E53: Don’t Let the Winter Blues Get You Down (Do the Polar Bear Plunge)

Today’s episode is a repeat from last year. We felt it was perfect after our family’s first Polar Bear Plunge in Lake Erie! (Kids included) Water temperature was about 43 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was invigorating.
In this episode we discuss the Winter Blues and how to embrace Winter.  We talk about what you can do to stay busy and active so you don’t get down or depressed during the winter months.
What fun adventure or challenge will you and your family create this Winter?
Hope you enjoy!

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We would love to hear from you so please email us with any comments or questions you have.
Visit us and all of our content, including our blog, at http://www.thehomeschoolprojectpodcast.com
As always, let’s Light A Fire They Can’t Put Out
Thank you for listening!

Show Notes:

1) Discovery Education – https://www.discoveryeducation.com/
2) Science Sparks https://www.science-sparks.com/
3) No Sweat Nature Study – https://ourjourneywestward.com/nature-study-book-list/
4) Cleveland Metroparks Winter Activities – https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/visit/activities/event-activity-types/winter-activities
5) Lorain County Metroparks Winter Activities – https://www.loraincountymetroparks.com/activities/#winter-activities
6) Best Sledding in Northeast Ohio – https://northeastohiofamilyfun.com/best-sled-riding-hills-in-northeast-ohio/
7) How to Love the Cold According to an Arctic Researcher – https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/how-love-cold-ncna836206

Keeping the Balance

Before I was a mom, I would get pictures from my mom friends of their kids in ridiculous situations. My response was always, “Oh my gosh are they ok?!?!” As a mom, now my responses is usually lots of laughing emojis followed by questions on how it happened. Whether or not the child is ok or not is my last question. This isn’t because becoming a mom made me less concerned for a child’s well-being, but rather, I realized another mom wouldn’t text me a picture if their child was actually hurt. Those text messages look very different.

This has led me to discover there are 2 types of parents out there. The first will take pictures when their kids are screaming for help, the second will run and help them. Which one are you? If we’re being honest, we are all both! As parents, we learn very early the different cries of our children. There is a distinct difference between a cry of panic and a cry of actual pain. When we hear that cry of panic, we know we will find our child stuck in a situation they shouldn’t have been in the first place. For example, my daughter has gotten stuck trying to climb into the high chair from the bottom. Or my son will get stuck with his head in his arm hole. Both cries result in me taking a picture to send to my husband and sisters (and friends and parents. Everyone really). However, that cry of panic sounds a lot different from when my son tripped on the curb and got a nasty scrap on both knees. “Is there blood!” is all I kept hearing for the 10 minutes it took me to clean him up. Yes there was blood. No he wasn’t going to die. But I’m sure our neighbors thought differently.

Why do us parents laugh at our kids in these moments of panic? Because we need the balance. We need to be able to express every emotion, including humor, when dealing with little humans. I also think this helps them learn to cope with situations that aren’t life-altering. Right now, we are teaching my 3 year old that not every situation requires crying. We cry when we are hurt or sad. We don’t need to cry when we put our underwear on backwards. We’ve all been there. Even as adults. And when we have those moments, we need to laugh. Life is giving us a moment to laugh at ourselves because things are probably super stressful (especially if we’re putting our underwear on backwards). So, take those pictures of your kids being ridiculous. Save them. Put them in a folder called “Future Spouse” and bring them up to share with the one who decides to marry your little one. You’ll thank me one day!

Blueberry milk and cereal

My baby sister once said I could create anything out of thin air when placed in the kitchen. I have to say she is right.
Tonight was another crazy night of feeding kids, getting things cleaned up, planning for the next day, breaking up fights (you know the norm.), and I realized I still needed to feed myself. What I wouldn’t give for a maid. But wait, that’s me! Ha!

Breakfast for dinner seemed like the easiest and quickest choice, only one problem: I wanted to boost up the protein and mix it up some. So I pulled out my protein powder, almond milk and stuck my head in the freezer to see what frozen fruits we had. Blueberries seemed to do the trick. Pulled out my blender and ended up with a bowl full of blue milk for my mixture of cereals.
That will do! Back to the craziness of the evening!

Blueberry Milk and Cereal

In a blender add:

1 cup almond milk

2 scoops of vanilla protein powder

1 cup of frozen blueberries

  1. Blend til smooth and add to a bowl
  2. Add your favorite cereal or, like I did, a couple of cereals. I LOVE kind cereal and Kashi cereal. Both healthy and oh so good!
  3. Grab your spoon and enjoy!


The last few weeks have not been easy. It started when I got sick. The fact that we would have to quarantine for two weeks didn’t seem all that bad. We made it to about 12 days, I was feeling great but then, low and behold, my daughter got sick. Start the clock over. Then like clockwork my wife started to feel ill. Start the clock again. At over three weeks of being stuck in the house the pity party starts to begin. Did I wrong someone and the universe is getting back at me? Did I do something terrible in my former life to make me deserve this punishment? The kids, my wife, and myself had enough. There is only so much you can do within the confines of your home. The problem with the pity party is that no matter how much you complain and how much you whine, nothing is going to change. In fact, its just self perpetuating. The more you complain the worse things seem to get.

So what is the alternative. The alternative is to make the best of what you have. For us that meant figuring out ways to bring the great outdoors to our own backyard. Our first mission was to admit that nobody likes a whiner and that includes us. After we go that out of the way we decided to go for a hike. We live on about 1 acre and we were determined to go for a three mile hike. We couldn’t take one more minute of being stuck inside. So, we put some backpacks on, filled them with some extra weight, and hit the trails. That meant us doing circles in our backyard for about 1.5 hours. Did I mention that is was cold and rainy? After we finished our hike we came inside, took a hot shower and had a delicious bowl of home made chicken noodle soup. It ended up being a wonderful day in our very own park.

Two days later we decide we needed more. We were feeling good. Creating your own adventures and your own recreation is liberating. It means that you are in control. For the past several nights the kids had camped out in the backyard. We had set up the tent and they slept out there on their own and had a blast. We decided we needed to take a lesson from people who know how to have a good time. Children! They don’t let a pandemic ruin things. They use their imagination and if you do that adventure is right around the corner. We spent that night in the tent and had an amazing time. We talked, we brought a bottle of wine, and we just enjoyed the beautiful night. In the morning we snuck into the house so we wouldn’t wake the kids and grabbed a nice hot cup of coffee and brought it back to the tent. The coffee even tasted better.

What it taught us is that a crummy situation is only that way because you let it be. Your outlook on life can change everything. There will always be times in life that will seem hard or depressing. The question is are you going to whine or are you going to create an amazing memory that will last a life time. Positivity can transform everything.


I am sitting down here to write as I take a break away from my to-do’s. So, the past weeks for personal reasons, have been very hard for me. Between the pandemic and the air surrounding the elections and other stuff, I have been extremely anxious. I cried every day last week because I was overwhelmed by negative thoughts and honestly mostly fear. It wasn’t until talking to someone that I was reminded that fear does not come from the Lord. That is very true… God does not give you fear but gives you a sense of security and peace. Anyways, in the middle of all my turmoil, I came to realize something that I had realized a long time ago and forgotten. The fear itself is actually worse than the actual things that happen. I had realized this in my 20’s I had too many fears and at one point I realized that my fears were so irrational. Now that I am in my 30’s, most of the fears that I stress so much about have never come true. I will say this: When you are scared of something, pay attention to it and analyze it. Maybe there is something to be scared about. However, if it leads you to some sort of deep hurt, then try to heal that. But if the fear is completely irrational, then just realize that you have that irrational fear and next time you get scared, that knowledge will help the feeling of fear. I promise this will help. I know sometimes our worst fears do come true. If that ever happens, ask God for help. I promise he won’t disappoint. Take it one day at a time and think “Today I am fine, my fear… it’s just negative thoughts today. It will pass”.

Aprendiendo (Learning) with Karla

So this week I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to give me some feedback of how I could help with learning Spanish. What type of content would you like me to work on and what would you like to see post?


I know there are people out there that hate to have their food touch. Everything has to be separated and can not cross over to the other foods side. I am not one of those people. My sisters say all I eat are salads, which is mostly true, but mainly because I love a gigantic mix of stuff. In fact, you will almost always find me eating something out of bowl. I like to find what I have, throw it in a bowl and eat it as I deal with life. Maybe I’m just lazy and I rather just shovel it all into my mouth since it’s all going to get mixed up in my stomach anyways. Ha, maybe.

Anyways, today was a day I wanted a BLT, only I was missing the “T” AND the “L”, so it would have been just a B sandwich. Not exactly what I had in mind. And I do like grilled cheese sandwiches, if I have some sort of salad or soup to go with it….but again, no salad stuff and my kids were not going to allow me to sit and enjoy a very hot bowl of soup. It would have been as ice cold as it was outside by the time they let me sit down. (Yes, Mississippi finally hit 45 degrees this morning and remained cold all day with an insanely cold wind and dropping more tonight!!! So I get to put a break on my trying to keep my winter tan going with the 80 degree temps we were having! Where was I?? Oh yeah…grilled cheese…) So I looked at what I had that would go well with crispy bacon. Cheese and apples. Sold. So I made myself a Grown up Grilled Cheese. And it was amazing!

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

2 slices of your favorite bread (I love Dave’s Killer Bread)

2 slices of Muenster cheese

half an apple thinly sliced

3 slices of bacon

a little butter

  1. First cook the bacon. I like to bake mine in the toaster oven. But in the oven at 375 for about 15min or on the stove top work too.
  2. Build your sandwich: 1st slice of bread-1st slice of cheese-All the apple slices-all the cooked bacon-2nd slice of cheese-top with second slice of bread
  3. Heat a small skillet on medium low heat and put the butter in there until it melts.
  4. Carefully placed your constructed sandwich in the skillet and let it heat up for about 2 min
  5. Carefully, using a spatula, flip the sandwich, and cook a few more minutes.
  6. Enjoy!


A beautiful marriage is built on the back of a beautiful friendship.  This is truly where it starts.  A marriage built on anything else is like a house made of straw.  It will bend and break at the first signs of a storm.  This friendship is built with time and experiences, heartaches and struggles.  Without these experiences together you have not built and laid the stepping stones that will allow you to walk along the path that is marriage.  Imagine a beautiful trail lined with wildflowers and tall trees.  The actual trail however is muddy and hard to walk through.  For you to make it down this path, these stones have to be laid so that your feet don’t sink and become stuck.  These stones are your experiences together as a couple and even as a family.  With every new challenge in life or every new obstacle overcome you are given a new stone.  When you lay that stone, you know that it is solid and it can be relied on for a place to safely stand.  It has been tested and you know that it is tried and true. Sometimes, people forget to put certain stones down and although you may be able to step around the spot that is nothing but mud, one day you will forget that it is not there and you will sink. 

As I said, my wife and I dated for six years before I asked her to marry me.  We grew together through college.  We were with each other when we took our first professional jobs and stepped into the real world.  We moved hundreds of miles away from family and built a life based solely around our love for each other.  Every issue and problem we worked through together as a couple.  We had nobody else to rely on but ourselves. We have been through it all.  These years were spent building a cobblestone path through the woods that is as solid as can be. 

Now, I’m not saying everyone should date for six years before they get married or that if you didn’t you won’t have the proper foundations.  What I am saying is that whatever your path is, make sure it is built on solid ground.  If your already in a marriage that isn’t what you imagined it to be, take a step back and see where the weak points are.  Build on those weak points by having meaningful conversations, quality time together, and last but not least, total honesty.  It is honesty about what you love about your marriage, what you want to change, and where you see you and your family in years to come that brings about real growth and healing. Remember, Family First.

Episode 51: Thanksgiving 2020 – Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events / When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Orange Juice

Hello everyone and welcome back! Today Nathan and I are flying solo as we reflect on all that we can be thankful for, as we recorded this on Thanksgiving Day. This year has been different for all of us and to top it all off,  we’ve had a streak of unfortunate events in our family lately.  We speak about some of these events, what we are doing to keep a positive mindset (some of which may sound funny to other people ), and how to tackle and embrace the season of winter rolling in.
So grab a seat and join us for inspiration in creating a holiday and winter season to remember for our families.
We hope you enjoy!

If you like what you hear and have enjoyed our show, please show your appreciation by subscribing to our Podcast and leaving us a review on your Podcast App of choice.
We would love to hear from you so please email us with any comments or questions you have.
Visit us and all of our content, including our blog, at http://www.thehomeschoolprojectpodcast.com
As always, let’s Light A Fire They Can’t Put Out
Thank you for listening!

Show Notes
What we mentioned:
Our Episode 6- Don’t Let the Winter Blues Get You Down

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather  by Linda Åkeson McGurk

Christmas Season!

Thanksgiving just ended. That can only mean one thing: CHRISTMAS TIME! It is now socially acceptable to put out the Christmas decorations and blast the Christmas music! But let’s face it, most of us started doing that weeks ago because you know, the Year of Covid. We’re all over it and need some good cheer.

Fun fact: We had a station that started playing Christmas music about 2 weeks ago! And it was glorious! My son, who has developed my “affinity for elf culture” (quote from Buddy the Elf in Elf), yelled at me the other day because I wasn’t playing Christmas music. His exact words were “Mama! I don’t like that music! Put the Christmas music on!” I ain’t made about it.

So this family put out the Christmas decorations (including our 3 inflatables) and have been enjoying Christmas music and Christmas movies unashamedly. This got me to reflect on this past year, and it’s been a rough one. But Christmas is the season of joy, and we all need to find that joy again. So here is a list of a few of my favorite, relatively cheap, activities to get me in the Christmas spirit…

  1. Load up the car. Fill the travel mugs with hot chocolate. Blast the Christmas music. Drive around finding all the Christmas decorations. (Bonus – you can map out your route and do this each week to see if there are any changes. Literally never gets old.)
  2. Plan a Christmas movie marathon. Rearrange the furniture. Make stovetop popcorn. Load up on your favorite candies. Let each family member pick their favorite Christmas movie. (Bonus – you can make snack boxes where everyone gets popcorn, a candy, and soda to give it that movie theater feel. Extra bonus if you have a projector and pull this off outside!)
  3. Be an elf. Put together a treat box and deliver them to your friends around town. Make sure to practice good hygiene and use prepackaged items, because, you know, covid. (Bonus – leave a secret note with the package and try not to get caught! Have the note encourage your friends to pay it forward.)
  4. Host a family Christmas cookie bake-off. Everyone selects a Christmas cookie recipe. Bake it. Then let everyone sample each cookie to vote on their favorite.

I hope this list helps you get in the spirit and to come up with your own list! It’s never too late to start a tradition. Let’s work together to make the rest of 2020 amazing!

Self Care Isn’t Selfish

It’s Thanksgiving week. As a teacher, this begins the downhill trek to Christmas break and the New Year. Just to put it in perspective, there are 5 more Mondays in 2020. That sounds crazy to me!

Friends. This year has been a doozy! We started the year with rumors of a crazy virus in China. Schools went on Spring Break and never went back. Toilet paper and cleaning supplies went MIA for a while. Summer came with the slow reopening of different places. School started back with traditional, hybrid, and online options. Halloween was cancelled in some states. Elections brought lots of emotions. And now we’re approaching Thanksgiving. And Christmas.

Just writing about this year is stressing me out! This is just a list of the shared experiences. To top it off, some of us had to handle the loss of loved ones, new babies, loss of jobs, health scares…the list could go on! Suffice it to say – we need a break and we deserve one!

This post serves as a reminder to everyone that it’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to call out of work, even if you aren’t sick. It’s okay to take a day off from homeschooling the kids. It’s okay to order pizza or takeout, instead of preparing a home cooked meal with all the essential nutrients. What’s your favorite way to release the stress?

Yesterday, I turned on the Michael Buble Christmas station on Pandora and put up Christmas decorations with the kids. Does it look perfect? Absolutely not! Did we have a good time? Absolutely yes! And at some point this week, we’re going to bake cookies and watch The Grinch. Because that is what will make my heart happy. What makes your heart happy?