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 Brown Paper Packages, The Mother Life

Brown Paper Packages #4 (The Indulgent Issue)

gummyYes. #1 is Trolli’s Sour Gummy Worms (a.k.a. Sour Brite Crawlers).

Do NOT buy these. I repeat: Do NOT buy these. You will eat the whole package and then feel massive regret. Regret that you didn’t buy the bigger size. They are why I now avoid the candy aisle. I mean, is there anything more awful for you? Sugar, sugar, and a whole crayola box of food coloring.  Gah, I’m salivating just thinking about it!


2. Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.

I am on a roll when it comes to things you probably shouldn’t consume. This show is one of them. But I will have to say that I binged watched this many Friday nights–often with a bag of the previously mentioned badness ;). It is NOT for the faint of heart and is excessively and increasingly violent. I will say I have enjoyed the comic book cinematography that the series employs, the extensive backstories for the heroes and the villains, but let’s face it: it’s the movie equivalent of those gummy worms.  Image result for marvel's daredevil on netflix


Although I should try to redeem this post with something less indulgent, I’ve decided to forgo the effort. I mean, can you really redeem gummy worms and violent “super hero” episodes on Netflix? So, lastly, I offer you:

3. Park and Eat.

No, I’m not talking about the little diner just down the road that sports the same name. I’m talking about shamelessly picking up your favorite fast food while out on a solo shopping run and actually taking the time to eat it. Alone. Unhurried. In a quite location (i.e. the car). Recently I discovered that I was not the only mom who partook of this guilty pleasure. There are other moms sitting in parking lots eating Chik-Fil-A, and they are loving it! Why not go in and sit down, you may ask? Well. We want quiet. We want peace. We want to listen to whatever radio station we want to listen to and not be interrupted. We want to drink every single last drop of our Coke and not share any of it. And yes, we want to order the dessert that you never have room for and eat it anyway because . . . well . . . because we can!

What are some of your Favorite Things?

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Posted in Brown Paper Packages

Brown Paper Packages (#3)

Brown Paper

Here are few things I’m enjoying at the moment.


1) My sweet, dear son has decided that he wants to read War and Peace. For over a year, he has begged me to get him a copy of the novel so he could read it. He has had a penchant for hefty literary volumes, so after I’d heard enough begging, I decided to dig out my paperback copy and give it to him.

By the way, he’s eleven.

At the moment, he’s somewhere around chapter 5. Why would a boy want to read War and Peace, you may ask? I’ll let him speak in his own words:

“Mom, don’t you think that if an eleven year old boy reads War and Peace, it gives him braggin’ rights?”

Yes, son. It surely does. It surely does. So READ ON!!!


2) Yes. You are seeing that correctly. There is a picture of Little Debbie right here. And let me tell you this little box of Star Crunch goodness is DANG-ER-OUS! But it’s fun and delicious and crunchy danger. If you’ve never had these, you need to get your sweet tooth geared up and grab a box. My mom used to buy these on occasion when I was growing up and pop them in the freezer. I think it was an attempt to keep us from eating them; instead, it just made me enjoy them in their rock hard state. I try to avoid most junk food, but a few days ago the store had three boxes of Little Debbie’s for $5. Who can pass that up??



3) Last but not least, I have been enjoying Simply Charlotte Mason. If you are a homeschooling mom, you probably know about this site. But you may not. I was blessed enough to find this site early on in my homeschool adventure. It has been a source of encouragement, inspiration, and all-around help. Plus, who doesn’t LOVE their resources (especially the artist studies!). As I’m planning our next school year, I find myself drawn back to this site for it’s suggested schedules and reading lists. If you’re a homeschooling family, do check it out. If you aren’t, please take a look and learn about Charlotte Mason–you may find yourself inspired.

What are you enjoying these days?



Posted in Brown Paper Packages

Brown Paper Packages (#2)

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Here are a few items I’ve been enjoying lately:

  1. A Charlotte Mason Education

If you are new to Charlotte Mason and her style of learning, then this short introduction to the many facets of a CM education is for you. With brief descriptions of everything from Narration to Science and Geography, Catherine Levison covers it all. It is a nice, concise overview of CM style and a wonderful resource for anyone wanting the skinny on CM.







2. Wild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot


I have loved reading this book. A seemingly never-ending adventure that includes bandits, hunger, loneliness, hardship, and victory, this true story by Sarah Marquis is an engaging page-turner. Marquis tells the story with honesty and no sensationalism. Her introduction pulled me in as she shared her dedication.

“I dedicate it to all of the women throughout the world who still fight for their freedom and to those who have gained it, but don’t use it.”

Whew. Challenge accepted!



3. Magazines!

From our many travels, we had racked up several airlines miles, but with no future travel in sight, they were soon to expire. Mags for Miles to the rescue! By cashing in my miles, I subscribed to seven, count ’em, 7 magazines. Cooking Light, Southern Living, and more. 🙂 I was quite pleased. Although I’d love a subscription to Garden & Gun or Oxford American, I wasn’t given those options. So I picked from the list they offered. It has been nice to have a variety of magazines handy when I just want to sit down and take a brain break. Got expiring miles? This might be worth checking out.


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Posted in Brown Paper Packages

Brown Paper Packages: Favorite Things

I am thoroughly enjoying a few things right now, so I thought I’d share them with you. These four things are currently encouraging me, stretching me, or feeding me in some way.

Maybe you’ll enjoy them, too.Brown Paper



  1. BrainPickings by Maria Popova

Maria Popova

In my dream life, I have Maria’s job. I love everything about this site. This site makes me want to research and write a literary analysis essay for the heck of it. Follow her on Twitter for something fresh about creative life and history.

As Maria states, “The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, insight, information, inspiration, and all the fragments populating our minds — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.”

Check it out, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. (oh, make sure you don’t miss the “ALSO” section in the side bar for some fun finds).

2. Periscope and my friends from HomeschoolScopes.TV

I started homeschooling in August 2015, and we are quickly approaching the end of our first year. I can’t believe it. It has gone so fast, but it has been so good. (Read about why we homeschool). Toward the end of our first semester, I found Julie Bogart of BraveWriter on Periscope. Her scopes were so inspiring and encouraging, and through those scopes, I ran into another group of amazing women: the women of Homeschool I have never found a more supportive, uplifting, and encouraging group of women. I get the feeling that if these women lived nearby, I could call them in a time of need, and they would almost all come over to help. The kind Melanie Wilson is the founder of the group; however, it is full of homeschool moms sharing their experiences and encouraging one another. If you are a homeschooling mom, do check them out. You’ll be glad you did.

3. My friend Lynna Southerland of Homeschooling Without Training Wheels.

Lynna has been doing brief “Mama Moments” on her Facebook page. For just a few minutes, Lynna hits on some huge topics relevant to us moms. She’s a sweet-spirited, relatable mom of seven. Check it out; you’ll find encouraging moments like this one (if the video doesn’t show, just follow the link):


4. Listening to audio-books with my children.

We are currently listening to The Cay by Theodore Taylor and narrated by Michael Boatman. Boatman does an amazing job telling this story. Lively and authentic, his reading has captured our attention and our imagination. It is a story that has us listening intently.  We usually listen to audio-books in the car, and just today, my son asked if we could go for a drive because he wants to know what is happening in the story. Great characters and strong stories never really disappear from our minds, do they?

So there you have it. The first issue of Brown Paper Packages. Four things I’m enjoying right now. If you check them out, let me know what you think.