Posted in Poetry Blooms, The Writing Life

National Poetry Month: Week 2 Wrap-Up


I hope you’ve  been able to join me over on Facebook for National Poetry Month. I’ve had fun compiling poems, links, activities, and more for you to enjoy. If you missed out, here is what Week 2 held.

Daily Poetry Plan (1)

Life happened during Monday of Week 2 and I was unable to do a live broadcast. Instead, I posted a link to Maya Angelou’s reading of her famous poem “And Still I Rise.”

Tuesday Daily Plan

For a poetry prompt this week, I shared from the site called NaPoWriMo. I encourage you to check out their site and look around. If you’re in the mood to write, they have some wonderful prompts. This one, I believe, is particularly accessible for all age groups.

Today, I’m going to share a prompt taken from the wonderful site: NaPoWriMo.

This site offers prompts for each day during National Poetry Month. You can scroll through the page and find many, many great prompts.

Here’s the prompt from Day 6.

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view. The most famous poem of this type is probably Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” You don’t need to have thirteen ways of looking at something – just a few will do!”

If you’d like to try this with kids, it would be a fun exercise in point of view–telling about something through various viewpoints and voices. It could be 3 ways of looking at a bag of candy! I’m sure the siblings could imagine the various points of view! Have fun. Experiment. And let me know if you give it a shot.


Wednesday Daily plan

On Wednesday, I shared about something that I love and something even my kids love: Poetry Teatime! What is this, you ask? Well, it’s a simple event where you gather a few poems, find some yummy snacks and drinks, and sit with your children to enjoy poetry. Believe it or not, it is a beautiful and fun time. So after sharing a fun infographic, I shared a few links to some of my favorite Poetry Teatime resources. ENJOY!

Who Loves TEA?!?!

Today I’m showcasing Poetry Teatime is all its awesome glory.

Poetry Teatime is something I came across when I was researching homeschooling. I read endlessly. Hours and hours. Looking back at my notes, there was one thing I had written down more than once: Poetry Teatime.

Poetry Teatime (from the wonderful Julie Bogart and her Brave Writer team) has brought a bit of enchantment to our homeschool. Many families do Poetry Teatime each week; however, we usually manage to do it once a month. The great thing about this bit of magic is that there is no ONE way it has to be done. The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few ways various families have interpreted Poetry Teatime:

For a great basic overview of Poetry Teatime, the lovely Mary from NotBefore7 has a great post called POETRY TEATIME FOR FAMILIES

Teatime with family, teatime with friends, teatime at the library! Check out Dachelle’s post at  Hide The Chocolate 

Bugs and Poetry?? Yes! A wonderfully creative way to share poetry with your children from Angela at Nurtured Roots.

One book you’ll see mentioned in these posts is the Poetry Teatime Companion: A Brave Writer Sampler of British and American Poems. This is a lovely book that pairs perfectly with children and snacks. 

Poetry Teatime Companion: A Brave Writer Sampler of British and American Poems by [Bogart, Julie, Graham, Nancy] (aff)

So if you haven’t yet, grab some snacks, check out a few fun poetry books and invite your children to join you. Trust me, you’ll be surprised!


THURSDAY daily plan

Week 2’s Classic vs Modern had a bit of fun with Sonnets. I paired two very different sonnets for a look at the power of language. Be sure to check out the Free Printable. I hope you enjoy these powerful poems.

Today on Classic vs Modern we’re going to look at Sonnets!

Poets have been writing sonnets for a LONG time. (Read more about sonnets.)

I’ve posted two sonnets for us to read today. One is a famous Shakespearean Sonnet and one is a painfully beautiful modern sonnet written by Marilyn Nelson. At first glance, you may be tempted to say that these sonnets have little in common; however, each poet shares something about the power of language. Two varied experiences. Two different moods. But a common thread about the undying power of words. I hope you enjoy them.

Here’s the printable!

week 3 poem

For little levity, here is a fun (yet educational) sonnet by Billy Collins. 🙂


All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love’s storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.

Hear Collins read his poem.


FRIDAY daily plan

This week’s Free For All showcases one of my favorite inspirations when I was a classroom teacher: Penny Kittle. I LOVE this activity and how accessible it is to ALL ages young and old! Give it a try!



I know it’s National Poetry Month, and hopefully, you feel drawn to write poetry. BUT there is a chance you prefer to enjoy poetry from the sideline. That’s perfectly fine!

However, here is an activity that will get even the most reluctant writer writing. And you don’t even have to write poetry! (but it may occur naturally!).

Penny Kittle is one of my favorite classroom teacher inspirations. She has many wonderful ideas about encouraging students to read and write. One my favorite things is the Writing Notebook that she uses in her classroom.

Check out this fabulous activity about hands. It even features a spoken word video by Sarah Kay.

Well! There you have it! Week 2 of National Poetry Month. Let me know if you have any special resources you’d like to share.  And don’t forget to join me on Facebook.

Copy of weekly

Week 1
weekly (2)

Posted in Poetry Blooms, The Writing Life

National Poetry Month: Week 1 Wrap-Up

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, I’ve decided to share a daily poetry tidbit on Facebook. If you missed the 1st week, here is a wrap-up of everything that happened on Facebook. Join me there to keep up with the daily posts.

Up first, I kicked off the month by reading one of my all time favorite poems: “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne. Click the link to watch the reading.
Daily Poetry Plan (1)

Tuesday Daily Plan

On Tuesday, I put out a prompt that kids and adults can enjoy. Give it a shot and let me now what you wrote!

Look around and take notice of what you see going on in nature. It is probably alive with signs of spring. Make a list of all the life you see, the sounds, the smells, the textures. Now, turn that into a spring-inspired poem. (We can share them at the end of the week)

William Wordsworth did something similar when he wrote: “Written in March.” Look and listen to his observance of spring:

Written In March
by William Wordsworth

The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The plowboy is whooping- anon-anon:
There’s joy in the mountains;
There’s life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

(Prompt inspired by Raising Little Shoots Exploring Nature With Children)

Wednesday Daily plan

On Wednesday, I shared various websites I have found inspiring. Hopefully, you will too!

Where can you find fun and engaging poetry resources for your family and/or homeschool?
Oh! There are so many!

You can, of course, search the endless depths of Pinterest and find oodles of inspiration. But here are a few great resources from legit sites.

1) Write to a poet! hosts this wonderful event where students listen to poets read their work, then respond to the poems via letter. Described as “a multimedia education project that invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors,” the Dear Poet Project is a neat way for young writers to engage with living poets. Read more about it here OR check out the Lesson Plans available.

While there, be sure to check out the awesome collection of resources for teachers (especially the classroom calendar which has links for poet birthdays and more!).

2) Poetry 180
“Poetry 180 is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. ” YES!!! Poetry was made for the ears, so pop on over to this site (which was initiated by Billy Collins, Former Poet Laureate of the United States) and take a listen to some great poems!  They even have a page to help you know how to read poetry out loud.

3) And while you’re listening to great poetry, why not adopt this as a family habit? Check out the wonderful Poetry Teatime. Begun by Julie Bogart and her team at Brave Writer, this site encourages and showcases a language rich environment for homeschooling families. BUT you don’t have to homeschool to adopt this bit of magic. We have been doing teatimes for a while and my kids LOVE it and have lost all fear of poetry. Sometimes we read silly poems; sometimes we read serious poems; sometimes we even write poems. Wonder what it looks like? Scroll through the lovely hashtag #poetryteatime on IG and be inspired!

And should you decide to have your own poetry tea time, here is a wonderful book of tried and true poems that your family will love: The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury (aff link).

Well, I could just keep going and keep going! I hope you enjoy these links!

THURSDAY daily plan

On Thursday, I shared two poems: one classic and one modern.

The hope is that these two poems will generate some discussion about similarities and differences–whether that be in theme, style, content, or some other poetic quality. I hope you enjoy reading them as much I as enjoyed putting them together!

Wordsworth & Berry

Enjoy these two poems.
A classic Wordsworth poem and one written not so long ago by Wendell Berry.

Want to take it deeper? Discuss the speakers’ thoughts on man and nature. How are those views similar? How are they different? What frustrates each speaker? Does either speaker have a solution to his individual problem?

Download a copy!

FRIDAY daily plan

This week, I decided to share a few poetry reading tips. 

While you’re reading poetry this month, why not improve your Poetry Reading Skills?

Believe it or not, how you approach and read a poem can sometimes drastically change your understanding. Here are a few tips to help you this month.


weekly (2)

Keep up with me on Facebook! Hope to see you there!

Posted in The Writing Life

April = National Poetry Month

“Poetry has been for centuries our great social media. You are its great theme.”
— Jeff Shotts



April is National Poetry Month!

Poetry Month redo (1)
Join me here and on FACEBOOK as I share a delicious morsel of poetry or poetry-related items every day during the month of April.

Each week, I’ll round up our FB posts and publish them here.

I’d love to have you join me!


Posted in The Writing Life


For my Valentine.


Posted in The Writing Life

Forgiveness (3)

I’ve had this topic on my mind lately.

wHere Life Is Real


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Posted in Brown Paper Packages

Brown Paper Packages #5


Gearing up for the New Year?

I love to sit down and contemplate the past year and plan for the new one. I usually dream up things I’d like to do and write down my hopes and plans for the new year.

Here are a few cool things I’ve run across that will make 2017 an interesting, artistic, and engaging year.

  1. Memory keeping. This is something I want to do more and do better. Check out this awesome app:  1 second every day . Digitally record a bit of life every day and easily compile your recordings into videos. I’m also considering this as a mini-project for my kids. Check out creator Cesar Kuriyama’s intriguing TED talk.
  2. Need reading motivation? Want to do something different to crank up your reading life? I found the mega-list of Reading Challenges. There is something for everyone here.
  3. Still don’t know what to read or put on your challenge list? Check out this Literature Map to help you find authors you may enjoy. Or just have fun exploring their parent site to discover movies, technology, and music. It’s pretty awesome.
  4. Feed your creative side and take part in a 31 Day Drawing Challenge through Creative Bug. I’m planning on doing the one I’ve linked here.
  5. If you’re a poet or want to try your hand at writing poetry, try a Poetry Writing Challenge. This one is several years old, but it is still full of engaging prompts. Although designed for the month of April (National Poetry Month), these prompts can be done any time of year, so pull this up and have fun.
  6. And of course, if you want to follow in the footsteps of the NaNoWriMo movement, here is the official NaPoWriMo site — National Poetry Writing Month. In April, they will post daily prompts and inspiration.
  7. And if you’re looking to keep track of all of these plans, check out this overly simple calendar from MochiThings. Large Scheduler Kit  Feel free to send me a gift card to this site. #JapaneseCutenessOverload

-These things make me excited for the new year.-

What are you planning for 2017?





Posted in The Home Life

Homeschool Manifesto

Mission Statement. It’s imperative.

Or so I’ve been told by almost every major homeschool blogger I’ve ever come across. But I’ve always found it difficult to put this Vision, this Mission, into words.

I mean, I homeschool. That’s it. ‘Nuff Said.

However, if you keep skimming those homeschool blogs and keep reading homeschool material, you’ll learn that there are many, many approaches to homeschooling.

So what sets our homeschool apart from every other homeschool?

This weekend, I finished reading The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson. It’s a simple, short book but one that is full of encouragement for the Christian homeschool family. The book covers many topics, and I found each chapter encouraging and honest. Once I set the book down, I found myself inspired to put together my vision for homeschooling. My plan. My Manifesto.


a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer



Do you have a Homeschool Manifesto? If so, please put a link to your blog or facebook page in the comments below. I’d love to read it!

My friend Ana at They Call Me Blessed wrote about and Periscoped her journey through this little book. Be sure to check it out.

Posted in The Messy Life

The Secret of Being Content

This is our second year homeschooling, and one thing we incorporate into our daily routine is Scripture memorization. The 2nd set of memory verses we studied this year was Phil. 4:12-13, and it hit me hard.


I started thinking about all of this . . . a lot.

I grew up hearing the “I can do all things” verse over and over.

I even had a basketball t-shirt with it–meaning I can play basketball through Him who gives me strength.

And it sort of turned into (and had been presented as) the verse that encourages us to DO STUFF. Hard stuff.
Major Game?   *I can do all things*
Difficult Friend?   *I can do all things*
Big Test?   *I can do all things*
You get the picture.

But then: this memory verse. Not just verse 13 but verse 12.

I was enchanted by “the secret of being content.” Paul had learned the secret of being content in all situations.

Why “The secret”?
Because not everyone is content.
Because we struggle at being content.

Yet Paul writes that he has learned this secret.
How can we be content? How can we learn this secret?


Contentment is vs. 13. It is NOT the “do hard things” theme verse.
It is the “secret of being content” theme verse.

I can be content in good times, and I can be content in bad times.

Jesus gives me strength to do that.

I had never seen these verses together before (although I’ve read right over them numerous times), but placed side by side the full depth of meaning hit me, and I just wanted to share it with you.

This video helped my family memorize Phil. 4:12-13:

(The Secret Worship Video)

And this site, Bible Story Printables, helped as well.

Posted in The Messy Life

Revisiting Gratitude

A few years ago, I wrote a post about Gratitude. Every fall, when Thanksgiving decorations hit the shelves (for all of 1 week before Halloween takes over), I find myself needing this reminder.

Be Thankful.

“A grateful heart will be revealed and expressed by thankful words, while an unthankful heart will manifest itself in murmuring and complaining.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss Choosing Gratitude

A few weeks ago, my dear husband, whose willingness to say hard things made me like him all the more when we were dating, took it upon himself to tell me that I was complaining. A lot. Needless to say, I didn’t particularly like being told this and promptly decided that his willing to say hard things was a great fault that I no longer liked.

But the sad fact is that he was right. (Someone check on him, ’cause he may have just had heart failure upon hearing those words). Lots of things happened to us last year. Most of which I did NOT like and did not want to happen. And I became quite sick of those things happening. And I became quite vocal about it. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. Sometimes it’s hard to turn your face to the sunshine when the big, ugly storm clouds are looming on the horizon.

Just like most things in life, you have to practice facing the sunshine. You have to practice looking for the good. You have to practice GRATITUDE.

I decided that in order to do that I needed to have something to focus on daily. I’m a busy mom who is usually overly practical, so I decided to keep it simple. I found a frame, one I wasn’t using, wrote the words “Today I’m Thankful For” on a piece of paper, put it in the frame that already had a mat, grabbed a dry erase marker, and called it good.

Isn’t it lovely?

Now, I have big plans for this little frame. I’d like to paint it and actually print a pretty little version of the center phrase. But enough with perfectionism! This is it!

Every morning, I walk down the hall and see it sitting on the little sideboard next to my kitchen. I grab my dry erase marker and write down whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t’ have to be big, virtuous things like “I’m thankful for my health, my family, my life that was given to me by God”. It can be simple. Like “I’m thankful for toasters and house-shoes.”

simple things

One of the books I read a few years ago was Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It was good, challenging, and inspiring. At the end of the book, she has a 30 day Devotional Guide. There’s some good stuff there. At one point she defines gratitude as “learning to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we have received from God and from others.” Fancy, eh? Basically, she tells us that when we “express appreciation” we are being  purposeful and intentional to thank God and others. Thinking of those things as “benefits” takes out any feeling of entitlement that may be lurking in the dark corners of our hearts.

She then provides the reader with a Gratitude Check (which one applies to you?):

__ I look at the world through grateful eyes and consistently express my gratitude to God and others.

__ I know I’ve been greatly blessed, but I don’t often stop to actually express my gratitude to God and others.

__ To be honest, I had not thought a lot about gratitude […]. I’ve got a long way to go to develop a lifestyle of gratitude.

__ I’m a whiner! I tend to focus on my problems and I frequently express them to others.

So, how did you fare? I’m keeping my score a secret, but I’m hoping that as the year progresses my score will move up!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Scroll down to leave a comment.