Homeschool Book Review

My friend Renee Brown, over at Great Peace Academy, fulfilled a long-time goal of hers by writing and publishing a book! When she contacted me to see if I’d be willing to read and review a copy, I jumped at the chance.

Ohio HOmeschooling Cover250Renee is a fantastic writer plus I’m passionate about her book topic, so I knew this would be a great fit for me.

I wasn’t disappointed. “Ohio Homeschooling: Guide and Directory” by Renee Aleshire Brown provides a wealth of information to fellow homeschoolers, and to those who are considering homeschooling.

This book starts out on the technical side of things by explaining Ohio laws and regulations: Do you need to have a college degree? What subjects must be covered? Who do you answer to? What should you do if a school official questions your educational choices? Not only does Renee answer those questions (and many more like it), but she also includes links to forms that Ohio Homeschoolers can read and fill out to help simplify the process.

Renee then offers several very organized, well thought-out lists of local homeschool opportunities, divided by region. These wonderful lists are complete with helpful links to a multitude of homeschool cooperatives, support groups, field trip suggestions, and meet-up opportunities.

Homeschool enhancement classes are broken down into opportunities by subject such as art, music, and physical education.

Field trip destinations provides ideas and opportunities that span across the entire state. These helpful categories include Amusement Parks; Arboretums, Parks, and Nature Preserves; The Arts; Business and Industry; Farms and Orchards; Museums; History; Science; Sports and Sporting Events; and Zoos and Animal Preserves.

Photo from page 15 of "Ohio Homeschooling: Guide and Directory"

Photo from page 15 of “Ohio Homeschooling: Guide and Directory”

I live in North-Eastern Kentucky and I quickly realized that, while the Ohio laws regarding homeschooling don’t currently apply to me, the homeschool field trip guide alone makes this book a valuable tool for people living in the states that surround Ohio (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan).

Renee did not leave any area of Ohio untouched when she researched homeschool opportunities and I’m adding many of her ideas to my “must visit” list.

In addition to laws and field trips, Renee provides fabulous information about different homeschool methods and she does so in a way that offers freedom to homeschool families as she helps parents see why they don’t need to fit into any one particular method of schooling. Renee shows why one teaching method isn’t necessarily better than another; although she does explain how some methods may be a better fit for individual families than other methods.

Within the section of various homeschool methods, Renee provides links to a few curriculum options as well as helpful links to more information for those who would like to learn more about a particular method.

“Ohio Homeschooling: Guide and Directory” also includes helpful information about – and direct links to – homeschool stores, both in person and online (this is another section that is very helpful for those who live in one of the surrounding states).

Ohio HOmeschooling Cover 350 Just ReleasedWant more information? You can read a little bit about the author, Renee Brown, here, and you can go here to see what other people are saying about Renee’s book.

Renee also has several products and resources available for FREE, including a free meal-planning eBook, so make sure to check our her resource page.

If you want to buy this book, don’t wait! “Ohio Homeschooling: Guide and Directory” by Renee Aleshire Brown is currently available for a just released special price of just $2.99, but the book cost will soon increase to $5.99 (which is still a great value due to all of the wonderful, well-presented information and resources that are provided within the eBook!).

PS If you don’t live in Ohio or a surrounding state, but you know a homeschool family who lives in or near Ohio, please do them a favor by telling them about this book!

(Note: an affiliate link is used in this article, but as always, I would write about and recommend this resource even if no affiliate link was available.)


Unglued – Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions (Book Review)

I want to talk to you about something serious I’ve noticed that makes me feel sad.

When I’m out in public, I see women acting ugly. Everywhere. At the park, the grocery store, restaurants… women lose their tempers and “let people have it” every day. Whether it’s geared towards their kids, a stranger, their spouse, or someone on the phone, they act in very unbecoming ways.

I know that people have bad days. I know people are stressed out. I know they don’t feel well, and the exhausted mom told her child 20 times to stop whining before she snapped at him. I know. And I promise I’m not judging – in fact, I cringe inwardly as I wonder if I’ve ever been one of those people (actually, I’m sure I have – I just don’t really want to admit it on the Internet).

That’s why I want to tell you about a book – this is something I believe every woman in America (and probably many men) could benefit from reading.

A good friend first introduced me to the book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa Terkeurst, so now I want to be that friend to you. You see, when this friend started talking about a book she was reading to help her learn to properly handle her emotions, I was immediately interested. When she and I got together in person and I could see that she was actually calmer from within, instead of just pushing raw emotions down, I knew I had to read the book.

I read Unglued with the hopes of gaining a few new tips about handling negative emotions a little better. I came away with so much more than that.

I learned that burying feelings inside is just as harmful as letting them out improperly. I was given tips, tools, and scripture for how to properly handle confrontation, disappointment, anger, and other types of conflict.

I also learned that some relationships can be toxic, and Lysa gave wonderfully insightful tips for how to break free from the toxicity of those relationships.

One thing I love (and dislike!) about Unglued is that Lysa never allows us to excuse our behavior. I kept waiting to read the chapter that would offer excuses and reasons for coming a little bit unglued. You know; exhaustion, stress, PMS, someone calling to say they’ll drop by in 10 minutes when nobody has showered and the house is a mess…

Lysa never did that. She never gave me the excuses I was looking for. And I’m glad she didn’t.

Lysa Terkeurst talks about how God shapes and molds us, and she discusses how to work on managing our feelings as we allow God to chisel us. Lysa calls this Imperfect Progress, which is now a favorite term for my friend and I as we encourage each other in our Unglued journeys.

Imperfect Progress means I’m not going to handle my raw emotions properly 100% of the time. And that’s not an excuse – that’s just life. Our struggles won’t disappear until we’re in Heaven, which is part of the beauty of God’s grace. He loves us and forgives us anyway.


In spite of the fact that I may never fully “get there” with my emotions, I can keep making progress. When I get upset, I can choose to extend grace and to realize that nobody else can control my emotions.

Reading Unglued and going through the DVD series (which was filmed in beautiful Italy!) has helped me to realize that even though I may get upset and react poorly, I don’t have to stay in that place. I can apologize. Then I can move on. I can let God chisel.

Here’s the Unglued book trailer (blog subscribers, you may need to click over to the blog to watch):

What about you? What tips do you have for properly handling raw emotions?

(NOTE: This article includes affiliate links but this is an important topic and the post would have been written the exact same way if I didn’t have affiliate links.)


Doing More With Less: A Book Review

I love a good book. My favorite kinds are books that inspire me, broaden my perspective, and offer great advice when I’m headed down a new-to-me path.

That’s why I picked up the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.


For those of you unfamiliar with this book, here’s part of the description from Amazon:

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”

While part of this sounded extreme to me, I thought “7″ might offer some tips on simplifying so I decided to give it a shot, figuring I’d get a few new ideas and that would be the end of it.

I was wrong.

At first, I resisted the entire concept of “7,” particularly in chapter two. Wearing only seven articles of clothing for an entire month? I immediately dismissed that idea by deciding it’d be unappreciative of the other clothes in my closet.


I didn’t realize that I was missing the big picture – stripping away the excess helped Jen to develop a stronger sense of empathy towards those who would be glad to have seven whole items to choose from.

Then I got to month three – where the author told about her journey towards ridding her home of excess. As in, a full house declutter. I was so excited to read this chapter. I just did a full house declutter earlier this year, so I was sure I had this one down!

Wrong again.

The first real tug of conviction I felt in this book came when Jen described what she did with the items – she gave them to the homeless. That wasn’t a huge issue for me at first. My family and I had gotten rid of a TON of stuff this year. After we decluttered, we gave what was left from our yard-sale to Goodwill, which often gets shopped at by the poor. So that’s practically the same thing, right?

Or not.

The author didn’t just dump a load of stuff at Goodwill or a homeless shelter. Jen searched to find needs, then she hand-delivered her items directly to the poor to meet those needs.

Jen reminded me in chapter 3 that:

“Sometimes the best way to bring good news to the poor is to bring actual good news to the poor… when you’re desperate, usually the best news you can receive is food, water, shelter. These provisions communicate God’s presence infinitely more than a tract… They convey ‘God loves you so dearly, He sent people to your rescue.’” – Jen Hatmaker


I realized that I depend on the government (my tax dollars) and the church (my weekly contribution) to do my job of meeting the needs of the poor and needy.

The problem with that is God didn’t ask the government. He asked the church. The church is made up of people.  I am one of those people.

Jen says that we bless the abundantly blessed and neglect the poor. She’s so right. When I think about who I invite into my home and who I give gifts to, I realize that generally, I am just blessing the blessed. And while there’s nothing wrong with blessing people who aren’t poor, I know I need to make sure that I’m striving to meet the needs of the poor more often.

I’ve often wished that I could take an overseas mission trip to build houses, help start gardens, or teach women how to cook nutritious meals for their families. But in my personal desire to go far and wide to help the poor, I’ve closed my eyes and my heart to many of the needs that are right in front of me. And deep down, I know that I can help the poor from right where God has planted me.

Thinking about doing overseas mission work is definitely easier than actually doing real services close to home. That’s partly because true poverty scares me. I’m not sure how to tell when I’m actually helping someone or when I’m enabling them to live a lazy lifestyle – I don’t always see the difference between the truly poor and those who just want handouts.

Food Drive

So I justify my lack of service by telling myself that I don’t know the other person’s story. Someone may just throw away the food I offer or spend money I’ve given to them on drugs. Guess what? That’s between them and God. Whether or not I reach out? That’s between God and me.

“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:15-18

I still have so much to process from 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. While I don’t agree with all of Jen Hatmaker’s theology, I admire her zeal, boldness, and candid thoughts about her own journey towards ridding her life of over-consumerism. This book is changing my view in a way that’s making me feel very uncomfortable and I’m not completely sure if I like it. But I know that I desperately need it.

(Go here to watch the book trailer.)

Linking Up


Fresh Home eBook Bundle: Organizing, Cleaning, and Time Management Tools You Need to Get Your Home Clean and Tidy

{SPECIAL NOTE: This sale is now over, but each eBook can still be purchased individually!}
Fresh Home Digital ebook bundle

I’m just going to come right out and say it – I’m a horrible sales person. At my first yard sale, people would pick up items they were thinking about buying and I’d say something like, “It feels so great to have that out of my house; our home is so much cleaner without all this junk in it!” Then the person would respond with, “Yeah, I should do that to my house too” before putting the item down and walking away. You’d think I’d eventually realize the error of my ways and stop talking, but no. I kept making those comments. All. Day. Long.

In addition to being a terrible salesperson, I’m always thinking of ways to get items cheaper or figuring out how to just re-purpose what I already have instead of buying something else, and I love helping other people find great deals as well. I’m the person who will say, “You don’t need to buy that book! Borrow my copy!” Or, if I don’t have the book? I’ll offer to lend a friend’s copy. (I’m sure my friends love it when I lend their stuff out to people they don’t even know!)

So, perhaps needless to say, advertising something that’s for sale makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. I do however love to pass along information about great deals that I think will be beneficial to other people. With this in mind, I’m going to go ahead and let you know about a great deal on two topics that I’m passionate about – organization and time management, which also happens to be perfect timing for the new school year!

A Bowl Full of Lemons and Clean Mama have come together to bring you an amazing set of e-books and tools. These fantastic resources will help you get your house clean and organized and your time in order. This exclusive bundle will only be available until 11:59 p.m. EST this Thursday, August 15th, so grab yours now! While this bundle is valued at over $100, it is available to you, our readers, for only $15 (or less than $1.00 per e-book or tool)! “Fresh Home” is the perfect bundle to get you back on track as a new school year begins and new routines are being implemented in your home.

Fresh Home Ebook Bundle Ad


Clean Enough: Simple Solutions for the Overwhelmed Homemaker is packed full of practical tips and advice to encourage you in your high calling and help you become a less-stressed housewife.
Christine has put together an easy step-by-step plan for you to create your own cleaning schedule that fits your lifestyle, your preferences, and your family. It will help you Create Your Perfect Cleaning Schedule.
Cleaning Around the Seasons is a comprehensive guide for anyone that needs to do some deep cleaning and doesn’t know how to start or where to fit it in to a busy schedule. With an easy to read style and quick start approach, you can read it and get started all in the same day.

Inside this easy 50 page read you’ll find a new approach to starting down the road to a simplified and more organized life. Rather than instructions on how to fold your T-shirts or organize your pantry, you’ll take a look at your daily habits and weekly routines to start thinking differently about how to efficiently spend your time.
Can you imagine being able to find ANY piece of paper in your house anytime you needed it? 10 Steps to Organized Paper will motivate, encourage and walk with you step by step while you turn your mountains of paper into organized systems.
Getting It Together is an ebook designed to help you set up your own Home Management System that works. It includes a step-by-step tutorial, and over 30 printables that you can use to start your system right away!
Getting organized is the key to keeping busy moms sane. As a professional organizer (and mother of two active boys), Sara Pedersen shares her favorite tips and easy processes to guide you to an organized, efficient, happy life. You’ll learn how to organize your time, your clutter, your kids, and the abundance of paper and other things in your busy life.
Emergency Preparedness outlines step by step directions on how to put together an Emergency Survival Station in your home. The E-Book also comes with a “printables kit” for the Emergency Binder with several pages to fill out your family information.
Need a bit more simple in your life but unsure where to start? Simple Living is written for you. Using minimalist principles Lorilee has created a 30 day course, taking less than 1 hour a day that she guarantees will give you a simpler life.
All of us want to be more organized…and here are secrets and strategies for doing just that! In this ingenious book, the authors of “Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems” reveal how to clear clutter once and for all, with ingenious organizing ideas, secrets for repurposing items you already have at home, and much, much more. “Who Knew? Get Organized Now!” uncovers hundreds of tips and ideas to help you clear away clutter and become more organized than ever before!

Tell Your Time: How To Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free outlines Amy’s straightforward, step-by-step approach to controlling your schedule and ensuring the important things don’t fall through the cracks.
Full of useful tips and funny confessions, “28 Days to Timeliness” is packed with practical information that will help teach you how to manage your time so you can be on time.
“How To Get Organized” is designed to help you organize your time better. It includes pre-made schedules and lists along with information to help you make your own customized schedules.

JOYS Babysitter Notebook is a simple pdf for busy moms who want to empower their babysitters to make the best choices, no matter the situation.
Citrus Paper Company’s complete home binder printable set includes ALL of their binder printables to keep your life and finances organized and beautiful!
Clean Mama Printables’ Cleaning Kit is a comprehensive tool sure to streamline your cleaning routine and maximize the time you spend cleaning. This simple, printable kit has six original documents and introduction sheet that can be used together or separately – any way that works for you!
Fresh Home Digital ebook bundle

{SPECIAL NOTE: This sale is now over, but each eBook can still be purchased individually!}


Time Management eBook Bundle – 5 eBooks for just $7.40!, 5 eBooks for $7.40!If you haven’t purchased my book “28 Days to Timeliness” yet, now is a great time to buy it because for this week only you can get my book plus four others for just $7.40!

“Tell your Time” by Amy Lynn Andrews was the very first time management book I’d ever read and it helped me to realize that I am in control of my own time, not a victim to it. There is enough time in our days, and we just need to learn how to prioritize and make the most of the time we’ve been given.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you don’t have enough time to do the things you need to do, or if you want to learn to be a better manager of your time, then I highly recommend purchasing this bundle – it will be $7.40 well spent!, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Here’s more information from the Book Bundle website that includes a description of each eBook:

Running a household, caring for children and still finding time to pursue your passions is not an easy order, but this week’s bundle is designed to give you the tools to make the most of the 24 hours you’re given each day. Discover tips for creating schedules and routines, the importance of rest, strategies to help you be on time and more!

Get this bundle for almost 60% off this week only.

Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews
Tell Your Time: How To Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free outlines Amy’s straightforward, step-by-step approach to controlling your schedule and ensuring the important things don’t fall through the cracks. It’s short and to the point with no fluff or filler. This little ebook will help you accomplish not only what’s on your to-do list today, but what’s on your to-do list for life.

Honoring the Rhythm of Rest by Daniele Evans
In a culture where many of us are simply moving too fast and pausing less often for a break, for time off or for intentional rest, Daniele offers a better way. Honoring the Rhythm of Rest will encourage and equip you to understand the meaning of true rest; to ask of yourself ,”Am I living intense, or intentional?”; to counteract the myth of doing it all; to consider 3 intentional ways to practice rest; and to journey back from burnout!

28 Days to Timeliness by Davonne Parks
Two years ago, Davonne began working on becoming more timely, and she decided then that if she could ever figure out how to be on time, she’d write a book about it.  Throughout her journey, she discovered what makes some people late, tips and tricks other people use to be on time and how to enjoy freedom and spontaneity within boundaries as she made significant progress in her own life. In 28 Days to Timeliness, she shares 28 short, easy-to-read segments that take just a few minutes to go over each day with a practical course of action to help you be on time.

Creating a Schedule That Works by Marlene Griffith
In Creating a Schedule That Works, Marlene offers you the tools to help you create and implement a schedule that works for you and your life. Her simple, straight-forward approach shows you how to break your day into bite-sized pieces by scheduling four blocks of time in your day to help you meet the demands of your day-to-day life.

The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy Roberts
With plenty of charts, printables, examples and links, The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule includes step-by-step instructions for creating the perfect homemaking schedule as well as a bonus section on creating the perfect homeschooling schedule. Amy shows you how to work with your unique family dynamics, how to make a schedule stick, how to delegate chores and more!

The Time Management for Families bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 6/24. Get yours today:, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Click here to purchase your bundle!

PS If you’d like to read even more about Time Management, subscribe to this blog to receive your FREE copy of my eBook “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms.” Go here for details.


14 eBooks to Help You Get Organized in 2013

Photo Credit: Crystal Paine,

Is it really obvious that my favorite blog is Money Saving Mom?

Here’s an example of why: Crystal Paine recently compiled a fantastic list (complete with her mini-reviews!) of 14 of her favorite time management and organizational books. I feel very honored that my eBook, 28 Days to Timeliness, is on her list!

I personally love:

Go here to check out all 14 of Crystal’s recommendations.

In addition to Crystal’s list, I love 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton for home organization tips and motivation.

What is your favorite time management/ organizational book, and why is it helpful to you?


Coupon Code, Giveaway, and Book Review at Simply Living

Karen DeBeus at Simply Living for Him is offering a 50% off coupon code for my eBook 28 Days to Timeliness. The coupon code goes through Thursday, November 1st, 2012 at 11:59PM EST.

And that’s not all!  Through tomorrow, October 30th, you can also enter to win a copy of my book on Karen’s website. There will be FIVE winners, so don’t miss out!

A special thank you to Mrs. DeBeus for hosting this giveaway and coupon code.



Book Review: 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

I received a pre-release copy of 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine (Money Saving Mom) to review. The book was excellent and full of great tips and advice about how to work towards becoming more disciplined without burning out.

My favorite part of 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life was the Mega Project challenge - Crystal has the reader choose a project the reader has been putting off, then Crystal helps to break the project down into 21 steps, 1 day per step.  She offers different tips and motivation at the end of each chapter for how to accomplish the 21 Mega Project steps.

This book is like having a personal trainer for self discipline!

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life also includes encouragement for the “I wish I was as good at ___________ as her” syndrome. She encourages readers to stop comparing and start embracing their own uniqueness.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to develop more discipline in their own life, for those who find themselves caught up in the comparison trap, or for people who (like me!) tend to come up with a fantastic plan, start out at 100 mph, then crash and burn after two days.

The chapters are doable and wonderfully motivating to assist with lasting change, not just a temporary fix to a long-term problem.

BONUS: Through Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life is available for just $0.99!  After Thursday, the price will go up to $4.99, so be sure to order your copy now!

Go here to purchase the PDF.

Click here to purchase the Kindle edition.



Book review by Renee Brown: 28 Days to Timeliness

My timely friend Renee Brown, who watched me grow up, wrote a review on her blog about 28 Days to Timeliness. I am so thankful that people are taking the time to read my book and are being so open and honest about their own experiences and reactions to what I wrote!

“I looked forward to reading this book thinking of how wonderful it would be to experience Davonne’s voice in print. I did not imagine the book’s advice would be applicable to my life. I soon found myself chuckling because it wasn’t very long before I began to see that there were many tips I could use in my daily life.” Renee Brown

Go here to read Renee’s full review.


Looking for My Voice

I just finished reading You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins and it is really, really good. In his book, one of the things Goins talks about is having a focus by finding a writing voice.  This book has helped me to realize that, as of yet, I’m clueless about what I really want to blog about.

Some of my favorite writers are Crystal Paine, Sarah Mae, Jon Acuff, and now Jeff Goins. I read their books, I visit their blogs, and I can hear their voices. They’ve found their niche.

I wrote a book (and people are buying it!) but I still haven’t figured out this blogging thing. I think of dozens of topics I could blog about but I wonder: Does this tell others what I want them to hear?  I want to be interesting, I want to share me, the real me, and I want it to matter, but which part matters the most?

I’m still looking for my voice, and I hope that when I find it, we’ll know. Thank you for joining me for the ride.