The Christmas Eve Never to be Forgotten

by heidijo on January 25, 2016

Through these words I have cried my tears……

It started with a phone call. Not really the phone call every parent dreads, but close. Words proclaiming, “mom we have been in an accident”. She’s talking to me, that is slightly comforting, so no panic necessary. We turn around and I am then filled with panic of having to visit a hospital. I hate hospitals…..I panic, shake slightly and become a complete germ freak. Not once did I consider that my daughter was really hurt. It was Christmas Eve, we had just left church, her on her way to enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner and us to look at Christmas Lights. All was well, all was quiet, and all was at peace.

Flashing lights, cars, smoke and emergency vehicles fill the road ahead. Fear rises in my throat. Visions of my beautiful blue eyed daughter fill my mind and I whisper my first prayer, the first of oh so many that night. I feel lost searching for my sweet girl and direction comes. I find myself in a vehicle full of lights and words but it’s a blur and many mumbles. My focus is my baby girl, even as she is severely broken, battered and bruised she laughs. It is like music to this mama’s heart. Her words are filled with reassurance and comfort for her momma. For me, the unbroken, the unbleeding, the unhurt one. Other words fill the air, traumatic eye injury, lots of blood, extreme damage, no sight, air lift, surgery. But we were going to look at Christmas lights, Christmas is tomorrow, as was well, what has happened….my girl is covered with blood. I cannot fix this, I don’t know how to fix this. More prayers.

The night sky is overwhelmed with loud helicopter blades slicing through the air. Brothers stare out of the car eyes glossed over with awe and fear. Grandparents are praying. My heart breaks as I have to let the hand go that I have been holding for 16 years. Reassurance that I will be with her very soon leave my lips as her tears mix with blood. I can’t breathe, I can’t think. I can’t move. I turn again to see two sets of eyes so filled with fear and dread. I walk slowly to bring comfort once again but I am numb and have no words. They must stay and I must go. Tears sneak down their brave faces. Any thoughts and excitement of Christmas has all but disappeared. More prayers.

Driving filled with darkness and dread. A car filled with a broken hearted mom, a loving grandmother and a strong daughter. The waiting room is filled with sickness and sadness. This is the place that Jesus lives. Even in darkness, dread, sickness and sadness He is near. I am filled with His strength as I move toward doors that will take me to my sweet baby girl. She is quiet and still as she reaches for my hand. I stay by her side through the needles, the blood, the tubes, the vomit, the tears and her heart full of fear. Time stills as immediate surgery is mentioned. Her daddy will need to be told, he is many miles away. My words to him are broken and filled with tears, others pick up the pieces. More prayers.

Another bed, another room, another voice speaking words. She is quiet, she sleeps, she is gone and once again I cannot hold her hand. God is here in the lonely, in the waiting, and in the fixing. The waiting is long and I am cold. There are others but really no one. When the waiting ends there are yet again more words; severe damage, ruptured globe, did the best we could, no vision. These are not words filled with hope and promise but she is. We find her drowsy but less battered. I find peace in hearing her breathe. Again we wait, but I can hold her hand again. More praying.

She rests and recovers and I hold her hand. The night is quite but she is not, her pain is great. Her daddy arrives and weeps and once again my girls is full of comfort and love. A smile fills her face, a face that is not the same but oh so beautiful. Her life is filled with pain, recovery, rest, surgeries, relearning, hard work, and so much faith. This girl is special, this girl lives her faith, this girl embraces forgiveness, this girl is brave, this girl brings beauty and joy to all those around her. She is my daughter and I am her momma and this is our story of the Christmas Eve that will never be forgotten. Always Praying.




Monthly Meal Planning Madness

by heidijo on August 30, 2015


Meal Planning Madness

I am one of those weird people that are naturally organized. (Side-note: my sisters think I’m adopted). I thrive of organization in all areas of my life.  So planning out my meals should be something that I do on a regular bases. Not so much….. sometimes yes, but life is busy, messy and overwhelming sometimes. This has been the one area of my home management that I have been trying to tweak for years. After many tries and MANY fails, I think I just might have found my meal planning groove!!!

Let’s start at the beginning, it’s a very good place to start.

We are a family of 6, though a few times a week we have extra mouths that circle around our table. My husband works from home most days unless he is traveling overseas. I homeschool our 4 children, though my oldest 2 are fully duel enrolled at 2 different colleges. We are all home some days other days not. Our schedule between school, church and life is quite chaotic. I need a meal plan, I want a meal plan, I made a meal plan. Plain, Simple and Easy!

It starts with making lists. I love lists!

breakfast, lunch and snacks list

I listed out our favorite Breakfast, Lunch, Snack and Desserts. Start with the basics and add as you think of things. Everyone in my family eats at home for most all meals. That is a lot of food every week coming out of The Kemps Kitchen. I actually have a weekly Breakfast and lunch schedule that we stick pretty close to. It makes grocery shopping so much easier.


main meal list

Next make a list (this will be huge, well, mine is HUGE) of main meals your family likes. I split the foods into sections-Meats (chicken, beef, seafood and pork), Starches, Veggies, Salads, Soups and Breads. You can add as you go to this list too. I just added Baked Pizza Spaghetti because I made it on a whim and we loved it.

Ok now that your meal lists are made you will have a super easy time adding them to your monthly meal sheet.

monthly meal schedule sheet

I printed out this sheet from somewhere, I know I should have a link but I don’t…. google it people 🙂 I will make my own I think and laminate it for reusing. Oh and it needs to fit in my Erin Condren Life Planner. Anywho, I pull out my monthly calendar to see what we have going on that month. I figure out who is going to be home when and start writing in meals that will work with everyone schedule. For example, this semester on Thursdays, the boys and I have Bible study in the morning, the girls have morning classes then one has an afternoon class and one a night class. Yes Thursdays are crazy days in the Kemp house. So, I plan out all my Thursday meals first. Thursdays have to be easy meal or crockpot meals and they have to be ready for 2pm. If all else fails leftovers or sandwiches will be served lol. I then go on to planning out other “schedule break” days. This month I have a birthday dinner(this boy has to have hamburgers on the grill) and I am away(so meals that my girls cook). After that I plan the rest of the monthly meals out including leftover days. It is a thing of beauty when you see all the meals for the month on one page.

weekly meal list

Now for the super easy part and you can skip this if you like. I on the other hand just got this cute weekly meal planner divider for my planner and just had to use it.  I used colored post-it tabs for a few reasons:

  • I have tons
  • I love post-its
  • I love color coordinating
  • You can reuse them
  • They remove with ease
  • I am sometimes known to change my mind about a meal

Now just look at your monthly meal plan sheet and write up your weeks meals. See!! Easy Peasy.

Shopping list

I then can make a weekly shopping list with no problem.  My weekly list is usually very small because I shop in bulk at Sams and have a rotating BOGO list for Publix and Winn Dixie. I also buy produce from Aldi which is always great on price and seasonal.  I have  paper list because it is easy to grab and go.

So there you have it my easy steps to making your own monthly meal plan.

Barefoot Blessings

Heidi Jo


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Bedside Table Reflections

by heidijo on April 29, 2015


My Bedside Table

This collection is the first thing my eyes fall on when I wake each morning. Everything here is a reflection into my soul, my hearts cry, my desires and my passions (and my immense love for the color turquoise). I would love to share and explain each one so you can better understand me.

The ugly brownish chair – this was my grandmothers, it is old, worn and if you lean too far back in it, it WILL flip over… ask me how I know(and for this reason it backs onto a wall). In this chair I have held children, prayed, cried, did devotions, listen to my husband pour out his heart, talked to my family on the phone, read, drank many cups of coffee and just sat and was still. I really don’t know if I can ever get rid of this chair, it is part of who I am.

Pier One lantern – I just love candles! So does my husband, thought I am sure our reasons for loving them are slightly different lol 😉

Magazine holder full of decorating and storage magazines – I don’t know if you knew this about me, but I am a designer by degree and it is still one of my favorite creative outlets.

My Bible – This is my study Bible, the one that I mark up, write everything in, pour over and rarely take to church with me (mostly because it is as heavy as a small child)

My book stack – I always have a few books that I am reading. I am a moody book reader and never know what I will be in the mood to read each day. So currently have going

The life-changing magic of tidying up – a great book on organizing and decluttering, my life’s work it seems.

Good News for Weary Women – every women needs to read this.

Everyday Graces – Light and insightful

Standing Firm in These Last Days – this is an inductive bible study on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, I LOVE these studies and usually have one going at all times.

My Kindle – more books of course, right now I have a bunch of Karen Kingsbury books I am reading through.

My wedding rings – I don’t wear jewelry when I sleep so I slip off my rings right before bed. I am so blessed to be married to my husband, he is completely perfect for me.

A pen, post-it-note and my to do list – I learned long ago to write everything down. I have also learned that without fail that everything important will come to my mind just as my head hits the pillow. I am jotting things down in the middle of the night just so I can go back to sleep. Crazy right?!

The beautiful shell. – my oldest son bought this with his own money when he went on vacation with my parents. I just love it and it makes me smile.

Framed photo – My love and I, after 20 years together he still gives me butterflies and makes me smile like no one else.

My lamp – I got these from my mom when she and my dad went on the mission field (no need for lamps on a boat). I have been pondering painting these for years. My sweet husband got these beautiful shades to replace the originals which were from my childhood.

Love Note – they are wedged in the lamp shades. My sweet husband put them under my pillow before traveling for work. Did I mention he is amazing?!!!!

So there you have it, my life on a small table.




Best Homeschool Year Ever

April 20, 2015

This year we tried something completely new, Quarter Block Schedule. You simply break your school year into 4 quarters, make a list of all subjects you need to cover and slot them into the quarter you think best. This part took a bit of trial and error to find a good balance ratio between which […]

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quick life update

March 18, 2015

Well, it’s been a super long time since my last post. From that time till now we have – bought a house, packed up old house, moved into new house, decorated for the holidays, celebrated the holidays, sold the old house, had 17 humans sleeping in one house (love  when family visits), went to Disney, […]

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A Simple Plan Homeschool Planner 2014-2015

July 15, 2014

A Simple Plan is my planner of choice 2 years running. It is just what is says it is “simple”. It fits our homeschool needs perfectly. I love that I have all my records in on place to present for our annual evaluation or to file away. This planner has planning space for up to 6 […]

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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom 2014

May 13, 2014

My real life is not a true reflection of my Facebook status or Instagram photo’s. I am real, my kids make me grumpy, I cry over my failure… A lot! But I do love my life. So here are a few fun and sometimes disturbing facts that never made it to status update. 1. I […]

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Quater Block Planning

May 7, 2014

I have been gathering my curriculum lists for next year for each child. As you know we will be trying quite a switch up with the boys this year. We will be teaching a few select subjects in a shorter time frames (quarter blocks of 9 weeks each). I have finally pulled together all subjects […]

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Heidi Jo’s Bran Muffins

April 24, 2014

Ingredients 1/2 cup cranberries 3/4 cup milk 1 egg 1 1/2 cup bran cereal 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbs melted butter 2 tbs brown sugar 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 shredded apple (cored and peeled) 1/2 cup […]

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Egan’s Pecan Pie

March 27, 2014

This is hands down my husband’s favorite pie. I Love to make it just because I love him. So I thought I would share the recipe Egan’s Pecan Pie 1 pie crust 1 cup dark corn syrup 1 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup melted butter 1/3 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla 4 eggs beaten 2 […]

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