows shared about the 12 Week Christmas Planner {affiliate}, discussing how she will be using it this year and suggesting her readers to do the same. I was immediately intrigued. I admire Amy, and if a homeschooling mama of a large family gives me a tip on how she does it all, I€™m going to take it! I have never begun planning for Christmas in October, but the idea of getting a head start sounded wonderful.

We have all heard that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and of course that is true. However, that phrase can easily become a cliché lost in the midst of receipts, groceries, silver bells, cookie recipes and tinsel.

20141104_185807I yearn for a peaceful Advent;
full of time reading and praying with my husband and children;
full of candles lit around the Advent wreath while we enjoy a hot dinner together;
full of snuggling on the couch and singing Christmas carols.
I long for an Advent that isn’t so full.


In order to create a more peaceful Advent, planning earlier has been immensely helpful. By the end of October, I had wrapped my first Christmas present, ordered Christmas cards, designed and ordered photo gifts, bought my craft supplies (I was actually going to have time for some Christmas crafts!), planned my four children’s holiday outfits, ordered a few other gifts, made my Advent wreath, and found the recipes for several things I wanted to bake! In past years, each of these tasks would have been completed in November and December, some not at all. What an improvement!

With this improvement comes the temptation to fill December with more. It’s easy to begin thinking,

Since I’ve gotten so much done,
I can now create every Christmas craft on Pinterest!

I have to remind myself that I am trying to SIMPLIFY December in order to have a more peaceful Advent and joyful Christmas, keeping my heart on Jesus.

I have not been able to follow the 12 Week Christmas Planner exactly the way it is outlined. Because I purchased it about a week late, I had to try and make up for that. Also, life goes on and is quite full without early Christmas planning! October and November have been busy months, with out-of-town guests, an ongoing remodel, a special weekend with my husband without children (yay!), and then all of the regular homeschooling, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc, etc. Preparing for Christmas amidst all of this has been a challenge!20141029_181236

But it has been SO worth it.

While precisely following the 12 Week Christmas Planner has not been realistic for me, I am still leaps and bounds better off than I would be without the planner. Furthermore, next year will be even more organized! All of the forms I have filled out will be there for reference in upcoming years, streamlining the preparation process even more.

If you haven’t started preparing for Christmas, I encourage you to begin as soon as you can. The sooner you get each task done, the less chaos you will have this Advent. Imagine a Christmas without stress! It is definitely worth the organization you could be doing now. Begin checking items off of your Christmas to-do list. It would still be worthwhile to buy the planner, even though there are only five weeks left before Christmas. Did you hear that? Only five weeks!


At Real Mama Joy, I€™m all about being real and I€™m all about joy. I strive to discover and choose joy amidst the everyday chaos of motherhood. We all want to live our lives joyfully for our children, especially during the Christmas season. Being more prepared and planning ahead of time will reduce your stress this Christmas season, allowing you to experience and share more joy.

Once your planning is underway, you can enjoy your Advent! Drink hot cocoa with your kids. Read the story of the Nativity with them. Make paper snowflakes together. Bake cookies. Hold them and cherish them.

Your children are the joy of Christmas come to life!

May your Advent be full of peace and your Christmas full of joy!

Real Mama Joy Portrait ImageRebecca is a writer at her blog, Real Mama Joy, where she focuses on discovering joy in motherhood, homeschooling and everyday life with the help of her Catholic faith. She is a homeschooling mother of four children. She believes that most often in the everyday life of motherhood, joy is a choice. With diapers and boogers and whining and disobedience and the hundredth spill in one day, that choice can be hard! It is Rebecca€™s hope and prayer that by sharing her journey with readers, she will help to spread Jesus€™ message of joy to other moms.

Educational Games Sale from SimplyFun – Today & Tomorrow only!

SimplyFun Educational Games Annual Sale - Give gifts that teach!


I am a firm believer that gifts should be well-thought out.  Junky plastic toys and mindless entertainment don’t rank high on my list of “must-buy” items for Christmas and birthdays.  For one thing, I don’t need the clutter in my house, and for another, I want my children to actually be learning something from the gifts they receive.

That’s why the annual sale at SimplyFun is an event I like to promote!

SimplyFun is a company that offers high quality, educationally-minded games.  Your children have fun AND learn!

Here are some of the games included in the sale… (click here for more info on the games!)

SimplyFun Annual Holiday Sale - High Quality Educational Games!

Consider the subjects your child struggles with in school.  What might a game do to help them grasp the concept?  Think about playing that game alongside your child!  Think about the entire family joining in and reinforcing learning while having a blast together!

Don’t waste money on junk this year!  And don’t waste time and miss this sale!  It runs TODAY and TOMORROW ONLY!