How to Keep a Journal

With the coronavirus upon us here in the US, it is a great time to start writing in a journal. As a person who loves genealogy and reading how my ancestors lived, I can assure you one day someone in your family will be delighted to find it and read it. A reader pointed out recently that our kid’s kids will learn about the coronavirus one day and they will understand it better if they can read how we survived the disease and quarantine.

You can find beautiful journals and pens on Amazon. Anything, even a composition notebook, will work. I think it would be more special if the journal held special meaning to you, though. You’ll be more apt to right in it and it will give your descendants more insight into who you were.

Write about what is going on around you locally. That’s likely something they won’t see anywhere else, especially if you live in a small town. Tell them about the virus from your perspective and how you’re feeling. You don’t have to hold back! Tell them what you’re doing during quarantine and how your life is different. Or, if you’re like me, how you haven’t noticed a change. I’m an introvert so the only thing I’m missing is church. Most of my life is spent at home and I’ve been homeschooling for thirteen years.

Also, feel free to draw pictures or glue in pictures you’ve printed. I love finding pictures of my ancestors and comparing them to myself. I also love seeing their homes, how they dressed, etc. It reminds you that they lived just like you are at this moment.

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you have a great day!

House Update Monday

I have decided to update y’all on our progress every Monday until the Berry Cottage is complete. Last week we got the second floor put on so that’s where all of the pictures are from.

  1. This is the view from the front of the house. You can see the metal roof over the porch and the nook.
  2. The wall going up on the second floor.
  3. Three walls up.
  4. The window in an upstairs bedroom.
  5. The view from my daughter’s side window.
  6. This is our backyard.
  7. This is the roof over the kitchen and the bathroom.
  8. This is my daughter’s room.
  9. This is my son’s room.
  10. These are the stairs. They aren’t done yet as you can see. The landing opposite the stairs is my daughter’s closet.

So, it’s coming along. Our goal now is to be moving in by the end of next month.

Preventing Boredom During Quarantine

Yesterday I wrote for those who are having to homeschool their kids for the first time. Today I want to give you a list of things you can do to stay occupied. I may have covered some of these in other posts, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate. Right?

  • Study your Bible and pray.
  • Learn a new hobby: Crochet, sewing, knitting, etc can all be learned via YouTube and you can buy your supplies online
  • Learn a language. I love Duolingo because it’s free
  • Research your family history. FamilySearch.com is free, but I prefer Ancestry because it has an easier interface. That’s also where my DNA test is located. (This is also a good time to answer messages from cousins on DNA testing sites).
  • Call family members/friends. Especially the elderly who may be feeling lost right now.
  • Write a book. I discovered MyStory.today. It’s a website AND an app that you can use to write a novel. It’s amazing and FREE!
  • Enjoy the great outdoors, even if it’s your own backyard.
  • Start a blog. Seriously, this is so therapeutic! I love doing this (almost) every day
  • Volunteer from home. We are looking for volunteers at The Silent Voices Project, but there are other nonprofits that will allow you to work from home as well.
  • Read a book. There are a lot of free options on Google, Apple, and Amazon.
  • Learn a new recipe and give it a try.

This is not an exhaustive list, obviously, but it’s a start. I’m sure that you can think of plenty more things to do without leaving home. So, what are you doing during quarantine?

Are you new to homeschooling? Let me help!

There are a lot of parents forced into homeschooling their children right now and I’m sure some of you are feeling a lot of emotions. Calm down. Relax. You can do this!

Let me start by saying that you do not have to start early in the morning. You can teach your kids in your pajamas at eleven, no one will judge you. I promise, somewhere a veteran homeschool mom is nodding. Do not put extra pressure on yourself right now.

You do not have to buy expensive curriculum. Save your money for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You can find free worksheets online, watch documentaries, and read classic literature on a tablet. All free and you don’t have to leave the house.

We live in the middle of nowhere and I realize many don’t have this option, but if you can go outside. My kids love looking for bugs, watching squirrels, and playing games in our yard. My three year old can count to twenty because of hide and go seek! If it rains my little ones love splashing in “muddy puddles” (thank you, Peppa Pig). Exploring their world is very educational and fun at the same time.

I use Duolingo to learn German. It’s free, a lot of fun, and it’s an app. They have a lot of languages so you should be able to find one that appeals to your family.

I pray that you and your family stay well and enjoy learning together. This can be a wonderful opportunity to grow together and watch your child learning new things. View this time together as a blessing. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

Creating Decor

There are few things more relaxing than crafting. I have mentioned before how I enjoy painting, knitting, and crochet. Today I want to talk about using your talents to decorate your home.

Earlier this week I bought yarn to see if I could make a coaster. I have never crocheted anything round so I thought it would be super challenging! You can see it below.

It’s not perfect, but it works and I think it’s pretty. I didn’t even use a pattern (Mainly because I can’t read them). The best part, I learned a skill that I can use to make more things for our new home. What can you make for your own home?

  • Sewing: Curtains, tablecloths, coasters, quilts, pillows, reupholster favorite furniture pieces, etc.
  • Crochet/Knitting: Tablecloths, coasters, blankets, pillowcases, dishcloths, doilies, etc.
  • Wood burning: Coaters, plaques, make designs in existing furniture, etc.
  • Painting: Pictures, plaques, change up your current wooden decor pieces, etc.
  • Cross stitch: Pictures, plaques, etc.
  • Pottery: Bowls, pitchers, mugs, tea pots, etc.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but I think it’s a good starting point. I love going to Pinterest for ideas because there are so many! If something piques your interest, but you don’t know how to get started, YouTube is my favorite resource. I’m studying wood burning to see if it’s something I might enjoy and my husband is learning about pottery.

You may not save money making things yourself, but there’s a feeling of accomplishment when you complete a project that you don’t get buying stuff at a store. It also feels good when someone admires something in your home and you can say, “I made that.”

I do genealogy in my spare time (haha more like every minute I’m not doing something else) and I love when I get to read about something one of my ancestors created. One of my great grandfather made Windsor chairs.

Windsor chair

I found the one above on Pinterest and it says that it was likely made by Joel Brown, my fifth great grandfather. I may not have the skills and knowledge to make something like this, but I can make something and I’m sure you can, too. 

Today I want to encourage you to learn a new skill or try a new pattern. Or make something without a pattern. When we create it connects us to our Creator.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Technical Difficulties

I apologize for not posting this week. Last week I got a used desktop and I thought it was going to be amazing! I have been working on it since the day after I got it. I have spent the last two days trying to download windows 10 and I keep getting error messages.

I have other devices, but I have been spending the time I normally devote to the blog trying to get this computer to work.

I hope all of you are having a great week! I’m giving this computer until Sunday, then I’m going to look into options.

God bless, y’all!

A Few of My Favorite Bible Studies

I am not being compensated for these reviews. They are my opinion.

Today I want to tell you about a few Bible studies that I have enjoyed or that I am currently enjoying. I will tell you where you can find them if you are interested. They aren’t in a particular order. The first isn’t necessarily the best and the last certainly isn’t the worst. This isn’t a top-five list.

  • Freedom – Church of the Highlands This is a small group Bible study that meets all over. My mom and I attend one once a week and we’re currently on week five of thirteen. It teaches us who we are in Christ and how we can expern ience the freedom He offers.
  • Answers in Genesis – YouVersion If you are curious about the age of the earth, creation, etc. then this is a really great study. My husband and I never gave much thought to it and didn’t understand why it mattered until we listened to Ken Ham.
  • Jerry Camp “I Will Follow” – YouVersion This is a great Bible study that will show you how the Bible influenced the writing of the songs on his new album (which is awesome, by the way).
  • Not a Fan by Ken Idleman I have not done the full study, but the seven-day plan on YouVersion has me wanting to dive into this book. It’s on this list because of the YouVersion plan, but I’m sure the book is even better.
  • Love Does by Bob Goff This is a really fun Bible study from a very unique man. He will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and do things you may not think are possible. Love is a verb.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list and I will likely add to it from time to time. What are some of your favorites? Also, please let me know if you have done any of these and what your thoughts are. God bless you!

Why I Won’t Sell on Mercari

I have a few electronics laying around and I’m not super comfortable meeting people I don’t know, so I decided to sell a few things online. I tried using Ebay first, but scammers kept bidding and making offers, then Ebay canceled their order. That got to be frustrating.

This lead me to try Mercari. I had an Asus tablet with a cracked screen and I listed it as such. The buyer received it today and received a refund because the screen was cracked! I sold the tablet for $20 and it cost almost that much to ship it. Now he gets his money back AND he doesn’t even have to pay return shipping! So I’m out over $30 and I get my tablet back that was a hard sale in the first place.

I bought my first item from them before this mess happened so I will update this post once my item arrives. I’m hoping it goes smoother.

My point is to do your due diligence when selling online. These selling sites are focused on making buyers happy at the seller’s expense, literally.

If you are going to sell Facebook Marketplace seems to be the best place. At least the buyer can see the item and try it so there aren’t any issues. I recommend meeting in McDonald’s or at your local police department. Don’t go to a stranger’s house alone.

I will update this if anything changes, but as of right now I want to warn as many people as possible about my experience. I can’t be the only one.

Why a Small House

Today I wanted to explain why we chose to build a house that is under 900 square feet. Sure, finances is part of it, but that isn’t the only reason. A lot of planning went into the footprint, design, and floor plan.

We took a long, hard look at how much space we use in our 1,180 square foot trailer. Our daughter’s room is basically storage because she doesn’t use it. We don’t use our dining room for eating, but the kids love playing on it. They rarely play in their rooms because they prefer to hang out with us in the living room. Our bedroom is where we sleep.

So, basically, we use our room, our oldest son sleeps/hangs out in his room, we spend a lot of time in the living room, and we cook in the kitchen. We rarely have people over, but I’m hoping that changes once the house is done, but we won’t be entertaining a lot of people. If we do, we have a beautiful yard and a patio.

If you are considering a smaller house I would encourage you to look at what spaces you use in your current home and what is storage or empty. Also, consider your outdoor space. When the weather is nice (and even when it’s raining) our children prefer playing in our yard. Being in Alabama, that means they’re outside most of the time from March through January so they don’t really need a lot of indoor toys. They just need a place to sleep.

You may be wondering what we have as far as rooms in an 800 square foot house. It is 3 bedrooms, our sons are going to share, one bathroom, we have a sunroom nook in our living room, and we have an eat-in kitchen. My husband is disabled so our bedroom is on the main floor to make his life easier. Our kids will share the upstairs because they enjoy playing together.

The house is about halfway done now, but we are praying to finish it in March so we can start moving in. It won’t take long and moving will involve a large yard sale because we won’t need all of our stuff anymore. I’m looking forward to the purge, to be honest. We considered heirlooms and things that have sentimental value when we designed the house.

If you have any questions please comment below. God bless you.

Goals for This Blog

I realize that I jump around a lot with the posts I write here. The reason for this is I write about what I love. That’s what all of these posts have in common.

So why is the blog called Berry Cottage? Well, most of my time is spent in my home (working on it as of right now). This is where I pray, read my Bible, write, and teach my children.

Going forward you can expect more about our lives, our home, and how/what we teach our children. This blog is a reflection of who I am, an eccentric daughter of God. That’s not going to change so I guess this blog won’t either.

If you enjoy Berry Cottage please follow us and feel free to leave a comment. God bless you.