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

Oven Pancake Dutch Baby

Quick & Easy Breakfast Idea - Dutch Baby (aka Oven Pancake) | RaisingArrows.net

Some mornings I’m too tired to think about breakfast.  OK, truth be told MOST mornings I’m too tired to think about breakfast.  A lot of times everyone gets breakfast on their own, but when we have a little more leisure time (like on weekends), I like to make something we can all sit down to that warms little tummies.  However, even then, I really don’t want to have to think very hard about what I’m making.

Enter Dutch Babies or Oven Pancakes!

Quick & Easy Breakfast - Dutch Babies (aka Oven Pancakes) | RaisingArrows.net

I was first introduced to Dutch Babies by another large family.  I had never even heard of them.  Imagine my surprise when I poured the eggy mixture into a casserole dish and out of the oven popped a crazy yummy breakfast that nearly jumps out of the pan!

Top them with just about anything you can think of (we like maple syrup or powdered sugar or fruit).  They are wonderful served up with a side of fruit or some bacon.  And cold leftovers are tasty too!

Here’s the recipe:

Easy Breakfast - Oven Pancake (aka Dutch Babies) | RaisingArrows.net

Dutch Babies
aka
Oven Pancake

8 eggs
2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter

Preheat oven to 400º.  Put 1/4 c. of butter into each of two 9×13″ casserole dishes.  Put the pans into the oven to melt the butter as the oven preheats.

Mix together eggs, milk, and flour in a medium mixing bowl.

Once butter is melted, pull the pans out of the oven and tip pans to allow butter to coat the entire surface.

Pour 1/2 of the egg mixture into each of the pans and bake 15-20 minutes.  Mixture will brown and puff up as it bakes.  Cut the oven pancake into squares.  Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, or fruit.

Now wasn’t that easy?!

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear!  | RaisingArrows.net - it has gotten so hard to find decent maternity clothes - here are a few suggestions of where to look!I’ve been pregnant a few times.  13 to be exact.  I’m currently working on my 9th full term baby, so to say my maternity clothes are worn out would be an understatement.
Early on in this pregnancy, I went through my Maternity Tub and realized a lot of my clothes just weren’t worth keeping anymore.  I got rid of a lot (except for that pair of denim capris with the embellished edges that are literally falling apart, but I just can’t bring myself to admit it…).

However, getting rid of a lot means you have to look for replacements.  I quickly found out that was no small feat.

I tried the local thrift store first.  I’ll be honest…I blew in there on a whim right before I was due to hop a plane to Nashville.  I had 30 minutes to spare and basically grabbed things off the rack that “looked” like they would fit, bought them without trying them on, and headed out the door, stashing them in the back of the van until I got home from my trip.  That, my friends is NOT the way to shop.  However, I made a return trip to the thrift store a few weeks later and let’s just say that trying things on did not net me a thing to wear, but it did spare me the financial setback.

#MaternityClothesFailNumber1

Next, I tried an online second hand shop.  Everything I ordered had to be returned.

#MaternityClothesFailNumber2

I briefly looked at a shop in the local mall.  “Briefly” being the operative word.  It was readily apparent NOTHING there was going to be my taste or my fit.  I’m just not that into tight and low cut, and I really don’t need any help accentuating my baby belly, thank you very much.

#MaternityClothesFailNumber3

But, all hope was not lost!  I did end up finding Maternity Clothes Success!  I managed to snag some great deals on some great clothes that actually fit and that I actually WANT to wear!  While I know we all have different tastes and requirements and budgets, I wanted to pass along the places I found and things I purchased that have been worth the search.

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear!  Ideas for where to shoot + a coupon code to one of my favorites! | RaisingArrows.net

Finding Maternity Clothes That are Budget Friendly and Modest

1.  Take care of the maternity clothes you have.  I don’t want to go on without saying this, mainly because I am the worst about this!  Wear an apron.  Wash the clothes correctly.  Use stain remover.  Don’t dry them until you have the stains out.  Store them properly.  Be nice to your maternity clothes and they will last you a lot longer.  (Amy, I’m talking to you.)

2.  Buy quality when you can.  I’m going to share with you a couple of ways to do this.  (don’t miss the coupon!)  First of all, you can save up and buy a staple item (I’m talking pants, jeans, or skirts) that will hold up well and go with a myriad of outfits.  For me, this has been Style J maternity skirts and the Rainbow Maternity skirt from Deborah & Co.

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear - Rainbow Maternity Skirt (with discount coupon!) | RaisingArrows.net

Use Coupon Code:

RA10OFF

for 10% off your Deborah & Co. Order through September 30!

Secondly, you can look for good brand name maternity clothes at online second hand shops like ThredUP.  I will admit, I was scared of ThredUP.  First of all, I had no idea how it worked, and secondly, it seemed about as risky as me walking into the thrift store and pulling things off the rack without trying them on.  And remember, my last online second-hand shopping excursion had me sending everything back.  But, I learned a few things that helped make the experience a very good one!  (The shirt at the top of this post was one of my purchases!)

*Read the Material section.  Thankfully, ThredUP gives the fabric makeup of each garment.  If it says Spandex, I run the other way.  That basically means it will hug every curve of my body.  And yes, even 2% Spandex will do that.  Really think through what kinds of fabrics you like, and don’t buy something you hate thinking it will be ok.

*Look for well known brands and/or brands of maternity clothes you own and love.  Pay attention to what is in your closet and go on a hunt for those brands.  Also, look for well known (and expensive) brands that you may not have tried in the past.  These tend to be of better quality and will last you a lot longer.  Getting them at a fraction of the cost is a blast!

*Use the brand’s website to check sizes.  ThredUP will give you a size, but if you aren’t sure if that is your size in that particular brand, check it against what the original website says.

Free shipping on all orders over $50 (before tax or discount).

3.  Use layering to “fix” any fit issues.  This is the first pregnancy I feel I’ve finally gotten the hang of layering.  It has become my new best friend!  I think you’ll agree…

Favorite Layering Technique #1:

Tank HalfTees

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear - Use Layering with HalfTees (coupon code included) | RaisingArrows.net

I bought my first Tank HalfTee from Deborah & Co. to use for nursing my last little one because Caroline (the owner of Deborah & Co.) told me how wonderful they were.  They were great, but it was during this pregnancy that I really fell in love with them!

14 weeks with Baby #9

See the white peeking out from the top of this shirt?  That’s a HalfTee.  That shirt is WAY too low cut without the tank.  This happens a lot to me because I have to buy XLarge maternity tops to accommodate my diastasis recti pregnant belly.  Using a HalfTee to layer makes any low cut maternity shirt you might own or buy plenty modest.

And I just found out Caroline has stocked BROWN HalfTees!  I’m going to be using my own coupon code to buy more of these!

Here’s that code again:

RA10OFF

for 10% off your Deborah & Co. Order through September 30!

Favorite Layering Technique #2:

Undercover Mama Nursing Tanks

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear - Undercover Mama Nursing Tanks to use as layering (+ coupon code) | RaisingArrows.net

Yes, you read that right – nursing tanks.  Here’s the thing – Undercover Mama tanks are LONG.  While this drives some people crazy, I like it!  It means PLENTY of coverage for my expanding belly.  It also means a shirt that is maybe a bit see-through becomes perfectly acceptable when paired with a tank.  Yes, you can buy maternity tanks, but why not go ahead and get a tank that will carry you through after baby is born.  I also pair mine with a HalfTee when I have a shirt that is both see-through AND too low cut.  (You can purchase Undercover Mama tanks from Deborah & Co. using that same coupon code!)

Favorite Layering Technique #3:

Belly Bands

Finding Maternity Clothes I Actually Want to Wear - Belly Bands for layering | RaisingArrows.net

 I never have liked the below-the-belly maternity pants and skirts.  I can’t hold them up.  Truth be told, sometimes I can’t even hold up the regular over-the-belly ones!  That’s where belly bands come in!  Just about any brand will work – I have a coupon code for a couple of free ones (you pay shipping) on the ones from BellyButtonBand.com

RAISINGARROWS9

And here’s something new I’m trying this pregnancy…using 2 belly bands to help support my belly.  This was an idea from a reader, and I think she may be on to something!  I’m planning to bind my belly as soon as this baby is born (my OB has already put a plan in place to make sure this happens), but using 2 of these belly bands during pregnancy will hopefully offer some much needed support as well.

and finally…

4.  Find a friend to share with.  Sometimes this is easy and sometimes not.  I’ve had pregnancies where this worked out great because my friends weren’t pregnant at the same time or the same season, and other pregnancies where we were all pregnant at the exact same time.  But, if you can, find a friend who is a similar size and share maternity clothes.  (Make sure you mark your clothes with some sort of distinguishing mark on the tag so you return the right clothes!)  Just remember to take good care of her clothes (see #1)!

Have suggestions for finding maternity clothes
that are great deals and a great fit?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Week 26 Pregnancy Update

baby developmentWe’re getting close to the 3rd trimester – can you believe it?!

I’m still feeling really great – which is a huge blessing! The weather is starting to get that crisp Fall feeling! Ty and I took a trip with two of our little boys to a local apple orchard to pick up cider and see if they had any seconds ready. Seconds are #2 apples that don’t quite make the “cut”, but aren’t bad enough to be cider apples. We can get them for about $20 a bushel, and they are perfectly fine for the things we use them for.

This week, I’m experimenting with some “alternative” Thanksgiving foods to see if any are worth using this year.  Many of the ones I’m using are from this ebook:

The Sweeter Side of Candida

and this post:

Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Recipes

I really don’t want to go into the holiday season tanked up on sugar.  I want to enjoy a few sugary traditions here and there without feeling like all we’ve had is sugar and carbs.  I can also tell the carbs and sugar I do eat don’t seem to be metabolizing well for me.  I end up feeling icky, so I’d prefer to avoid them as much as possible.

This past week, several in our family had colds – including me.  It’s been ages since anyone here has had a cold.  Thankfully, I only had a sore throat for a couple of days and then all was well.  My 13 year old wondered how I could be so sick and keep going as if I wasn’t sick.  I told her that’s what mamas do.  I don’t know any mothers who stop their lives for a cold – do you?

Baby is nice and active these days, and I think lying transverse breech – at least it feels like I have little hands in one hip and little feet in the other!  I snapped a quick pic with my phone on the way to church last night, so you’d have some sort of 26 week photo.  Blessed to have our van is back up and running with new tires to boot!  Have a blessed week!

Week 26 Pregnancy Update | RaisingArrows.net

Week 25 Pregnancy Update

baby development

This week was a little good and a little bad.

First, the good – the weather cooled down!  I have a friend who says my love of Fall is “inspiring.”  Our whole family is enamored with Fall.  In fact, all you have to do is spend a little time following my Pinterest account to see just how much we enjoy Fall!  I’m pinning things and preparing for crafts and snacks and other Autumnish things.  (yeah, I just made up that word ;) )

Autumn Pinterest board - Week 25 pregnancy update means we are gearing up for Fall! | RaisingArrows.net

OK, so the bad news…

The fuel pump in our van went out.  Suddenly.  One day I noticed it seemed to be cutting out every so often.  The next day it wouldn’t turn over.  Thankfully, we didn’t get stranded anywhere but our own driveway, but let me tell you, being without a vehicle and living as far out in the country as we do has been a bit on the difficult side.  Thankfully, Ty works in the city and has access to just about everything we need.

Oh, and a fuel pump on a 15 passenger van?  Not cheap.  Just in case you were wondering.

In baby news, I received a box of maternity clothes from ThreadUp this past week!  That was soooo exciting!  I was in desperate need of some new maternity clothes!  I’ll be posting more about some of the maternity finds I’ve managed to come across this pregnancy in a subsequent post.

Week 25 Pregnancy Update | RaisingArrows.net

I’ve been feeling really good and sleeping well too!  I do have to rest during the day, but I see this season in my life as God-given rest.  I’m not good at slowing myself down, so God gives me little blessings to slow me down. ;)

So, how are all my pregnant friends doing?  Is it cool yet where you live?

Moore Family Films Discount Code

Moore Family Films Discount Code - good through September (think Christmas presents!)With the cooler weather coming, I’ve begun to think about Fall!  For our family, Autumn causes us to focus toward the Holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas as well.  With Baby #9 due near Christmas, I am thinking ahead to gifts and buying them a bit early so I am prepared.

Even if you aren’t having a baby this Christmas, it might be a good idea to think toward gift buying now, and take advantage of the discount code the Moores are offering on their films through the month of September!

{affiliate link}

Moore Family Films September Discount Code

A couple of our favorites are More than Making Maple Syrup and ABC – Say It With Me!

maple syrup movie

Use code:
DVD20
to get 20% off all DVD purchases
through the month of September!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

 

2014-15 Homeschool Curriculum – Middle School & High School

Our Middle School & High School Homeschool Curriculum (2014-15) from RaisingArrows.net

This year, I have one child in high school and one in middle school.  My high schooler, Blake – age 16, will be finishing his “formal” schooling in December.  My daughter, Megan, is an 8th grader by traditional standards – something that doesn’t really fit her well at all.

Later this month, I’ll be writing about what Blake will be doing after he “graduates”, but for now, take a moment to read my post entitled, “True Education is Not About Making a Living“.  It will give you a little bit of a taste of the approach we are taking.

Our Middle School & High School Homeschool Curriculum 2014 | RaisingArrows.net

It has been quite a privilege to watch these two grow up.  Blake is a natural-born leader and Megan is creative and artsy.  The two of them together make a great team!  We have tried to give them plenty of opportunities to work together on projects and hone their own individual skills.  You will see in our curriculum choices that same individuality.

{affiliate links included}

High School Homeschool Curriculum

Last year, I would have wholeheartedly endorsed Khan Academy as a standalone curriculum.  Changes that were made mid-year last year have me hesitant to recommend it the way I once did.  However, we are using it as a standalone for both our high schooler and middle schooler.  The changes that were made are not ones that compromise the education, but rather tend to frustrate the user.  That said, this FREE program has been very successful in teaching my children math concepts they were not understanding via any other curriculum.  Blake is finishing up Geometry this year, and he has a very good grasp of what he is learning, thus the reason we have stuck with it despite some frustrations with how the system is set up.

Blake is finishing up his Apologia Biology with Lab.

Biology

He has been dissecting all sorts of things!  This is something I never did in high school, so it has been fascinating to watch!  (Glad I’m past the morning sickness, though!)

Something new we added mid-year last year was Current Events.  Most of the time, Blake uses a Fox News app on the iPad, but we also have him check the stories via other news sources as well.  This teaches several things:  discernment, an understanding of the world and culture around him, and Biblical thinking skills.  He is our researcher, so it only made sense to have him “research” current events and keep the rest of the family abreast of what is going on in the world.

I do want to caution you on this topic – having your child read/watch Current Events from mainstream media sources requires your child be very mature and very discerning.  There is no way my 13 year old could handle a daily dose of current events.  It would be too overwhelming to her.

For our history, church history, geography, and literature, we are doing Tapestry of Grace - Year 3.

Tapestry of Grace Year 3 - part of our middle school and high school curriculum 2014 | RaisingArrows.netWe do not do Tapestry in the traditional sense, but use it as a backbone of our studies.  The curriculum is full of wisdom and information, and even though we don’t use 100% of it, the price was still well worth the information and guides contained within.

I use the Teacher’s Guides and the Weekly Assignments to create my own list of things the children need to do based on TOG’s suggestions.  Once a week, we use the discussions to dig deep into the era we are studying.  They children read selections from that week’s work, look up some of the geography to familiarize themselves with the area being studied, and do some of the projects listed, including their younger siblings in the fun.  Blake has all the history credits he needs, but he enjoys TOG so much, he doesn’t mind sitting in on another year.

For his composition credit, I am requiring him to write a research paper.  I give him a generalized idea of the time period to write on, and he chooses his topic and builds his paper.  Last year, was some aspect of the Revolutionary War (he chose to concentrate on George Washington’s command).  This year, will be some aspect of the Civil War.  He writes his paper in Google Docs so the two of us can work together on editing it.

As I’ve mentioned before, Blake runs a blog of his own – Airsoft Warrior.  Doing so has taught him many lessons!  His writing skills have improved, his videos are wonderfully edited, and he has honed his public speaking skills (although, public speaking has never been difficult for him).

He is also learning the ins and outs of money management as he works part-time as a Trapper (the person who throws the clays at a shooting sports lodge).  We have helped him walk through making wise purchases, saving, and tithing.  He is proving to be a great money manager – for that, I am very thankful!

He also works out nearly every day.  Last year, he dropped 60 pounds by tracking his food and exercising!

Middle School Homeschool Curriculum

Again, keep in mind this curriculum is highly tailored to my creative 13 year old.  If you need help learning how to tailor a curriculum to your child’s particular talents, the wonderful people at 10KtoTalent.com can help!

Megan is doing Khan Academy 8th Grade.  We took a break from it for a while, but it was very obvious to me that she learns very well using Khan.  When she is stumped and the hints on Khan aren’t helping, she will use MathIsFun.com to help her get through a particular issue.  (Note:  We have her computer set up with a School folder in the navigation bar to keep all of the websites she uses readily available so she isn’t randomly surfing the web.)

After taking a year off from Science, she is doing Apologia’s General Science this year.

Apologia General Science - part of our middle school homeschool curriculum 2014 | RaisingArrows.netThere have been a few rocky spots (the first two chapters are rather dry and she learned a valuable lesson in perseverance and diligence as she pushed through), but now she says she is enjoying it.

She is also doing Tapestry of Grace – Year 3 for her history, church history, geography, and literature.

As I mentioned in my Elementary Curriculum post, she and her younger sister go to Keepers of the Faith once a month.  I’ll be writing more about that in a later post.

Megan continues to take French via iTalki.com.  If you have a child who has a natural bent toward languages or who wants to pursue a career that would benefit from fluency in another language, I HIGHLY recommend iTalki.  Lessons are taught by live teachers via Skype on a schedule of your choosing.  We have been very pleased with the results.  (You can read my review of iTalki and explore the site for yourself!)

Additionally, Megan is taking American Sign Language.  A Deaf woman at a local church does free lessons a couple of times a year; however, we are planning on doing private lessons with her because Megan hopes to pursue her certification as an ASL Interpreter. For school, she reviews using ASLPro.com. (This site was recommended by her teacher as being legitimately ASL. You do have to be aware that not all sign language is ASL, so if you have a child interested in interpreting, it is better to avoid filling their memory banks with wrong information.)

One last thing I want to mention concerning Megan’s homeschooling is her photography.  Most of the photos you see on Raising Arrows are her work.  She has had a photography blog for many years as a hobby, but this year – thanks to 10ktoTalent, she’ll be getting more serious about building her portfolio and working toward her 10,000 hours.  She wants to start doing portraits and family photography and build from there.  We will be seeking out professional photographers to help mentor her through this process, as well as using online resources.  (One of her favorites is Digital Photography School.)

Phew!  These curriculum posts are harder to put together than I like to admit, but I hope you’ve enjoyed them!