Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog

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Welcome

What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and those "aha!" moments. All with a hint of sarcasm, a dash of truth and bold European wit. Thanks for following along!

8.24.2021

Homeschool Diaries | Curriculum For 21 - 22 School Year


If there's one thing I learned about my homeschooling style this past year, it's that it encompasses a little bit of everything -- charlotte mason, classical, waldorf, montesssori, unschooling, wild schooling, etc. I love aspects of them all, so I am going to embrace all of those aspects in our classroom and march on. 

I'm hoping to pin down a rhythm this coming year. Since last year was my first year, let's just say mama homeschooled when she had the energy. Because my youngest two are still super small, I imagine that this year will still consist of catering to them and their need to feel included again, but at the same time, I am hoping that this year will be a tad bit different as I am making it a personal goal of mine to find facets in my week to really focus on my eldest's progress and needs. So, with that being said, here's my plan: 


Felix 

In the state of Oregon, children who are the age of five before September 1st are considered Kindergarteners, so my guy is still a preschooler this year. I'm really not complaining though -- this means I can still do things with his brothers in tow + include them all in activities. I am hoping that he masters the following: 

◎ recognizing letters + their sounds

◎ 25 sight words 

◎ counting to 100 by 1s and 10s 

in addition to these, I want him to start working on penmanship, math concepts, and depending on how well + fast he masters his letters, we may start learning how to read. 


Marcus + Alex

these little guys love school but are not the best at following directions. They are, however, experts at making noise and distracting big brother when it comes time for him to focus on school. My plan is to do more sensory activities + crafts with them as well as working on the basics -- colors, shapes, numbers, etc. 


Base + Main Curriculum

Doodles + Pre-Writing (Part 1) + Doodles Pre-Writing (Part 2)

I bought each of the boys both of these booklets -- primarily so I don't have two screaming toddlers when to comes time to practice pre-writing skills. 

Kindergarten ToolKit

I feel like I'll be using this next year too, and I am hoping to have Felix master at least 5 of the 10 goals that the toolkit recommends by the end of next summer. 

A Year Of Tales 

I am planning to make this main / base curriculum for the year. I love that Lisa gives us an invitation to learn and a chance to embrace gentle learning rather than a push towards bookwork. The curriculum revolves around Beatrix Potter’s classic animal tales -- which is one of the reasons I love it. I've always wanted to incorporate classic literature + beautiful art in our studies, so this gives us the prime opportunity to do so all while being toddler-friendly.

Another aspect I love is that it implements a character trait and memory verse each week, so it gives us a chance to not only incorporate God in the classroom but build our character. I really love that it laces it all together and it really was everything I was looking for in a curriculum.

Seasonal Nature Studies from Treehouse Schoolhouse

we've purchased the autumn edition and will save a day (or two) of the week to incorporate its poetry, animal, and art studies. Lyndsey is launching this curriculum as the year progresses, so the winter, spring, and summer versions will be linked here accordingly as I purchase them. 

Singapore Math 

I want to introduce formal math bookwork at an early age and I'm feeling like this is a pretty strong choice because it comes with a teacher handbook. I've always cringed when it comes to math, so I'm hoping that the boys don't have the same sentiment which is why we're starting early. 


Supplementary Items 

Harbor + Sprout Subscription

this curriculum is so comprehensive. I just love how they've laid out the topics and I plan to use some lessons from their units on the "fun" days when we need a break from our regular routine. Each month they release a comprehensive unit that includes -- math, history, art, music, writing, etc. I love that each of the topics pertains to the theme of the unit.

Penpal Clubhouse 

is another subscription that I just love. we start each week off with their themed prompt and coloring sheets since my little guys aren't in the writing stage, but it's the sweetest way to send mail to family and friends. I love that the kids are encouraged to collect the stamps each week too, it's so fun. the boys and I always look forward to seeing each week's theme and sheets.

Exploring Nature With Children

another nature + science curriculum -- to supplement the one we're using as well as have other lessons on hand. the boys tend to want to rush through lessons and we'll be working on taking our time to enjoy the learning process. However, I'd love to have extra activities on hand just in case they aren't interested in a certain topic or the way a topic is presented. 

and before you ask, yes I know that bought two nature studies this year. I couldn't decide between the two, so I purchased both. I am going to refer to both studies and intermingle their lessons -- especially on the rainy days when the boys are asking for more class time. 

Happy School Year Everyone! 

we're so excited to get started -- the boys keep asking to go back to school and we've been slowly preparing for the school year. almost all of my supplies have come in and our plan is to start 8/30 even if everything is not here yet. I hope you all have the most wonderful year and can't wait to share ours with you! 




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8.13.2021

Review | DemarkQ Zit Zapper


Hi guys, today I wanted to talk about my tiny zit zapper from DemarkQ. It's a tiny device that uses light therapy to "zap" your zits. Before I begin talking more about it, I just want to mention that this product was gifted to me by the brand this; however, this review is 100% my own. 

So, let's talk about this little device -- if you know me and have been following this blog for a while, you know that I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to skincare product claims and, if I'm being honest, when I received the product, I wasn't impressed with its size or the claims on the box. 

How It Works 

The website says that its "blue light's antibacterial properties shrink pimples and help them disappear faster. Red light's anti-inflammatory benefits fast-track recovery and reduce inflammation, so your skin stays even, hydrated, and healthy." 

Basically, you wash your face and then you cover your pimple with the device and turn it on. The treatment lasts for 3 minutes and the device turns off itself giving you a little beep, so you know that it's done. 

Does It Work

So, it takes a few treatments to have the zit disappear, but if used daily, you can see the zit disappear completely within a few days. One thing that I loved was as soon as I started using this little zapper on those deep cystic pimples, it decreased the pain + throbbing of the zit almost immediately after the treatment. 

One thing I found to work is zapping the pimple as soon as I feel it come in. That way, you don't allow it to fester a big red spot on your face. If I see (or feel) a painful bump on my face, I automatically grab this little device and get to zapping. 

Another thing I love is that it's so tiny and compact which means it's perfect to take with you while traveling or dropping it in your purse on those busy days. I've been known to do a little zit zapping in the parking lot while waiting to pick up groceries. It's a great little device to have on hand for those pesky pimples.  

In short, it works and it's a great device to have on hand when you feel a pimple coming in. I love the size and how travel-friendly it is. It's a device that everyone should have on hand especially if you suffer from cystic acne. 

7.01.2021

9 Places To Shop When Building Your Homeschool Library


Hey y'all, I thought I'd share some tips and hacks on where to shop when you're trying to build your homeschool library because books can be so expensive. If you're anything like me, collecting books has become a hobby and you're always looking for a good deal, so this post is here to share my what I do when I am in search of a good deal on some amazing books!  

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I just want to be upfront and say that this post has several coupon codes and some of the links listed are affiliate links which means that if you purchase through them, I do make a bit of commission! As always, no pressure, but if you do choose to purchase through them, I am so grateful as this passive income is helping me feed our family and pay the rent. 

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Amazon

I buy a lot of books from Amazon and by that, I mean a lot of books. I have over 100 books listed in my storefront and more than half of those, I've gotten from Amazon. If there is a certain book I have my eyes on, I will wait until the book I want undergoes a price cut. Every once in a while, they will have a BOGO 50% or a buy two get one free sale. For this reason, I check Amazon daily. It's a great place to get books and get them fast. Amazon also has bargain books section that I frequent often. 

Here is a sampling of some of the genres of books you can buy on Amazon. 


The only con to buying books off of Amazon is that sometimes you get them with dinged-up corners or scuff marks on the cover which can be annoying. If you don't mind a mark here and there, then Amazon is the place to get books quickly.



ThriftBooks 

The next place I go to buy books is Thriftbooks! I always come here before I purchase anywhere else to compare the price because you can get some amazing books for really good prices. After you create an account with them, with every purchase, you can rack up points and earn free books! 

Because it's a thrift store, I only buy books that are listed as "like new" or "very good." 

I've only been disappointed by the quality of one book and that was because the inside cover was messier than all the other books I had received up to that point. I've ordered over 30 books from them and more often than not, they come in really good shape.

I have a code for 15% off your first purchase -- click here to shop & redeem! 

* please note :: code is only valid for 5 of you, so it's a first-come-first-served basis. 


BookOutlet

Another one of my favorite places to shop is BookOutlet. I have bought some amazing books at some really good prices here. I've found popular books marked 57% off, so this is one of my favorite spots to check. They have new markdowns weekly, so I make it a goal to check the website every Tuesday and search keywords that pertain to what we're learning, what I'm planning, and the boy's interest. 

One thing I love about BookOutlet is that they tell you the stock count in the listing. I hate having things in my cart and then for them to disappear as I search, so I feel like the count gives me peace of mind and a sense of urgency in cases where there are only a few copies left. 

The only con to BookOutlet is that they ship with USPS and sometimes they lose things in transit. I had this happen to me once and I was so bummed. I reached out to their customer service and they were so nice. I had no trouble reaching them or getting a refund. 

To get $10 off your first purchase of $25click here.


Better World Books

Another great place to shop if you love the idea of thrifted books. I really appreciate the initiative behind Better World Books because not only do they recycle books, but they donate books and funds to low-income families, libraries, and literacy programs. 

Because these books are thrifted, I do what I always do and that is to only buy books that are listed as "like new" or "very good" quality. Another thing I look at when buying books here is making sure that the shipping is listed as free. I love comparing prices to other thrift stores and getting the bang for my buck. 

get $5 off an order of $30 by clicking here.


Costco 

As you can tell, I love books, so of course, you can guess that I always stop by their book table! I've found some amazing book packs that ended up being a really great deal. I've found the Botanicum and Animaliaum from the Welcome to the Museum collection in a pack for $30 -- just one of those books is listed between $33-$35, so getting two for that price was a STEAL. 

Some other books I've seen at (and bought from) Costco include:

The Magnificent Book of Animals and so much more! 

Costco.com is another great place to look for books that you may have spotted in-store but didn't have a chance to pick up. Sometimes, they can be spotted online a few months after they were in the store.

Some of my favorite sets include:


One thing I recommend when shopping in-store is peeking under the table because sometimes you can see books that haven't made it on top of the table. I've spotted several books under the table that were placed on the table a few weeks later! 

Book Warehouse

Another great place to get more books for your buck. The entire warehouse has books that are marked anywhere from 50% to 80% off. They have always had bundle deals available and a lot of times you can find 10% off books that have just been released! If you have a location nearby, then I'd check them out. I rarely leave this store without several books in my hand. 

Scholastic

I'm going to let you in on a little secret -- as a homeschool mom, I opted to try registering as a teacher and it worked! Once you get approved, you have books at 25% off at your disposal. Every few months they have packs of 75 books for $50 which is a great deal. 

I've read from other moms online that weren't able to get approved for the teacher's account as a homeschooler and I think that may have been for two reasons. 

1 | because they didn't have a school name. I've branded the homeschooling segment of my brand European Homestead, so I used that for the name and it worked! 

2 | if you're an early learning teacher, you probably won't get approved. I tried that first and it automatically redirected me to the parent's page. If you list any grade/age prior to first grade, you will get declined. I have two homeschooled brothers that I often teach in the 2nd and 3rd grades and once I listed them as grades I teach, my form went through. 

I think it is worth mentioning that most of the affordable books you purchase at scholastic are probably going to be paperback, so if you're okay with that, then I'd say sign up! They do have some hardcover books, but those aren't as heavily discounted as the paperbacks are. 

Local Thrift Stores & Secondhand Stores

I don't frequent these shops as much as I want to because I have fidgety littles who don't have the patience to wait on me as I ruffle through unorganized shelves of what seems like an endless amount of books, but if you have the time, I'd say go for it. I go book thrifting about twice a year and sometimes, you can find real treasures. 

Barnes and Noble

This is probably my last stop when I am looking to buy books because you're going to see books listed at their full retail price almost always -- especially the newly published ones. One place I frequent is their bargain bookshelves as well as the coupons + sales that they have online. Every once in a while, they have some good sales and if you're signed up for a membership, you can get 10% off on your purchase.  

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Soooo, there you have it -- these are my most frequented book stores + online shops! every once in a while, I'll be shopping at a small shop that I love and if they have books listed as items and it's been a book I've been eyeing, I'll buy it from them. I also frequent places like Target and Walmart (both online and in-store) when they have sales on books. Basically, book sales are the way to go when a book you want isn't in a discounted store or thrift shop. 

annnnnnd, that's a wrap y'all! I hope you've found this post helpful. I love you guys! 



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6.28.2021

Friendly Reminder | Drop The Stone


read this quote the other day and it’s been ringing in my head ever since.


just think —
a woman so immoral.
seen so low in the eyes of society.
a lost cause they said.
a sinner with no purpose.
when the justice of the world called for her life.

๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ.
it did not throw her faults in her face.
it did not compare her to the set standards of the world.
it didn’t confront, condemn and destroy.

y’all, He did not pick up a stone.
๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ.
He could have raised His righteous hand, but He ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต.
๐—›๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜.

with
no harsh tone.
no mockery of what she was.
no condemnation for her faults.
no scoffing at what she had become.

how many times have we opted to take the road of the world. we judge harshly, we condemn, we scoff at someone’s theology and lifestyle, we hang onto what we think should be done rather than focusing on His heart for His children. we often forget that He does not seek justice the way seek it. He seeks to save, to touch souls, to love all His people in ways that the world doesn’t. He grants mercy to those who we consider lost, unworthy, or unmerited.

we often forget that to the people who had gathered to judge in what they thought was righteous, He turned and said, “if any of you is without sin, let him be first to throw the stone.” (john 8:7)

——————————————————  ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—น. —————————————————————— 

to those of you who feel like you’ve been thrown away and disregarded, please know that ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—›๐—ถ๐—บ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—›๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ — ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฒ๐—น๐˜€๐—ฒ.

it doesn’t matter how the most righteous of men on this planet see you, but how He sees you.

friendly reminder that:
๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ,
๐—›๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜†.

and He looks down upon you with love every. single. day — you are worthy in His eyes no matter what the world has to say about it.

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Full Passage | John 8:2-11 

2 | Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.

3 | The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst

4 | they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

5 | Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?”

6 | This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

7 | And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

8 | And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

9 | But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

10 | Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.

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6.11.2021

Sermon Share | Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

 


In addition to the digging deeper series, I want to start a little series where I share sermons that I love, from teachers that I admire, and the notes that I take on their teachings. Whenever possible, I will link the sermon and then the notes. I'd encourage you to print and read over the notes, listen to the sermon with the notes in front of you, and then jotting down anything else that stands out to you. 

So, with all that said, here is the first sermon I want to share with y'all -- on the Holy Spirit. I find this message so incredibly important. My husband and I have actively talked about the works of the Spirit this past week and so I thought I'd start to listen to some in-depth sermons on the Spirit because most of the time, it's merely a mention or a footnote. 

I invite you to study with me and let's get closer to God together. 






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6.02.2021

I bought a house!


wellllll, a dollhouse, but still it's a house and I bought it at such a bargain of a price off of FB marketplace -- shoutout to my husband for supporting this purchase and my new hobby. I've been looking for over a year for something like this, so to find a house that has the bones of a house without the need to patch up the interior or remove ugly carpet / wallpaper is amazing!

ya'll already know that I adore interior design, so I am so stoked to have this house with eight rooms AND a terrace to decorate. It's going to be so much fun. I am already so pumped about seasonal decor and revamping / refreshing it to match the seasons. 

Annnnd before you start with the "Marta, aren't you a little bit too old for this kind of stuff," remember that I live with 4 males. This is probably the only girly thing that I can do right now and I'm kind of hopeful that down the line, the Lord will bless us with a daughter too whom I can pass this down. Even if that doesn't happen, I'll be praying for granddaughters. LOL. Before I get ahead of myself, the boys are super excited about this house too, so either way, it's worth it. 

I've already been having so much fun with looking at miniature scales, styles and furniture, I just need to figure out what kind of house it will be -- I'm leaning toward a modernistic farmhouse with rustic touches here and there. so, yah -- I am pumped to get started. 

I plan on sharing the process and stages of this house project via the blog and I also created an Instagram to share it all in the form of a photo diary — you can follow along at @theminiestates.

Buuuuut first, what should I paint the outside of the house? I'm thinking white paneling and black trims. That's what my future farmhouse dreams are made of -- time to make it a miniature reality! Eeeep, so excited for this and to share it all with you. 

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