2014 Raising Arrows Review

2014 Raising Arrows Review

Every year, I like to do a year-end review of posts from Raising Arrows.  It’s a fun way for me to remember the past year, and to recap any posts you may have missed.  When I do these posts, I am always amazed at how quickly my year has passed.

This year saw some big changes for us, including 2 moves and a new baby!  What a ride 2014 was!  I hope you enjoy the recap…

January 2014

I introduced you to Christian Healthcare Ministries - the non-insurance option we have used for years.

Christian Healthcare Ministries

I told you how we use Little House on the Prairie resources to homeschool.

Plus, I gave you my favorite All-Natural, All-Purpose Cleaner and we talked candidly about being messy mommies.

February 2014

We moved!

I told you about my postpartum depression with baby #7.

I asked the question, “Does it matter what time a mom/homemaker wakes up?

And I talked about my struggle to build Trim Healthy Mama meals (and offered a FREE THM veggie guide!).

March 2014

I gave you our family recipes for Whole Wheat Rolls and Whole Wheat Pastry Crust.

Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls/Buns that are Quick and Tasty! | RaisingArrows.net

I talked about how to keep a kitchen clean and also how to make meal times more leisurely and stress-free (plus I shared a subscriber freebie of Family Dinner Games!).

I shared more of my Birthing Journey in a Part 2 of a post I had written 5 years earlier.

And I gave new homeschool moms 7 things they needed to think about as they get started.

April 2014

I shared how we handle television consumption in our home, and I offered tips on learning to love every age and stage your children are in.

I asked a hard hitting question about whether or not we really want Titus2 women in our lives.

I shared how we homeschool with Pinterest and what to do if you hate (or struggle) with the subjects you are teaching.

I asked you to tell me why you love having a large family, and I made the decision to stop trying to be a top blogger.

No More Knocking Myself Out! Why I'm done trying to be a top blogger | RaisingArrows.net

May 2014

After some major blows to the homeschooling community, I wrote a post on being discerning homeschoolers.

I also answered questions about homeschooling year round.

I shared how well-meaning people unintentionally hurt people who are grieving, and I told you the secret to being the perfect mom.

I also shared Part 3 of my Birthing Journey and announced that a new little blessing was on the way, due in December!

June 2014

In June, morning sickness hit hard, and all I managed was to update you on my pregnancy:
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14

14 weeks with Baby #9

July 2014

I shared how we feed our family of 9 with only 2 pounds of hamburger, and gave you the recipe for our favorite homemade Taco Seasoning

I told you how I got the kids to stop opening all the peanut butter jars in the house.

How to stop the kids (and dad) from opening brand new food containers when there is one already open | RaisingArrows.net

I introduced you to our newest addition – a puppy!

Plus, I told you how to plan your homeschool day in 30 minute snippets and how we were weaning our children from screen time that had taken over while I was sick.

August 2014

I hit the halfway mark of my pregnancy, and shared how to celebrate your pregnancy month by month.

I rocked a few boats when I suggested education was not about getting a job, and I told you that winning the homeschool argument wasn’t your objective either.

I also shared some of the canning recipes we were using that season.

2014 Canning Season - so far, we've made salsa, spaghetti sauce, pickles and pickled green beans, freezer green beans, and sandhill plum jelly!

September 2014

We settled the homeschool socialization question, and I shared our curriculum choices for preschool and kindergarten, elementary, and jr. high and high school.

I told you how to create a finger food lunch and gave you an easy recipe for oven pancakes.

I shared how I shop for maternity clothes, how I flagged my Trim Healthy Mama book, and how our Keepers of the Faith club runs.

October 2014

Sheri Graham and I started our 12 week Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas series.

I shared a yummy Bacon Gravy recipe as well as a THM-ified Cookie Dough Dip.

Cookie Dough Dip (a Trim Healthy Mama Makeover Recipe - S) | RaisingArrows.net

I talked about not stigmatizing your child based on their learning pace.

I also wrote Part 1 of having a minimalist kitchen as a large family.

November 2014

I shared Part 2 of my minimalist kitchen.

I gave you ideas for arranging bedrooms for a lot of kids.  I offered all my Thanksgiving resources in one post, and I shared the news that we were moving again!

December 2014

I told you how to have a Christmas Decorating Party with your family, and how I’ve learned to have a peaceful Christmas when life is a mess.

I shared a very difficult post about how it feels when baby is not the gender you had hoped for, and finally, I introduced our newest blessing, our first girl since Emily’s death, Baby Aspen!

Baby Aspen

Here’s to a blessed 2015!



Take the Blogelina Blogging Course for FREE!

A Special Invitation: Profitable Blogging For Beginners – FREE!

The other day, we ran a special discount offer for Blogelina’s online class, Profitable Blogging For Beginners.  Several of you reported having issues with redeeming your special coupon code.

Because of the inconvenience, Blogelina is offering all of our readers a FREE seat in their November class!  Absolutely No strings attached, all the bonuses included!

The only catch is – You Have To Hurry!

This offer lasts only until 11:59pm EST on Saturday, November 1st!

4 Week Blogging Class from Blogelina - only $5!


When you sign up for this class, here€™s what you€™ll get:

  • A 60-Page How-To Manual€“ packed with information that will help take the overwhelming out of starting your own blog
  • 4 weekly online class sessionswhere you can ask your questions and get personalized feedback
  • A FREE Year of Web Hosting
  • Blogelina Does Your Blog Set-Up For You€“ they€™ll take care of the techie side of the set-up so you don€™t have to. All you have to do is start blogging!
  • Blueprints, step-by-step tutorials, networking with other bloggers€” everything you need to grow your blog.

This class will cover:

  • How to Get Your Blog Started on the Right Foot
  • Questions to ask as you begin blogging
  • How To Actually Set Up A Blog
  • Why Your Blog Design is So Important
  • 9 Different Ways to Easily Monetize Your Blog
  • How to Draw Visitors to Your Blog
  • and so much more!

HURRY – Click Here To Grab Your FREE Class Seat Today!

Note: If you were able to get the class deal earlier this week and would like to take advantage of this free offer, please email Tanya and let her know by 11:59pm EST on November 1st.

Need Help Building Your Blog?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own money-making blog? You want to start €“ but you just don€™t know how? Or, maybe you have a blog that would like to take to the next level and start earning an income from it?

Build a Profitable Blog - $5 sale - Blogelina

For four days only, Blogelina is offering a special deal on their popular 4-week blogging class€”Profitable Blogging for Beginners€”Enroll for just $5 (normally $25)!

Use coupon code
to get your special offer!


If you want to learn the basics of how to set up a blog, how to take your blogging to the next level, or how to begin earning money from your blog, this class is for you.

When you sign up for this class, here€™s what you€™ll get:

  • A 60-Page How-To Manual €“ packed with information that will help take the overwhelming out of starting your own blog
  • 4 weekly online class sessions where you can ask your questions and get personalized feedback
  • A FREE Year of Web Hosting
  • Blog Set-Up €“ Blogelina will take care of the techie side of the set-up so you don€™t have to. All you have to do is just have to start blogging!
  • Blueprints, step-by-step tutorials, networking with other bloggers – everything you need to grow your blog!

This class will cover:

  • How to Get Your Blog Started on the Right Foot
  • Questions to ask as you begin blogging
  • How To Actually Set Up A Blog
  • Why Your Blog Design is So Important
  • 9 Different Ways to Easily Monetize Your Blog
  • How to Draw Visitors to Your Blog


4 Week Blogging Class from Blogelina - only $5!

Blogelina has been featured on the Dave Ramsey show, and is well-known for their ability to help bloggers make a successful start. Many of my readers here have gone through this course in the past and have great reviews to share with me.

And for $5?
That€™s a steal!
But this offer is only valid for the next 4 days!

Sign up for the Blogelina Profitable Blogging for Beginners class today!

Use the code
at checkout to get your special offer.

SPECIAL GUARANTEE:  If you€™re not 100% satisfied with your experience with Blogelina, you are free to walk away at any time during the class session! PLUS, you€™ll get to keep your copy of the class manual and your free year of hosting €“ Blogelina will refund your money!

No More Knocking Myself Out!

No More Knocking Myself Out!  Why I'm done trying to be a top blogger | RaisingArrows.net

When I started blogging there wasn’t such a thing as social media.

Yes, I’m a dinosaur in blog years.

I’ve sort of “grown up” with blogging.  I watched things change at the speed of the internet, and I’ve had to adjust how I do things to accommodate the ever-changing online world.  In the process, it sucked the joy right out of it.

When I started blogging, no one had Pinterest-friendly images.  When I started blogging, there was no right time of day to post to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  When I started blogging no one was trying to be better at blogging than the next guy (or gal).  Blogging was just writing, and most people happened upon your blog by accident.  If they stayed, it was because of your content, not because you spoke the loudest or the longest or because you were seen in all the right social media platforms.

I’m not against change.  And I’m definitely not against reaching out to people.  But I am against knocking myself out to do so.

So, I am done with the rat race to be a top blogger.

Social media is a great tool, but I am no longer going to bend over backward so Facebook will see my posts (which means it can’t contain any links or say any words like “blog”, “giveaway”, or “post”.)  I won’t be pinning my posts on Pinterest at the “right time” or begging Google to see my posts as important.  I won’t be stalking all the blogging gurus trying to figure out all the latest tips and tricks to make my blog bigger and better.

I just don’t care any more.

I’m ready to get back to writing for MY audience, not searching for someone else’s.  I’m ready to get back to the heart of blogging – sharing information meant to edify, encourage, endure.  Sharing my heart with my faithful readers and those who happen upon Raising Arrows and stay because they find a home here.

You’ll still see me around social media, but it will be on MY time.  And you can always get Raising Arrows in your inbox and read it on YOUR time.

God has some big things going on in our family, and I am excited to share the journey with you!  I am so thankful He brought me to the understanding that knocking myself out to be a top blogger wasn’t a part of this journey.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

Blogging Topics & Ideas {Welcome Home Wednesday}

Blog Topics & Ideas {Welcome Home Wednesday Homemaking Link Up on Raising Arrows}First of all, I would never try to talk you into writing a blog.  There is a lot of responsibility that comes with blogging, and none of it should be taken lightly.  If you are interested in blogging, or feel the Lord calling you toward it, please read my Christian Mom’s Guide to Blogging!

Christian Mom's Guide to Blogging

Today’s Welcome Home Wednesday is going to give you some ideas for what to blog about and how to make your blogging better.

First and foremost, if you decide to blog, know WHY you are doing it.  What journey has the Lord put you on that NEEDS to be shared with others.

For instance, Brandy from Cast Your Worries started writing to help other Christians combat worry.  She writes from experience.  She writes with heart.  (By the way, her post last week on A New Food Disorder was a very good read!)

When you write, think about who you want to reach.  Reach them in ways that are practical and helpful.

Consider a series like 31 Days of Organizing & Decluttering Your Home from Women with Intention.  This is often a GREAT way to motivate YOURSELF to get certain projects accomplished!

Or try a weekly spotlight on a topic like First Comes Love‘s My Daughter’s Modest Monday (which also happens to be the #1 clicked post from last week) or Yes, They’re All OursMarriage Monday.  This will give your blog consistency.  You know on Monday, you write on this topic, on Tuesday, you write on this topic, and so on and so forth.

Why not try branching out into the vlogging world (my autocorrect wants to make that say FLOGGING, not VLOGGING – some of you might feel they ARE the same thing! ;) )  Stacy at Stacy Makes Cents shared a video last week on how to make kefir.  The really great thing about video is that your audience gets to see you in your home environment, and hear your voice – like Stacy’s super fun Southern drawl – LOVE it!

No matter what types of posts you choose to write, there is one thing I would highly encourage you to do:  Have good photos and graphics.

Even without Pinterest being HUGE in the online world, beautiful photos and graphics can make or break a post.  Readers are visual and want to see what you are talking about, but they don’t want to look at yucky, dark, grainy photos or loud, busy graphics.

Years ago, I used Photoshop for my photos and graphics, but since then, I’ve found PicMonkey!  This online photo editing service is FREE and really easy to use!  However, I know I don’t use it to its full potential, so I was thrilled to see a brand new ebook come out to help you become a pro at creating amazing graphics!

Monkey See, Monkey Do PicMonkey Tutorial ebook!

 Monkey See, Monkey Do {aff link} is only $4.00 right now!
(offer ends 3/19)


Now, it’s your turn! Link up as many as 3 posts from your blog and enjoy the other links left here!  {If reading via email, please click over to see the links and leave yours!}

Welcome Home Wednesdays
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.raisingarrows.net" title="Welcome Home Wednesdays"><img src="http://www.raisingarrows.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Welcome-Home-Button3.jpg" alt="Welcome Home Wednesdays" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

A Look Back at the Posts of 2013

A Look Back at the Posts of 2013 | RaisingArrows.netEvery year I do a look back post, but this year I almost forgot!  This post is particularly helpful to those who may have recently joined Raising Arrows, or those who are busy and might have missed a post here that would be of interest to them.  For me, it is a fun way to remember the year.

The highlight of January was the birth of this little guy:

creed sleeping 2 monsObviously, I took a lot of time off that month, but I did write a post on how we store our snow clothes, and talked candidly about why homeschool moms get burned out.

In February, I announced I was determined to get fit and healthy and lose weight!  I also answered a reader’s question about what to do when your family isn’t happy about a new baby, and another reader’s question on how to heal and handle the fear after losing a baby.  I also introduced you to our yummy Elvis biscuits (had them for Christmas breakfast this year!) and told you how to have a no-stress medieval feast in your homeschool.

In March, I told you how I had lost all my pregnancy weight, gave you tips on breastfeeding, did a whole series on using Technology in your homeschool, and played Chopped! with my family (this is what we did for New Year’s Eve this year!  We even invited another family to join us!).

In April, I shared our Whole Wheat Pancake Mix recipe and Apron Prayers as a way to stay focused on Christ all day.

Apron Prayers | RaisingArrows.net

I told you how I prepare precooked meals for when grandparents are caring for our children, and also dug deep into what actually makes a curriculum biblical.

In May, I gave you 12 Ways to Raise Strong Daughters, and shared with you my thoughts on “Quiet Time”.  I also posted a family favorite recipe – Asparagus Ragoo (ragout).

Homeschooling with a Newborn

In June, I did a series on Homeschooling with a Newborn.  I also shared our favorite cinnamon roll recipe (this recipe is quick and doubles as a roll recipe!), and how we have created a “Special Night” for each of our children.

In July, I whined about hitting a weight loss plateau.  I gave you an awesome homemade granola bar recipe and shared a checklist for teaching home management to your children.  We also started having our children do their own laundry (what a great thing that has been!)  I finally learned to bloom where I had landed, and I shared with you how to build a blog that reaches out.

In August, I shared with you one of the best home management tools I use – my At-A-Glance Schedule.  We started doing “Special School” time to get those extras in that are so important to heart-schooling your children.  I gave you a recipe for family-friendly jumbalaya and talked about how I felt being the lowest pre-pregnancy weight I’ve ever been.

In September, I shared how meal planning has become the backbone of our schedule and also how we change chores in our household (this is still a work in progress, by the way!).

Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole | RaisingArrows.net

I shared a recipe for yummy Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole and I also told you some of the foods I really do not like – I think I shocked a few people!  I ended the month with a post that was very difficult to write, but very necessary – The Selfish Side of Grief.

In October, I experimented a bit to make our caramel corn recipe healthy – and it worked!  I also had a little rant over Date Nights and a big rant over Burned Out Homemakers.  I started doing Google+ Hangouts with other homeschool moms and wrote a post about how other moms handle their toddler and preschoolers during school hours that incorporated one of those Hangouts.  I shared a craft we do every year in the Fall called a Blessing Tree and I did a vlog on being a consistent mother.

60 Pounds Gone + Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks & ResourcesIn November, I had a lot to say!  I rejoiced over 60 pounds being gone and shared some of my favorite Trim Healthy Mama tweaks and resources.  I also talked about what homeschooling looks like when you only have small children, and I shared some great affiliate ideas for bloggers.  I  told you about the Real Me and shared our Mother-Daughter journals.  I gave you Granny’s Homemade Dressing recipe, gave you tips for having a great Large Family Thanksgiving, and offered a free Thanksgiving service for your family.  And as if all that wasn’t enough, I even told you how to homeschool multiple ages with something we call Chain-Link Learning!  Phew!

And finally, in December (which seems light years away now!), I shared some Christmas outfits and ideas, our favorite Hot Punch recipe, and how to survive a large family Christmas.  I put together a home office for myself and I started offering a weekend newsletter to my email subscribers (you can sign up HERE!).  I shared our family’s Candlelight Christmas Eve Service with all of you, and I also told you what it is like to be a grieving mom during the holidays.

And here we are on the very first day of 2014, which happens to be my 6th born child’s 5th birthday!  When the clock struck midnight here, we said Happy New Year and sang Happy Birthday to our little guy who is now a “whole handful.”

micah running

Now, I must be going – I need to make our traditional New Year’s Kuka and Slumgullion Stew (recipe coming, I promise!) and celebrate with my family!  Have a blessed day everyone!