Plymouth Plantation + $500 Christmas Giveaway!

November 15th, 2021

plymouth-plantation

How would you like to walk through a reproduction of the original Plymouth Plantation, as if you were one of the Pilgrims landing in America for the first time? Today we will give you a virtual tour! A few months ago, my family was able to visit extended family on the east coast, and one of our field trips was Plymouth Plantation in Massachussetts. I was pleasantly surprised at how extensive the property is. You can see the ocean from the village, and each house had furniture from the 1620’s.

Plymouth Plantation Tour

At the beginning of the tour, we saw a Wampanoag longhouse. From the outside it looks small, but inside it’s very large. First the Native Americans built the structure with bent sticks. Then they filled it in with bark and other materials. They had openings in the ceiling, where smoke could escape.

wampanoag-longhouse

As you can see from the video, the inside of the Wampanoag longhouse had ribs, and the walls were lined with blankets and furs to keep everyone warm. The fire would have been kindled in the middle of the room for warmth as well as for cooking.

wampanoag-longhouse

The Pilgrim village had people that were dressed in period costumes as well as tour guides that gave demontrations. I filmed snippets of several of these actors and tour guides. A couple of women were singing an old melodic hymn, a Pilgrim man in one of the cabins was talking about what life was like back in the 1620’s, and a tour guide gave me a demonstration of cooking in that era. It was all very interesting.

plymouth-plantation-village

I enjoyed seeing the furniture in each of the houses. The beds each had curtains around them to keep in the warmth and to have privacy from the rest of the cabin. Each house had a chimney with a place to cook over a fire for the kitchen area. A small table and chairs rounded out the furniture in each house. The Pilgrims were simple folk.

plymouth-inside-cottage

At the head of the street was a fort, where cannons were kept as well as places to look out above the village, to see if danger was coming. This fort had a place downstairs that looked like it would have been used for school or church, since the entire village could have fit in it.

plymouth-plantation-fort

I also loved the animals and gardens surrounding each Pilgrim house. It really felt like we went back in time!

plymouth-village

For more hands-on activities for this time period, take a look at our Pilgrims Unit Study, on sale right now for only $5!


The Christmas Blessings Giveaway is in its 8th year, and we are excited to once again bless not one family, but two, with some cash for the holiday season! I’m teaming up with an amazing group of bloggers with the hope of making this Christmas the best yet for TWO families by giving away $500 in Paypal cash to each family!

While we wish we could bless many more families, we were able to come up with a big prize for TWO families – $500 each (delivered via Paypal) – that we pray will make a big difference in their lives this Christmas season – whether it’s to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to help build some savings, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need.

There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning!  I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is!  Plus, all of these amazing bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes, so this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them.  I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows, maybe you will find some new blogs to follow.

The giveaway will run from Monday, November 15th through Wednesday, November 24th (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers.  Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mayflower Tour

September 23rd, 2021

mayflower-tour

Last month my family flew to the east coast for a family reunion with my husband’s family, and one of our favorite activities was touring the Mayflower! The ship is a replica of the original ship, which went back to England and eventually deteriorated.

Mayflower Tour

Here is our tour of the ship:

My husband’s sister lives in Massachussetts, which is the area where the Pilgrims landed in the New World back in 1620. We hadn’t seen this side of our family in six years, so my kids were excited to see how much their cousins had grown. We had a wonderful time re-connecting.

plymouth-rock-sign

Plymouth Rock is still there, even though it has been chipped away by tourists for years, making it better called Plymouth Pebble. It’s a bit anti-climactic for present-day tourists, who look down on it from the cage or jail cell where it now resides near the beach where the Mayflower ship replica is harbored.

plymouth-rock

When we climbed aboard the Mayflower, we stepped back in time. The ship is actually quite small! Above deck, we walked around the ship, which is not very much exercise, since the entire ship from front to back is only about a dozen steps in total.

on-deck-mayflower

Below deck, it was easy to envision the cramped conditions of the 102 men, women, and children who were living down here for 66 days–over two months! I felt sorry for them, since their conditions didn’t improve that much when they arrived in the New World, only to die of starvation.

inside-mayflower

No wonder Thanksgiving Day really affects our hearts, to know that the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims to survive in this unknown land. We give thanks every year for all the many blessings we take for granted, which the Pilgrims had to mostly do without.

This was a really fun educational field trip for American history that I’d always wanted to do with my kids. It was worth doing, and I’m glad we got to do it with our extended family.

If you want more hands-on activities for this time period, check out our Pilgrims Unit Study!

Back to Homeschool Tips

August 21st, 2021

back-to-homeschool-tips

My aim today is to get you revved up about starting a new homeschool year, so I will be sharing with you some back to homeschool tips.

One of my top tips to get kids excited about the upcoming homeschool year is to spread out all the hands-on, fun activities you will be doing over the school year on a table or on the floor. Whenever I did this, which was every year near the end of the summer in anticipation for the new school year, my kids would get so excited about what we were about to study. For example, I would collect all kinds of things pertaining to a specific period in history. If it was medieval times, I would have lots of medieval stuff.

In literature, we might be studying Around the World in 80 Days, so I would have some items from different countries from around the world that we would be studying. This way my kids would be excited about world travel, and they couldn’t wait to start the school year.

The same was true for the science concepts we would be studying. One year we studied botany, and we had so many plant-related items! We even got some carnivorous Venus flytraps and other cool plants in a new terrarium, just to spark interest in plants.

Here is a super short video, explaining my favorite back to homeschool tip:

If you want examples of this, watch me spread out lots of hands-on goodies for different time periods:

Another idea for back to school is to make a fun pencil cake:

Make sure you have all your essential homeschool items. Here is a list of all the items that I love to have on hand for homeschooling:

And if you are stressed out about homeschooling, take a look at some ways you can de-compress while having a successful homeschool year:

Have a great new homeschool year!

Homemaking for Teens

May 27th, 2021

homemaking-for-teens

Are you looking to teach your homeschooled kids how to run a home? Today I’m going to show you some of the homemaking materials that we used in our homeschool.

My daughter has been learning more advanced homemaking skills for the past year, as she is more involved in the management of the home. One of the electives for high school is home economics, which includes cooking, baking, sewing, cleaning, and taking care of children. When I was gone for several weeks last month, my daughter managed the home perfectly, cooking meals from scratch, keeping up with the laundry, and tidying up the house. I was impressed.

My three sons also learned the basic skills of cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry before going to college, so that they would not squander their money by eating out every meal. They learned a lot of these skills through Cub Scouts when they were younger, including basic sewing skills. So home economics is good for anyone to learn.

We also did Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance: High School Edition for Homeschool. This personal finance course is a one semester high school course that has DVD’s and a workbook, where you learn all the basic financial skills to manage money well, including staying out of debt and budgeting. It goes really well with a homemaking course, since it includes skills needed to run a home.

stuffed-bell-peppers

One of the homemaking materials we loved was The Homemaker’s Journal: Practical Instruction for the Keeper at Home. It’s an online PDF, which we printed and had spiral bound. It’s a simple e-book that has information on how to maintain a home. It’s not curriculum, though. But if it was the only book you had, along with teaching the practical skills beside you, that would be enough for a home economics course. Not everything has to have written tests. PE doesn’t, for example. Most practical skills are learned best through hands-on learning.

However, there is something charming about a proper curriculum for home economics that has vocabulary, instruction, and quizzes and tests on the information. I found that in the Home Economics high school elective from Christian Light Education. There are 10 workbooks that teach all the skills for maintaining a home. We did not do all the workbooks, but instead, we did whatever we wanted. We spent 2-3 hours a day on homemaking this year, and we used a lot of materials, not just this set. So we flipped through the workbooks and did whichever ones we needed. For example, we did not do the health workbook because I had already done a full year of high school health from Apologia several years ago.

We loved the Introduction to the Kitchen workbook from this set. I flip through some of the pages in this video, so that you can see why we liked it:

There are many black and white sketches and illustrations to show hazards in the kitchen, for example. When my daughter tried to pick out the hazards, we were both laughing hysterically because some of the things, she would never have done instinctively, but other things, she was learning for the first time. We had many conversations we would not have had if we had never gone through these homemaking materials.

We also used another e-book called The Kitchen Primer: A First Textbook on Cooking & Keeping a Proper Kitchen by Martha Greene. We liked it a lot, but it is much more expensive than The Homemaker’s Journal, and most of it is recipes. So in the video, I show this, and I explain how you can use a basic Betty Crocker Cookbook as a textbook for cooking and baking.

We also went through a mother-daughter devotional called Beyond Beautiful Girlhood Plus Companion Guide, where we answered the questions aloud instead of writing it down. It took us a full year to get through the book, even though it only has 7 chapters. We did a little bit most mornings before doing anything else. I loved how the questions were often a springboard for deep conversations with my daughter that deepened our mother-daughter bond. And it had to do with homemaking.

I don’t know if I mentioned the fact that we didn’t write in any of the books or workbooks, but that we went through them together. I love the fact that my daughter now knows how to run a home way more effectively than I ever did at her age! My husband snapped a picture of my daughter’s stuffed bell peppers she made from scratch while I was gone on a two-week road trip. I was delighted to come home to a clean house with laundry all caught up and put away. Home economics is definitely worth teaching your teens!