It begins again

Rumley Family Homeschool: Year 6, Day 1

Rumley Family Homeschool: Year 6, Day 1

The older I get, the faster life flies by. I know everyone says that. But there’s a reason everyone says it; it’s because it’s true.

So, when our homeschool year ended nigh unto Memorial Day, the whole glorious summer stretched out before us. I envisioned lazy days on the lawn, reading The Secret Garden to the children and eating picnics in the sun. We would fill our days with trips to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Lake Michigan and my parents’ house.

And here we are, on the very first day of the next school year, and all I can remember of the summer months is painting the living room / kitchen / dining room. And coordinating and enjoying Base Camp. I know there was more, but that is all I can remember in my current state of delirium.

I am now a teacher of four students: 5th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten. I’ve never taught four ages before, so that’s a bit overwhelming. The scheduling of this thing called school is trickier. The amount of curriculum has increased. The older kids will not only have more schoolwork to do for themselves, but they’ll be helping me educate the youngers.

I’m just holding on for dear life until all four of them are fluent readers, and then I expect the load to lighten. I celebrate the fact that I don’t have to wipe their tooshies when they use the bathroom anymore; the next step to independence (theirs) and freedom (mine) is for them to be able to read their own stinking math worksheets. :-)

Our first day didn’t start out quite as I’d planned…I had a late night last night getting ready for our educational debut, instead of going early to bed. I set my alarm for 7am, but was awoken by a barfing child at 6am. I got up to read God’s Word after she fell back asleep, and did read a chapter…and promptly fell asleep in the chair until at least 9am.

Welp, if that’s not a sign of how the year is about to go, I don’t know what is. But I repeat, I am hanging on to the Rock of Ages, and not letting go until my kiddos are God-fearing, Jesus-serving, well-educated, funny, fun, productive members of the church. Ah, scratch that, I won’t be able to let Him go anytime after that either. I’m in it for the long haul.

So here we are, standing at the edge of a new year. Every time I turn around, my kids are learning new things and getting taller and more mature. Why don’t more people talk about how FUN parenting is? Sure, it’s a lot of work, but these little people are just so dadgum delighful.

Now, dear readers, have YOU started school yet? Have your children barfed lately? Did you paint your kitchen this summer? These are all things I would like to have answers to. Tell me!

My Pits

It’s been a slow slide. It started with making more food from scratch.

Then I tried to make handsoap from scratch. (It was the consistency of snot, by the way.)

Then I switched my facial cleanser to olive and castor oil. (LOVE IT.)

face wash

I learned to make homemade bread.


I made some homemade dishwasher detergent. (FAIL.)

And some laundry detergent. (Success.)


I started milling my own flour.


And now.

This latest thing really makes me feel like I’m descending (or maybe ascending?) into hippie-dom.

I made homemade deoderant. For my pits. And I like it.

You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was to substitute peppermint extract for the lime oil. Because it’s what I had.


Coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and essential oil (er, extract).

Super easy to make. And at the end of the day, my underarms still smelled sweet like coconut.

That’s better than Degree ever did!

Now it’s your turn! What natural / whole food / homemade thing should I try next? What have you tried – failures and/or successes?

“I Like Giving” Giveaway Winners!

Howdy ho, friends!

Thanks to those of you who entered the giveaway for the new book I Like Giving by Brad Formsma.

The WINNERS have been chosen!

You can expect to receive one of these beautiful books…
…if your name is…

Michelle Caskey
Chrissy Boerman
Aleks Slocum

(All winners have been contacted…so if your name is above, go check your email!)

I hope you’re all inspired to become more generous people!


I’ll admit it: since Luke got me an iPhone for Christmas in 2012, it’s been hard to blog.

It’s so much easier to take a picture and post it on Instagram with a teeny little caption.

But, alas, some of you don’t do the whole Instagram thing. So I’m going to bring Instagram to the blog! :-)

Caleb has been playing baseball with a different league this year, and it is LIGHT YEARS better than the YMCA last year in terms of learning how to really play the game. His coach is phenomenal. Caleb has learned SO MUCH. I have learned SO MUCH!


The best baseball decision I made this year was to buy him orange socks. Now I can locate him instantly when he’s on the field, without having to bring a pair of binoculars.

Besides baseball, a new adventure in the Rumley house is milling our own wheat. I bought a Nutrimill from a Craigslist ad, and my dear friend bought a 50lb bag of wheat berries for me from an Amish store in Fremont. And then I panicked.

What was I getting myself into?


But once I finally got my grain stored correctly (so as to avoid bugs hatching in it), and saw enough pictures of my friend’s fresh baked creations from her own milled flour, and read an awesome book about it…I finally got up the nerve to try it.



This stuff is REALLY nutritious, and tasty, too. I don’t think I can go back to store-bought flour.

Next up: Easter.

There we are in our little matching outfits. Yes, I’m one of those moms. What can I say? I love to sew.


The kids have been cracking me up lately.

Jaden’s artwork is out of control. Here he is with a self-portrait.

Caleb is very physical. He’s constantly moving. Here he was working on his sculpted abs during school one day.

Ava is a physical touch kind of girl. She loves her snuggles. She also loves wrestling with her siblings. And apparently holding her little brother up by his knees.

It scares me a little bit (or maybe more than a little bit) how grown up and beautiful Gracie girl looks these days.

In other news, my dad (the kids’ Papa) hit a milestone birthday this year. I can’t tell you what number it starts with, but it ends in 0. We bought him a birthday card that said, “Happy 30th!” but my sister’s card said “Happy 25th!” So I guess we can’t even agree on which fake number to use. :-)

Here is Papa with the glasses Jaden picked out for him for his birthday present.


We’ve been loving the beautiful weather lately as well. Luke bought me some beautiful lilies for Mother’s Day, so we planted those recently.


Thanks to a tip from my awesome sister-in-law, we used some free coffee grounds from Starbucks to enrich the soil.

Speaking of the sister-in-law, I’m thankful that God blessed her with an adorable son that we can call our nephew! Aren’t his cheeks amazing?!

Last, I’ll end with a selfie. Do you think selfies are vain? I’m personally not a huge fan, but sometimes when my hair is actually cooperating with me for once, I can’t help but take a picture. I’m not thinking, “Wow, I’m the hottest person ever.” I’m just thinking, “I’d better capture this hair on camera to keep me going the other 99% of the time when it’s not behaving.” Just so you know.

There ya have it, folks. For smartphone users, you can find me on Instagram.

When Mother’s Day Is Detrimental

This holiday has been celebrated in the US for a little more than a century (since 1908), and I know mothers around the nation really appreciate being applauded and recognized for countless hours of selfless care for their families.

We all know motherhood is hard. It’s never-ending. Even when the kiddos go to bed, I’m still on duty, my senses just alert enough all night to hear a child’s cry. I suppose that even when my littles are grown and live in different houses with families of their own, I will still spend my nights with my mother-heart a little bit alert. I want to live my life in prayer for these kids.

Motherhood is sanctifying. My sin is glaringly obvious when I see that same sin in my children. Encouraging them to get rid of sin starts with my own commitment to denying sin. (Which is, of course, only successful through the work of the Holy Spirit.) I often think that it’s an awfully good thing that God blessed us with babies so quickly after our marriage, because I hate to think how stubborn and selfish I’d be if I hadn’t started this sanctifying process so young. God had His work cut out for him, to really get ahold of my me-centered heart. (And as you’ll see below, that me-centeredness still creeps up more often than I’d like!)

Motherhood is also SO rewarding. After birthing these gigantic children, I had the reward of nursing them for almost a year (6 months for J). I have the reward of snuggles, hugs, tickles, and laughs. I put the work in as a homeschool mom, and get the reward of seeing the “lightbulb moments,” like when they start reading fluently or suddenly understand a concept we’ve been discussing. I get the reward of seeing the Scripture they’ve memorized be applied in real life. I have had the greatest reward: watching all four of our kids recognize their need for a Savior, and asking Jesus to be Lord of their lives.

These are the things that are recognized on Mother’s Day. I think it’s a healthy thing for dads and kids to try to understand the mothers in their lives. It’s good to treat them like a queen for the day, and thank them for all they do.

But while I love the rewards and accolades, I really pour my heart into parenting so that God might be glorified.

One of our favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I had to remind myself of that whenever I looked at Facebook or Instagram yesterday. There was picture upon picture upon status upon status of people praising their mothers and doing sweet things for them. And that ugly thing called envy reared its head. Jealousy – it’s not a pretty sight.

I was looking for human reward instead of God’s glory.

My sweet family bought me lunch, and sat around the table talking about “what they love about mommy,” and we planted my “gift” a week or so ago (5 beautiful red lilies).

Why wasn’t I content with all of that sweetness, knowing that my family appreciates me?

Why did I feel as if my day wasn’t enough because I didn’t receive {insert any Facebook status here}?

Sin. That’s all, friends. When I was supposed to be celebrating the gift of motherhood, I was internally acting like a selfish, spoiled brat. That’s just lovely, isn’t it?

Mother’s Day (or any day) becomes detrimental when I start comparing my experience to yours. You know the old saying, “Comparison kills contentment?” TRUE. STATEMENT.

The highlight of my day yesterday was a family bike ride to a park, a walk in the woods, and playing “Sprinkler Baseball” in the front yard. It was relaxing and fun and stressful and hilarious.

Maybe you read a book in your hammock or went out to coffee by yourself or played roller derby. Whatever your day looked like, if God was glorified, it was a successful Mother’s Day. It doesn’t matter what anyone else received. The day you experienced was a gift in itself.

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