Vintage Homeschool Moms

New Year – Relax and Refresh (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Relax and Refresh | The new year is a good time for a faith journey. It is time to take a deep breath and relax and refresh your life. With the new year around the corner now is the time to destress. In this episode, we will discuss how our plans sometimes derail us and how to make the most of the new year. | #podcast #refresh #newyearNew Year Relax and Refresh –  Episode 388

The new year is a good time for a faith journey. It is time to take a deep breath and relax and refresh your life. With the new year around the corner now is the time to destress. In this episode, we will discuss how our plans sometimes derail us and how to make the most of the new year.

I’m so excited about this episode because I am going to share some ways that won’t break the bank to truly relax and be refreshed as you charge into the new year. In fact, this has helped me so much that I am truly excited about the new year – thank-you Jesus!

Yes, I am a woman of faith and I am so blessed that I am not doing this alone. I recorded an episode over on our sister network – Ultimate Christian Podcast Network, on a New Year’s Faith Journey, and friends it was life-changing for me because I feel that I have a purpose and so do you!

Your purpose is your current walk in life. Are you a wife/mom, a husband/dad? Are you a student/kid? This is your current “job” and everything else will fit into place.

I have many things on my calendar for the new year and I will hit the calendar running! I have a 31-Day Challenge that I am hosting for work at home moms in January. I have several women ministry breakfasts to oversee, in January and February. I am hosting an in-person conference in Tampa, Florida in February. I have my yearly mastermind group in March and April we will visit our college kids and I am presenting at a ministry breakfast in April in Texas! Then, May is my daughter’s graduation. When I look at my calendar I want to skip right over the first six months and look toward a relaxing June, July, and August!

We can’t do that can we parents? We can’t just say, “Yeah, today I don’t feel like cooking or cleaning or dealing with kids!”

So, what do we do? We pray – and we put things into perspective. And I for one as I shared earlier am excited because I am not doing this alone! First, I have you guys to encourage and motivate me – thanks so much for your star ratings on iTunes and other podcast apps – thanks for your kind words via email or social media and thanks for being you and a listener!


New Year Relax and Refresh Begins with Questions:

So, let’s do this. Are you ready? First, look at your events upcoming – just like I did.

  1. What are those unmoving dates? School days, lessons, appointments, etc.
  2. What are those non-negotiables? The things that we can’t take off our to-do list and put on another’s?

Once you have those out of the way you can look at the optional things! Can someone else do the grocery shopping or can you invest in ordering online and picking it up – or having things delivered? What a blessing delivery services can be! Yes, there is a cost involved but for me, it saves me money because I am not impulse shopping and only getting what I need!

One thing that will change in the new year and involves Vintage Homeschool Moms is the new shows. Instead of a new show each week, on some weeks I will be re-launching some of my past podcasts. So, for those of you long-time listeners of Vintage Homeschool Moms – and there are some that have been with me since the beginning, that means you will hear some replays of some favorite shows. I have been recording non-stop for six years and I still feel the Lord has some great things he wants me to share, but some of the previous shows are too good to be buried in the archives.

New Years Relax and Refresh Takes Simplification:

You can do this too!

  1. What are some things you can do to give you more time?
  2. What are the things you don’t want to let go of, but know that you must cut back for the sake of time or your own sanity?
  3. Look at this list and make a decision. One year during I decided that writing that Christmas letter, taking a family photo and sending out Christmas cards to my list of over one-hundred people, had to get cut way back. I announced on social media that I loved all of my friends but they would not be getting a card! I sent cards to our relatives and placed a focus on relationships and the poor.

We can live lives that are joyous by not overtaxing are already taxed systems! What are those things you enjoy but don’t have time for? For me, it was taking a walk and reading. I had not read in years, and currently, I enjoy reading something fun every once in a while. I had to give myself permission! So, friends, this is what I am doing. I am giving you permission to take some time for the things that will help you relax and refresh.

Here are some relax and refresh suggestions:

  1. An extra long shower or soak in a bath infused with essential oils and salts. Essential oils such as Bergmont (So love it-check it out here) are one of my favorite relaxing oils.
  2. A facial – there are some inexpensive scrubs you can make yourself or use something store-bought.
  3. A foot soak. This is so relaxing and you can do this while reading to the kids or even doing school! Be sure to have a towel nearby in case you need to jump out for the unexpected times!
  4. A foot rub or neck rub. Maybe invest in one of those gadgets or enlist a family member!
  5. Time to read, to bake or to do the thing that you consider relaxing!

Take the time to be in this present moment. I realized after reading an eye-opening book that was centered on faith that I was living in the past and the future. This can weigh us down! We can think of what could of should have happened, or regrets – or we think about the future and worry about things that may or may not happen. Today, people. Today … focus on the now. The kids in front of you that before you blink your eyes will be grown up and in college or adults like mine. My youngest is now nineteen but even that isn’t for long.

So, let’s recap.

  1. Look at those things you can’t change. Those unmovable tasks for dates.
  2. Look at ways to increase your time or delegate or take off your list or arrange it.
  3. Look at ways to relax – once a week? No each day.

This is going to – I promise to change your life. It is today, not tomorrow that we must deal with and today look brighter and brighter to me as I charge into it with the hope that it is going to be the best year. And, I pray this for you as well.

Next month I have two shows especially geared for kids. The first is Refresh and Relax for Kids – I learned recently that kids are so stressed out and many are on medication just for nerves! We will discuss how to encourage our children to recharge and focus and find those ways to destress. And a show on School and the importance of understanding the time and how it will translate into their futures. I will share something that changed my kid’s lives when they were pre-teens and I hope it will help your children as well! Look for these upcoming episodes in 2020.

Take care friends, and I pray you are blessed abundantly in 2020~ please check out my other two podcasts, One More Child Podcast and A Few Minutes With God Podcast. Truly, those are my faith-focused podcasts and they keep me grounded and I hope they help you as well!

Christmas Preparation

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Christmas Preparation | Last-minute Christmas preparation consists of more than hosting a gathering, buying presents, or decorating. It consists of getting your heart in the right place to enjoy the best Christmas ever | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidays #GiftsUnderTenDollarsForChristmas #ChristmasPreparationChristmas Preparation – Episode 511

Last-minute Christmas preparation consists of more than hosting a gathering, buying presents, or decorating. It consists of getting your heart in the right place to enjoy the best Christmas ever!

I have created many podcasts in the history of Vintage Homeschool Moms that deal with meal prep and party prep, and so I decided that I was going to include those links in the show notes so that if that is what you need, some last-minute, ideas on how to prepare for a meal or you know whatever that is, you can quickly take a peek at those show, notes or listen to the episode.

Christmas Preparation Podcasts:

Today, I’d like to discuss getting our minds and our hearts ready for Christmas, and as a bonus, we will gain peace, love, and joy! I realized as I was preparing for my thirty-one guests, I became anxious and worried that I was going to forget something. I also realized that I was super busy but not accomplishing much! I have hosted Christmas celebrations for over twenty years. You would think I’d have it down by this time.

Christmas Preparation Includes An Attitude Check

But as I was preparing my home, I realized that my heart wasn’t in the right place. I wasn’t stopping to smell the pine of the fresh Christmas tree as I have in years past or enjoy the cinnamon-scented pine cones. I purchased a tree angel for the kids to find each morning (which my daughter is doing with the children), it catches them being good. Our family celebrates the days counting down to Christmas with an Advent wreath and candles, and we pray each special scripture verse each evening.

Yet, I still felt something was lacking. I needed a dose of joy and an attitude check!

I was missing the real reason for the season, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to come into this world as a baby. I wasn’t making the Lord my focus, and I realized this after a recent occurrence. It made me seek more, a deeper connection and happiness that I was missing.

I know many of you have little ones or school-age children, and the thought of adding one more thing to your lives may be overwhelming, but I am going to break this down and make it very simple. Basically, our lives are prayer. If you’re not a Christian, this may be a weird idea, but it’s really not. It is simple.

Each day, you can prepare your heart for receiving the fullness of faith by just saying, Lord, I dedicate my day to you. That’s it! It’s that simple, and I love the Jesus prayer, and that is one word: Jesus. You can add, “Jesus, I trust in you.” or “Jesus, I love you.” Or anything else that comes to mind.

I know when I start my day in this way everything goes more smoothly. One thing I realized early on as a homeschool mom was that I couldn’t do it on my own strength. So I prayed daily and often. Things like Lord help me. Or Lord, you gave me these blessings so please help me to deal with them!

How can we get that joy back into our lives? It isn’t by having more time, although my prayer, “Lord, increase my time,” is something that I do pray. It is by focusing on the things that really matter. Sure, we still need to keep up the house, clean, and cook; if we are schooling, we teach! But having joy is a decision, a state of mind.

  1. Joy is a state of mind. It is a decision. I choose to be joyful.
  2. Prayer is the focal point of my day. I dedicate my day to the Lord.
  3. Preparation means making time for the things that are important.

Doing these things helps me to keep calmer, and if I have peace in my heart, I can have joy and then hope that everything is going to fall into place. Even if something burns, guests show up late, or we have to deal with some other type of mini-crisis, the goal is to have peace during the day. Preparing my heart and attitude for Christmas also means realizing my faith, the joy that Christmas brings, and the joy of being together with family is enough.

What makes you happiest? Probably the same thing that makes me happy, and that is having everyone home and celebrating together. Whether you host an event or visit others, the feeling is the same.

If your children are little and everyone is still home, please enjoy these days. I know everyone says it goes so fast, but truthfully they do. Your infant turns eighteen before you know it! I am blessed to have three of my five children live in the same town; one lives 2 1/2 hours away, and one lives a very long airplane ride away. But the joy in my heart of knowing that we are connected as a family is phenomenal. The two children who live out of town also celebrate Advent, and on the first Sunday, we did a face-time call so they could light their wreaths and follow along in their books as we prayed all together.

So I pray That you have a wonderful Christmas; remember Christmas joy can be felt every day. The Miracle of Christmas lasts more than one day, and preparing our hearts to celebrate is one of the best things we can do to be ready.

The Best Holiday Homeschooling Tips

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

What are the best holiday and homeschooling tips? When things get crazy these ladies Felice Gerwitz and Lisa Nehring come to the rescue.The Best Holiday Homeschooling Tips ~ Episode 452

Join Felice Gerwitz and special guest, Lisa Nehring as they discuss the best holiday homeschooling tips. When things get crazy and you can not add one more thing to the schedule, Lisa comes to the rescue with great tips and planning.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc.

Visit Lisa Nehring at True North Homeschool Academy and her podcast at

So what are the best holiday homeschooling tips? One is not to stress yourself trying to do too much. We are busy with managing a home and family, then adding homeschooling, and then when the holidays come it is…one-more-thing! Take a look at what stresses you out and cut it out if at all possible.

Holidays are Holy Days – set apart because they have meaning and relevance and there is something special about this day. Holidays bring relevance to our lives. There are special foods we eat, perhaps an exchange of gifts and other things that happen that set the stage for the event itself.

Lisa calls the mom the “magic maker” that can bring that extra fun into the holidays even with simple meals. She celebrates using a liturgical year. She talks about planning and taking time off from schoolwork in your schedule. This can be done by planning ahead of time.

Lisa’s Best Holiday Homeschooling Tips:

  1. Scheduling a break from schoolwork, or reworking your schedule so you have time for celebrations.
  2. Morning basket: 1 hour spent with the things you want to go over, such as flashcards, faith, etc. Be sure to pause and give thanks to God.
  3. We celebrate all of our feasts with our senses, think about how we can use our senses to the best.
  4. Biblical feasts, holidays, and festivals are great ways to celebrate.

Lisa shares how she and her family celebrate Old Testament festivals, which is a remembrance of God “tabernacling” with us. It helps to bring faith and community among family and friends. Being together and enjoying where you are at the present time. She reminds us that God dwells in community with family and friends.

Holidays remind us that we are part of something bigger, and even if we have to postpone some of our academic work, this is a lasting tribute we will remember. We are making memories with our families using the senses, such as twinkling lights, cinnamon, and music.

Sometimes keeping to the schedule is important such as homeschooling special needs and consistency is important to keep things on an even keel. Perhaps cutting back a little and allowing your child to know what is coming up in the near future. Planning with your child helps.

Teaching your children that giving is important during the holidays is another lasting tradition. Either adopting a family or singling out a person such as a neighbor in need.

Be sure to visit Lisa Nehring at True North Homeschool Academy.

Here are some other Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Podcasts to enjoy:

Best Kept Holiday Prep secrets

Planning the Holiday with Tech


Gifts Under Ten Dollars ~ For Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Gifts Under Ten Dollars For Christmas | Here are some great ideas for gifts under ten dollars. It helps those of us who are on a budget or buying for a crowd. Do you like finding a deal? In this episode, we will discuss purchasing gifts under ten dollars. It isn't as hard as you think | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidays #GiftsUnderTenDollarsForChristmas #GiftsUnderTenDollars #TenDollars #ForChristmasGifts Under Ten Dollars – For Christmas ~ Episode 510

Here are some great ideas for gifts under ten dollars. It helps those of us who are on a budget or buying for a crowd. Do you like finding a deal? In this episode, we will discuss purchasing gifts under ten dollars. It isn’t as hard as you think.

Some years past, I did a podcast on various topics dealing with gift-giving, and some of these qualify for gifts under ten dollars:

Gifts Under Ten Dollars or Less:

It isn’t easy shopping these days, in fact it is depressing! Everything is so expensive, and now multiply that by the number of people you are buying for and it gets downright expensive. I am hosting Christmas for my sister-in-law, her three children, and their families. And that adds up to an additional 13 people to buy for this year! That is on top of my five children and nine grandchildren, plus one son-in-law. It gets expensive, to say the least.

Here is what I do to get the gift-giving budget under control. The first is to pray about what type of gifts I want to give. There are many different ways to say “I love you” and Merry Christmas. Next is to browse some stores. There are discount stores in my area, and taking a turn up and down the aisles gives me ideas. I have to remember that my extended family (well, seven of them) are flying here, so I can’t send back gifts that are going to take up too much luggage room. My son will be flying home, and that gives me pause in purchasing gifts.

So here is what I do after praying. I set alerts for the items I’d like to purchase. One way is to use an app like Honey – you can go to Join Honey here

Here you can set alerts for when a price goes lower. It works on websites as you browse, as well as on sites such as Amazon. It suggests coupons; not all of them work, but some do. It can save you money in the long run. I’ve used it for years.

Gift Under Ten Dollars:

  1. Gift cards. If you visit restaurants frequently, you can look for gift card deals, especially around Christmas. Some offer a free ten-dollar gift card with the purchase of an additional amount. You can use that gift card as a gift.
  2. Gift cards as credit in your credit card offers. If you are like many of us, we use credit cards that we pay off monthly. They often rack up points and that can be used for gift cards. Sometimes it is better to use the money toward your bill, but other times you can cash in those points toward credit cards for meals. You can purchase gift cards to popular restaurants with your points – so, in essence, free.
  3. Prayer journals. I found beautiful leather journals I saw in gift catalogs for $35 and paid less than ten dollars. These are great for giving gifts under ten dollars. I did have to work at getting the gummy labels off, but it was worth the trouble. These, along with a beautiful pen, make a nice gift.
  4. Novelty gifts are often priced at under ten dollars. These can be t-shirts, mugs, pens, or similar types of items. My kids often exchange gifts such as these with extended family.
  5. Mugs with Christian sayings or Bible verses are often under ten dollars. I gift each of the ladies attending the meal with a mug and fresh flowers. I use them as part of the decorations on Christmas Day, and then they take the mug and flowers home. I’ve done this for Thanksgiving and Easter in the past as well.
  6. Mixes such as muffins and cookies in decorative containers. The containers can be purchased for well under five dollars at discount stores, and the mixes are ones we make often. This qualifies for giving gifts under ten dollars.
  7. Homemade food items such as chocolate or vanilla fudge. This is something my daughter makes for our extended family, and they love it over any store-bought gift.
  8.  I make pumpkin bread from fresh pumpkins and give these as gifts. They are well under ten dollars and two cups of pumpkin makes about six to with small loaves.
  9. Art supplies for the children are always fun to receive. These items are found very inexpensively at discount stores and often are of good quality.
  10. Deal Dash – although you need to be careful if you are using this app. I saw it advertised and thought I’d take a look and did win a bid for a high-quality item for under ten dollars. If you can limit your participation to winning bonuses that works, otherwise it can not only take a chunk of your time but also your money.
  11. If you are gifted in some way artistically, you can paint or draw a picture as a gift. I have promised my family paintings, and maybe this year, I will fulfill that promise! My skills are mediocre, but it is the thought that counts.
  12. Vouchers: I loved it when my children gave me vouchers for a task such as washing my car or doing a “bonus” job. That was a heartfelt gift, and I enjoyed it.
  13. Making placemats with old clothing, or hot pads.
  14. Purchasing vintage frames from a thrift store and printing out a Bible verse or saying from Mother Teresa and framing it.
  15. Bibles are often on sale for under ten dollars.
  16. Puzzles are under ten dollars and so much fun.
  17. Board games are great for giving gifts under ten dollars.

My daughter and her family draw names and buy for the person whose name they select. This helps to keep the cost down as well. You can also give the gift of time to each other which does not cost anything. Gift-giving does not have to be stressful, but it often is, and in this way, I hope that some of these ideas are helpful.

Top Ten Movies For Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Top Ten Movies For Christmas | What movies make it to your top ten movies for Christmas? I wonder if our lists are similar. In this podcast, I will share my favorite movies and how I use them to teach deeper truths. As my children say, "Mom can make anything into school! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidays #TopTenMoviesForChristmas #TopTen #MoviesForChristmas #TopTenMoviesTop Ten Movies For Christmas ~ Episode 509

What movies make it to your top ten movies for Christmas? I wonder if our lists are similar. In this podcast, I will share my favorite movies and how I use them to teach deeper truths. As my children say, “Mom can make anything into school!”

Hurry, our offer won’t last. Get our Advent Calendar, with Scripture verses and suggestions for notes from Mom and Dad all 24 days leading up to Christmas.

When you think of movies, you may have a particular type, mainly as Hallmark has monopolized the Christmas movie theme over the years. They have Christmas in July, Christmas countdown, and Christmas movies all day. But my list only contains two Hallmark movies, both oldies. There are different reasons we think of movies as favorites. One of them is while entertaining, they contain an element of truth.

You may enjoy these podcasts:

Christmas Final Touches

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Characterization and acting are other important factors. As my children grew older, our movie list changed. When my first two children were little the staples were limited to It’s a Wonderful Life, the Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman. Only one of those movies now makes it to my top ten.

Christmas Movie Personal Preference

If you asked my kids, they’d add Home Alone to the list. As a mom, I can not watch that movie. All I could focus on was that they left their kid behind. I panicked with the mom frantically trying to get home and irritated with the uncle who wanted to stay and enjoy Paris! My favorite part was the great scene at the end when the mom and son are reunited, and then everyone comes home. Also, Die Hard is not a Christmas movie for all teens and young adults, contrary to making it on many top ten lists!

So, what makes it to my top ten list?

  1. It must have a heartfelt message.
  2. The spirit of Christmas, or the true meaning of Christmas (which, as Christians, we know is Jesus Christ) permeates the film.
  3. Family is essential, if not a central theme.
  4. Giving of self for others.
  5. Entertaining

As I share my top ten movies for Christmas, let me first share ones that did not make the list but are family favorites:

A Boyfriend for Christmas. We enjoy it for entertainment’s sake, but I am not a big fan of Santa Claus as “real” in any form…I know, don’t hate me. But we find it funny, so it is on our top watch list. It also has family as a central focus and good characterization.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas — sappy but funny. The kids see the problems cheaters get into, and the consequences, while funny, are serious for this young man. As the movie progresses, he changes for the better, and the children can see the growth.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer — yes, another Santa movie, but who doesn’t love that the misfit toys get a home? The old movies focused on helping all those less fortunate without turning it into something ugly or politically correct. This movie shows that it can be done in a way we all embrace.


Top Ten Movies For Christmas Countdown:

10. Miracle of 34th Street  – yes, Santa is depicted as “real”, but I love the idea of family here, and the spirit of Christmas, love, and joy (which comes from Christ permeates this film.) I spoke to my children about the parallel of believing and the importance of prayer. The blessing, something the child wished for, is translated into prayers and perseverance.

9. The Christmas Card — okay, bear with me. This was before my son joined the Army, and still, our hearts went out to the soldier who was lost, craved a family, and found his dream come true in a card a random stranger sent. This has a happily-ever-after ending, and my children still quote parts of the movie. Here the emphasis is on the importance of spending time, even for strangers, and the benefits it brings to those in service.

8. The Bells of Saint Mary’s– a black-and-white film about the true meaning of Christmas and accepting God’s will in our lives.

7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is classic CS Lewis and has an underlying theme of good vs. evil and the importance of wisdom and faith.

6. Holiday Inn  – a true old-time classic with singing and dancing. I grew up with a family that loved these movies.

5. White Christmas is another old movie about the strength of friendship and the deeper truth of the meaning of the season, especially as Christmas songs were sung and remain classics today.

4. Christmas Carol — I’m sure most of you have this on your list. The haves and have-nots are classic, but the brokenness and loneliness of many at this time of the year are portrayed well. The important lesson of being joyful even where there does not appear to be a reason for joy is shared well.

3. The Star — this movie was one of our network sponsors when it first came out, and while a cartoon and silly in many instances, this still shows the Holy Family’s trials and the animals’ heroic efforts in saving them. Surely it is a stretch of the Bible narrative, but it is well received by children with many lessons of good vs. evil.

2. The Fourth Wise Man – you may not have heard of this movie, but it is a tear-jerker. This is a fictional account of the magi who didn’t make it with the other three, yet the Lord used him in a mighty and powerful way. It culminates at the time of the crucifixion, yet I still consider this a Christmas movie for the older kids. Watch it first before showing it to younger children, although this movie should be on everyone’s list with the stuff they watch these days. It shows the extreme sacrifice does not go unrewarded.

1. The Nativity is my all-time favorite. So many scenes here bring to light the reality of what the Holy Family must have endured. You see the selflessness of Joseph, the trials of Mary, and the steadfast love of family. My favorite scene is an encounter with a poor shepherd on the way to Nazareth.

Ready to fire up the popcorn? One thing we did recently, thank you, son-in-law, Bill, for telling me about it. We took our extensive DVD collection and ripped them onto a Plex system. We can now stream our movies through our TV.  We place movies we have purchased, and so many DVDs now come with streaming. I’d rather have my collection in one place than use streaming services, and I can organize them on my computer by category.

I pray you have a blessed Christmas, and beginning with this collection and adding your own, I’m sure your focus will remain on the reason for the season! If I didn’t mention a favorite of yours please post your suggestions below.

Last Minute Planning ~ For The Holidays

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Last Minute Planning For The Holidays | Here we go; the holidays are upon us, and now is the time to fine-tune that list and get to the last-minute planning. I have a sure-fire way to keep you on track, and I will share this method with you on today's episode | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #LastMinutePlanningForTheHolidaysLast Minute Planning For The Holidays ~ Episode 508

Here we go; the holidays are upon us, and now is the time to fine-tune that list and get to the last-minute planning. I have a sure-fire way to keep you on track, and I will share this method with you on today’s episode!

Thanks to our 10th birthday celebration sponsors. Check out our Homeschool Matters free eBook here

Catch these great podcast:

Last Minute Thanksgiving Treats

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Thanksgiving Crafts 

Have you looked at the calendar yet? Do not stress out – repeat after me, “I am not stressed!” A quick “Dear Lord, help me!” goes a long way as well. No worries, I’ve got you covered. If you are a long-time subscriber to my ezine or have listened to this podcast over the years, you’ve heard me talk about my 4-Square Planner. I am attaching two forms to this episode in the show notes. So, if you want to print them out, you can.

Last-minute planning takes organization, and it is time to find it fast if that is not your gift. I use a method where I take a sheet of paper and divide it into four equal parts. They are not squares, more like oblong boxes. Then I write faith/ prayer, kids, homeschool, and household.

4-Square Planner – Blank

4 Square Planner – Filled Out Example

Quickly fill out this page, and you will have a thumbnail sketch of what needs to be accomplished this week. As I record this, we are fast approaching Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so on. This planner can be used daily or weekly. Personal use is permissible.

Now, here is the secret to last-minute holiday planning: it is okay to cut corners. I know making your favorite dip, covered strawberries, or that favorite pie is at the top of your list. But, this year, I give you permission to delegate where you can and to buy already prepared if needed. (Mashed potato story on-air.)

But I promised help, so here is what we will do. We’ll make a list using the 4-Square planner idea, then cut where we can.

Felice’s 4-Square Planner List:


  • Pray first thing in the morning
  • Ask the Lord to guide me
  • Pray for discernment.


  • Postpone unnecessary activities
  • Allow time for puzzles or board games
  • Enlist the kid’s help
  • Assign specific chores.


  • Finish assignments
  • Put away school books and supplies
  • Clean up the schoolroom or area

Household Cleaning!

  • Pick up first clear up the clutter

Example of Last-Minute Planning:

If you are down to a few days before the holiday, the one place you can cut back is food. Or, you can assign it to others! This year, my brother offered to make a turkey and stuffing and bring it. Yay! That was super exciting to hear. Someone else is bringing some sides and making the rolls. In years past, I’ve done it all and was exhausted. If I make rolls, I make them ahead and freeze them about three weeks before an event. I try not to do anything last minute, but it has happened to the most organized or planned person.

Household Food

  • Green bean casserole
  • Mashed Potatoes – other
  • Homemade rolls – other
  • Roast (prep ahead)
  • Turkey – other
  • Stuffing – other
  • Sweet potato casserole – other
  • Cheesecake
  • Apple pie
  • Mini-pumpkin pies
  • Dipped strawberries
  • Turkey-shaped cookies – other

Does this help? I hope so! Having a quick list that you can scale back, cross out, or call and delegate makes it easier to manage the last-minute planning. No matter what the holiday or the season, there is always so much to do. I pray you have a blessed event, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even if you are listening to this at Easter time! It is always helpful to lean on a friend. Hope I’ve been here for you.

Hope and Thanksgiving, A Step in Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

hope and thanksgiving | Is there hope when you are devastated or have a loss? There is hope and thanksgiving joy, but it takes a choice. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastLet’s Talk About Hope and Thanksgiving with Felice Gerwitz

Is there hope when you are devastated or have a loss? There is hope and thanksgiving joy, but it takes a choice. Have you felt like things were hopeless? Is there a time when you felt like the Lord was asking you to thank Him and praise Him even when there was no hope? In this episode, Felice shares this time with you – and it took place some time ago. Trusting in the Lord, she stepped out in faith.

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Resources mentioned in this podcast

Media Angels, Inc 

Homeschooling With Proverbs. 

Hope and Thanksgiving

When something horrible happens depression knocks on our door and it never wants to leave. All we can think about is what we don’t have or who isn’t there. If we lose a loved one during the holidays that makes it even worse. We remember the time we had, but often can’t remember the good in our time of grief.

At times when we feel depressed, we are telling ourselves things that make it worse. Our well-meaning friends or relatives may also add to the depression or hurt. There are stages we go through and sometimes we just need to allow time to heal but that does not mean we ever forget.


Homeschooling and The Holidays

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschooling And The Holidays | Yes, it is that time! Homeschooling and the holidays can be a joyous occasion, and with some quick tips, you can truly balance both. In this episode, Felice shares what worked for her family of very different children. And best of all, you can still include those events planned during the holiday season | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #HomeschoolingAndTheHolidaysHomeschooling And The Holidays ~ Episode 507

Yes, it is that time! Homeschooling and the holidays can be a joyous occasion, and with some quick tips, you can truly balance both. In this episode, Felice shares what worked for her family of very different children. And best of all, you can still include those events planned during the holiday season.

Thanks to our birthday sponsors! We have some wonderful sponsors for our 10th Birthday party, and along with that, we have a freebie just for you. If you go to the Media Angels website, you can download our Homeschooling Matters eBook. This book is for new as well as veteran homeschoolers. It has a place to journal your ideas with writing prompts.

Helpful Podcasts for streamlining your homeschooling during the holidays:

Streamline Your Homeschool 

Streamline Your Homeschool Take Two

Best Homeschool Scheduling Advice

Scheduling Your Highschool Year

Thanksgiving Crafts

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Here we go, the most wonderful time of the year. Right? So, what do you do to balance out your homeschooling and your holiday traditions and parties?

Homeschooling and the Holidays – To-Do List:

  1. Pray: The first thing I typically do is pray. I need that peace that surpasses all understanding before I can tackle the day-to-day craziness that the holidays seem to bring. As I record, Thanksgiving is about three weeks away, and Christmas is after that.
  2. Look at my homeschooling schedule. What can I cut out? Or, can you cut back on lessons? I have several podcasts that can help. The best advice is to plan for the holidays when you plan your new school year. (Unit on composers shared on air)
  3. Look at my household schedule. What can I do to make meals simpler yet nutritious, without resorting to box meals or eating out, but free up some time?
  4. Look at my calendar for upcoming events. Are they on my schedule? Did I forget anything?
  5. Add Ons:
    • Crafts
    • Parties
    • Baking
    • Activities

Next, I look at ways to do dual activities. These are the best! They are learning but doing something fun—for example, crafts and reading.

Crafts: I love to decorate my home with fall leaves; living in the south, we don’t get the seasons, so I bring them indoors around September. Decorations are fun, and you can enlist the kids to help. Many times, I did dual activities when they were younger. Practicing cutting skills helps your children to have hand strength. Pasting and making crafts is a good way to improve hand coordination in little ones. Using their efforts in fall decorations is a plus, with bright paper chains that take little effort. I had the children do a simple craft while I read them a book. This is an excellent way to get a literature lesson or go over math facts orally.

Here is a link for Thanksgiving Kids Crafts. You can do this at Christmas time as well, with decorations, ornaments, or even gift-giving. Here is a link to a podcast, Great Gifts Kids Can Make.

Learning Games – again, another way to allow the children to “play” while teaching them skills. I did this as my children were older as well. They loved educational games. This was a purchase I budgeted for each new school year. I would add one or two games.

Baking: This is an excellent skill while teaching the children science (chemical reactions), math (measuring), safety (hot oven, mixer, and using the food processor and other tools safely), fine motor skills (cutting out the dough, rolling the dough into balls, carefully adding ingredients, etc.)

Activities: Such as visiting the nursing home. This teaches the children acts of kindness and helps them to empathize with those in need. Many of these residents have few people, if any, left in their lives to visit. Adopt a grandparent. We did this for some time, and my children enjoyed the visit. We went weekly after church.

If you have older children, do not discount doing fun activities like puzzles or crafts. They may not have the same enthusiasm but it builds up your family and makes memories. I am so blessed that all of my children will be home for Thanksgiving this year, and I did not think that would happen. It is truly a gift. So, enjoy your children! (I know you are told the years go fast — but when you are in the middle of it, it is hard to appreciate what you have!)




Vintage HS Moms – De-Junking & Homeschool Organization

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Are you ready for a fresh start this coming new year? But where do you start, and how do you avoid losing those important documents or treasured mementos along the way? Fear not, for Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis, experienced homeschoolers, are here to share their invaluable insights and tips on how to navigate the maze of dejunking and organizing for a smooth-sailing academic year.

Let’s Talk About DeJunking & Homeschool Organization for the New Year

Are you ready for a fresh start this coming new year? Want to know more about homeschool organization and decluttering?  But where do you start, and how do you avoid losing those important documents or treasured mementos along the way? Fear not, for Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis, experienced homeschoolers, are here to share their invaluable insights and tips on how to navigate the maze of dejunking and organizing for a smooth-sailing academic year.

with Felice Gerwitz & Meredith Curtis 

You will so love this! Felice and Meredith share years of experience in homeschooling and now, they discuss great tips for getting your life organized and not losing those precious treasures or important documents.

➡️Episode Sponsored by the 10th Birthday Celebration Sponsors of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network ✔️ out the $350 giveaway, too!


Felice & Meredith: A Wealth of Experience

As hosts of numerous homeschooling podcasts, authors of insightful books, and mentors to many, Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis bring a wealth of experience to the table. Their journey through the realm of homeschooling has provided them with a deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs that come with the territory.

The Art of Dejunking and Homeschool Organization

Dejunking – a word that might sound a bit daunting, but fear not! Felice and Meredith emphasize the importance of decluttering to create an environment conducive to learning. But how do you begin this process without feeling overwhelmed?

“Start small,” advises Meredith. *”Don’t try to declutter your entire home in a day. Begin with one room or even one corner. Set achievable goals that won’t leave you feeling exhausted or demotivated.”*

The duo also stresses the significance of involving the whole family. Dejunking can be a shared venture, teaching children the value of organization and decluttering while fostering a sense of responsibility.

“Make it a fun activity,”*Felice suggests. “Create challenges or set time limits for decluttering sessions. Encourage kids to find items they no longer use or need, promoting a sense of ownership over their space.”

Organizing: A Key to Success

With a decluttered space comes the need for effective organization. Felice and Meredith understand the importance of preserving important documents and cherished memories.

“Invest in organizational tools,” says Meredith. “Folders, filing systems, or even digital storage can be lifesavers when it comes to keeping track of academic records, certificates, or cherished keepsakes. Labeling and categorizing are your best friends in this journey.”

However, they also stress the significance of finding a balance between sentimentality and practicality.

“While it’s essential to treasure memories,”* Felice shares, *”it’s equally important to be selective about what you keep. Encourage kids to choose their most cherished items, and perhaps consider digitizing some memories to save space.”

The new year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start, and organizing is the cornerstone of success.

Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis offer a treasure trove of tips and guidance to navigate the often-daunting task of dejunking and organizing. Their insights not only ensure a clutter-free environment but also foster a sense of responsibility and organization among the family members.

So, as you gear up for the new year, take a cue from these seasoned homeschooling experts. Start small, involve the whole family, invest in organizational tools, and find the balance between sentimentality and practicality. Here’s to a well-organized, clutter-free, and successful academic year!

More Dejunking and Homeschool Organization Resources

Harvest Your Child’s Strengths

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Harvest Your Child’s Strengths ~ For Any Age ~ Episode 506

Harvesting Your Child's Strengths | Vintage Homeschool Moms on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Harvest time calls to mind many things, but this is a perfect time to work on your child’s strengths and develop them more fully. Each of us has gifts and things we do well. This podcast discusses how you can encourage your children to achieve.

This show is a celebration of our ten-year podcast birthday. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network has undergone some name changes, and we are still here and better than ever, with wonderful presentations for the entire family. Enter the giveaway.

Each child has a strength; some you can easily distinguish, and others may be hard to find. Finding your child’s strengths is our topic today.

I recently listened to a presentation by a speaker who shared that we all have an anointing, a gift from God. When we work in this anointing, we feel empowered at enthusiastic. However, when working outside of our anointing, that blessing and grace from God, we feel tired and down, as if a weight is on our back, and we trudge along having to do whatever “that” is in our life, but not doing it happily.

This happens to all of us, doesn’t it? Think about something you enjoy doing.

Do you enjoy homeschooling? Doing faith-filled activities? Doing crafts with the kids? Do you like to bake? Are you organized? Do you enjoy spending time with your family? Taking the kids outdoors to explore? Are you good at finding unique books or topics to study? Do you make school fun? If your answer is no, no, and no, don’t worry! The idea here is to find something you enjoy and think about the why.

  1. What activity or hobby do you enjoy?
  2. Where did you first learn you had a gift (or anointing) in this area?
  3. Why do you enjoy an activity or hobby?
  4. How often do you do this enjoyable activity?

I believe it is the same with our children. When we work within our talents, gifts, or anointing, it does not seem like work; in fact, we highly enjoy it and are motivated to do it often.

You may enjoy these activities to help you find your child’s strengths.

Building Relationships with Your Children 

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Celebrate Fall Baking

Stress Free Fall Activities

So, how do we harvest their strengths? First, by observing.

  1. What types of activities does your child enjoy? Musical? Academic subjects? Art? Activities such as crafts. Physical activities such as sports?
  2. How does your child exhibit their strengths?

(Coming soon – a freebie we are putting together to help you print off quick checklists.)

I created a list that might be helpful; look at this as a springboard to consider what your child does well. Once you consider their strengths, you can discuss ways to enhance them and perhaps encourage new ones. In fact, you can have them. See the following PDF for your personal use.


  1. Character -honest, responsible, persistent, works hard, gets along with others, reasonable self-control, thinks about others over self, etc.
  2. Communicates – storyteller, communicates thoughts and ideas well, listens, articulates, and is persuasive, etc.
  3. Social – has a way with people, an extrovert, has good friends, is polite, has leadership abilities, works well with others, plays and shares, follows rules, has good relationships, and is well-liked, etc.
  4. Emotionally mature – has good common sense, is a half-full rather than a half-empty person—sees the good in things and others, is able to handle disappointment, is empathetic, has good intuition, etc.
  5. Academic – does well in school, reasons well, has good memory, can multi-task, is focused, likes to read, writes well, enjoys a particular subject, etc.
  6. Logical – can figure things out, good at problem-solving, has an interest in math, science, computers, or engineering, etc.
  7. Hands-On — is good at fixing things, can do puzzles or legos (building) well, strong visually, etc.
  8. Physical or hands-on — good at sports, active, enjoy playing active games, physically strong, has good flexibility and balance, physical endurance, likes to exercise, likes the outdoors, etc.
  9. Fine Motor — good at details, creative and enjoys crafts or building things, good hand-eye coordination, etc.
  10. Empathetic – has a good sense of self, sympathetic to others, has a strong or growing faith, understands and senses when others are hurting, etc.
  11. Musical or Artistic or Creative— Musical: can sing, understands rhythm, can play a musical instrument(s), enjoys practicing; Artistic: is creative, artistic, has good eye-hand coordination, can draw what they see, has an eye for beauty, etc.; Creative: has a good imagination, has great ideas, dramatic and creative, good memory and original, etc.
  12. Technical— computer savvy, good at coding, analytics, good at research, and learning with hands-on and trial and error.
  13. Spiritual — understands there is more than what we see in this world, realizes that faith is an integral part of humanity, knows that God exists, bases their world-view on Judeo-Christian principles, has a good philosophy on life, and is empathetic.
  14. Hobbies – various

When your child exhibits or demonstrates any of these strengths (and I’m sure I’m leaving out many), they are normally energized and focused. Why do they enjoy movie night, but it is a struggle to get them to read a book or do an assignment? We can’t always work within our strengths, but we can recognize them and address those that need work.

My granddaughter is good at crafts; she taught herself to knit and crochet, and she still enjoys this activity as a seventeen-year-old. Yet, I found she had an aptitude for working with her cell phone and on computers. What does knitting have to do with computing? She is organized; knitting is creative but sequential. You get one stitch wrong, and it messes up the entire thing. Similar to computing. I taught her audio editing and graphic design. She already had an aptitude for creativity and technology, so it was an easy fit. Perhaps she has a future in web design or more.

This gives you a quick idea of how to use a child’s strengths, even something they enjoy, and helps them develop it into something more. If your children are little, you can help them develop in more minor ways. Giving them time to explore their interests. Children are often overwhelmed without time to develop their gifts. Be sure to pray and ask the Lord for help in this area; you will be surprised at what you find.

This show is a celebration of our ten-year podcast birthday. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network has undergone some name changes, and we are still here and better than ever, with wonderful presentations for the entire family.

Be sure to enter our special birthday giveaway here, which includes a $250 cash giveaway!

Sponsors of Harvest Your Child’s Strengths

This podcast episode: Reading Eggs

Sponsors of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network’s 10th Birthday Celebration:

Number One Homeschool Podcast Network

Common Sense Press