10 Tips for New Homeschool Families

Homeschooling is hard y’all! Luckily I’ve had some great mentors to help me along the way. But in our post Covid world, that might not be true for many of you reading this. So here I’ve collected my most favorite advice and tips for new homeschooling families.

1.) Don’t have strict lesson plans with rigid scheduling. This ensures you will be disappointed and behind. Schedule in plenty of breaks and spread your curriculum out over the entire school year, rather than planning on doing “a lesson a day”. This way if you get behind you should have plenty of free days to catch up.

2.) Don’t plan exact times. One of the worst things about homeschooling is that everyone assumes you are available. Do not be surprised at the amount of disruptions you will have throughout the day. Planning strict times for subjects, or exact blocks for learning is a futile endeavor. Even during quarantine you will be surprised at the various things that come up during the day.

3.) Have a backup plan for bad days. There will be days when you absolutely cannot read one more page to your kiddos, complete one more art project, fight over one more math problem. There will also be days when you or the kids are ill. You need a backup plan! Have a few educational videos up your sleeve for days when you need a few minutes peace. And plan a couple of lessons that another family member may be able to teach them.

4.) Never underestimate the importance of “real world skills”. Homeschooling is more than rigorous academic schoolwork. We are, after all, raising them to eventually leave us. Children need to know how to do simple household chores like doing the dishes and sweeping the floor. Making dinner is a great time to apply math skills by measuring, timing, and following detailed instructions (recipes). And laundry! Did you know that one of the biggest difficulties for college freshmen is doing their own laundry? Now is an excellent time to show them how to remove simple stains, treat, sort, dry, and iron their own clothes.

5.) Administer a skills test. Yeah, I know. This is the one thing everyone complains about and one of the major problems with public schools. HOWEVER, if you give your child a test you will have proof, for yourself and school officials, of your child’s skill levels and knowledge. We use the California Achievement Test, primarily because it is so cheap and they provide very quick results. You can get it here: https://www.shopchristianliberty.com/special-service/ The results help me determine the holes in my instruction and give me a boost of confidence in my ability to teach these tiny versions of myself!

6.) Weekends are sacred! No matter how behind you are, resist the temptation to work through the weekends. Children need a break and parents do too! No matter what, save at least one, if not both, days in the weekend for rest.

7.) It’s tempting to micro-manage everything your kids do. But, it’s not only unrealistic, but it is a disservice to your kiddos. Unless your child has learning disabilities and REALLY need constant instruction, it’s best to have some assignments that they must complete entirely on their own. Children who are homeschooled are insanely independent! Working on their own gives them more discipline, and guides them into being more responsible adults.

8.) Encourage independent time management. In my household we do not have bedtimes. I’m a serious night owl and have no interest in getting up any earlier than I have to. This has resulted in a fair amount of criticism from others, but after a healthy talk with my kids’ pediatrician and a careful examination of what I am and am not willing to do, I completely stand by this decision. And, the decision to nix bedtimes has resulted in one positive side effect: my children are very good at time management. Both can and do set their alarms for times they want to get up, and are independently responsible for ensuring that I know what they need from me for their activities. Modern work environments are rarely ever the 9-5 schedules of our parents, the boomers. Encouraging time management now, and responsibility for their own activities, is a sure fire way of giving them a leg up for when they begin working.

9.) When all else fails, read! The most important thing you will do during homeschooling is reading to your child. It is more important than math, history, science, handwriting- everything! Almost every subject can be caught up on, but a robust vocabulary takes time and pays out pretty impressive dividends. When you can’t do anything else, read!

10.) Don’t be afraid to trash bad curriculum and start over mid-year. Ask lifelong homeschoolers and they will all tell you the same; we’ve all had that one curriculum that we paid money for, but turned out to be a horrible choice. Don’t be afraid to toss out anything that doesn’t work for your family! There are plenty of cheap (sometimes free!) curriculum out there. There is no reason to feel guilty about trashing it and starting anew! Staying committed to finishing a book or program that you or your child hate will only result in burnout and bad attitudes. We had a history curriculum once that was so boring that almost every time we pulled it out one of us fell asleep in the middle of it!

Bonus tip! When homeschooling gets to be too much, follow the example the Lord gave us in 1 Kings, Chapter 19. Elijah was so bummed he asked for the Lord to take his life. What followed was a series of naps and snacks (delivered by an angel no less!) until Elijah could cope. Moral of the story? There’s not much that a snack and nap won’t fix!

Homeschool 2020/2021, Middle and High School

A new year and new challenges for our homeschool family! We have already homeschooled for a number of years, so I did not expect so much change to occur due to Covid-19. Boy, was I wrong!

We basically lived in our Jeep, we traveled so much!

It’s been a while since I last posted, so let me catch you up. In January our family made the decision to move back where my husband and I grew up in Kentucky to be near to family and teach our children some of our mountain culture. Little did we know at the time that the world would go tipsy in just a couple of months! By March we had an offer on our Florida home, and by April we were rushing to move prior to the shut down of our state. We literally threw everything we could in a Uhaul in less than 48 hours after the governor made the announcement that he would be restricting travel in Florida and instituting a statewide lock-down. We made it out of Florida with 15 minutes to spare!

Country Roads, take me home.

We are so blessed to have a place that family provided completely free to us that is well taken care of and meets all of our needs. And, our kids are adjusting, albeit slowly, to living a slowed down life in the country.

Prior to Covid-19 we had discussed if we would be putting our oldest into high school once we got here, but Covid has made that decision a little bit easier. Some of you may be struggling with this choice yourself given the limited options for our kiddos with this horrible virus. The online options for public school don’t always work for every kid, so I hope our selections this year might give you some relief, should you decide to take the plunge and homeschool them completely out of the system.

Below are our homeschool choices for our kiddos into the 2020/2021 school year! I’ve included links to review and purchase, as well as a quick description and whether or not that work is secular.

Abby, 11 years old, 7th grade and Allie, 14 years old, 9th grade

7th grade curriculum

Math: Teaching Textbooks. http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/ We love these books! Now, full disclosure, we can not afford the CDs, BUT teaching textbooks allows you to purchase the books on their own, and both my husband and I are decent in math so we don’t need the CDs. They are available though if Math is not your thing. These books are short and to the point, and have a reasonable amount of problems rather than some of the others we’ve tried that basically bore your child to death. (And mom too). They are also secular.

Science: Mr. Q’s science. https://eequalsmcq.com/ I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum! It is secular science, which is preferred in our household because we are Episcopalian and most homeschool science curriculum is oriented towards those of the Baptist or Catholic faith. It is also VERY robust! I mean, these textbooks do not dumb anything down! It is of a level you would expect in upper high school or college classwork. They also include labs which use normal household items that are easy to find or purchase without breaking the bank. Cons: the textbooks are only digital, which mean not only dishing out the Benjamins for the textbooks, but also the paper and ink to print it all out. Regardless, I cannot recommend these textbooks enough! The best science homeschool curriculum I have found thus far. I only regret not finding them sooner!

Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful. https://www.goodandbeautiful.com/ Y’all! This curriculum is STUNNING! It is beautiful from cover to cover. This Language Arts program combines language arts, geography, and arts into one very coherent and easy to follow package! It is easy to follow along, and each year touches upon something different, so by the time your child graduates high school they have reviewed several kinds of art mediums, and geographic areas of the world. It is a pleasure to look at with colorful pictures and interesting sections. It is also ridiculously affordable compared to other, similar curriculums. The website offers “clean” versions of books, which we do not necessarily need in our home, but is a nice choice for those who do censor their children’s intake. It is a christian curriculum, but is nondenominational, which works well for us. It is also quite classical in nature, and yet enough Artsy Fartsy for people like us! Ha! Cons: No cons for the language arts HOWEVER, I also purchased one of the science modules for Abby and was not impressed. I did not find that it was robust enough, and required too much parental involvement to make schooling multiple children of different levels possible.

9th grade curriculum

Reading: Boomerang. https://store.bravewriter.com/collections/boomerang-single-issues We’ve decided this year to just read! Both girls struggle to write and find it the most awful, no-good thing about schoolwork. I happened upon Bravewriter in one of my Facebook groups when another mother was struggling to find something that worked with her kiddos as well. We purchased the single issues of Boomerang and will beginning our school year reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. We hope to cover 1 book every month and a half. I let the girls pick out a book that they wanted to read, and then filled the rest with popular books that had movies made based on them. This way we could read, watch the movie, and then discuss. By doing this I hope that Allie (our child with dyslexia) can get more out of the study. Also on our list to read this year: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

History: We have two different books to read for history this year. Despite my pleas, my 7th grader refuses to study U.S. History this year and is only interested in Chinese History. Sometimes when you homeschool you’ve got to just go with the flow and use that curious momentum to teach whatever they are interested in! Therefore, she will be studying Chinese history using the books written by Mark Edward Lewis, a professor of Chinese culture from Stanford. We are starting in chronological order and learning about the Qin and Han dynasties first. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674057341/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 We will purchase additional books as she/if she completes them. I’m not wasting any money should we get halfway in and then suddenly she can’t stand one more minute of Chinese History and wants to switch to Egyptian or Scandinavian. This is also not a book I recommend for your average 11 year old. Abby is an advanced reader. Most children her age would find the vocabulary prohibitively difficult. But, hey, maybe you have an Abby too!

Allie’s history selection was my preferred choice for this year. It is Freedom, A History of Us by Joy Hakin. This is an award winning book on which the PBS series was based. She also has a series of books for younger children that are wildly popular. I like her writing particularly because she approaches history in a more fair and realistic fashion. Too many homeschool history curriculum amount to little more than fairy tales of a grand US narrative, rather than covering the complex and diverse reality of history in the US. It is for this reason alone that many view these book selections as “liberal”, which is not a fair critique or factually accurate. What you will not find here is “white-washed” history, which is precisely why it has, as of late, been labeled “liberal”. Again, not fair, and please do not shy away from it if you tend to be more conservative. Do expect, however, to see history from the viewpoints of the various cultures that live in the US rather than the predominant viewpoint. Link to the version we are using: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560047747/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Link to the smaller volumes which are better for younger students: http://www.joyhakim.com/a-history-of-us.html

Other: We usually have a very busy schedule in our household. A typical homeschool week usually includes scout meetings, dance, and music lessons. We just don’t know how soon we will be able to integrate these into our lives with Covid-19. There are a few extra things, however, that we’ve added to our year to keep things interesting.

Duolingo: both children enjoy duolingo. This is a free app where you can learn various languages and is almost exactly like Rosetta Stone. Abby is currently learning to speak Spanish, while Allie is learning French.

Curiosity Stream: this costs $2.99/a month through Prime and has numerous documentaries to watch about hundreds of different topics. Listen to me folks- you NEED something to plop your kids in front of on days that you are overwhelmed, sick, or something important comes up! Trust me! Additionally, your kids need a variety of ways to learn. Book learning isn’t going to work for visual learners. You never know what your child will watch that will spark that love of learning (exhibit A: I’m reading Chinese History this year, lol)! I have intentionally planned out our homeschool year to have lazy, easy going Fridays. Every Friday the girls can select something to watch. It’s easy, it’s educational, and mom gets a small break to grade those papers!

Supplies: Oh, good Lord above, the supplies! You’ve heard Jesus take the wheel, but in this house we say Jesus take the checkbook! This is by far where the most money is spent. But, it is also where the money is BEST spent. A ‘good valued’ supply item is essential to learning at home.

Supplies we already own: each girl has her own computer (essential in 2020- computer literacy is vitally important), Apple ipad with pencil, and a printer. Each girl also has a dry erase board (lap sized) to work math problems on.

Leuchtturm1917 notebook: a good notebook is key to creating a love of writing. I let the girls choose the color for their notebook. Bonus points: you can watercolor inside these books if desired, it has a table of contents, and it is a hardback and very durable. I also use these myself, and can attest to its superior quality. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0095FFUM4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Clipboards: we learn mostly at the kitchen table, but sometimes only the couch will do. These clipboards are cheap, colorful, and very handy! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K92YVBP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Watercolors: these watercolors are very vibrant and offer a wide range of color choices. We really like how pigmented they are. Bonus points: it comes in an adorable mint tin which makes it easy to take on the go. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FYG3BBV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Watercolor paintbrushes: The quality of these brushes is better than most I’ve seen at local craft stores! they are perfect and come with various sizes to choose from. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GCRRBY9/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Hole punch: Buy the better hole punch. No. Just do it. After you go through 4-5 of those stupid cheap ones, you will see that you should have bought a good one to start with. Buy this, thank me later: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UCBJIG4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Poly envelopes: these envelopes make it easy to divide school work for the kiddos. At $14.99 for 42 it is an excellent value! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DHG6PCY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Drawing set: we needed a good drawing set for the language arts curriculum. I am not someone who can draw. This set, however, has all the parts I think we will need. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K1PRYMY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Soft pastels: vibrant and many different color choices! The pastels are small, which is good for tiny hands. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086WZ95T6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Fixatif Spray: To keep those pastels where they belong! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00023JE7U/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Drafting tape: requested by our language arts curriculum. Helps keep edges and borders neat and straight on artwork. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q75SZMN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pastel paper: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024KMQ6K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Tracing paper: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0027AAIB2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Watercolor paper: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JWN7G18/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Ticonderoga pencils: Don’t waste your money on cheap pencils. These are truly the best and the girls really enjoy writing with them. For some reason my children do not enjoy using mechanical pencils. https://www.amazon.com/Ticonderoga-Wood-Cased-Graphite-Pre-Sharpened-13818/dp/B002VL5IJO/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=pencils&qid=1596250448&s=office-products&sr=1-4

Mommy’s supplies and favorites:

Mildliners: The best highlighters! As the girls complete a lesson, I highlight that in my planner and then write the grade they received for that assignment. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0752WWCTN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pentel Sharp drafting pencil: my favorite pencil to use. The weight and diameter is perfect for lots of writing. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0040V1U4U/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Ball point pens: Every woman needs a good pen! These are heavy and beautiful. They come with a refill and you can buy more as well. They are very good quality and write like a dream! https://www.pengems.com/

Gel pens: these gel pens are so nice! There is a good ink output and no discernible skipping present in other gel pens. They are also refillable. https://shop.villabeautifful.com/

Planner: there are many great planners out there! I personally enjoy a vertical planner for planning such as ones from Erin Condren, Happy Planner or Recollections. While there are many good teacher planners out there, they typically have a lot of wasted space for student info that we do not need as homeschoolers. Having used many kinds of planners before, I have found the hourly vertical format works best for my family. Bonus tip: use the “Year at a Glance” section in front and transparent date dots to plan out your school year. I use a particular color, for example, to label the days we do not have school (like holidays, fall and spring breaks, and birthdays).

Fun extras:

Professor Noggin’s History Card games: We own several versions of this trivia game and Abby (11 years old) loves it! http://www.outsetmedia.com/brands/professor-noggin

Owlcrate: every month Owlcrate sends a book to your child and several book themed goodies. Abby loves getting this every month, as do I! Although Allie does not read (she’s the one with dyslexia), she enjoys getting the goodies from my (adult) box. I credit this subscription to finally getting Abby interested in and LOVING reading. https://www.owlcrate.com/

MelScience: were you the kind of kid who liked making a volcano or blowing things up “for science”? If so, then you will love MelScience. We don’t currently have this subscription, due to moving and so forth, but might start again soon. Every month they send you all the things you need for a Chemistry lab experiment. Think bunsen burners and chemicals y’all! **Note: for adult supervision only. https://melscience.com/US-en/

There we are! 2020/2021 school year ready to go! I hope that these selections might help you, or give you some ideas on how to build your own homeschool curriculum, independent of expensive sets! None of the selections above were particularly expensive, and were bought over the course of a few months to make the total purchase price much more affordable.

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted on this lovely blog of mine. This Christmas has been a difficult one as the majority of the Ray gals are down with a nasty virus (even the furry canine Ray gal is ill). Abby is the one sole holdout, although she’s been running hot the last day or so, so I would not be surprised if she were not fighting the germs!

Until that time, she’s been crafting and creating a smorgasbord of artwork. I’ve hung our new additions right behind our vintage Christmas tree which I have newly glued ornaments onto and acquired two new stars- a pink and aqua- both of which I adore, but ultimately I settled upon the aqua one.

I had so many plans for this Christmas! Unfortunately, this virus had plans of its own. I have quarantined myself to nearly three whole days in bed. My sole comfort being a festive and throat soothing Cranberry soda and vodka tonic. Good for the throat AND good for the soul. I need ALL the ice!

I have a couple of new crochet patterns that I‚Äôm getting ready to share with you in the coming weeks. One of those patterns is a mason jar cozi that I put on my soy candles once they are purchased. They are cute and provide a nice pop of color and lantern type of effect once the candle has burned down a little bit. So, stayed tuned for that! Oh, and my soy candles are selling like hot cakes! …um cake ūü§§

December was filled with lovely little planner surprises as well. Check out all these goodies!

Washi from Bloomsical and Simply Gilded, planner cover from Stylish Planners, and felt poinsettia from Fir and Yew.
Planner cover from Stylish Planners, and bookmark from Fir and Yew.
Planner covers from Stylish Planners, felt flower from Fir and Yew.
Look at this beauty up close! Absolutely a work of art! Hard to believe it is handmade! Fir and Yew.
These adorable clips are from Peonies Paperie . Aren’t they the best?!?! I have matching ones for January and February, but those will be shown in a future post.
And what would Christmas be without a couple Pioneer Woman purchases?
These were supposed to be used on Christmas Eve to make cookies with the girls ūü§®. Obviously that didn‚Äôt happen.

Until next time, you adorable little crumpets,

The Colourful Teacup

The Planner Society September box!!!

You guys!!! My September planner society box has arrived! And, as always, it is amazing! I just received it today and I could not wait to take pictures and post them for everyone to see.

Now this box is super random! I mean, generally the boxes have a color theme and they all go together, but this box is REALLY random! And yet, it still all manages to look great. It has silver and gold highlights, but rather heavy on the gold side.

Here are a few of my favorite things.

This pen is filled with water and confetti, and has a little bow dangle with a lobster clasp that can be removed and put on your notebook or planner. That blue also happens to match my new PeachPom clip and spread (pics below for comparison). I am super feeling this rich deep blue for the fall/winter season.

My PeachPom clip and spread (I’ve already used most of the sheets, but I’ve been hoarding the deco page):

Here are the washi with this month’s box. The top three are part of the washi subscription which I get in additional to the regular box. The bottom three (10mm, and two 5mms) came with the monthly box subscription. Super excited about those 5mms!

It’s that 10mm floral just to die for!?!? ¬†I love her dedication to florals. ¬†One I share, and I hope she never gives them up!

And speaking of cute little clips, check out this one!  Foxes are amazing little furry animals and this box is FULL of them!

Post it Notes…

And, a patch!  Gosh I love these patches!


She has also spoiled us with another sticker album.  These albums sell for major mark ups on yard sale sites, like Mercari.  But I have no intention on selling any of mine!

Oh this paper! ¬†I need this in wallpaper! ¬†I feel like I’m using a lot of exclamation marks in this post but… !!!!!!!!!! ¬†It’s just perfect for fall, yet can be used any season.

Book marks or dashboards, depending on your preference…

The stickers with this box are gilded and go right along with the theme I had already selected from PeachPom.

I love that we have some bow stickers as well. ¬†I’m not sure I understand why bows are so popular right now, but I’m going to just go right along with it. ¬†And, they are super girly, after all!

My favorite stickers are these ladies in, not one, not two, but four hair/skin colors! ¬†Still not the right combination for my own color, but getting closer! ¬†I suppose “dishwater” hasn’t reach mainstream planner supplies yet, but at least I don’t have to look longingly at the blonde/black hair options and wish I had been born with a more popularly recognized color. ¬†Am I right, 80’s girls with the two barbie choices? ¬†Until ‘Shannon’ came along I had two choices to play with: blonde barbie (who I secretly hated, but always wanted to play with because my cousins wanted her for her luscious locks) or jet black crimped hair barbie (who I thought was totally rad, underrated, and would TOTALLY want to be my best friend in real life… and maybe help crimp my own hair. ¬†Bonus that she had the cutest eighties jacket and pantsuit EVER. ¬†I seem to have gotten off topic… ahem).

Nice to see that my daughters have more choices, in general, and the ability to find girls that are representative of all types of people. ¬†Parenting win: when my daughter picked out a “baby” with hair and eyes like mommies (brunette and blue- take that blonde haired barbie!). ¬†Marketing win: when the store actually had a brunette with blue eyes, which is so much harder to find than you’d imagine! ¬†Yay for representation!

And yay for well timed planner supplies!  I had been feeling a little blue, so these arrived just in the nick of time!

I have more goodies on the way and can’t wait to share with you!

Your planner pal,

The Colourful Teacup

Weekly spread

This week I have been so super sick. So this week I’m super ready to get out of this house and get busy! I’ve created a planner spread with remains from one of my favorite kits. This is it, slightly before the pen. Well, at least before I marked it up really good! The lighting is really horrible, but t is so pretty in person! I used mostly pieces from the June Simply Gilded kit.

And my pen from Planner Society July kit matches so perfectly!

Ugh, we are so behind in schoolwork now! My littlest is still suffering from this virus and isn’t interested in catching up either.

Gosh, I loves that little sticker: sweet ‚̧ԳŹ salty! Yeah! ūüź≥

I also found these little mermaid files that matched perfectly and I just so happened to need a new file after breaking my last one. Huzzah for happy coincidences! ūüßú‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ

Happily yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Simply Gilded August box

This box IS AMAZING! ¬†The value of this box ridiculously exceeds the amount I paid for it. ¬†I have not had a single subscription thus far that is this good. ¬†Every single item is well done. ¬†Nothing sticks out as not matching the theme. ¬†It’s just subscription gold. ¬†Before we had even received this box people were offering large amounts to purchase. ¬†Because Irene’s subscriptions to the boxes are limited and only so many spots open each month, there were many people who could not make it into the list.

First off, let’s talk about these washis! ¬†Rose gold accents, soft purples, book washi! ¬†It is amazing that she can create such solid pieces month after month. ¬†The book washi alone instantly became a highly sought after item.

I haven’t put this pouch down since I received it. ¬†It feels like blue jean and is so soft.

Inside, it is sewn with a nice polka dot pattern, and the washi fits just perfectly inside.  The bag actually opens on the bottom, allowing you to stand it up if desired.  I have it stuffed with pens, craft scissors, and my inhaler.  Because no one likes fuzzies in their inhaler.

I’ve attached this bow to the zipper of my bag and it has held up so well! ¬†I’ve had to attach it a couple of times because I am so rough with my things (pulling it in and out of my purse has been an issue), and it just keeps on holding on despite the abuse I have put it through.


We also received post it notes and a Juniper magnet! ¬†Hurray! ¬†I didn’t have a Juniper magnet yet and I am super happy I had not purchased one on my own. ¬†This Juniper has rose gold accents as well. ¬†Other items pictured are a journaling card (so magical!), two pockets, a TN, and sticker set!

I am slightly annoyed that the books in the pockets does not match the purple washi.  One book even says Lavender on it, but clearly is NOT lavender.  Granted, it is a nice blue, but I want lavender dang it!

As much as I loved these stickers, I had no problem ripping these suckers out and putting them in my planner!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

Such a lovely box!  And a great deal, which makes this spend thrifty mommy very happy.


the Colourful Teacup

The Planner Society August box

Oh this box is amazing!

I know I say that every single time.  But this time the box is in lovely shades of rose gold.  I never realized how much I like rose gold, but it matches these flowers and soft muted colors in such a lovely way.  It really is magical.

Ugh! ¬†Drool! ¬†I need more of this paper! ¬†Seriously, I want this paper to be my bed linens. ¬†It is perfect and screams summer in Kentucky to me! When I see this piece I think back to my childhood, lying under the dogwood tree, watching the clouds float by and disappear behind the mountain. ¬†Suddenly I am back home, on the mountain side, surrounded by all the flowers daddy had planted for mom. ¬†Roses, peonies, tiger lilies, bleeding hearts! ¬†I miss those summers when the clover begin blooming again, but the trees haven’t quite yet started turning. ¬†The summer days where dusk brings a nice crisp chill, but your day is still nice and long. ¬†Sigh. ¬†Oh, country summers, I miss you!

Sticker book!  These are super coveted items by TPS gals!  They have an incredible resell value.

Here are some more items included in August’s box!

Stickers, elastics, and binder clips (in rose gold, of course).


This pen! ¬†Ugh, so lovely! ¬†It writes like a dream! ¬†Also, puffy stickers, which I personally don’t like (they are too bulky for my bullet journal), but are super popular so far among other subscribers.


Pockets, labels, and a cute new habit tracker stamp!  That stamp is adorable!  I seriously need to find some good ink options!

Paperclips, note pad, and die cuts.  Super cozy looking!


Subscription box washi!  Those wild flowers have my heart!

Washi subscription!  I will seriously use up all of these washis!

These tabs are great! ¬†Christy has begun putting foil on all of her tabs and stickers. ¬†I loved these so much I made new tabs for my journal. ¬†Someone on the group site actually posted a “how-to” to make these tabs into reusable tabs, using regular office tabs and double sided sticky tape! ¬†Life changing y’all!

A close up of the habit tracker stamp!

Guess who got a new Bullet Journal? ¬†This gal! ¬†For those of you who haven’t followed along or who are just joining us, I use the Leuchtturm 1917. ¬†For weekly spreads I use stickers sized for the Erin Condren planners, as they are smaller and fit better. ¬†I use my bullet journal to track our homeschool assignments, my daily todos, dinner planning, and for my diary entries. ¬†This time I went with the berry color, medium, dotted. ¬†So far I have been very satisfied with these journal. ¬†There is practically no bleed through from my pens, AND you can apply watercolors.. ya know, if you are actually talented like that. Sadly, I am not. ¬†*sob*

Don’t mind the couch pictures. ¬†My living room couch is the best place in the house for good lighting!


the Colourful Teacup

Simply Gilded July box

I am not a fan of leopard. ¬†Like, at all. ¬†But I am a huge fan of toucans! ¬†And rainbows. And color. ¬†So I viewed Simply Gilded’s July box with a bit of mixed feelings.

We were really spoiled, I feel like with the items in this box.  We essentially received 8 washi tapes!  But, more on that in a minute.

Look at this journal card! ¬†Gosh, I do love Toucans! ¬†But, in all seriousness, I am not sure what to do with all these journaling cards that I keep getting. ¬†People, I have noticed, collect them and some put them in photo albums. ¬†It seems like as good of an idea as anything else, but I’m just not sure its worth keeping them. ¬†Others use them as a dashboard of sorts in their planner, but as I use a bullet journal that really isn’t helpful for me. ¬†I’ve also seen examples of people using them in picture frames. ¬†But I have enough “decorations” without piling more on. ¬†No, none of those ideas will do for now.

Post-it notes.  I get a lot of these with my boxes, which is fine with me because I use so many of them with my husband and his job.

Personal sized TN. ¬†These are one of the best items I receive. ¬†I just pop them in my purse and use them to jot down ideas, grocery lists, notes, etc, that I don’t want to add to my bullet journal.

This pen is seriously no joke!  It weighs a lot, writes like its made of gold (gel), and is just so pretty!  I did mention that I love rainbows?  Anywho, mine arrived bent on one side, but SP shipped me out a replacement.

I love getting bags in my boxes.  Again, not sure I will ever use this one, but its a nice touch for the boxes.

These stickers are amazing!  I love, love, LOVE them!  These will 100% be used!

Subscription box washi!  Three 15mm, one 10mm, and four 5mm.

The 5mm match the tropical themed washi.  Here it is with my 15mm tropical set:

So, all in all, a stunning bag.  Irene always does a phenomenal job on these kits.  The reviews appear to be mixed.  There are many items that I will never use in the kit, but still I consider it a solid addition to my Simply Gilded collection.

Colorfully yours,

the Colourful Teacup

The Planner Society July box

July’s Planner Society box was all about Unicorns! ¬†So much fun! I was a little in Unicorn overload considering the little one’s birthday party prep was in full swing when I received it. ¬†But, unicorn overload considered, it was jam packed with great items!

Let’s talk about my favorite part first. ¬†That pen! ¬†Little tulips, and flower confetti! Pastel rainbows! ¬†Look at me, I can’t even construct full sentences anymore! ¬†That’s how exciting this box was!

Also included was a cute new stamp and an adorable patch. ¬†Somehow I managed to keep the little one from “acquiring” my new patch.

As far as the stamps go, I am still looking for a good ink pad to use for all my TPS stamps. One of my friends suggested using a foam block to get a better result. ¬†And I’ve tried the stamp makers where you apply the color with a marker and then stamp. ¬†Hum… the search continues for now!

This washi is not only adorable, its very shimmery too! I’m not sure how often I will use it, but it definitely fit the summery mood!

The die cuts were just perfection this time around.


Post-it notes! How fun would these be to drop on your husband’s desk. LOL!

“Please pick up milk, eggs, and hey! ¬†How do you like my unicorn post-it notes?”

I love the tabs that the Planner Society include with all their kits.

Paperclip! ¬†Planner paperclips are so satisfying. ¬†They fall out all the time, so they aren’t too practical, but there is something so satisfying about seeing them poking out of the top of our little planners. ¬†They give it all such pizzazz.

Let’s see some more up close pictures of that lovely pen, shall we?

I miss Tulips so much! ¬†When we lived in Scotland I could have them practically anytime I wanted them, and now that I am back in Florida tulips just don’t stand a chance in our heat.

And here is another picture of that patch.  So sparkly!

This time Christy included these Vinyl Stickers.  I am not sure what I am going to use them for, but I am super excited that this is a new possibility for my future crates.  I really feel like compared to other kits, the Planner Society boxes are so sophisticated.  And vinyl stickers can be put on practically anything from water bottles to computers.

I LOVE it when there are pockets!  This time around there are holographic bows and scalloped edges.  I could just die!  They are so pretty!

That’s it for this crate!

Peace out dudes!

the Colourful Teacup

July Birthday Fiasco for the Tiniest Teacup

It was a birthday for the ages.  It started with a simple request.  My [soon to be] nine year old daughter requested that we have a birthday party for her this year.  Simple enough.

She wanted it to be a super girly Unicorn party.  Okay dokie.  Simple enough.

She thought it would be super cool if we could invite a bunch of girls over, swim, maybe do a craft, and create some epic swag bags.  Simple enough.

See where I am going with this?  Yeah.  It was NOT simple.  Next year she gets a birthday cake and a hardy handshake.

I thought, being the overly ambitious and crafty gal I was that I would crochet some bags for the girls, stuff them with some washi tape and a little homemade book (my daughter has inherited my love for all things planner), and maybe a couple pieces of jewelry. ¬†I’m great at crocheting pretty much anything with a pattern, and I’ve gotten fairly skilled at creating my own patterns as well. ¬†Well, I wipped up a sample bag in no time at all and thought- “Wow! ¬†I can totally do this!”. ¬†I was wrong. ¬†Oh, man, was I ever wrong!

See, I overestimated my ability to sew in the liners.

And I also forgot that I have zero foresight.

And I forgot I would have to make 15 of these bags.  FIFTEEN!  For the love of humanity!

But, alas, I finished with… well something. ¬†Not a finished product I’m terribly proud of, but decent enough I suppose!

They are crocheted with Special Stylecraft DK yarn, imported from the United Kingdom (my favorite yarn). ¬†The snaps are KAM snaps. ¬†The fabric liner is from a bundle I bought on Amazon of just random cuts of fabric. ¬†I had planned on writing the pattern out and sharing it with all of you, but.. ¬†don’t, just don’t. ¬†Just go buy something shiny and unoriginal. ¬†It’s not worth it y’all! ¬†My fingers were bleeding before I finished! ¬†I was flying by the seat of my pants, did not have time to properly block the crocheted part, and abandoned my hand sewing for a machine after the first one.

P.S. If you didn’t know, you can’t easily machine sew on crochet, as the machine gets caught on the yarn and tangles it with the thread from the bobbin. ¬†That’s if it doesn’t suck it into the great bobbin abyss. ¬†This was lesson number 15 million. ¬†And the worst one. ¬†Nothing like spending hours creating something to have it pulled apart in front of your eyes! ¬†Huzzah!

ROY-G-BIV… that’s a little relaxing. ¬†I loved all the floral and gingham prints.


Oy! ¬†Sigh… lesson learned. ¬†Moving on to happier items. ¬†Birthday party shopping! ¬†Squee!


What Girly Birthday party would be complete without pig-tail hair bows?  Well, not this one!  Every girl was sent home with her choice of a matching homemade (not by me- gosh not by me) pair.

(Don’t mind the great mountain of law books in the background. ¬†It’s my husband’s stack and it could not be moved in time for the party. ¬†I just sat things on top and used them as a kind of shelf, while getting the side-eye from the hubster, te he.)

We ordered some jewelry from China which made it super affordable to get great looking pieces without breaking mom and dad’s checkbook. ¬†What girl’s outfit is complete without her own set of pearls? ¬†And these rings are so AMAZING! ¬†Because I had to order in bulk, I got to select and keep several pieces for myself and I have received so many compliments on them.

Target spot pens and pencils!  Bright colors for a sunny child!

The setup y’all!

So much happy! ¬†But gosh y’all, Mommy is going to need the next few months to recover from this party. ¬†It was so exhausting!

Celebrating the not-so-tiny teacup,

the Colourful Teacup