Category Archives: Homeschooling

Stuff ‘n More Stuff

Weeeeell, its been so long since I posted that I think I’ll just share a little bit of everything! Okay, maybe just the top runners that are swimming in my head. 🙂

Chickens!! I’m pretty sure that building the chicken coop has been the longest project ever. I and definitely not handy, and while my husband is, it just kept having to take a back seat. BUT, its almost finished! We just need to secure some hardware cloth around the run and the gate to keep dogs and such out, and then I am making the appointment to go pick up 2 hens from a chicken farm in Terrell! Did someone say homeschool field trip? Yup. You better believe it. I plan to ask this wonderful woman lots of questions and have her show the boys some things, also. Here are the updated pics of the coop!

I’m currently toying with names for the hens that we’ll get. They’re not going to be for meat, so naming should be safe. Maybe Lucy and Ethel? Henny and Penny? ….

30 Day Shred. Yep. Jillian Michaels’ workout, and it kicks butt. I finally have some accountability to follow through with it, and I’m on day 11 out of 30!! Its a 20 minute circuit training routine, and after 10 days you bump it up to the next level. I just started level 2 today and I was all over the place! I haven’t noticed weight loss, but I have noticed some toning going on. I’d love to see a little weight loss, though, as I’ve kept about 10 pounds after each of the 3 kiddos. So that’s 30 pounds that I’d love to see gone. I’m trying to watch my caloric intake, as well, but since I’m nursing I need to be careful not to affect the milk supply. The Lord knows this almost 6 monther loves to nurse! I love that the workout is only 20 minutes because its just enough time for me to do it without the boys hurting each other. Or burning the house down.

Which brings me to food! Since I’m watching calories, I’m trying to be more diligent with my meals being wholesome. I was doing that slowly before, but the workout gives me even more incentive. One of my new faves…

Quinoa and Black Beans!

Its a very quick meal with lots of flavor and nutrients, and makes great leftovers! You should make it! Costco sells the big bags of quinoa.

On the menu for this week is chicken tacos (I wonder if this will get hard to eat once I get my hens…), Veggie black bean gumbo (minus the okra as hubby is a Yankee and thinks its “mushy”), carrot BBQ chicken sammies, and  breakfast burritos (eggs and lunchmeat in a tortilla) which are super easy and the kids love!

I’ve also started my veggie seeds this week. Hoping to tackle some square gardening this spring and have enough to practice canning later on!

Lastly, school. Ethan just finished the 1st grade Handwriting Without Tears workbook so it was finally time for me to ‘Charlotte Mason-ize’ his copywork. We are starting with Psalm 23 and he’s doing great. He does a page or so of copying (depending on the sloppiness) and then we read it together from the beginning. It such a great way to help him with scripture memory!

Math has been an ongoing adventure. We were using Miquon math, but it got way advanced to Ethan very quickly, so I moseyed over to Mardel’s and looked through their books until I decided on a BJU (Bob Jones) workbook that I liked. This is our third time switching it up but we gotta do whatever works! Its fairly easy for him right now, but I want to still keep it fun for him, so I’m cool with that.

Now that spring is approaching (and Jovie is not a newborn), I plan to hit the nature notebook a little more often. This covers our science stuff for now except for the occasional experiment that he wants to do.

That’s pretty much it for the academics. As for other things we’re doing, we are doing Bible study in the mornings, reading through “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, some Arnold Lobel library books, some poems from “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, and when time permits, some poems and short stories from “Everyday Graces” which is great for learning manners.

Life is good here in the Reindl household. 🙂



The Field

One of the reasons I love my neighborhood is the jewel tucked away behind the street up from mine. If you go behind their alley, you run into the backside of the Rowlett Creek Preserve Bike Trails! There’s a wonderful field there that is great for nature walks (our science curriculum) and for other things like shooting off rockets with Dad!

Sure wish I could build a house right in the middle of this place! God certainly had me in mind when He placed us here.  🙂

There’s even a couple of pecan trees and some edible berries growing through there! And, when there’s not a lot of fast mountain bikers shooting through, we can even venture down to the trails by the creek!

I’m definitely a land lover, and dream of a big yard, but this right here makes up for it! Its a boy’s paradise!

Gardening Time Already!

So, after Christmas I decided to check out my gardening chart (best thing ever!) and apparently its time to start getting the garden ready for veggies! Ah! So, we headed outside today to do some tillin’. Nothing better than hands on learning to count for science! We saw earthworms and these funny looking beige millipede worms with pinchers on their butts. Not sure if they were millipedes or not…

It’s nice to have boys who don’t mind getting in the dirt! Ethan said, “I can till it Mom! I like working in the garden. I wanna be a gardener one day.” Caleb was just happy I let him get dirty.

And we had a supervisor~

Until she found the prickly stuff nearby.

The plan is to add a few more bags of organic soil from the nearby feed store, and then I want to put some twine out to mark some squares so I can try my hand at square gardening. I hear you can produce a lot more!

Since I want to also to focus on canning this year, I only plan to plant:

carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and maybe one fruit for my large planter on the patio

Update on the coop: It still looks the same as last time. I still want to get the chickens in the spring, but there are some decisions up in the air about timing on looking for a new house and such, and since this is a rental property, I’d hate to get the chickens and make a mess of part of the yard, only to start looking for a new place at the end of the year. BUT, we aren’t sure about anything yet, so I’ll keep you posted!

And for the grandparents that read this, Jovie’s new favorite thing is to grab her right foot. lol

Also, I have found it easier not to plan all my kitchen time on Tuesdays, so I’ll keep posting what I do in the kitchen, but it won’t just be on Tuesdays.  Ha! I may just change that link to Kitchen Happenings.

Life Goes On

Remember that show?

I used to love that theme song…

I haven’t blogged in a while because, well, life goes on, lol.  Especially with the holidays here! I’ve been busy planning gifts, changing diapers, playing with my kids, homeschooling, drinking coffee, breaking up 5 and 3 year old arguments over who’s toy belongs to whom, *cough*browsing pinterest*cough*, more drinking coffee, cooking, you get the picture.

But, its important to me to keep the blog going, and I enjoy it. So here I type! Here’s the lowdown on the Reindl household….

I found a lovely quiche recipe that I had forgotten I had, that was given to me by the owner of a cute little bed and breakfast place near Glen Rose, TX. I cooked it and it was wonderful. So, here’s the recipe!!:

Broccoli Quiche

1 to 1 ½ cup broccoli (if frozen, cooked, drained and chopped coarsely), 2 eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, 1 c whole milk, 1 c heavy cream, ½ t salt, ½ t ground white pepper, pinch freshly grated nutmeg, 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

 Pie Crust

4 c flour, 1 ¾ c shortening ( I used butter), 1 T sugar, 2 t salt, ½ c water,                1 T vinegar, 1 egg

Mix first 4 ingredients in food processor. In small bowl mix water, vinegar and egg.  Pour over flour and pulse just to combine. Mold into balls. Chill at least 15 minutes before using. Use large amounts of flour when rolling. Makes 4 crusts.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Partially bake the pie shell until light golden brown. Remove the pie shell from the oven but do not turn off the oven. Meanwhile, whisk all remaining ingredients except the cheese in medium bowl.

Spread the cheese and broccoli evenly over the bottom of the warm pie shell and set the shell on the oven rack. Pour the custard mixture into the pie shell (it should come to about ½ inch below the rim of the crust). Bake until light golden brown, a knife blade inserted about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, and the center feels set but soft like gelatin, 32 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

I am not an egg person, folks, but this is super yummy, so TRY IT!                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     We are still plugging along with homeschooling, of course. Ethan is learning subtraction and doing quite well with it. I really like how Miquon teaches the concepts in many different ways to make sure they’re getting it. His pages look something like this…

5+___ =8

8-___ =5

3=8- ___

They’ll throw in different shapes around the missing answer to make it a little more challenging, and then ask for the student to think of his own problems, too. And he gets to use his Cuisenaire rods to help him figure it out.

We’re reading “On the Banks of Plum Creek” from the Little House series and are loving it. Who doesn’t love those books?!                                                                            We just finished a “One Wintry Night” by Ruth Graham that briefly tells the stories of the Bible all the way to the first Christmas. It’s a great read but I’m not sure why they make the angel that guards the way back to the Garden of Eden look like a Native American woman. (Please know that I have nothing against Native Americans. It was just strange in the story to see her there guarding the garden complete with feathers hanging from her hair and such.) In fact women angels in general throw me off…I’ve never seen one referenced in the Bible at all. Correct me if I’m wrong…

Ethan’s a little over halfway through with the 1st grade Handwriting Without Tears book, also. He’s been promised an ice cream trip when he’s done.

I’ve been a slacker with nature walks since its getting a little more chilly outside but there’s a lovely little patch of land about 2 acres big that’s within walking distance from the house with wild berries growing, pecan trees, evergreens, etc. that I love taking the kids to explore. One day I’ll post a pic. If I could build a house there  I totally would! It’s that cool.                                                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated! Everything about it says “Little kiddos decorated me!”….and I’m ok with that. I love the little hands that helped make it. One day I know I’ll miss too many ornaments in one spot and multicolored lights.


And my latest project has been researching about small homes and creative ways to decorate them. Check out some of these lovely shots!…                                         *sigh* I pretty much love her whole house. Give me a cozy vintage house with charm and character any day…. :o)

I’m too lazy to go and link all the pics. Sorry…                                                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jovie is now 3 1/2 months old and learning how to giggle. It melts me. And she is such a Daddy’s girl! She loves to listen to him talk! This melts me, too. Everything about that squishy little cookie face melts me.                                      (Cookie Face has become her new nickname from Daddy.)

A Day in the Life

My friend Randa, over at, asked if I wanted to participate in her ‘Day in the Life’ segment of her webpage and I finally got around to writing it up! I figured I’d share it here also.

Ages of children: 2 boys, ages 5 and 3

Number of Years Homeschooling: 2 years of homeschooling

Curriculum:  Just this year I’ve started implementing more of a Charlotte Mason style of learning, but I tweak to what fits us, so there’s a little eclectic in there as well. I use Handwriting Without Tears for writing and phonics, Miquon Math, Story of the World for some history, Signing Time for sign language (just started this!), and we also do nature notebooks, picture study, some phonics flash cards and things here and there, and LOTS of outside play time.

My oldest is 5 and ‘technically’ for a Charlotte Mason style of learning, you shouldn’t be doing much sit down work until they’re 6 years old. Ethan surprised me at 3-4 years old wanting to write and asking lots of questions so I started preschool with him then using Heart of Dakota, an excellent Bible-based, all-in-one curriculum. He LOVED it! After we finished that, I had found out and read the Charlotte Mason style of learning but I knew I wanted to keep going with some of his skills instead of stopping and waiting until he was 6, so since then we’ve been doing a very relaxed schedule of schooling.

Our day starts at 7am with breakfast unless my little blessings decide to wake earlier while Mommy is still trying to drink her coffee and figure out what day it is. While they eat I do a quick Bible study with them out of the Bible or another book that emphasizes the stories and scriptures. We have gone through “God’s Wisdom for Little Boys” and also “A Little Boy After God’s Own Heart” by Jim and Elizabeth George and they have been great for helping with scripture memory and character building!

After this, they go do their “BBs”, as I call them- brush their teeth and make their beds. If I am gung-ho and ready at this point then we will sit at the dining table to do some HWT or phonics and Miquon Math. It takes no more than 30 minutes for sit down work. I try to alternate days of handwriting and phonics and do math each time. The schedule I made looks something like this:

Mondays-Bible Story, HWT, Miquon, Nature Walk, outside play

Tuesdays- Scripture Memory, Phonics, Miquon, Read Aloud History, Outside Play

Wednesdays – Bible Story, Signing Time, park/library/field trip day

Thursdays- Scripture Memory, HWT, Miquon, Read Aloud Poem, Outside Play

Fridays- Bible Story, Phonics, Artwork Appreciation, Handicraft Focus, and Outside Play

Please know that I do not follow this schedule to a ‘T’ yet as my kids are still little, I have an 8 week old, and I have ‘issues’ with sticking to schedules and enjoy flying by the seat of my pants. You all can just pray for me with that one.  But it does look cool, doesn’t it?! lol

My youngest boy loves to ‘do school time’ too so I will sit him at the table with us to play with pattern blocks, magnets or other things that he doesn’t get to have full access to throughout the day. Sometimes this works and sometimes he is too distracting for my oldest so I’ll tell him to play on the floor with his beloved trains or something else.

I am definitely still learning the ropes and since my boys are young I put life skills and character building first so things don’t always, or even mostly, go as scheduled but I know that I would much rather foster a love for the Lord, family and learning than to just rigidly force the school work to get done. I have no doubts that my kids will learn what they need to in time. I am also very blessed to have a wonderful support group of moms around me who have been doing this longer than I have that I can go to with any questions.

My Biggest Challenges: doing ‘artsy’ crafts that require cutting and glue (I get frustrated easy with messes), and sticking to schedules!

Homeschooling, Part Dos – Our Charlotte Mason-ish Home

So, I was gonna sit down and type a big 'thing' on the Charlotte Mason
method of homeschooling, which is the direction I currently lean
(with some eclectic thrown in) but its been a busy week and I'm feeling
lazy. So, in a nutshell, here is the gist of the CM method:

"Charlotte Mason was an influential educator in the 19th century who
advocated developing the soul and spirit of a child. Her method is
literature based, with English and other subjects taught in an integrated
way. This approach has become wildly popular with homeschoolers with many
curriculum providers utilizing the Mason Method.  You can check out
Ambleside Online to get a sense of what the Charlotte Mason home schooling
method is all about.
  • Focuses on outdoors and nature.
  • Children learn through reading real books, narration (tell about what they just learned), copywork (copy sections of good literature), and creating Nature Notebooks or lap books (also called notebooking).
  • They study the fine arts and foreign Languages.
  • Use few, if any, textbooks or workbooks.
  • Instead, they read literature related to the topic of study.
  • Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Goal is to instill a love of learning.
This teaching method might work well for you/your student if you:
  • want to create a learning environment that encourages your child to explore and appreciate the world around him,
  • perhaps not rigidly sticking to a schedule,
  • see a value in evaluating your child’s learning on things other than formal written tests,
  • want to offer a well-rounded education, including enjoying art, nature, music and of course lots of books,
  • don’t mind being very involved in the process of your child’s education – discussing books, giving dictation, listening and encouraging narration, and enjoying poetry, art and music together,
  • have a child who doesn’t mind not having lots of boxes to check off.”
I borrowed this from my friend's homeschooling site, over at (Nice writing, Angela!)

And on the topic of links, I just added two new pages of resources
to the blog! I'll keep adding things as I go along.

Although I haven't read The Original Homeschool Series books that
Charlotte Mason wrote, I have read several other books about her
style and methods including 

A Charlotte Mason's Companion by Karen Andreola, 

Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner,

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, 

and Pocketful of Pinecone's by Karen Andreola. This one helped me
envision what a Charlotte Mason homeschooling family looked like
because it's written in story form as diary entries of a mother.

I really appreciate the way in which CM taught the children that
allowed them to explore, create, and ultimately have a love for
learning. When children are young, especially before the age of 6
she encourages A LOT of time outdoors. 

" find out all he can about whatever comes under his notice,
by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for
knowledge got in this way..."

She also emphasized habit formation and it is considered one of the
keys to her methods. Habits of obedience, attention, cleanliness, etc.
are all important in the development of the child.

For my family, I've taken bits and pieces from Ambleside Online and
the Simply Charlotte Mason website to implement. Since Ethan is five,
he's technically not to be doing too much sit down academic work. CM
didn't recommend starting that until the age of six. I did, however,
find a list of subjects on the Simply Charlotte Mason site that a 5
year old could be working on:
  • Habit Training
  • Outdoor Free Play and Exploration
  • Bible Study
  • Nature Walks
  • Read Alouds (from good, quality books)
  • Beginning Reading Lessons
  • Copywork (we use Handwriting Without Tears currently but might switch over to CM’s method after this book)
  • Math (we use Miquon Math)
  • Handicraft (not your typical arts and crafts but actually developing a craft where the end result can be useful)
  • Art
  • Music
  • Poetry
Its not nearly as complicated as it looks! The only actual sit down
things that we do regularly are the Bible study, copywork/phonics,
and math and it only takes us about 30 minutes altogether with a break
between Bible time and the others. The other subjects are spaced out
and more flexibly done. We have outside time everyday, nature walks
about once a week, handicrafts right now are life skills (like chores
and things) and letting Ethan build his inventions, art and music once
a week, and poetry whenever I think of it, lol. For our read alouds, I
have a print out from Ambleside and also one from SCM of quality books
that I can check out from the library or purchase on Amazon. Its been
working out really well for our family! Its such a low pressure way of
teaching and learning that we all can enjoy. And the great part is that
if something doesn't seem to be working, I have the flexibility to change

Oh, the beauty of homeschooling! :)

Homeschooling, Part Uno…

This will probably end up being several posts since I am passionate about this topic and there’s just a lot of stuff that you can say about homeschooling. Some of you know more than I do, so feel free to add your two cents in a comment for those that are curious! :o)

Since this is from my perspective, I’ll start with why we homeschool.  Let me preface by saying that there is not one right way for every family. Ultimately, you have to search your heart and listen to God’s leading for your family.

Hubby and I decided before we had children that this was the direction God was leading us. We feel that we are better able to train and teach our children in the ways of the Lord if they are with us more, than with a teacher and peers for 8 hours a day. And although there are some wonderful public and private schools around, a lot of the quality has been reduced and replaced with what ‘those in-charge’ want our children to learn. It’s amazing what things can be left out of school books nowadays.

“If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans.Voddie Bauchaum

I’m not saying, nor do I believe, that all children that go to school will become heathens (I was a public school child) but we feel that for our family one of the best ways to prevent it and teach the truth is to keep them close and at home. Some people might then ask, “Don’t you trust your children to be witness and a light for Christ?” In a word, no. At least not when they’re young and still impressionable and building the foundation of truth and morality in their own lives.

Homeschooling also gives me the ability to tailor each child’s education to the way that they learn the best, and lets me choose what is in their curriculum. We want our subjects to be Bible-based and homeschooling definitely affords me the room to keep that tied into everything they learn. God is not separate from our education. Our goal is to glorify Him in everything we do.

Another popular question is about socialization. Do I feel that my children are handicapped socially? Absolutely not. They may not run up and talk to strangers but they still run around with kids at the park and are more able and comfortable, I feel, talking with adults and those of different ages more than they probably would be if they were only in a classroom of their own peers for many hours a day. Not to mention the homeschooling group we’re a part of has a play date every Friday that we attend sometimes. (I definitely recommend finding some support in your area if you can!)

Here is a cool article on the topic of socialization ~

Once we were pregnant with out first, I started researching homeschooling (I’m a junkie, remember?). The first thing I did was read about the different categories of homeschooling that most people fall into. There’s a list of some of the different types on this page,

(By the way, I’ve not read the rest of the website so I’m not necessarily advocating what they say.)

When Ethan was 3, he started trying to write words so I decided if he wanted to learn then we needed to do it the right way. Since it was my first time, I chose a curriculum that had everything altogether and that was Bible based. The thought of going through each area and choosing a book or style to use on its own scared the bejeebees outta me!

On the basis of a recommendation I chose Heart of Dakota ~ and we LOVED it! It has each day’s subjects blocked off on one page per day. (You can preview the books online)

After we finished this, I had done a lot more research and had visited the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair,  (very large and overwhelming so it’s good to go with a plan, lol) and felt a lot more comfortable choosing my own things. I didn’t want to tackle a lot because of his age so I chose to start Handwriting Without Tears, Phonics Pathways, Saxon Math, and I picked up “God’s Wisdom for Little Boys” to do some scripture memory. Here are the links~

Handwriting Without Tears worked wonderfully for him and still does as we are now on the 1st grade book.

Saxon was great for manipulatives but I did not like having to do the prep work for it. A lot of lessons require you to make charts out of construction paper and things like that. I like to be able to open my book that morning and tackle what we need to do. (Call it laziness if you must, lol)

We didn’t get past the first page of Phonics Pathways before I realized it wasn’t going to work. It just wasn’t Ethan’s learning style. So I headed to Mardels and picked up Explode the Code, and that worked great! More workbook style but it worked for him and I better.

Let me insert a note here and recommend reading through the reviews for different books online at Amazon and also here,

Whew! This is getting long winded so I’ll end here. Part 2 will probably be on the Charlotte Mason method and why we lean in that direction now, but there may be a brief interruption tomorrow with a post about chickens! 🙂

If you haven’t started homeschooling yet, I’d just encourage you to know why you want to do it, to keep researching, and to continue to pray that the Lord lead you in the direction best for your family!

If you read all of this, go have a cookie…or four or five. You deserve it.

I’m Excited!

Actually, I’m sad because I haven’t blogged in so long. See, I have an art blog, but sadly its been lying dormant for a while because my chillins, having a baby, homemaking, and homeschooling have demanded my attention. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m having a blast with all the things I have to do! 🙂

But, here I am again! I’ve been mulling over starting a homeschooling blog for several days now and I think I’m ready to jump in and do it! Of course, it will have more than homeschooling. I’m sure I’ll have days of random thoughts and pictures to get out. It will be nice to have a place to put all these thoughts that jump around in my head like the Pong game…but with lots more balls. In fact, I’ll start with some randomness today to get the wheels ‘a spinnin!

I have some goals…or maybe I’ll just call them some things I wanna try and do…maybe.

1. I want a better way to organize my homeschooling plethora of books and supplies that are slowly taking over our home. See, originally I had this wonderful idea of doing school time in my boys room with them, but honestly that’s their space to play and I don’t enjoy doing school in there. I enjoy sitting around the dining room table where we all have room to spread out. And since we do school often, I tend to leave a big stack of current books in the dining room.

I also have a bookcase in the living room overflowing with stuff…

And the boys closet is overflowing with things we don’t use as much….

Not to mention the boys bookshelf is also in the living room…

My thoughts are to get a wall shelf for the dining room to keep the current stuff out of site but close, to reorganize the shelves in the boys closet getting our office stuff out of there, and to put a curtain on the bookshelf in the living room. Any other ideas?! Please share!

2. I am thinking of Starbucks right now.

3. I need to figure out what fall veggies I can plant, and what herbs to put in my cool flower pots that I got for free off of craigslist that are sitting on my back patio full of dirt and nothing else…(The pots came filled with white landscaping rocks that are now adorning our backyard tree and patio. Woot! Gotta love free stuff!)

4. I try and focus on no more than one specific job or chore for each day. Monday is laundry day, for example. But I’ve realized that I’ve neglected an area that I really WANT to spend more time in…the kitchen! I mean, yea, I clean it, but I am now going to set aside my Tuesdays as days where I focus on cooking things ahead of time and possibly even making some freezer meals! I’m so excited about it! :oD

5. I want to post all of the cool homeschool links that I’ve had bookmarked forever so that others can have some resources to look at. It can be really overwhelming and a lot of people don’t enjoy the research side of things, but I LOVE it and want to share what I find!

“Hi, my name’s Candi and I’m a research junkie.”  🙂