Fawns, Barbies and Cotton…

It’s been a crazy 2 weeks.  Most days I feel very non productive.  That is because I live with Keilee who does more in a day than I do in a week.

She has decided that she wants her Instagram more ‘artistic’.  So she has been taking and posted photos she deems ‘artsy’.  This is one of my favorites.

Keilee Paint

Keilee  helps teach a homeschool Science class on Thursdays and they did exploding pumpkins.  The kids all LOVED them!

Pumpkin Collage

Halloween was a great day.  Keilee told me she wanted to be a fawn and I was like, ‘What??  How boring. ” I should have known better.  I love the way it turned out.

Fawn Halloween

Our church had a Fall Festival that we both helped with.  It was a great day and we had a wonderful turnout.  We went to a play Halloween afternoon and then it rained Halloween night so we decided to stay in at night.

Halloween collage

We have a family that we met during “Shrek the Musical”.  They homeschool and they have 2 boys.  We really liked them but haven’t seen them since the play.  About 6 months ago we followed along with the journey to adopt Lily from China.  We finally got to meet Lily.  Keilee took her 2 tutus that she had made.  She was such a delightful little girl and Keilee had a blast hanging out with her and her 2 older brothers.

Lily Keilee

This is a collage for Keilee.  It is the guys she thinks are cute and I told her I was going to put it here so one day she could look back and see it.  Think she has a ‘type’?  6 guys and 4 of them are Korean. 😉   Plus Jason Momoa and of course, Johnny Depp who she has loved since she was 3 and saw Pirates of the Caribbean.

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This little girl was turning 4 and her Grandmother hired Keilee to dress up as Barbie and visit her at her day care.  It was the first time Kei has gotten to be Barbie and she loved it so much.  The little girl and all the kids were just so excited to see her.  She sang Happy Birthday and ate cupcakes with them.

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Keilee is still working hard on Bringing Smart Back on YouTube.  This past Wednesday was about cotton and we got to visit a farm and a cotton gin and Keilee interviewed the farmer and cotton gin manager.  It was SO very cool and she has learned so much.  We both have.

I can not believe it is already November.  Time marches on so quickly. We have a CRAZY month planned with Elsa parties, field trips and a TRIP with friends!  We are both so excited.

Homeschooling Rocks!

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The 3 Faces of Keilee

It was a crazy, busy weekend for us.

Friday night Keilee was asked to be a Zombie tour guide at the historic Princess Theatre.  She looked like a zombie I guess but it was a bit disturbing!  She sent a picture to a really good friend of hers and he told her, “It makes me want to find someone and beat them up.  You look like you were abused!”.

She was so excited to do this.  They had different areas ‘zombified’ and it was similar to a haunted house.  Keilee and the man who works there are the only 2 that did the tours and she had a blast.  Like she said,  “I really like being in charge.”

The little girl in the picture is Emma Jo.  Emma Jo is who Keilee fell in love with (and vice versa) during Aristocats.  She saw on Facebook that Keilee was going to be a zombie and begged her Mom to take her.  She ran and hurled herself at Keilee and wanted a picture.  Keilee told her ‘I am so sorry I look so gross” and she told Keilee, “You always look beautiful.”  They are so sweet together.  Keilee has plans to surprise her Thursday at her school and eat lunch with her.

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Saturday night she was invited to a 1940’s Swing Dance.  We ordered her dress weeks ago from China and paid $11 for it! Including shipping.  She found shoes at the thrift store for $2.99.  She worked so hard on Emma’s birthday present.  I wish I had made pictures.  She made a board book with quotes and pictures of them and it was beautiful.

Swing Dance

Sunday after church she had an hour long Elsa party.  She always loves being Elsa and seeing the kids so excited that Elsa and Anna are at their parties!


She told me Sunday night that she was so ready for Monday and the chance to just be “Keilee”.

Even though this week is shaping up to be really busy at least she can be ‘herself’.

Homeschooling Rocks!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Week That Was Beautiful…

The weather turned cooler and we had such a great week.


We went to an Art Festival that was amazing.

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And Keilee got her picture in the paper.  It’s one of my all time favorite pictures of her!

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Most of her week was spent on Bringing Smart Back.  She works on this about 20-30 hours a week.  I’m going to do a post on it but I keep putting it off!  Her trailer for what’s going to happen in October is one of my favorites.

She gathered things outside and used her microscope to look at them.  I love that she still does things like this!

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So not a lot of ‘content’ for my blog but a great week nonetheless.

Homeschooling Rocks!

“There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir: We must rise and follow her, When from every hill of flame She calls, and calls each vagabond by name.” ~William Bliss

It’s Fall Y’all…

The 1st week of Fall was a very good week.  I’ve said it a million times but we are so lucky that we are able to live this homeschooling life.  The only thing  this week lacked was actual FALL temperatures.  It is still way too hot in Alabama.

We went to the next to the last “3rd Friday”.  This is something our town has done for years.  It’s like a street fair with antique cars, crafts, stores opened late, bands on every corner and more.  We always have a blast.  And Keilee always finds dogs to pet.

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We also volunteered at CCC (Community on Church Cooperation) Monday.  This is something we LOVE doing.  We love serving others and meeting people from all walks of life.  They usually serve over 150 people lunch.

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We also did a lot of what we call “book” learning.  Cells and Luther and the Reformation and Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare and Geometry.  She watched Pope Francis every time he was on TV because she adores him. 

But most of her time was spent on her YouTube channel “Bringing Smart Back”.  Hours and hours and hours.  More about this in a later post.  But click on the link and watch! She’s also working on a website with lesson plans for each episode.

There was also driving and swinging and a music festival and fun in the grocery store. Recently Updated61

We are finding our groove after changing things up about 22 times.  But that’s ok.  It’s one of the things we love about Homeschooling!

I spent time on the hammock reading Harry Potter, for the 11th time under the beautiful, blue September sky.  Life is good.


Homeschooling Rocks,

“As your kids grow they may forget what you said, but won’t forget how you made them feel” – Kevin Heath

Linking with
Mary @ Homesgrown Learners for Collage Friday.

Kris @Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for Weekly Wrap-Up

Kids 12 and Under Only…

It’s no secret that Keilee isn’t a huge fan of people.  She is very picky with her time and so many times just doesn’t have the patience for ‘teenagers’.  Since she is homeschooled she has never had that ‘public school’ mentality.  Now I know there are kids in PS without this mentality but most of the ones we know do have it.  The things that are important to them are not even of the list of things important to Keilee.

That being said she adores small children.  She interacts so well with them and loves being around them.  They adore her right back.  It’s funny because she honestly says she ‘doesn’t want kids’.  I tell her she doesn’t know God’s plan for her yet!

Almost 3 months ago, before church, our pastor’s wife was talking to us and she said to Keilee, “We have got to get you plugged into the children’s church”.  Me, being the Momanger I am, told her Keilee did this really cool “1 minute sermon”.  Bene said, “you wanna do it now” and Keilee said, “Sure!”.  Of course I was freaking out.  Bene took her immediately back stage.  No practice, no going over it, nothing.  It has been at least 2 years since Keilee has done this!  She did a great job!!!


After that the leader of our kids church approached Keilee and asked her if she would be interested in being a host on Sundays.  What that consists of is learning a script each week and performing on stage at kid’s church.  She said YES.  So we go to the 9:00 service and then she works the 11:00 service.  I decided to help at kid’s check-in because I had to be there anyway.  I love seeing her on stage each week.

Epic Collage

I love seeing her interaction with the kids.  I love seeing them run and almost tackle her each Sunday.  We even see them out and about and they call her “Miss Keilee”.

Kids Quest

A couple of weeks ago she really stepped out of her comfort zone and did the closing prayer.  This is in front of about 100 kids and 15 teens/adults.  I just love when Jesus stretches us don’t you?

Kei Neh

She is also helping teach a homeschool Science class for K-5 and a homeschool gymnastics class of 3-6 year olds at one of our Recreation Centers.  She loves both of these things too.  So whenever she says, ‘Mom I’m just not a people person” I just smile.  I know she just hasn’t found ‘her’ people yet.

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Homeschooling Rocks!

All Christians are but God’s stewards. Everything we have is on loan from the Lord, entrusted to us for a while to use in serving Him.– John MacArthur



Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln

Keilee has always loved Abraham Lincoln.  He has always been her favorite president.

We have studied him, went to exhibits, watched documentaries and movies about him and more.

When she was about 7 or 8 she wrote a letter to him:

Hello Mr. President:

Thank you for freeing the slaves. I have heard that you are a really great President. If you get the urge to go to a play, please stay at home!

Keep up the good work,


Monday night our town had a celebration of 150 years of the Civil War.  A man, Dennis Boggs,  who plays Abraham Lincoln was going to be there along with an orchestra that played Civil War songs.  He is nationally known and Keilee has actually watched History Channel documentaries that he was on.

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It was at the Old State Bank which was actually used during the Civil War for a hospital among other things.  It was one of the only 3 buildings to survive the Civil War.

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It was a beautiful, cool night by the Tennessee River.  As night fell the building was lit up so lovely. He was reading actual speeches and letters from the Civil War and the band was playing Dixieland and it was all magical.

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This is the beginning of the Gettysbury Address.  It was so powerful.

I love Living history.  It’s the best way to learn.


Homeschooling Rocks!

Abraham Lincoln quotes:
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”

10th Grade….

Yesterday began our 9th year homeschooling and her 10th grade year .
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To say this is hard for me to imagine is an understatement. She was just 7 learning about Egypt by planting grass seeds and making the Nile and reading Magic Treehouse books wearing a toga and building tent houses and pretending to be a meerkat burrowing down .


This year is going to find us immersed in Europe. European History from 1200 to now, European literature, a Shakespeare study and European Art .


I searched and searched for a European History book that wasn’t just a ‘book’ with no avail.  I found some college level books but they were way too pricey for me.  So I bought The Complete Idiot’s Guide to European History.  It had really good reviews and we were able to look through it online to check it out.


We are using Introduction to English Literature which was given to us by a friend.


We are using various resources to study European Art.


We are using The Shakespeare Book and studying various plays and sonnets for our Shakespeare study.


She is doing a Farm Study too.  Her dream is to own a small, self sustaining farm and she already has a notebook full of resources.


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We also are doing a Geography study. She picked 36 countries that she wants to learn more about. We are doing notebook pages and trying some foods from the countries.


I’m not sure what we are doing for the dreaded Math.  I believe we will use Khan Academy for Geometry.  Pray for us both.


Keilee has started a YouTube channel called “Bringing Smart Back“.  She does all the writing, filming, editing and promoting for this.  She posts a video every Wednesday.  She wants kids to know it’s cool to be smart.  Check out her channel! :)


And there’s Biology and art and Bible journaling . She will continue to work on her serial killer study (she’s a weird one) and in her online class with Jessica they will be writing a novel. In addition to her finishing the novel she is over half way finished called “September’s Children”.


She is also working at church in Kid’s Church.  She is a host which means she learns a script and performs each week.


She still has her Princess parties and is also helping teach a local homeschool Science class and gymnastic class once a week.


She is still going to have her Instagram shop; Keilee’s Kreations .


And there will be field trips and nature walks and picnics and reading aloud and hammock lying and lazy days on the couch and bike riding and game playing and laughter and talks and dancing in the kitchen and sock sliding down the hall .


Because that is one of the best things about this life we are blessed with. Every day is an adventure and you never know where the day will take you .


Homeschooling Rocks!

“The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.”  ~Alfie Kohn

“Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” ~ Arthur Koestler

Heart Friends…

friendship-quotes-Good-friends-are-like-stars I believe it was almost 6 years ago when I first found Jessica’s blog and started following along with her homeschool journey with her 2 girls.

We went from comments to email to phone calls to texting several times a week to meeting last year when they came here.  She is one of my dearest friends and my ‘go to’ person when I need to talk about anything.  Her friendship means so much to me even though we are over 1000 miles apart.

This year when they took their trip to her husband Greg’s parents house, Jess and the girls came to stay here for a couple of days.  We had the best time ever.  I love her and her girls (and Greg too but he stayed with his parents).  Keilee adores them all and we just have so much fun!

After the initial hugs and squeals they brought their luggage inside so we would all fit in their SUV.  They also came bearing gifts which we LOVE.  But…the best gift of all was they brought Keilee a OLD typewriter.  Jess knew she had been wanting one and Greg found one at a tag sale.  Keilee was speechless and has spent many hours since their visit typing away on it.

Then we took them to Lowe Mill.  On the way we stopped by Mooresville which is Alabama’s oldest incorporated town.  It is also where Tom and Huck was filmed. Lowe Mill is a beautiful old textile warehouse that has been converted into an Art Entertainment center.  It is the largest independent center for the arts in America with over 120 artists.

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Then we came home and changed and went to dinner at world famous Big Bob Gibson’s.   Afterwards we had planned to swim at their hotel pool but there was a huge lacrosse tournament in town and it was packed.  So we decided to go to the Drive-In in a nearby city.  Grace and Lilah had never been.

On the way the girls serenaded us with old Miley Cyrus songs.  It was awesome!


It was such a great night, the girls in the back of the SUV and Jess and I sitting in chairs all watching Home under the Alabama skies.

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We got home and made plans to go to our church the next morning.  I was so excited about this because Jess has been watching online for several years.  Unfortunately our preacher and his wife were on vacation but it was still amazing having them there.  Afterwards we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch.

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Then we went to Ava Maria Grotto.  This is an amazing little place in Cullman, Al.  From their website:
Known throughout the world as “Jerusalem in Miniature,” is a beautifully landscaped, four-acre park designed to provide a natural setting for the 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world. The masterpieces of stone and concrete are the lifetime work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey. Begun as a hobby, with various materials he could find, and infinite patience and a remarkable sense of symmetry and proportion, Brother Joseph re-created some of the greatest edifices of all time.

Even though it was very hot, even by our Alabama standards, we had a great time.

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Selfie at Ava Maria Grotto


All too quickly it was time to head back.  They needed to get on the road to get back to Tennessee before dark.  We had the most amazing time.  They were on vacation but it was truly like a vacation to us.  We crammed so much into 2 days.  Yes I wish we had more time, but it was a beautiful adventure with 2 homeschool Moms that met online and their 3 amazing daughters.

Thank you Jess, Grace and Lilah for taking time to come visit us.  We loved every single minute of it.

Selfie before leaving: (until next time)


Homeschool and Homeschooling Friends Rock!

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.” ~Diana Cortes

Hello June…

May went by in a flash.  As they do.

May started chilly and ended rainy.  But we did so much .  It’s hard to put a month’s worth of activities in one post.  But I am SO bad at updating my blog.

We did a lot of volunteering this past month.  Keilee has always volunteered so much.  Because of our awesome church she has always had so many opportunities.  We volunteered this month at a place where people can come and get clothes and shoes and household items.  We also volunteered serving lunch.  This is an ongoing thing and we want to serve at least once a week.  It seems like no matter what is going on in my life I just feel better when I am there serving others.

We also volunteered for 6 hours at Soulstock which is a HUGE 2 day Christian rock concert.  We actually ran the merchandise tent for Noah Cleveland.  Keilee and I met several artists and it was just an amazing day.

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Katherine, my niece, graduated from high school.  Now Keilee is the only grandchild still in school.  Not counting college.  I wish they could all go back about 10 years!!

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One of our favorite things each year is the Alabama Jubilee.  It is a balloon race and people come from all over the country to participate.  We wake up about 5:30 and get to the park by 6:30 so we can see them take off.  Seeing 60+ balloons getting blown up and then taking off is so magical.

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Hiking with friends.  And sword play with friends. :)

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At an outdoor concert with friends.  I love that Keilee and Emma jumped up to swing dance even though they didn’t really know how.  This picture just screams ‘Joy’ to me.

2015 May


Lunch at Cracker Barrel after church.  Leaping in the rain. Rides in the country with the dog and the girl.  Memorial day service.  Cute little golf cart we both wanted!

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So now it’s June.  Hot days at the pool, yard sales, festivals, friends, board games, walks at night, reading aloud, laying in the hammock, sitting out on the patio watching the lightening bugs, hiking in the woods, visits from far away friends and so much more.

We can’t wait.

Homeschooling Rocks!

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens

Southern Literature-Homeschool Girls Style

The South is steeped in lovely traditions.  Growing up here I was not really aware of it. It just was where I lived. It took some growing up and moving away to realize how lucky I am to have grown up in the South.  No everything is not perfect.  There are people who still think the south should have won the war among other things.  But we also have people who are truly caring and kind.

When I moved to California one of the first things I noticed was that no one looked at you when you passed them on the streets.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here when you pass someone walking you say, “Hello” and maybe even stop and chat.

When Keilee was planning her 9th grade year we discussed doing Southern Literature.  I loved it when I was in high school.  It wasn’t required but I took every Literature class that was offered.  My teacher was this lovely southern lady with that great old school Southern voice.  My Mother talked like that.  Very slowly and and with such an amazing accent.

When we begin looking for a curriculum we couldn’t find anything.  So with my brother’s help, who was an English major, we made a plan.

I bought a book he recommended called “Growing Up In the South: An Anthology of Southern Literature”. The stories were full of beauty and poverty and racism and joy and heartbreak and first love and more.  There was a bio before each one of the authors and Keilee researched each author and did a notebook page on each one.  We read each story aloud.  We looked up words we didn’t know.  We Googled places mentioned and found they were all real places.  One of our favorites was from “A Southern Landscape” that mentioned a church with a gold finger pointing toward heaven.  We looked it up and it is a real place in Port Gibson, MS.

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We spent the year in the Deep South, in cotton fields, during some of the most life changing events of the 60’s, on the Mississippi River, in old Southern mansions and so much more.

We read lovely stories by William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Maya Angelou, Flannery O’Conner, Eudora Welty and more.  We even found a few authors on YouTube actually reading their stories.

We used Shmoop as a reference to so many other things.  We listened to songs written about “A Rose For Emily” by William Faulkner.  Keilee took reading comprehension tests from the same site.  It is full of GREAT resources.

Each section of the book is divided into categories; “Places and Voices”, “Families”, “Southern Communities” and “Southern Stereotypes”.  After each few stories she would write a report on the story she liked best of the group and how the author used words to exemplify the category is was in.

The book that was on every single book list was “To Kill A Mockingbird”.  We listened to that book on audio when Keilee was 11 and she played Scout in the play.  We also watched the movie. She has such an unbelievable knowledge of this book now.

We branched off and did a short study on Truman Capote.  He was a beautiful writer but a tortured soul.  We read autobiographies and watched YouTube videos of him speaking. We watched and read “A Christmas Memory”.  It is a beautiful story about Truman Capote when he was a boy and his relationship with his aunt “Sook”.   I HIGHLY recommend it if you aren’t familiar with it.  We read it every Christmas. In fact this Christmas my brother recorded the story with him reading it and gave it to us.  He is a wonderful reader.  We read several short stories by Capote and watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and researched the background and making of it.

We also watched “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. We listened to “Fried Green Tomatoes” by Fannie Flagg. We watched “The Help” again and listened to the audio book.

I found a video on YouTube that an Advanced English high school teacher posted.  It was a summary of what her students would be reading in a semester.  It was 3 short stories!  I couldn’t believe it.  We probably read 40-50 stories and watched several movies and listened to several audio books.

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I feel like Keilee now has a great background in Southern Literature.  We are forever making references to things we see or hear and the stories we read. These stories and characters are a part of her now.  They are in her blood.  Just like the magnolias and the smells of Alabama dirt and the accents and the smell of rain falling on fall leaves and the hot summer nights filled with lightening bugs.  And no matter where she ends up, she will always have those memories.

Homeschooling Rocks!

“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“I’ve barely said five words to you. What indication could you possibly have that I am a Yankee?”

“Well, we could start with the words ‘what indication.’ Someone from south of the Mason-Dixon would have said, ‘Who the hell are you calling a Yankee?’ Then we would have fought.” ― Jana Deleon

“The food in the South is as important as food anywhere because it defines a person’s culture.” ― Fannie Flagg


Linking with
Mary at “Collage Friday
Sylvia at “Homeschooling Blog Link Up”

Jesus, a Mother, a Daughter and a Dog….