Monday, December 26, 2016

Missing you

It's been awhile since I've posted here.  I have not forgotten about you and I miss meeting you here.  I just wanted to let you know that I still think about you, my audience and friends.  I will write again when the words call to me.  For now, here is a part of the reason I have been away...

Wishing you all a prosperous and wonderful New Year!

Much love always,


AKA Country Mama Hippie Chic

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reminder and Reposting: Used Curriculum Sale and Expo THIS WEEKEND!

Proverbs 13:20 NIV "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."

We've wrapped up our Kindergarten year and our first year of homeschooling and it's been a wonderful experience!  Tomorrow we go in for our annual review and I trust that our son will exceed expectations!  If you've been tinkering with the idea of homeschooling, or you are already committed,  and you live in Maine, then mark your calendars for this Saturday, May 21 for HOME's Used Curriculum Sale and Expo!  Admission is FREE and anyone can shop!

Are you just getting started in homeschooling, or have questions and want to learn more about homeschooling in Maine?  During the Sale and Expo, from 8:30-10am there will be a "Getting Started in Homeschooling" workshop!  Great way to meet people and learn more before jumping in.  To register, send an email to

Like pancakes?  Not a fan of cooking them?  Show up at 8am for a $2 pancake breakfast!  Plus, all day coffee to keep you going strong!

HOME Used Curriculum Sale and Expo                               Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the Augusta Armory

* Shopping in the Used Curriculum Sale: 8:00am - 11:30am on Saturday,  May 21st
* Shopping in the Exhibitor Area: 8:00am - 12:30pm on Saturday, May 21st 

Learn more at:

Wishing you clarity, guidance, and joy on your journey.

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Upcoming: HOME Used Curriculum Sale and Expo!

Proverbs 13:20 NIV "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."

Homeschooling has been such a blessing for our family.  We are near completion of our first year, "Kindergarten", and it has been amazing.  With my husband and I both working from home, we've been able to share breakfast, lunch, and dinner together as a family.  We have fit school in where it works for us, and have been able to enjoy our own pace of life.  For anyone who feels the slightest inkling of an urge to explore this route of education for your children, I highly recommend it.  Oh, by the way, I was one of those moms who was NEVER going to homeschool, EVER, but God changed my heart and here we are.

Are you looking at homeschooling your young one in Maine for the 2016-2017 school year?  Not sure what you want to use for curriculum, or looking to score a great deal on the materials you want?  Then mark your calendars for Saturday, May 21 for HOME's Used Curriculum Sale and Expo!  Admission is FREE and anyone can shop!

Do you have a business that serves homeschoolers in some way, or, are you a homeschooling family that owns a business?  You can exhibit and be a blessing to the community!

Do you have a stash of curriculum that you would love to send on the next family, and collect a few dollars in the process?  You can consign at the Expo, too!

So many vendors, so many opportunities, so many homeschoolers to meet and mingle with!  I hope you'll join me at this awesome annual event.  They are looking for more volunteers to help make this event fun and smooth for all.  Contact them for more info, and for access to the exclusive pre-sale on Friday, May 20!

Like pancakes?  Not a fan of cooking them?  Show up at 8am for a $2 pancake breakfast!  Plus, all day coffee to keep you going strong!

HOME Used Curriculum Sale and Expo                               Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the Augusta Armory

* Shopping in the Used Curriculum Sale: 8:00am - 11:30am on Saturday,  May 21st
* Shopping in the Exhibitor Area: 8:00am - 12:30pm on Saturday, May 21st 

Learn more at:

Bonus!  Are you just getting started in homeschooling, or have questions and want to learn more about homeschooling in Maine?  During the Sale and Expo, from 8:30-10am there will be a "Getting Started in Homeschooling" workshop!  Great way to meet people and learn more before jumping in.  To register, send an email to

Wishing you clarity, guidance, and joy on your journey.

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Monday, March 21, 2016

HOME Homeschool Convention 2016 Highlights and Review

Proverbs 22:6
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

We had the honor and privilege of attending the HOME Homeschool Convention this past weekend.  What a thrill!  This 3 day event was jam-packed with presentations, workshops, interactive activities, vendors, and so much wisdom.  The program states "Our prayers and desires are that you will leave this convention refreshed, with questions answered, and with more resolution in your conviction and commitment to teach your children."  This mission was absolutely fulfilled through our family.

Here I will share the main highlights, what stuck out for me, how this convention has changed and shaped our views, as well as few small details that may help future convention-goers, or visitors to the Rockland/Rockport area of Maine.

The Location:
The Samoset Resort is absolutely fabulous!  The staff was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.  The beds were exquisite!  We had a refrigerator in the room and they brought us a microwave within 5 minutes by request at no charge.  Our son LOVED getting to swim in the indoor heated pool!  It was so helpful being "on campus" for the event, and not having to worry about driving to and from another lodging facility.  I wish we had more time (and the weather was warmer!) that we could have walked the grounds and the coastline.  There are also many model ships and historic relics throughout the hotel that would have been wonderful to stop and take in.  Lesson learned for me here, stop being in such a rush and slow down to take in our surroundings, and teach our son the value in doing the same.

The Dining:
We had looked forward to eating at Cafe Miranda based on many recommendations for the place, but it wasn't in the cards this time around.  Our second meal out, they were closed but the doors were unlocked and they kindly made a recommendation for another local eatery that catered to gluten-free eating.  Our third meal out, a truck had just unloaded and filled the entire restaurant five minutes before we showed up, so we took a short walk and found a great cafe that had gluten free bread.  The places we did eat: Pizza Hut, 3Crow, Rock City Cafe.  All were excellent, gluten-free friendly, affordable and close to the Samoset Resort.  We especially loved Happy Hour at 3Crow, there was no one else there when we arrived and with $5 gluten free corn dogs and $5 black bean tacos, we were all quite happy.  Plus, after being surrounded by hundreds of people for days, the peaceful and hip ambience of the place was a welcome refreshment!  City Cafe was busy but had some great options.  My husband said it was the best Reuben sandwich he's ever eaten!  For in-room meals we packed along our trusty refrigerator oatmeal, and had provisions for sandwiches and many snacks.

The Vendors and Exhibits:
There was a wide variety in the vendors and exhibitors, and we enjoyed browsing them all.  From science experiments to nature crafts, there was something for everyone.  Of particular interest and success were the clearance/free areas, and the rubberband guns.  I enjoyed getting the hands-on experience of different curriculum, and getting our son's input and feedback.  There are several workbooks that I was inclined to buy, but he absolutely rejected.  I heeded the advice I was receiving in sessions and skipped those purchases.  ; )

The Workshops and General Sessions:
For the most part, we split up for the workshops.  I would go to one while my husband went to another.  We traded off who had our son based on which one might be of most interest to him.  This strategy worked out perfectly!  We took along a blanket for the floor, and a bag of quiet activities and our son did a fabulous job of simultaneously playing and listening to the presenters.  He amazed us at times when he would suddenly perk up and make a comment about what had just been said when we didn't even know he was paying attention!

Here are some of the biggest impact thoughts and ideas that I picked up along the way:
  • "Don't be afraid to make mid-course corrections.  They will happen; embrace them!"
    • This idea was brought up over and over again from several different speakers.  No matter how much work you put into choosing your curriculum and homeschool strategy, it may end up not working for you, or not working for your kiddo, or your family in general.  That's completely normal and is OKAY!  You can always sell your curriculum to someone else, and buy new curriculum, or find free resources if your budget is tapped.  There are ways to make it work and so many options out there, it's worth it to have materials that are fun and inspiring to all involved.
    • "What works for one person/child/family/season may not work for you."  Just because one curriculum is absolutely perfect for your next door neighbor or best friend, does not mean it is going to work for you.  Just because it worked for you last year, does not mean it will work this year.  Just because it worked last week, does not mean it will work for now.  Things change, life changes, people are different.  There is no one-size-fits all.  It may take some trial-and-error, but you can find the perfect fit for YOUR FAMILY at THIS TIME.  Once you do find it, see above, and don't be afraid to ditch it for something new.  This doesn't mean you need to be all willy nilly and helter skelter and change your course all the time, there is value in seeing things through to the end.  However, if things become a daily struggle, or if your child is bored out of their mind, or if they complete their entire coursework in 3 months, it may be time to move on.
  • "Instill a love of learning, a love of Christ, a love of family and the rest will sort itself out."
    • Don't try to be perfect.  Don't worry about getting it right all the time.  You won't always have all the answers.  As long as you keep the most important things as the foundation of everything else, the details will work themselves out in the end.  If your child loves to learn and is hungry to understand more about how the world works, they will take this with them out into their grown-up world.  They can easily make up for any specific knowledge or facts that they missed along the way when they know how to find answers and are motivated to do so.  When Christ is at the center of your philosophies and decisions, that paves the way for making good choices down the line.  When family is important, and the home a safe-haven, your children will trust that they can come to you in good times and bad, and that they will receive the love and acceptance and guidance that they seek.  When these 3 things are at the core, you and your family are set up for success.  Learn more at
  • Common Core- a Common Concern
    • As parents, grandparents, citizens, there is a social responsibility to raise awareness of the current "Common Core" standard.  When you learn what it is, where it came from, and how it came into being, you might just be shocked out of your socks.  I know I was.  If you don't like what you learn, get involved.  Set out to do at least one thing a month and make a difference.  Attend a board meeting, find out how your local government representatives are voting, write letters, share with others.  As a concerned citizen who values her freedoms that this country stands for, you can bet you'll see me in action around this.  "Learn how to think, not what to think."  Learn more from:

Tying it all together...

I find it valuable after attending any training, conference or event to find ways to apply my learning to other areas of life.  A lot of what I learned and my "ah-ha" moments from this homeschool convention can be easily transferred to my business as well.  If what I'm doing isn't working for me or my family, don't be afraid to change it up.  Maybe my "curriculum" (ie- field of work or company) doesn't need to change, but perhaps my strategy, philosophy or plan of action can use some tweaking.  What rocketed one of my colleagues to success may not be my ticket to freedom.  It's important to let go of the perfectionist in me, to embrace failure as a teacher on the road to success, and to enjoy the journey.

Preview of what's to come:
Mark your calendars now (if you live in New England) for May 21.2016 and the HOME Used Curriculum Sale & Expo!  Details to come.

Wishing you freedom, grace, and joy in all of your many journeys.

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Monday, February 29, 2016

Preparing Your Homeschool Philosophy and HOME Convention Info

Deuteronomy 11:19
"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

One of the greatest tips I received when preparing to homeschool was this: know your homeschooling philosophy.  This one thing is the foundation upon which everything else is laid.  For us, the verse above does a great job of summing up our twofold philosophy- life is the classroom; and be good stewards of all that God gives us, honoring him in all that we do.

We talk about scriptures and biblical principles throughout the day, weaving them into the happenings of daily life.  We do the same with lessons on math, science, spelling, physics, geography, history, politics, art, and every other subject you can think of.  Our bookwork is minimal, our life work is great.

What is your homeschool philosophy?  What principles guide the decisions you make and how you spend your time, your money, your resources, and your energy?

For those in Maine who aren't sure what their philosophy is, perhaps a great way to discover answers is to attend the HOME convention next month.  This annual homeschooling convention is something I've been looking forward to since long before we even moved to Maine.  With workshops, speakers, panel discussions, curriculum sales and vendor booths, and so many like-minded folks to connect with, it's sure to offer inspiration and guidance to all in attendance!

It's not too late to sign up, and there are even scholarships available for those in need.  Come with your questions, come with your curiosity, come with or without your children, come ready to learn and explore and discover more about your family's own personal homeschooling journey.  I hope to see you there!

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On health, grace and magic bullets.

I promise, this is not a Plexus sell!  There is much more to it, keep reading to the end, you might just be surprised.

A lot of people think Plexus is a magic bullet.  I get it.  I was one of them.  I have struggled with gut health and emotional health for years.  On my journey I discovered the two were related.  When one of my friends shared how Plexus had helped her with anger and rage, I was inspired.  When another two friends lost weight and got brighter and happier looking, I was convinced.  I read all these testimonials from people who "didn't change a thing" other than adding Plexus products to their life and they got healthy and lost weight.  I thought I could do that, too.  After all of the restrictive eating plans that I had tried over the years with yo-yo results, I thought this sounded great.  And so I began.

I started out taking one product at a time, slowly easing into things so I could monitor and make sure I didn't have any bad reactions to anything.  I was committed to not exercising and not making any changes to my diet.  I wanted Plexus to do all the work for me.  I took my "before" photos and prepared for my "Plexus miracle" story that I was sure was about to unfold.  I would lose the weight, get svelte, lose the anger, and be happy.

By about a month in, I was on all 3 products in the TriPlex (Plexus Slim, BioCleanse, and Probio5).  By about 2 months in I was frustrated, upset, convinced Plexus didn't work and I wasn't getting any results.  I added in another 2 products, Plexus Accelerator Plus and Plexus MegaX.  I changed up my regimen of when/how many of each thing I was taking.  I still wanted Plexus to work without me.

A couple of weeks went by and I was still frustrated, still not losing weight, still not seeing results.  Then I started talking about it, about my frustrations, about how if this didn't work I didn't know what else to do since I had tried so many things already.  Between two conversations with two different people in two days, my perspective changed.  I found myself really looking for what was working instead of what wasn't working.  I started to write down all of the "non-scale" victories I was experiencing, and I was amazed.

In those two short months I had stopped needing mega doses of coffee to get through my day.  I had stopped needing afternoon naps to make it till evening.  I had actually slept through the night for the first time in my adult life, on multiple different nights.  I had not yelled at my son as vehemently or as often, and I recovered much faster when I did lose my temper.  I wasn't craving chocolate and carbs at 4pm and 10pm every day.  I could go 3 hours without eating and not be a "hangry" shaky mess.  My back and neck and knee pains were decreasing.  Yes, I was transforming, just not in ways that could be easily seen or measured.

I was newly inspired and decided to add on another product, the multivitamin Plexus XFactor.  I made it through Christmas and New Year's without getting sick- a miracle!  It seems for the last 10-15 years I am ALWAYS sick with respiratory stuff on at least one of these holidays.  Not this time!  Then my son, who wasn't on any Plexus products yet, came down with a high fever and eventually an ear infection.  I cuddled him and cared for him for a week and still I STAYED WELL!  I was ready to share with the world about my Plexus miracle when it happened: I got sick.

First, I had no energy for a couple of days.  None, zilch, nada.  I didn't even want to get out of bed.  Then the cough started in, settling deep in my lungs a few days later.  I was devastated.  How could this happen?  I've been so healthy.  I'm taking all these Plexus products and I was doing so well.  How did I get sick?  I knew the answer.  I had done it to myself.  I had allowed myself to partake in holiday/birthday goodies that I didn't really need or want, it just seemed like the thing to do: sugar overload.  I added a megadose of stress on top of that with the pressure to advance quickly in my company so that I could support my family financially 100%.  I put too high goals on my plate and then beat myself up when I didn't achieve them.  I had just been travelling for a week and had not slept much.  I was burning the candle at both ends running a mile a minute striving for a goal I couldn't achieve.  Of course I got sick.

This is where the grace comes in.  Without grace, we are lost.  Without grace, life is a game full of shoulds and shame and blame and guilt.  There is no winning without grace.  Grace for and from myself.  And Grace from God.  Stress and worry only show lack of faith, lack of trust in God's plan and his mighty provision for me.  When I allow his Grace into my heart, I can rest.  I can listen for His guidance, His plan, His path for me.  I can get my priorities straight.  I can heal.  I let the Grace settle in and I went full on into healing mode, setting work and goals aside and allowing myself to rest and be taken care of by my loving husband and son.

I went to the doctor when the cough got worse.  Virus was the diagnosis, keep doing what I was doing and it will run its course.  I was treating myself with essential oils, cod liver oil, inhaler, nebulizer, steam, lemon/honey/turmeric/garlic tea, homeopathy, echinacea, etc.  I went home and continued on the healing journey.  Then I got worse, I got a fever and earache, and nothing was seeming to help with the cough which had actually gotten worse.  It was a Saturday so off to the ER we went.  I peed in the cup and they took my blood.  They ordered x-rays, suspecting pneumonia.  Then we got the news, there would be no x-rays for me that day because I was pregnant!

Suddenly so many things made sense.  Last time I was pregnant, I had no energy the first few days after conception.  Several of my friends told me the sickest they have ever been was when they were pregnant.  My body was busy growing a new life, building a life support system within me, and so it didn't have as much energy to heal me from the sickness.  Of course!  This new perspective changed everything.  The docs went ahead and ordered antibiotics, since I had been sick for two weeks at this point.  I also got a bag full of IV fluids.  Within 24 hours I was feeling so much better.

But here's the thing.  For the first time in a long time I've been hiding.  I've been ashamed of my sickness, afraid of what people might make it mean about Plexus.  Afraid someone else might not get the help and results they need because of my illness.  They might get turned off to Plexus and not even pursue it, all because I was sick.  I missed out on the opportunity for prayers, for support, for love from my community.  I missed out on a chance to be authentic, which is something I strive for in life and pride myself on- I am an open book, no secrets, nothing hidden.  Only this time I hid.  I've learned from this, and I hope you will, too.  I'm opening up my own vulnerability in sharing this story, my journey.  I hope you can hear my heart and trust me still.  Our own fears, our own inadequacies, just make us human, make us relatable to others who are also imperfect.  I promise never to hide again.

James 4:6
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."

Yours in good health,


Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk