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The Day We Got 1565 Golf Balls


Once upon a time, I was a weary homeschooling mom of many, with a husband just 6 weeks past having open heart surgery, and we were dealing with a lot of tough,exhausting, and difficult things. It was 2014, and it became known to me as the year where I got very comfortable with the concept of uncertainty.  Things were hard.

Always aiming to do my best in spite of circumstances, I tend to teeter-totter between firm responsibility and indulging in whimsy. After all–both are important, and it’s not always clear which one is needed worse.

One day a friend of mine wrote on facebook that she had about 600 free used golf balls for anyone that wanted to get them. And for some reason, this struck a chord of interest for me. I don’t remember why. I honestly can’t think of any good reason to get hundreds of golf balls as I look back on it. But at that time, it seemed like it might be a worthy adventure. Or, it was a form of insanity.  I asked my friends on facebook for advice:

OK friends: Talk me down. I just found out about 600 free golf balls I could go get. I am currently frantically scanning pinterest to figure out what awesome thing I could make with them. Currently thinking of Christmas ornaments….. Help!

A short while later the kids had joined me in my interest:

Here is the fun already resulting in this crazy plan: Kids estimating how many golf balls could fit in each container that we have. Me starting to think about the cottage industry opportunities for the kidlets to turn these golf balls into money. This is the kind of homeschooling I really enjoy, and don’t get to do often enough.

I’m sure I had probably dozens or hundreds of other things I could have or “should have” been doing, but I have a motto that The Winds of Inspiration Must Not Be Denied, and so we went with it.  Here’s how it went:

I’ll tell you what–today I am the poster mom for following whimsical bunny trails.


I smiled and laughed all the way to pick up the golf balls, while the kids and I brainstormed about what we might do with them, how we would divide them up, etc. , and I got to visit with a sweet friend during the pick up.


And then while driving home we discovered that a few spiders had been stowaways with the balls. Poor Isaac is extremely scared of spiders, and the ensuing shrieks of terror and panic went all the way past terrifying over to utterly comedic. We were all screaming KILL IT! KILL IT! while poor Isaac was having a heart attack. After the poor unassuming spider was dead (sorry spidey) the kids were leaping into the farther back areas of the van, and we were all laughing maniacally. (It was very fun. You’ll just have to trust me on that.) They were yelling “PULL THE CAR OVER! MAKE DAD COME PICK US UP FROM THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!!” hahahahaha. We were two minutes from the house so we carried on.


Aidan had been in the seat where he was responsible for preventing the tall hampers full of golf balls from spilling. So….of course once he wasn’t sitting there any more. I went around a corner and there went hundreds of golf balls onto the floor of the van. We laughed even louder. Then we got home and the kids in the way back of the van let themselves out the back door instead of the side door so the balls wouldn’t fall out. Dave met us in the driveway and before we could tell him not to open the side door, he did it, and a zillion golf balls went pouring out in the driveway, so we laughed and screamed even louder.


After we picked up all the balls and deemed them spider-free (I’m sure the rest of the spiders are taking up a comfortable residence under the van seats right now), we commenced to have much, MUCH practice counting by twos as we counted and divided up our bounty. Each one of us has almost 300 balls to figure out what to do with. We discussed the pros and cons of selling quickly for a lower price, vs. taking time to create something and then having to market and sell it in order to get a bigger return. We will possibly still be trying to sell golf ball items for the next decade.


It is a beautiful day outside, the breeze was very relaxing, I got some exercise, and Aidan labeled my bucket of golf balls “Mom is Awesome!”


1565 used golf balls: free.


An afternoon full of smiles and gut-busting laughs and memories with my kids: priceless.


(And later on if I ask myself, “Why on earth did you go borrowing trouble and go get all these golf balls?!” I will even laugh then, because I do not take myself too seriously.)

That. was. an awesome day full of fun and memory-making.  I think we ended up selling all of the balls within just a couple weeks, and each kid was pretty happy with the money they earned.  But the real point here is that I was able to let go and do some crazy thing with my kids.  I let go of my To Do list.  I let go of having to know what the outcome would be.  We just did a crazy thing and it ended up being a ton of fun that we still enjoyed talking about at dinner tonite.

There will always, always be more work to be done and more responsibilities to tend to, my friends.  Know what there won’t always be?  Children all around to make fun memories with.  Take time to prioritize those opportunities!  This matters more than you know.

How and Why to Use Community Events in Your Homeschool

Today I have a great guest post to share with you from Candace Cornelius of Breathe Belief blog.

How and Why to use Community Events in Your HomeschoolThere has never been a greater time to learn and homeschool our children. More and more parents all over the world are deciding to take on this amazing lifestyle.

Since my husband and I began homeschooling our children, we have discovered that larger communities recognize homeschoolers and put on several family learning events. These exciting events have been a powerful way to supplement our homeschooling efforts.



In my community alone there have been opportunities to participate in:

* A live interactive physics show put on by the local university.

* A professional orchestra’s free family events. Children were able to try instruments, do hands on activities and listen to live musicians perform musical numbers designed just for children.

* Nature center classes offered exclusively to homeschoolers. These have been held during the day to fit homeschooler’s schedules.

* The local science museum has various classes, experiences and contests for children.

* A state wide science fair just for homeschoolers.

* Puppet plays.

* Performances at The Children’s Theater.

* And several free and educational library events.


By participating in these community events, your children gain an incredible amount!

1. They get to truly experience the real world. They don’t need to be stuck in a class room all day! Isn’t this one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling?!

2. They can create new relationships

3. They get to learn from real, hands-on experiences rather than lectures and work books.

4. They gain exposure to new teachers, mentors, and ideas.

5. They get to have FUN! 


So, how can you go about finding awesome local events in your area? Here are my top 6 tips:

1. Join homeschooling Facebook groups. Facebook houses hundreds of groups of exclusively homeschoolers. Many of these groups are divided by geographical area. Try searching, “Chicago area homeschoolers. In these groups, parents are always posting about fun happenings in their area and inviting other homeschoolers to go along with them.

2. A simple internet search: Google “family events” in your area. Many organizations are advertising their events online.

3. Attend local homeschool conferences. Many organizations and business attend these conferences to promote their events and services geared towards homeschoolers.

4. Check community board postings at libraries and community centers.

5. Sign up for city newsletters. Many even have e-newsletters to promote upcoming events.

6. Go to the website of a place you are interested in, and in their search bar type in: “homeschool,” “family events,” or “classes.”


Today, I strongly encourage you to go out and find fun events to attend with your children. It can greatly enrich your homeschooling and help to fuel the love of learning in your children.

I believe in you!



What have been your favorite community events to attend with your children?


Candace Cornelius is a wife and mother to three daughters. She writes about homeschooling at Breathebelief.comBreathe Belief head shot and records a daily 5 minutes podcast to let homeschool mom’s wake up with uplifting messages designed just for them. She is passionate about empowering homeschool moms, education, business, self-improvement, family, and following Christ. She loves board games, baby snuggles and fresh flowers.

Storing School Supplies in Over-the-Door Shoe Organizers

*denotes affiliate link

storing school supplies in shoe organizers
I know I’m not the only mom that has taken advantage of the bargain prices on school supplies in late summer, but then manages to not know where on earth any of the stuff is by January.  (Or October)
After thoroughly cleaning, purging, and taking stock of the school area, I found various caches of school supplies, and some half-broken pencil boxes with motley collections of broken crayons and buried child-sized scissors.  Sick of the situation where people never know where to find OR return commonly-needed items, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and that got the ball rolling.
This door leads to our coat closet, and this side of it faces the right side of where all of our work stations/desks are for the boys.  In other words, all they have to do is turn their little heads to the right and their gaze shall fall upon this beautiful scene:
All you need is one of those inexpensive over-the-door shoe organizers.  I got a clear plastic one.  You can even order them from amazon*.  Boom!



As I started filling each section and figuring out what would make sense for where to place items (for instance Sharpies:  Up top.) I decided on some modifications.
I didn’t want crayons to mark up the surface of the organizer and make it look junky.
I didn’t want scissors and sharpened pencils to poke holes in the bottom of the pouches.
I didn’t want to have kids up-to-their-armpits trying to dig out crayons from the pouches.
I had a stash of clear containers from the bulk section of Whole Foods.  They fit perfectly into the pouches, and solved the problem of potential pokes as well as made items like crayons, markers, and colored pencils portable. Now a child can help themselves to the container, take it to their seat to use it, and then return the whole thing.  Perfect!


I also save parmesan cheese containers (they are perfect for childen’s banks, bug catchers, and a zillion other things) and those also fit nicely and worked well for certain items.  
If I hadn’t had these plastic containers handy, I could have used clear plastic cups that could have been obtained inexpensively from a discount store or yard sale, or even canning jars.  If you look around at what you’ve got available, you may find that you have a free solution to your needs without having to buy anything.
My children are all old enough to not go berzerk with overuse of school supplies, so I’m comfortable with leaving everything out where they can help themselves.  I love it that now that the supply sales are here, I can easily see that I already have more than enough crayons, but could definitely use more pencil-top erasers.  I won’t be buying stuff we don’t need.
As you can see there is plenty of extra space.  I can see that these pouches could also be useful for additional art supplies, craft supplies, math manipulatives, flash cards, and other small items that need to be kept track of and made available to the children regularly.
I’m a visual person that really likes to see my stuff.  With all the bright colors and the ease of keeping it organized, I feel like this will be handy, practical, and easy to keep up on.
We have used this system for a few years now and it continues to work so well for us.  Clean up is so easy since it is obvious where everything goes, and it is never a mystery as to whether or not we have binder clips/colored pencils/tape/paintbrushes.  Our shoe organizer has held up really well and still looks great!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



How to Invite Your Kids to Be Creative Without Saying a Word

invitation to creativity
We have a tradition that we try to keep going at our house.  During the school week we generally don’t play video games.  Saturdays are “Game Day” when the kids can play video games all day long if they want to.  Sunday is “Screen-Free Day” which the boys often act like they hate, except once the screen time is removed, they find other things to do that they really enjoy.
I try to help remove the boredom/lack of direction/hopelessness that kids can sometimes feel when you just took away their favorite thing and they don’t know what to do next.  My favorite thing to do is to clean off the kitchen table and set up something that I think they will enjoy.  It might be a puzzle, a game, sculpey clay, a baking project, or art supplies.  This is what I set up today:
Nothing fancy.  Just clear space and simple materials.  
Within a short time they all gravitated toward the invitation and were doing this:


I had some nice music on in the background.  My daughter was at another table working on a 1000-piece puzzle.  I was making pancakes and reading.
I find that clearing spaces and creating invitations is a really nice thing to do for the family.  It provides an opportunity to bring out those card games/art supplies/stickers/projects that sometimes get forgotten during the regular weekday life.  I’ve never set up an invitation at the table that the kids didn’t want to do.
Try it!  Let me know how it goes.


Carpe Diem, my friends!

Carpe diemWe are expecting a big snow here in central Kentucky.  Starting after midnight tonite the snow should begin to fall, and not stop until we have 8-15 inches, or so the weather people say.  This is big snow for Kentuckians (and yeah, I grew up in Syracuse, NY so yes I DO know about BIG snow!) and very exciting for our kids.

We are ready to make the most of it.

We bought extra milk, since of course I’ll need to make lots of homemade hot cocoa.  🙂

We bought a couple more sleds so that we could have plenty of races.

We got some more pairs of gloves to keep fingers cozy.

And you know what?  The Winds of Inspiration have come to me, and what did they say?

After-Midnight Sledding Party!

Oh yeah, baybee!  (Because you know, The Winds of Inspiration are not to be denied!)

Once we get enough snow on the ground tonite, we’re going out to our backyard hill to make some epic memories.  I am so excited, and so are my kids!

Fellow parents, ponder this:  

Our kids get one childhood, and we get to spend it with them.

 There are no do-overs.  

When you get the opportunity to do something





and special

clear the deck and say


as much as you can.  

It is life-giving.  

You’ll be making memories with your kids that are




for now and forever.