This & That: What’s Going On Around Here

Happy Summertide everyone! It’s been a full few weeks for me and thus…a lot quieter in my digital spaces. This morning, I thought I’d take a minute to pop in and visit for a few minutes and share a glimpse of my days lately!


  • I spoke at the Kansas City Catholic Homeschool Conference last weekend – what a fantastic time! I met so many friends I’ve known for years as “online friends” and I met so many new friends! The weekend was such a blessing to me and I got to talk about things that I’m really passionate about:
    • Rebuilding Culture by Doing the Next Thing
    • The Morning Basket – Ageless and Inspiring
    • Planning – in the Home and for Homeschool

    Thank you Kansas City for extending such a warm welcome, and thank you to the ladies that worked so hard to ensure that all the many details of organizing a conference were in place so that the weekend was a time of refreshment and inspiration for so many!

With my friend, Katie D’Arcy, speaker coordinator extraordinaire!
  • I’ve been enjoying chatting with y’all as a sort of mini-retreat following CiRCE‘s Restful Teaching Series! We’ve made it through four of the five lectures and uncovered some very interesting insights about the liberal arts, the correct categories for teaching (truth, content, and skill), how to plan appropriately, and more! The whole series has been wonderful and being able to talk with you ladies through a Zoom chat has been a blessing – this is how technology can work for the good and connect us across the miles! I’d love to have you along if you’re interested in joining in! Drop by my facebook event page where all the details are! Everything is free! (And if you haven’t yet – go like my facebook page! I’ve got some more interesting plans for you that I’m going to be announcing on facebook — things like LIVE Q&A! Come ask me your burning questions and we’ll brainstorm! LIVE! But you’ll only hear about it on my facebook page!)

Let's Discuss

  • Wedding planning! Sarah and I have been meeting up once a week to discuss and book different aspects of her plans! The Mass time is set so all of the most important details are wrapped up and ready to go! We can check:
    • reception location
    • (almost all) flowers
    • music
    • wedding dress & alterations
    • and reception decor

    …off the list! This week: it’s cake!! It’s delightful seeing Sarah’s vision and plans…and being with her as she expresses and executes her vision! It’s a little like all her narrations I listened to for all of those years, and how I could see glimpses of her unique personality through those narrations. And now, I see more expressions through this! What a beautiful young lady she’s become, and how exciting it is to be alongside all of this! Below: this is me…frantically and excitedly tucking planning books in my bag as I head out to our meeting with the fabulous ladies of Rustic Elegance! It’s amazing and exciting to be planning 2017 already!


  • Planning for next school year! We wrapped up a really productive year in early May and I’m working on next year’s plans already! I’ve got a preschooler, a 3rd grader, a 6th grader, and a 10th grader next year. I’ll share a few sneak peeks of my new lesson planner and the bookshelves that I’m working on for next year. I’ll get a post together soon (I hope!) reviewing last year (9th, 5th, 2nd) and sharing plans and booklists from last year with you – it wasn’t all perfect, but it was really good!.



The beginning of planning – lists, lists, lists!


ABOVE: I’m trying to show you that I uncoiled and recoiled and now have an Erin Condren “franken-planner” teacher planner for my Morning Basket plans and all the administrivia I keep up with – LOL!!  I moved the lesson plan pages behind each month, just like in the Life Planner (in the issued teacher planner, all the weekly lesson plan pages are together behind all the monthly spreads, which are kept together at the front of the better. I like the planner MUCH better when the months and weeks mix!


Books are set out on shelves (top to bottom: Year 10, Year 6, Year 3). Lauren’s little preschool picture book cart is in the very left corner of the above picture. Here it is set up for this month…


I’ll refresh the things I have set out for her each month.


There are a few pages in the Erin Condren Teacher Planner that are really geared toward classroom teachers – like this checklist page. I just cover what doesn’t work and rename – and then the page is useful to me! (You can read about how I planned in my Erin Condren Teacher Planner last year, but this year I’m using my planner differently and I’m excited to share!)


  • I’m flying up to Grand Rapids, Michigan to speak to a wonderful group of homeschoolers at their Grace Gathering Conference – that’s in July! If you’re a Catholic homeschooler in the Grand Rapids, MI area – go register! I’d love to meet you!


  • And then there are the normal day-to-day things – like meals and menus, laundry and potty training, drivers ed and summer classes, birthdays and Father’s Day!

Life is full! Back to work for me! I’ll be back soon to chat more about last year’s homeschool books, plans, paper, pens, homeschooling high school, and life! Hoping your summer is underway and you’re enjoying it immensely!

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  1. I will be at the Grace Gathering! I have been catching up on your blog during the past few weeks and can’t wait to hear you speak! 🙂

  2. Jen, I think this is my favourite type of post ~Love all of the bits and pieces. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve just found your blog through iheartplanners, and I feel like I’ve stumbled on a new, wonderful friend! (I’m trying to say that in the least creepy way possible. haha) I’m a fellow blogger and homeschooling mom of 4 (with #5 on his/her way). We’re pretty new to homeschooling though so I’ll probably be digging through your archives and getting all the tips and help I can. It’s great to “meet” you!

  4. How difficult was it to uncoil and then recoil the planner? I’ve got mine sitting here in front of me and I really like the idea 🙂 Might even be able to add a couple of my own things then too.

    1. It wasn’t that difficult. I watched a couple of youtube videos first, and I came away with two ideas – when bending the metal coil piece around it has to match up with the bend in the rest of the coil or it will rip pages as you recoil, and clip or rubber band your guts for easier recoiling. Those two things saved me. I did scratch my coil just a bit in using the needle nose pliers, but it’s on the inside so I can’t feel it, and it doesn’t seem to affect the turning of pages. I added lesson plan pages to mine (from another ECTP I got on sale), so it’s thicker and is just a bit too thick for the coil now. The planner is probably fine as it is, but adding any clear pocket pages, my notepad, my zipper pouch – anything additional – will put it over the edge. I’m kind of sad about that. Good luck! Overall, I’m glad I did it! I love the lesson plan pages behind my monthly pages!!

  5. As always love catching up with your doings.
    How exciting that you went to the Kansas Conference, and off to another one!
    Love hearing the wedding planning excitement 🙂
    So pleased you had a productive year, they’re the best. Well the other years have their own merit too.
    Can’t believe your next son is up to Driver’s Ed already! Our fourth child is about to hit the road on his own soon.
    As always love drooling over your cart 🙂

  6. It was SUCH a pleasure to meet you!! *Big happy smile* Thank you for sharing your tidbits, words of wisdom and experience. And, of course, so sweetly allowing us to browse through your planners….that was a huge help! I bought your “Morning Basket” talk and am looking forward to re-listening every year to keep me up-lifted and inspired. 🙂 By the way, if you’re ever in the market for re-designing home learning spaces I know a place you can visit. 😉

    1. It was so wonderful to meet you, too, Lindsay! Speaking to all of you was such a blessing – and I love sharing! I’m so glad you found some ideas and inspiration – I pray that sets a tone of joy and peace as you plan for the upcoming year! 🙂

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