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

Getting My Household Back on Track

I’m going to share something that is pretty raw.  Something I really don’t like people to see…at least not like this.  These are photos of our house just a few weeks ago.

WARNING:  These photos are scary.

Girls RoomBoys Roomhomeschool closetThese were taken all on the same day with my iPhone as I was explaining to my husband (who was at work) that life here at home had taken a huge step backward and I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

I was feeling like I had gone back in time about 8 years when I had only littles and my life felt very chaotic.  Our move to this house in February, followed by several speaking engagements, followed by morning sickness had created a household that was barely functioning.

The kids’ rooms were always a mess.  Laundry was never under control.  The homeschool closet (shown above) was a colossal mess.  And then the basement flooded…

flooded basement

I couldn’t even begin to concern myself with what was down there when what was upstairs was nowhere near where it should be.

And who did I think I was, standing before a crowd of homeschool moms, telling them how to have a well-ordered household?!

I found myself at a place where I was completely incapacitated by the sheer volume of things that NEEDED to be accomplished, and I was begging God for an answer…a place to begin and get back to the way of life I knew I needed to have in order make our home run well.

The very next day, Mystie Winckler contacted me about her new ecourse, Simplified Organization.  I knew she had some things in the works, but I had no idea how much I was going to need exactly what she was working on.

How I and Getting my Household Back on Track with Simplified Organization ecourse | RaisingArrows.net

Simplified Organization has been a breath of fresh air in our home.  It is a go-at-your-own-pace online course, so there is no pressure to have A, B, and C done by Friday, and the information is not going to disappear if you don’t get it done by Friday.  Mystie is even quite candid about the fact that some of these “habits” will take years to fully flesh out, and rather than that being a negative thing, she teaches you to see the process and system of ordering your household as the goal, rather than some arbitrary “by-September-I’ll-have-an-organized-home” goal.  

And everything is from a solid Christian perspective.  This isn’t about digging deeper within yourself…it’s about reaching out to the Lord and working with His plan for your life here on earth.

I’ve gone through 3 of the learning modules already, and I am so excited by the progress I’ve seen that I have to force myself to shut the computer down at night and go to bed!  I have finally learned to use my Google Calendar to its fullest capacity (and I’ve shared it with my oldest two children so they are “in the know” about what is going on around here).  I am learning to immediately get things out of the labyrinth of my brain and onto paper so that I don’t have to try to recall everything.  (This is going to be a steep learning curve!)  I have the beginnings of a command center.  I am finally working on a laundry system for this house, and I am seeing real progress as opposed to hamster-wheel days, weeks, and months.
Learn how to bring order from your chaos

Today, is the official launch of Simplified Organization.  From now through the month of September, the price of membership and access to all the videos, audios, articles, and step-by-step instruction is discounted from $99 to $69; HOWEVER, if you use the code


you can receive an additional 30% off the $69 price!


So, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the state of your household, if you need some prodding and purpose to get back on track, if you need a place to begin and the focus to continue, this online course may very well be the answer for you in the way that it was for our household!

The tasks have not interfered with our homeschooling.  The lessons are all in bite-sized pieces so I don’t feel like I have to carve out huge sections of time to work through the course.  The encouragement and Biblical advice has given me a whole new perspective on where I am right now.

I am absolutely thrilled that Mystie followed the Lord’s leading and went to the effort to create this course to help other homemakers and mommies learn to love what must be done in our homes.

Learn to love what must be done

Week 22 Pregnancy Update

baby development

Is anyone else ready for Autumn?

It has been a HOT week here and it seems more of the same is to come.  August is always hot here, so I’m certainly ready for September and {hopefully} cooler temps!

Take a look at that ticker, would ya!  11 inches!  Baby is nearly a foot long!  So amazing!  I am really getting anxious to meet this little one.  In fact, this past week, I’ve done some early nesting projects.

1.  Working on rearranging our bedroom to accommodate the baby.  In the process, I hung up our BABY sign and the mother and baby sketch by Breezy Brookshire.

Baby sign & sketch from Breezy Tulip Studio

You can read about how we make a special place for baby without a nursery in this post.

2.  Washing up baby clothes, sunning them (because they always end up stained after being stored no matter how clean they were when you put them away!), and going through cloth diapers.

I really pared down my diaper stash this past year (thank you, Vanessa, for helping me sell them!), so I’m looking for a few more to add, plus, make a few of my own just for this baby.  I’ll probably add a couple of Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers (they are my favorite little baby covers) and maybe some Kissaluvs (I used to own a couple of these and loved them!).

The diapers I make will be a cotton print or flannel outer and sherpa or cotton velour inner.  I’ve thought about purchasing the Very Baby pattern, but haven’t quite convinced myself (anyone want to convince me?).

3.  I’ve been canning & preserving like crazy!  Despite the fact my hips lock up regularly while working in the kitchen, I have still managed to do up hundreds of tomatoes and sandhill plums.  Next week, I’ll have a post linking to all the recipes I have used this season!


4.  I’m also trying to declutter the house.  There just seems to be too much stuff in this house!  This week, I’ve gotten rid of 2 large garbage bags of stuff and I’m hoping for more!

I really need to go through our basement, but that feels almost impossible.  We had a flood earlier in the summer and everything was thrown onto pallets in haste.  I’m not sure where anything is and going down there just stresses me out.  Ty and I joke about cleaning it the next time we move…but, frankly, that’s not very funny.

Baby is moving well.  Garin, our 3 year old, loves to feel baby move and talk to baby and tell baby he loves him/her (he waffles between the two genders ;) ).  I always tell him baby loves him to, and he always asks how I know.  I tell him to put his ear to mommy’s tummy and listen closely.  He thinks that is very funny…which makes his dimples show…which makes his mama smile.

Garin on trampoline in Colorado

(these are photos of Garin on our recent vacation to the mountains -
the trampoline made his hair all crazy)

Brand New DrinkBands & You Could Win!

Win the Brand New DrinkBands on RaisingArrows.net!Guess what came in the mail the other day?!  Some fun new goodies from DrinkBands!  DrinkBands now has PERSONALIZED bands, so your family members can have their name AND their favorite color on their glasses!

Personalized DrinkBands!

DrinkBands is also pleased to present CAMO BANDS!  My family was super excited about these!  My daughter even got creative photographing them (shown in the photo below are 3 of the 5 designs).

Camo DrinkBands!

There are 5 camouflage patterns in all:

Camo DrinkBands!

I know you can’t wait to get your hands on these new DrinkBands, so how about a fun giveaway?  There will be 2 winners – one winner will get a set of 9 regular DrinkBands that are personalized, and another winner will win a set of 5 camo DrinkBands!  Giveaway ends this Friday, so hurry!

(Reading this via email?  CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Homeschooling Omnibus Sale – Tons of Resources for $25!

2014 Omnibus Homeschooling Sale - 105 Resources + FREEBIES & COUPONS for only $25! | RaisingArrows.net

The 3rd annual Homeschooling Omnibus Sale is this week – AUGUST 18 – AUGUST 24!  You get a ton of resources for only $25, plus, there are a few special things about this year’s sale…

1.  You get the pdf AND the Kindle formats with your purchase.

2.  There are some really great bonus discounts & freebies from companies like:  Jim Hodges Audio Books, Harmony Fine Arts, Notebooking Pages, Scripture Lullabies, and Your Story Hour, to name a few!

3.  You have the option to purchase the entire set of resources on DVD for an additional $8.  (this offer ends September 20, 2014)


2014 Omnibus DVD

I don’t want to clutter up this post with ALL of the resources available in this sale, but I do want to highlight a few I think will be of particular interest to Raising Arrows readers:

*My ebook, Large Family Homeschooling – I’m sure ALL of you already own a copy of this 170 page practical homeschooling tome, but just in case… ;)

Large Family Homeschooling - releases April 1!

*Raising Rock Stars FULL Preschool Curriculum – This is a fun curriculum for your little people, and gives you some much needed one-on-one time with those precious preschoolers in your home.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.09.39 PM

*Circle Time – I’ve raved about this book and concept for quite a while, so you’ve probably heard it, but I’ll say it again…this book gives you the practical advice you need to bring ALL your children together corporately during the homeschool day, and get in those subjects you miss, as well as combine subjects you don’t need to be teaching separately.

Circle Time by Kendra Fletcher

*A Seasonal Start in Fall Chalk Pastels from my friend, Tricia Hodges.  The art in this book is beautiful and totally doable for a wide range of ages.  But what I love the most is that it features my favorite time of year – AUTUMN!  (Tricia’s Beach Pastels book is also in this package!)

Pastels by Tricia Hodges

*Essential Chefs – This ebook is absolutely fascinating!  Learn how to use essential oils in your cooking for health and taste!  50 Recipes included!

Essential Chefs - Using Essential Oils in Your Cooking

*Gloria:  A Christmas Hymn Study – This ebook, from my friend Kim, will be a wonderful addition to your holiday season with studies of favorites like O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Away in the Manger, Silent Night, and many more!  I can’t wait to share it with my children this year!

Gloria:  A Christmas Hymn Study

*Notebooking Success – One of the books that gave me the confidence I needed to start notebooking with my children.  (If interested, you can read more about how we use notebooking with a large family.)

Notebooking Success

*The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance – This is from my dear friend, Heidi St. John.  Her wit and wisdom have endeared her to me for years, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same reading this ebook (and your husband will thank you as well!).

The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance by Heidi St. John

*PLANNERS GALORE! – This year’s Omnibus includes 2 Blog Planners, 3 Homeschool Planners, 1 Life & Home Organizer, and 1 Meal Planner!


2014 Omnibus Sale August 18 - 24

 IMPORTANT DETAILS:  All resources must be downloaded by September 25th because after that time, they will no longer be available for download.  The deadline for refunds is September 5; however, if you have downloaded any of the materials, you will not be able to receive a refund.  Have more questions?  Visit the FAQ page HERE or contact iHomeschool Network HERE.

You Don’t Need to Win the Argument

You don't need to win the {homeschooling| argument | RaisingArrows.net

When you start homeschooling, you may find yourself in an uphill battle with people who do not agree with your decision.  I find this tends to come most often from concerned family members and flabbergasted friends.  Depending on your personality, you may feel compelled to “fight” with them over your decision and spout all the latest research and statistics on homeschooling, but let me urge you to refrain from doing this because…

“You don’t need to win the argument; just make the point gently and with the confidence that you are doing God’s will for your family.”
~Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson

There truly is no need to become defensive about your choice to homeschool.  But, if you are feeling battered and bruised by those around you who are opposed to your decision, let me suggest a few reasons why this might be the case and a few more reasons why I still firmly believe you ought not engage in a verbal home school versus public school war.

First, a few questions to ask yourself when you feel offended by others being bothered by your choice to homeschool:

1.  Do I feel God has asked me to do this or am I still questioning the validity of my choice?

2.  Do I know why I am homeschooling my child or am I still unsure as to why I am wanting to do this?

3.  Does the offense run deeper than both of us realize?  Am I offended because I feel attacked or belittled or inadequate?  Does the other person feel attacked because I have chosen something different than they have chosen and in doing so, I’ve suggested they are inadequate?

4.  Was my tone prideful?  Am I approaching homeschooling as something I do because I am superior?

5.  Is there fear clouding either my thoughts or the thoughts of the other person?  If so, what does the fear stem from, and how can the Lord turn that fear around for His glory?

So, what’s the other half of this?  Once we ask the questions, we have to face the answers and understand why engaging in a verbal battle is not the answer to “winning”.

The path we take in life is not about man and man’s approval. (Gal 1:10)  It is about walking with God and doing what He asks of us.  It’s not your job to convince others to homeschool or convince them that your choice to homeschool is legitimate.  Live a quiet life that is pleasing to the Lord.  Live a life that is under conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Live in a way that is in line with the how a disciple of Christ ought to live and behave.

You don’t need to be combative.  You don’t need to prove your point.  You don’t need to “win” the argument.

So, what do you do when someone takes offense to your choices and you find yourself being questioned?  Here’s our answer:

“We take Deuteronomy 6 very seriously and feel the best way to guide our children in the Christian faith is to have them at home with us as their guides.  We have been so blessed by our time spent homeschooling!”

We don’t become ANTI-public school.  We don’t put on our boxing gloves and start duking it out.  We don’t even give all the latest, greatest homeschool grad stats.  This homeschooling thing is personal.  I am very confident this is what the Lord has called our family to.  Because of this conviction, I have full confidence in the path ahead being for my children’s good and His glory.

There really is no argument when you look at it this way.  You can walk away from a fight, and not be bothered that you didn’t “win” because you have already won just by being faithful to what he Lord has called you to do!

Be confident – Not combative!

The Ultimate Guide to Morning Sickness Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Morning Sickness Remedies | RaisingArrows.netBefore I became pregnant with my first child, I could count on one hand the number of times I had thrown up.  Now, I am quite familiar with the nausea and vomiting that seem to plague my pregnancies.

While I do not think there is one answer for every person out there, I do think there are things that work for some and things that at least ease the morning sickness for others.

This post is a compilation of things I have tried, things I have heard of from others, and also general coping tactics for those weeks when the couch holds you hostage.  I’m going to include my own personal notes, but please know this morning sickness thing is super personal and what works for one might not work for another and vice-versa.  (Note:  any ideas and suggestions you have will be added to the list…well, as long as they aren’t too off the wall ;) )

My only disclaimer is that I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mom who has lived through this thing called morning sickness 9 times over in the last 16 years.

Expert?  No.  Field tester?  Most definitely!

And frankly, for some of us this thing called morning sickness is a trial that must be endured.  I’m not in the camp of people who believe every ailment our human bodies go through is fixable.  Sometimes morning sickness is that “thorn in the flesh” Paul speaks of in the Bible, and that is where faith meets fire.  From there, it is up to us to be willing to make a sacrifice of love toward this new little person being knit within.

(Another Disclaimer:  Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a serious condition in pregnancy.  If your vomiting is continual, you are losing a significant amount of weight, and cannot keep anything down for 24 hours or more, please see your doctor.)

Over-the-Counter “Traditional” Remedies:
Um…neither of these worked…at all.
Unisom & B6 combo – Unisom at night, B6 in the morning, many people swear by this.  It did help me some.

Prescription Medicines (always use with well-informed caution):
ZofranI have a friend who considered this her “miracle drug.”  While it allowed me to actually sit up, it by no means stopped the vomiting.  You can read about my experience with it last pregnancy HERE.  By the way, it does cause constipation.
ReglanCauses severe drowsiness and did not work for me.
ProchlorperazineSome say it is safe, others say no.  I took one pill of Compazine and had a panic attack.  And no, the vomiting did not stop.
Decletin – Common in Canada, but a lot of controversy surrounding its safety.
B ShotI thought it worked for a bit.  Then, it didn’t.

Natural Remedies:
Ginger - I drank ginger tea with a couple of my babies.  It helps while you drink it.  Afterward, not so much…but it does give you something to throw up.  Sorry, just being honest.  My favorite was from Earth Mama.  You can also buy Ginger Gum.
1 TBSP of hydrated Bentonite clay in the morning (with a cup of water or juice) - the idea of this grosses me out, but I had a reader say it worked.
Baby Bliss - I really wanted this to work.  It didn’t.
Higher Protein Diet
Lemon Ice - Fill a blender jar/pitcher with ice, peel and seed a lemon, add a little water or sprite and then blend to snow cone consistency. Eat small spoonfuls. (from Betty at Peace Creek on the Prairie)
MagnesiumYou can read how this was working for me at 9 weeks and how I was using it – magnesium oil, Epsom Salts, supplements.  This did help, but it did not take the vomiting away completely and it was very easy to get “behind” on keeping my magnesium stores full.
Juice Fastagain, this is something I just don’t think I could stomach, but I do know someone who benefitted from this greatly.
Acupuncture/MassageWhile I have never used acupuncture, I can attest to how much better I felt when my oldest daughter would give me a back and neck massage.  She would often do this at night to put me to sleep – which frankly, was often the best morning sickness reprieve.
Giving into your Cravings - for me, what I craved was often the only thing I would keep down.
Ocean MineralsI don’t really know anything about this, but a reader suggested them as a big help to her.
Preggie Pops (or other hard candy) – I am NOT a hard candy fan, but it does help me during pregnancy…especially when I have to be in a car.  One reader mentioned mint flavors helping, and I agree.
Avoid sugar & caffeine - honestly, neither one of these appeal to me when I’m feeling sick.
Beans – um…I hate beans…pregnant or not, but one commenter says they cured her morning sickness when she ate them every couple of hours.
Peppermint Oil – I’ve heard mixed opinions about whether or not peppermint oil is safe during pregnancy.  I chose to use it as aromatherapy only.  It was not uncommon for me to  go to sleep at night with a bottle of peppermint oil in my hand because I would lay there and take occasional whiffs of it.  A diffuser necklace might be a good idea here.
Kombucha Tea – This is a fermented tea that we drink fairly regularly, but when I’m sick, I don’t do a good job taking care of my scoby.  Might have to rethink this next time.
Alkalizing your body – This I had not heard of, but you can find more information in this post from Sacred Mommyhood.
Lemon/Lime – I did eat quite a few lime juice freezer pops.


Homeopathic Remedies:
Pegasus Homeopathics v.m.t 30C

Soda (some say particularly Coca-Cola) 
- This helped me for about a week and then it just made me sicker.  It’s like my body gets used to a remedy and decides it doesn’t work anymore!  One reader mentioned Virgil’s Root Beer as a huge help to her.

Blog articles, websites, and books on morning sickness and handling every day life:

The Protein/Morning Sickness Connection from Raising Arrows
Morning Sickness and My To-Do List from Raising Arrows
Homeschooling and the Morning Sickness Factor from Raising Arrows
Suffering in Pregnancy (an anonymous guest post on Raising Arrows)
My Morning Sickness Story from Artful Homemaking
Coping with Morning Sickness from Sacred Mommyhood
MyMorningSickness.com - If I remember right, years ago, the information on this site was free; however, it looks to me like it is now in ebook form, but there is still a lot of free content on the site.
Trust & Obey (used to be Whining Puker) – her left hand sidebar has all the information from her posts on hyperemesis gravidarum (my spell checker doesn’t even want to accept those as words, but trust me, they are)
Morning Sickness Survival
from A Mama’s Story
How to Spiritually Survive Morning Sickness from The Modest Mom Blog
How to Physically Survive Morning Sickness from The Modest Mom Blog
Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize – I have not read this.
Pink Stork – Site with products dedicated to relieving morning sickness.

I also have a chapter on morning sickness in my ebook Large Family Homeschooling because let’s face it, if you have a lot of kiddos and you homeschool, chances are, you’ve homeschooled with morning sickness. ;)

Large Family Homeschooling - releases April 1!

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves about any of these “remedies” and anything else you may have found that helps.  Or, if nothing else, feel free to commiserate with one another.  ;)  Some day, you won’t feel so awful anymore, but I know in the midst of it all, it feels as if that day will never come.  ((HUGS))