Category Archives: Learning all the time

Hello 12th Grade….

1st day of 12th grade

We’ve done these pictures for years. Each one getting closer and closer to this year.

This senior year. I could write pages and pages about how I feel right now. Excited and sad jumbled up together.

The picture she is holding is her on the first day of kindergarten. 12 years ago. 12 years!

That day I felt the same. Excited and sad. I walked her to class holding her 5 year old hand, kissed her and let her go. She never saw the tears all the way to the car and home. Today she sees the tears and laughs and hugs me. She calls me a mushmellow. But she doesn’t understand. One day she will.

Keilee it’s the most beautiful gift being your Momma. And I hope you have a senior year filled with learning and laughter and love and new adventures.

Let’s do this.


Without further ado, here are the plans for 12th grade.

  • Western Civ (textbook and Crash Course)
  • World Literature (Great Courses)
  • Algebra 2 (Khan Academy)
  • Economics/Government (book)
  • Sociology
  • Astronomy
  • Creative Writing
  • Spanish
  • Bringing Smart Back (her Instagram and YouTube educational channels)
  • Magical Memories
  • Keilee’s Kreations (her crochet shop)
  • Princess Theatre (she is doing an internship here.  She will be helping the educational director with 3 classes a week. 2 in city schools and 1 homeschool class. She is so excited about this)


Homeschooling Rocks!


August is almost gone.  I can not believe it.

This will be Keilee’s senior year. S.E.N.I.O.R.  Ugh.  She asked me if we could officially start in September.

This month has been filled with goodness.  And Princess stuff (which is still goodness).  I am not posting pictures of Princess events. There are too many.  If you want to see follow their Instagram or see them here. Magical Memories
There is also her Facebook page. I am beyond proud of her.  She started this in July 2016 and it has exploded.  She is a legit girl boss.

But we did find time in August to do some fun things.

One of our favorite places is Ave Maria Grotto.  This is a magical place full of miniatures of biblical places and places in the world.

Even though Emma and Keilee were both slammed busy they found time to do some glamping. (complete with bean bags and twinkle lights)

We also went to Lynchburg Tn to Jack Daniel’s Distillery.  We didn’t take the tour because they started charging and I didn’t bring enough money but the town is amazing.

All in all it was a beautiful August.

And I am ready to start Keilee’s senior year (more about that later).  I just hope it goes at a sloth’s pace.  (and if you know Keilee you know how apropos that ‘sloth’ reference was),

Homeschooling Rocks!

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”  George R.R. Martin

Tuscumbia feat. Ivy Green

Keilee and I were talking about the fact that this is her last summer before she graduates.  We have talked a lot lately about ‘lasts’.

We have amazing people in our lives.  That is how we get a pass to our local aquatic center each year.  As much as we adore the pool we have decided to do some short meanderings to places near us.  We can never do anything on the weekends because Keilee has parties every single weekend.  Which is the entire point of her princess business but it means our usual Saturdays are spent with her in costume and me taking pictures.

We decided to go to Tuscumbia today.  It is about 45 minutes from us. It is home to Ivy Green which is Helen Keller’s home.  We have been before but it’s been about 9 years!!!

9 and 17 years old! At the famous pump where Helen learned her first word.

Ivy Green is a beautiful place and full of history.

Ivy Green

The dining room where they tried to teach Helen to eat ‘with manners”.

The ‘trunk’ room

Anne and Helen’s room

Museum with a statue of Helen.

The back of the house.

Beautiful flowers in the gardens

The little house where Anne and Helen stayed.  Keilee loves the story of how they rode Helen around for 5 hours in the carriage so she would think they were far away when they were just next door.

The infamous key Helen stole when she locked Anne in her room.

A little train station down the street from Ivy Green

Picnic in Spring Park.

Beautiful waterfall at Spring Park



Coon Dog Cemetery

This cemetery was first created in 1937. Only Coon Hounds are allowed to be buried here.

So beautiful and sad.

It was a lovely day full of happy, laughs, conversations and audiobooks.

We are planning on doing this kind of thing more often.

Homeschooling rocks!

Life is either a great adventure or nothing. Helen Keller
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller



Kanzy the Mermaid

June is speeding by.  I know everyone says this all the time but goodness gracious time moves quickly.

I follow so many people on Instagram and Facebook with younger kids and I just want to go up to each of them, take their hands and tell them this, “It goes so quickly.  You may not think that now.  You may only be able to see the here and now but take it from me, a Momma whose 17 year old was 3 about 2 seconds ago, it goes by SO QUICKLY.  Enjoy the moments.”

This summer between her 11th and 12th grade year has been  spent so far at Princess events. (And Mermaid events).

Her company, Magical Memories, is almost a year old.  It has exceeded her wildest dreams.  This success came with a lot of work.  More work than she anticipated.  Keilee has an outlook on life and things she wants to do that I would give anything to have.  She sees something big and thinks “I can do this. I will just break it down and do each thing until it is done”.  I have a horrible habit of seeing the same thing and thinking “I can’t do that! It’s too much!”

She had wanted a mermaid tail forever and finally bought a custom made one after a lot of research.  Things didn’t go as planned.  The color bleached out when she took promo pics in it.  Then there was a lot of back and forth with the Etsy individual who made it.  In the end neither one of us were happy with the way it was handled but sometimes you just have to suck things up.

She has had an event at a country club and a reading in a park. She has a few more things scheduled and she loves being a mermaid.  The video is one a friend filmed for her.  She is still learning tricks and such.

Mermaid at the Country Club

Mermaid Reading

Mermaid Video:

Add many birthday parties, city meetings, an all day Leadership class once a week, swimming, a lot of reading and so much more and this first month of summer has been slammed.  It’s kinda the way we operate though.

Homeschooling Rocks!

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”   —Jenny Han



So Long 11th Grade…

We learn all the time.  I don’t measure learning in 9 month intervals.  That being said our cover requires an ‘end’ date.  So on paper we are finished with Keilee’s 11th grade year.

And I totally suck at updating my blog so I am adding a few pictures of the last 2 months.

Soulstock 2017.  Although it did get rained out we had a blast keeping an performing artist’s little boy.

Meet Kanzy the Swimming Mermiad.  Keilee’s newest character.  And her practicing in her Monofin.  Cause it’s harder than it looks!

Me and Her…

Reading at the Library.  As herself. 😉

Reading, Playing, With the Mayor

This is what she made me for Mother’s Day.  It’s a temperature blanket.  This one is based on the high temperature on my Mother’s birthday from the year she was born and the year she died.  I cried my eyes out.

My twirly girl.

Emma and “Rapunzel”

From an Elsa photo shoot.  Aren’t these wonderful?

Our homeschool journey has never looked like most I guess.  We have always learned what she wanted to learn.  If that’s 3 sciences that’s what we did.

This past year was even more different.  She started her own Princess company in July of last year and has spent a  year building it up.  She has been unbelievably successful.

Here are a few of the things she accomplished this “Junior” year.

There was US History, Child Psychology, Forensics, American Literature, a bit of math, online world religion class and a few other things.
And guess what these had in common? She didn’t completely finish any of them. And I’m perfectly fine with that.
Because she also started her own Princess company Magical Memories which to date has done over 80 events. She worked continuously on ideas, the Facebook and Instagram pages, took photo shoots with every one of her girls (and herself), edited pictures from every single event, built a webpage, held auditions, stayed in contact with parents and businesses to coordinate every event and so much more.
She entered and won a video contest with Southern Girls Project, took over their Instagram, and al. com’s Snapchat for a week. She was asked to speak at “Women Who Shaped The State-Modern Trailblazers” event. She served on our town’s steering committee as the youngest member, attending meetings and heading the table at 2 city wide events.
She ran a successful crochet business with over 60 orders. She learned to make a quilt. She volunteered countless hours at our soup kitchen and in the community. She worked backstage at our community theatre’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy”. She has an educational IG and Facebook account @bringingsmartback She led kids church every Sunday learning a new script each time. She reads to a Pre-K group at our library as ‘just Keilee’. She filmed 2 episodes for a TV show to be shown at Children’s Hospitals and she was in a segment for a NASA children’s show.
She found time to do things that feed her soul.
And she did most of it in 6″ heels!
So yeah. I’m not worried about a few books that weren’t finished.

Bring on her senior year.
And please Lord let it go S.L.O.W.L.Y  Like paint drying slowly.  Like cold molasses slow.  Like snail slow.

Homeschooling Rocks,



The Fine Art of Letter Writing

The art of letter writing seems to mostly be a thing of the past .

We have texts and emails and messenger and phone calls. It makes me sad that we are losing this part of our history. 

Years ago letters were all we had.  Letters written home during the wars, love letters across states, letters to relatives not living in the same place.

Now that is almost long gone. It makes me sad.

I have a letter written to me by my younger brother when I was in college. It’s in my wallet at all times. It’s crinkled but it’s one of my most precious possessions.

I have letters from my Mom that mean so much to me.She wrote letters to me when I was in college and when I lived in Tennessee and California.

The other day I ran across a letter I had written to my Mom when I lived in California. It was written over a few days and when reading it I could remember sitting under the palm tree in our yard still amazed that this Alabama girl was living in California. I was so far away from my Mom and my family. I loved my adventure but oh how I missed home.

The last line said “I miss you Momma but don’t be sad. I am living the most wonderful adventure and you are with me everywhere I go.”

I wouldn’t take anything for my letters.

Keilee has had various pen pals over the years.  She has a friend now that she writes to in Texas.  She writes like I always did.  A bit a day until she deems it ‘done’.  She’s also always collected letters.  If we find a stack at a yard sale she buys them and pours over them.  (A lot of them are VERY hard to read).

Write someone a letter.  I am sure they will cherish it forever.

Homeschooling Rocks!

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux

Mardi Gras, Dogs and Read Across America

March is here. And soon my baby will be a 12th grader.  She says “Mom can’t I just be the same age for a few years?”. If only.

This past weekend was Mardi Gras. Always a FUN day even though it was FREEZING.  The day before was in the 70’s.  The day of the 30’s.  Welcome to Alabama.

She had an Elsa party in a nearby town and was unable to do her Princess thing in the Children’s parade.  She was very sad.  We did rush back (with her changing IN THE CAR under a blanket) to make it to the very end of the Dog Parade.  Because it is always about the dogs.

This dog cracked me up.

She always gets so many beads. I think it’s cause she’s cute.  I also got beamed in the face about 10 times. The worst time? The Breast Cancer Pink ladies.  Lawd they can throw those beads.  Next year, a helment.

This week she read at 2 schools for Read Across America.  Once as Rapunzel and once as Dr. Seuss.  She loves reading to kids.

Dr. Seuss


Lately we have been trying to not run to the store 5 times a week. Seriously it’s ridiculous.  We are keeping a list and trying to go 1-2 times.  My car broke never to run again which caused enormous stress but my Dad bought us one! A car! A cool car!  A red car! A car 10 years newer than mine was.  We would never make it without the people in our lives.

So quick update. Hope things are happy where you are.

Homeschooling Rocks!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  ~Dr. Seuss

Politics and Princesses…

Sometimes I wonder why I pay for this month after month.  I rarely update it.  But the thoughts of it ‘going away’ makes me seriously sick to my stomach.  It’s our life, from 2008 to now.  So I keep it and promise myself to ‘do better’.

February is half way over.  Keilee and I were just discussing the fact that times has gone by crazy fast.  It’s insane.  4 months until she is a ‘senior’. How in the heck can that be true?

School has gone slowly this year. She hasn’t done tons of ‘booky’ things but she has learned and learned and learned.  She has taken a class this year that we didn’t even know she would be taking. It’s called Politics 101.  I do not discuss my politics.  I could write a post about why I don’t but just suffice to say we have never watched and followed politics like we do now.  We watch huge amounts of news stories, listen to tons of podcasts, read about 7 different newspapers and news sites.

She still does American Lit. She just finished “Catcher in the Rye” which she didn’t love and now she is listening to “1984” which she does love.  She does Forensics and Child Psychology and US History.  She watches documentaries and knows so much about so much.

Some of my favorite moments this month:

She was asked to come to the courthouse for ADOPTION DAY for this brother and sister and then come to the after party and announce they were going to Disney!!!  It was magical. Simply magical.

Filming a scene for a TV show to be shown in Children’s hospitals in the US.

A wonderful night at a nearby library.  The kids were mesmerized.

Happy Birthday Cinderella. The movie was released this month in 1950!

Valentine’s day at our library. She read a book to the kids and then one of them ‘read’ one to her.

Happy rest of February. Make it wonderful.

Homeschooling Rocks!

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Breault



Hello 2017

2017.  It’s so unreal to me that it is 2017.

We have been crazy busy.  Well Keilee has been crazy busy which means I am crazy busy by default.

She keeps up with her busy life with a planner that is a work of art. Seriously.  I use a notebook and pen.  And that works for me. But she prefers “pretty”.

She celebrated her 17th birthday.  We went to iHop the same way we have done since she was 3.  And there are waitresses who remember her!
17…. I can’t even.

She and Emma got to spend time together.  Emma spent the night and they stayed up way late talking and listening to music and talking and watching movies and talking.  It’s hard when your best friend is so far away.

She still working hard on Bringing Smart Back.  If you don’t follow her on social media you should!  Your kids will love it.

Instagram @bringingsmartback

Here are some pictures from the activities she did for her children’s book club.

She had her first lunch meeting this week for her Princess company.  Someone wanted to meet with her to discuss an opportunity. She thought that was SO cool.  (and so did her Mamma)

She has done amazing things with  her Princess group in 6 short months.  She had/has 8 events in January.  She has even booked events in May.  This is from 2 birthday parties ON THE SAME DAY!  A day that was below 10° windchill.  And our fountain in front of the state bank froze so what else but Elsa pictures?

She has also crocheted 27 hats for custom orders!!  In 4 weeks.

And there has been US History, Forensics, American Lit (she is  reading The Catcher in the Rye), Child Psychology and more.  But she learns so very much just living life, running 2 businesses, watching documentaries, reading news stories and so much more.

All in all it has been a great start to 2017.  Like I told Keilee the other day, her ‘school’ experience doesn’t look like the kids in the school down the street but it is a beautiful thing.

Happy 2017!

Homeschooling Rocks!

“Little girls with dreams become women with vision” ~Unknown


Below is the video Keilee made with all her characters.  I LOVE it so much!

Our Characters!

Please share!
Our Characters!
Not only do we offer birthday parties, fundraisers, live calls, and personalized videos we now have Princess Play Dates! Princess Play Dates can include; tea parties, playing dress up, picnics in the park, Juice and cookies or anything you can dream up! Message us for a special rate!

Posted by Magical Memories on Monday, January 2, 2017







1st Semester/HomeschoolGirls Style

I can not believe it’s almost the end of the year.  Time goes by so quickly that it astounds me.  I want to grab it, hold it, make it slow down.  How can it be I am about to have a 17 year old?

As far as “Let’s do all of our subjects and check the boxes” this 1st semester of 11th grade has been a bit of a fail.  Yes there was US History, Forensics, American Literature, Child Psychology, writing and a few other things done but definitely not a semester’s worth.

And I could choose to freak out about that.  But I am not.  Because the things that were done were magnificent.

Keilee is completely running 2 businesses.  Very successful businesses.

Her Princess group, which she started at the end of July, is flourishing.  She has had at least 3-5 events a month, some months much more.  She has had photo shoots with each Princess to get the exact pictures she wants.  She edits each picture taken.  She has designed and ordered business cards.  She has participated in countless volunteer opportunities.  She has made many, many little girl’s birthday dreams come true by appearing as a Princess.  She coordinates with the Mom’s for birthday parties giving them information.  She makes Happy Birthday videos and edits and sends them to people all over the world.  She made Elf videos as “Holly The Elf” for Christmas.  She talks on the phone to businesses setting up events. She coordinated everything for her group to participate in the Christmas parade. She runs all the social media on Facebook and Instagram for the group.

Her Keilee’s Kreations has been a huge commitment, especially the last 2 months.  She has had over 30 orders due for Christmas.  She comes up with ideas, crochets, posts on Instagram, takes orders, generates invoices, packages and mails every order with special touches.

She is the youngest member on the Steering Committee for our city.  They have monthly meetings and do things in the community.  She successfully headed a table with citizens of our town to discuss issues, concerns and ideas to make our town better.

She was asked to speak in Birmingham at the “Women Who Shaped Alabama” conference for the “Modern Trailblazers” portion.  She talked about running businesses as a 16 year old. She was the youngest person to speak by quite a bit.

She made a video for a Southern Girls Project and won the contest they were hosting.  She then was asked to take over’s Snapchat and then the Snapchat and Instagram for re.belle who is the ones who sponsored the contest.

She does Bringing Smart Back which is her educational Instagram and Facebook accounts.  She did decide to cut back on the number of YouTube videos she does but she is doing a Children’s Book Club now with plans to continue.  She finds the books, finds crafts, experiments and activities to go along with each book and post about them. She also posts other things each week.

She leads kid’s church each Sunday.  She learns a script each week to perform on stage.  She also leads a small group of 4th-5th grade girls.

So yes, her 1st Semester of 11th grade probably looks nothing like the kids in the public school down the street.  But she is rocking this year.

So, if your kids do things differently, learn outside of that “box” everyone always talks about, gets excited about something besides Algebra or Science, that’s OK.  It’s actually more than OK because honestly how many times since high school or college have you gotten excited over Algebra?

Isn’t that the reason we started this journey in the first place?  To allow our kids to experience more?  More joy, more learning, more real life, more of all the things that will make their lives lovely.

Merry Christmas from us both!

Homeschooling Rocks!

“I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge.” ~ Seymour Papert

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” —Farrah Gray