The Final Frontier…

We had a week full of Space….and it all happened just by chance.† Don’t you love weeks like that?

We were reading “100 Greatest Science Discoveries” and started following rabbit holes.† We ran across a mention of Voyager and the Golden Record.† I didn’t have a clue what this was so we started reading about it.††

Voyager 1 was launched in 1977, passed the orbit of Pluto in 1990, and left the solar system in November 2004. In about 40,000 years, it and Voyager 2 will each come to within about 1.7 light-years of two separate stars. †40,000 YEARS!!

What is so cool about this is that they both had phonograph records aboard.†† This was a huge project led by Carl Sagan.† They were made for “any intelligent extraterrestrial life or future humans. There are greetings in 55 languages, 116 images, natural sounds and more.† I was blown away by this.† How cool is this?† You have to read more about here.We also watched some YouTube videos about it.† This is my favorite resource of the week. †

The Golden Record has instructions on how to play it written in binary and diagrams.

Golden Record

Then we watched a 6 episode show on Netflix streaming called “When We Left the Earth”. †

On Wednesday night, we heard that they were trying to get a homeschool group together to see Orion which was on a 3 city tour.† Huntsville was one of the stops.†† They were offering a 5 hour class, complete with movies, a discussion with Rex Walheim one of the last astronauts to fly the Space Shuttle, lunch, museum tour and more.† We signed up immediately.†

We had a blast Thursday.† It was one of the best things we have done in a long time.† Our favorite part was the interview with Rex Walheim.† He was awesome and he brought tons of his photos.† They were amazing.

They talked about each of the space programs, what each cost and how that was in today’s money.† They discussed in great detail plans for Orion.

†1.††††††††† The route of Orion

2.††††††††† The PYRAMIDS from space.

3.†††††††††† Keilee asking a question during the question/answer phase.† She wanted to know if he saw The Great Wall of China.† He didn’t because of cloud cover.

4.††††††††† Rex Walheim during a space walk.

5.††††††††† Rex Walheim in the 360∞ view area of space shuttle.

6.†††††††† Their mission was to take a year’s worth of supplies to The Space Station.† Here is the Space Shuttle crew on board with Russian and Japan astronauts!

We did so many cool things!† Here are a few of my favorite shots.† Including one of Keilee at The Wizard of Oz practice.† She is a very convincing Wicked Witch.† Some of the smaller kids are scared of her!!

†1.††††††††† Exploring the Museum

2.††††††††† Riding the Space Shot!

3.††††††††† Keilee and Hope checking out the astronaut suits

4.††††††††† Wall of Fame

5.†††††††† Lunch a la cafeteria style.† Honestly so many of our kids had no clue what to do.† It was too funny.† Keilee was appalled that she was expected to eat off the tray.† She ate probably 2 bites.† She never bought her lunch in K and 1st grade.† I always made it.

6.††††††† The WICKED WITCH

7.††††††† Ringing the bell on the rock wall.

We also got to sign the Orion!†

Keilee and Karen in Space...

†We were tired when we finally made it home but it was so worth it.

Here is a video of Kei and her friends riding the Space Shot.† YES it is sideways.† Please tell me if you know how to ‘straighten’ it!

Keilee wanted me to let† you know that she was NOT screaming like a girl thankyouverymuch!

Just an almost perfect week!† Gotta love when that happens.

Linking up with Susan for “Favorite Resources”

and Mary for “Collage Friday”

Happy weekend,

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.”† ~ Stephen Hawking

“There are a thousand things that can happen when you go light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good.”† ~ Tom Mueller, SpaceX propulsion chief


Drumming to OUR Beat….

The more I read the book “Free Range Learning” and visit unschooling/interest led blogs the more I am drawn to this.† This past week we haven’t had a lot of ‘written down plans’ but we have learned so much.

I downloaded this free book on iBooks “100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time”† You can get it as a pdf or in iBooks.† I just randomly read it to Keilee.† It’s awesome.† We always explore in greater detail from the initial article.

Friday Collage via Mary at Homegrown Learners.

is made up of things we learned about instead of pictures of Kei ;)† Well except for the center one which shows HOW she learned all these amazing things.

Kei dictated this to me about each picture. † ††††††

1. † † † † † † Knights:† We read about the Code of Chivalry and watched several movies and documentaries about knights.† “In Search of History: The Knights Templar ” on Netflix instant was good and we also watched “King Arthur”.†

2.†††††††††††† We read about Nicholas Copernicus and how he first showed that the Sun was the center of the universe.† Until then they believed, because of Ptolemy that the Earth was the center.† We talked about this, looked up graphics and drew for an hour.

3.††††††††††† Andreas Vesalius: 1515 AD † He had the first accurate guide to human anatomy.† Before that doctors believed the teachings of Galen from 50 BC.† His published book was used in Human Anatomy for the next 300 years.

4.††††††††† “The Inch High Samuri”† We read this after reading about Samurai’s in SOTW.†

5.††††††††††† Me [Kei] on the iPad.

6.††††††††††† Galen’s drawings of the human body.† We loved learning about how people assumed the human body was for over 2000 years.†

7.†††††††††† “The Dragon Dance”† We have been reading about the Chinese New Year this week.† Lots of video watching from parts of the world.† I [Keilee] is the Year of the Dragon and we researched what each symbol represented and tried to find people we knew were born in that year to see how closely they matched.

8.†††††††††† Archimedes discovering buoyancy.† The King Hieron gave him an order to find out whether a goldsmith had cheated the king.† We loved reading this story about how he discovered buoyancy.† [*Yes he discovered it in the bathtub but I don’t think HE was bathing at the time ;)]

And MORE:†† Keilee wanted to learn about the difference in human and dog bones.† She told me that while the Femur is the longest bone in the human body, the tibia is the longest in a dog’s body.We watched the musical, “Memphis”† and “Les Miserables” which led to discussion about the Paris Uprising.† It was a 25th Anniversary copy of the musical and it was wonderful.† She has been making Stop Animation movies like crazy.† Britney spent the night Wednesday and they made several.† She is making another one as I type.† Plus we had “Wizard of Oz” practice.† We also did 3 lessons in Teaching Textbooks and she read 4 chapters in “Midwife’s Apprentice”.† We do SO much more without television it isn’t funny!

Just to smile and see something breathtaking and beautiful, go here and check out this video….

Favorite Resource of the Week:† via Susan at Learning All The Time

This favorite resource is a GREAT one.† It is free DVD’s and teachers resources for “Teaching Tolerance”.† I found this a few months ago.† I have received all SIX of these and while I haven’t used all of them the ones I did use are awesome.

We watched “Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History” which led Keilee to do a report on Public Schools and bullying.† She also researched the “No Child Left Behind” bill and wrote about that.† All on her own, I did not ask her to do this.

The Kit entitled “One Survivor Remembers” would go along wonderfully with Theresa’s favorite resource this week; “Number the Stars”.†

Whew…what a week.† Was that a lot of yummy learning or what?† The best part of it is Keilee remembers things better when we ‘discuss’ it as opposed to me or her dry reading it.† This is what learning at home is all about.

Happy Weekend to my friends in blog land,

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other in both mind and body; to try the manners of different nations; to hear the chimes at midnight; to see sunrise in town and country; to be converted at a revival; to circumnavigate the metaphysics, write halting verses, run a mile to see a fire, and wait all day in the theatre to applaud ‘Hernani’.” -Robert Louis Stevenson



Little Things Mean A Lot…

Thankful ThursdayÖ.

*Early morning conversations in bed discussing the dayís plans…

*Doggy kisses…

*Chocolate cake, made from scratch by Keilee for the neighbor ladies…

*Reading aloudÖthe current book, ìThe Hobbitî…

*My Dutch OvenÖwhy is it I feel such a sense of satisfaction when something is cooking in it….

*Naps on the couch….

*An amazing post that touched my heart….

*H-Mamaís post that introduced us to ìStopAnimationî for the iPad/iPhone, that has led to HOURS and HOURS working on videos the last couple of days.† This is her first effort and she took 519 pictures for a 44 second video… More patience than I my child has… †See if you can see how she spelled out her name 😉

*Laughter, silliness, rainy days, music and dancing….

*Keilee doing ballet with a heavy metal song as inspiration….

*This amazing child who has shown me the world in an entirely new way…..

Linking up with my awesome friend Theresa at Red Oak Lane!

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.“† ~Oprah Winfrey

iPadÆ ?

I never wanted an iPhone.† I had a perfectly good cell phone.† No bells and whistles but it rang and I could answer it.† I wasnít the kind of cell phone user who had my phone 24/7.† However my boss sent me an iPhone in 2007.† It was cool and everyone ëoohed and ahhedí over it.† I liked itÖbut I wasnít at the ëcanít live without ití phase.

Then I got an iPhone 4 and BOOM!† Everything was different.† I loved it. I used it every day.† I watched Netflix in bed, I read books on it, I googled from all over Alabama.†

When the †iPad came out I thought, ëCool but basically a larger iPhoneí and I knew I could never afford one anyway.† Then I started hearing all these cool things they could do, how helpful they were for homeschooling Mamaís like me!† At the first of December when my boss asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told him there was nothing I really wanted.† [He gives the BEST gifts EVER]† He kept on and on and I finally told him I would like a gift certificate to Apple.† He asked what for and I told him Kei and I would like to save up for an iPad.† Never did I expect him to BUY THE DANG THING FOR US!

Guess what he got us for Christmas?† Not the lowest priced iPad that I would have picked out but a super duper iPad 2 with 3G!!!

The point of this rambling post is to let you know





We use it every day.† EVERY STINKING DAY.† Not for gamesÖalthough there are some great ones out there, but for LEARNING!

I am considering doing an iPad weekly linkup.† There are just so many good apps out there.† Letís start with these.† These are apps we ACTUALLY use.† We have tons of Apps that look good but we havenít actually gotten around to using them.

Without further ado here are some of our favorite apps.† [Keep in mind I have had my iPad less than a month] A lot of these are also available on the iPhone.†


Old favs: Brain Pop, Stack the States, Stack the Countries

This Day in History:† FREE Nuff said…. We check this every day.

Geo Walk HD† $2.99 Around 500 objects with up-to-date descriptions are available for your edutainment. Learn about interesting historical places, great people, unusual animals and plants all around the world.

NYPL Biblion FREE†

ìEnter the World of Tomorrow and experience the 1939ñ40 New York Worldís Fair through the collections of The New York Public Library! Biblion: The Boundless Library is designed to take you ó all but literally ó into the Library’s legendary stacks, opening up hidden parts of the collections and the myriad story lines they hold and preserve. In this free app you will hold documents, images, films, audio, and essays directly from the collections right in your hands.î


STAR WALK $4.99 This is another awesome app.† Well worth the price.† Star Walk enables you to point your iPad at the sky and see what stars, constellations, and satellites you are looking at in real-time.† But it does so much more than that.† Check out this video.†

NASA† FREE†††††††††††††††††††††††††

ìThis is the NASA Visualization Explorer, the coolest way to get stories about advanced space-based research delivered right to your iPad. A direct connection to NASAís extraordinary fleet of research spacecraft, this app presents cutting edge research stories in an engaging and exciting format. See the Earth as youíve never seen it before; travel to places otherwise unavailable to even the most intrepid explorers! Download it now, tap into the power of NASAís cutting-edge research today and check for new stories every week!††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Video Science† FREE

A growing library of over 80 hands-on Science lessons that are great for home and the classroom. These short videos demonstrate inexpensive and easy to recreate experiments that are designed to inspire and excite kids of all ages.

Color Uncovered† FREE

How is Monet like a honeybee? What color is a whisper? Why is it so hard to find your car in a lamp-lit parking lot?
Color Uncovered features a wide spectrum of cool color-related topics to explore. Learn why friends shouldnít let men buy bananas. Try your own color experiments on the iPad using simple items you have at home: a CD case, a drop of water, and a piece of paper. Discover how the iPad and other devices create color. Find out what causes afterimagesóand more


ANYTHING by Khan Academy! FREE


Learn Chess†† FREE

Kunumdrum $.99 There is a lite version to try it out first.†

ìGuide your spark flinging orbs to their colourful goals to unlock stage after stage of brain boggling fun! Make your way through 150 levels of intense strategy using mind warping logic encountering Teleporters, Direction Changers, Blockers, Gates and Switches that alter your path as you try to complete the puzzles in as few moves as possible. And when you’re done there, try out one of the upcoming Map Packs with fresh new mechanics adding to the addictive game play, the possibilities are endless!î

Machinarium†† 4.99 It was a little expensive but it is a beautifully done game.† Tons of critical thinking.


Educreations † FREE Interactive Whiteboard.† Also has a playback feature.† We use this for LOTS of things.† When Kei learns some Latin prefixes or suffixes I make a quick little quiz on this.† She likes doing it better on the whiteboard than a paper.

Colorful Day††† $.99 There is also a FREE version.†† This is just a cute little journal.† You can record about 5 seconds each day.† It has several cool little functions that Kei likes.† Password protected


Google Earth†† FREE Hold the Earth in the palm of your hand.† At Keiís birthday party the girls played with this for over an hour.† They ëwentí EVERYWHERE.

HSW HD††† “How Stuff Works”† FREE† They have Audio and Video podcasts!

ITunesU††† FREE

The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools ó plus†the worldís largest digital catalog of free education content ó right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.†Whether youíre majoring in molecular biology at a university, taking Spanish in high school, or just interested†in European history, you now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere


PuppetPals HD††† FREE but we did unlock the entire package.† $2.99† Kei uses this after a Chapter in SOTW.† She makes a little short play on what she has learned.† It doesnít have all the right characters but she makes do and remembers the material MUCH more than if we just read it and do questions.

ìSimply pick out your actors and backdrops, drag them on to the stage, and tap record. Your movements and audio will be recorded in real time for playback later.
This app is as fun as your own creativity. Act out a story of Pirates on the high seas, fight as scary monsters, or play the part of a Wild West bandit on the loose. You can even combine any characters however you want!î

Art Authority††† This was our most expensive app.† $7.99† I am sure it is worth it but we havenít done a lot with this app.† It is BEAUTIFULY done.† †I really like to find art from the era we are studying in History.

ìA comprehensive collection of works by over 1,000 of the western world’s major artists, from ancient times to today. In your pocket! Organized by period and artist, Art Authority’s 40,000+ paintings and sculptures are downloaded as needed and displayed chronologically for each artist, with detailed captioning. In-depth information about the periods and artists is also available.
From the earliest creative pieces to the latest modern and contemporary works, Art Authority provides an impressively displayed, carefully selected, well organized view of the western art world that is both broad and deep.î


Flipboard † AWESOME app.† FREE This is something we just sit around and look at and read.† I may tell Keilee to go find one story that interests her on Flipboard and then tell me about it.†

Discovery HD† FREE† This has all the things Discovery Channel has but one thing extra that we LOVE.† Cinepuzzle; For all ages and interests CinePuzzle is an award-winning video puzzle innovation that is deceptively simple, totally addictive, and visually stunning. †A Cinepuzzle is a moving puzzle challenge: tap and drag the scrambled and rotated tiles from a moving video to realign the pieces while the video plays! Featuring exclusive puzzle content from hit Discovery shows! It amazes me how much faster Keilee is at these puzzles than I am.† She sees things visually much quicker than I do.

Also grab “Apps Gone Free” App.† They have around 5-7 apps free every day!† We have gotten some really good ones.† Some days I don’t get any, but one “FREE” makes it worth my time.

So thatís all for my first APP post.† I hope you can find something that will enrich your learning experience.† I can not wait to see where APPS are going.† I am sure they will only get more and more astonishing.† I wish I was rich and I could buy everyone I know an iPad.† I seriously think they are the educational wave of the futureÖnot just iPadís but tablets in general.

Homeschooling Rocks.


Disclaimer: No iPads were injured in the making of this post.† I was not compensated in any way, however if anyone from ye ole’ Apple is reading this; iTunes cards would be mostly appreciated.

ìThe last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mindócomputer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mindócreators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These peopleóartists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkersówill now reap societyís richest rewards and share its greatest joys.î ~Daniel H. Pink

ìThe illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.î ~Alvin Toffler


AppleÆ, Dr Pepper Pork, Witches and Doggie Scarves..

Collage #1

We did a class at the Apple Store.† [This is something FREE they offer for homeschoolers so check if you have a store in your area].† The class was for Middle/High School kids and they taught them how to make movies in iMovie.† They discussed plots and story-lines for their movie.† He asked for actors and Keilee decided to be the director and camera person.† She also got to go up and do the editing.† She had a blast and has been making iMovies ever since.


1.††††††††††† Keilee and Nomad doing Teaching Textbooks.† He is such a help.† I think Kei said he drooled on her laptop.† Good timesÖ

2.††††††††††† We played a game with her Eyeclops.††† She got this cool thing a few years ago and it has been stuck on a shelf.† I took it out and plugged it into our television so she has easy access.† She took 6 or so things and had them one at a time on the TV and then took pictures of them.† I had to guess what was what.† This is a quilt of my Grandmothers.† I would have NEVER guessed it. The Eyeclops makes things HUGE.† So cool.

3.††††††††††† Keilee has knitted 3 scarves for Nomad.† He loves them.† He will go get one and bring to us to put on him.† We ëoohí and ëahhí and tell him how handsome he is. ††

4.††††††††††† After the great class at the APPLE store, Kei has been making iMovies.† This was a stop animation one she did with her 167 WebKinz!!!† She also has made one of Nomad. Then she got her flash drive and grabbed over 100 photos off my computer.† She transferred them to her PowerBook and made the most adorable iMovie complete with songs.† I helped her ZERO with this.

5.††††††††††† Keilee got Banagrams for Christmas and we have loved playing it.† This is something she made with words from ìHunger Gamesî trilogy and ìEnderís Gameî our current audio book.

6.††††††††† Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork from Pioneer Woman.† It was SOOOOOOOOoooo† good!††† I mean anything with Dr. Pepper in it, I am in like Flynn!† Cooked it in my Red Dutch Oven I got for Christmas.† I am seriously in love with that thing!

My resource of the week is a couple of my favorite sites.† Check them both out if you haven’t.† So worth it!

The first is a site I found when Keilee was 8.† We have used it so many times.† The Brain Hat is just one of the cool things she has!† She has tons of free printables.†

The second site, The Toymaker, we have also loved forever.† It has the most beautiful paper projects in the world.† All free.† I just so admire people who offer their talents free for all to enjoy.††


Places weíre going and people weíre seeingÖ

Keilee has had play practice which of course she loves.† She is a very believable Wicked Witch!

My favorite thing this week wasÖ

Watching Keilee get so excited about making iMovies. She made 4 movies in 1 1/2 days!

Iím readingÖ

ìRange Free Learningî on my Kindle.† I LOVE this book.† It is making me rethink some things.I just love how I can still get so excited about homeschooling!

Whatís working for us:

Very little television.† I am seriously loving this.† Today I was going through my Netflix queue and I realized I do not hate TV, I hate mindless TV.† I have some amazing things in our instant queueÖartists bios, science and history documentaries, and much more.†

Itís not that I think all TV is horrible, I was tired of turning the TV on every night and just zombieing [ok I know that isnít a word but it sounds cool] in front of it.† We watch less than 2 hours a week now.†

I am praying for:

My Daddy.† He and Marlene are in Florida for a couple of months and he has been to the doctor once and the ER once.† They think he has bronchitis but it is scary to me because I canít go check on him.

Linking up with Susan’s ìFavorite Resources”

Favorite Resource This Week
and Mary’s ìCollage Fridayî


Happy Weekend to all !


ìWe have a cultural notion that if children were not engineered, if we did not manipulate them, they would grow up as beasts in the field. This is the wildest fallacy in the world.î ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce From “Range Free Learning”


Learning by Creating, Listening and Watching…

1.††††††††††† This is what happens when 4 girls sleep over!

2.††††††††††† Keilee got a new Monster High Doll, Clawdeen Wolf.† She has been looking for this one for months and she found it on Ebay.† She used her money, bid on it, followed the bid, set her limit and raised it 2 times, and WON it!† [Clawdeen is the one in the middle]

3.††††††††††† After Keiís party, Chan stayed with us for 4 days!† We all had a blast.† One of the ëMANYí things they did was play Dance Twister.†

4.††††††††††† Love this picture of Nomad.† The girls had spent hours with clay.† See the clay on my floor and on Nomadís nose?† Too cute.† You know the things about messes?? Öthey clean up. 🙂

5.††††††††††† Keileeís clay creation.† A cake made with fondant.† She is a fan of ëCake Bossí.†

6.††††††††††† Of course Monday night we had to watch the Alabama vs. LSU game for the National Title.† Nomad was supporting ëBama with pompoms.† It was a GREAT GAME.† ROLL TIDE!!!

7.††††††††††† The next day I had to teach Chan and Kei the rules of football.† I used candy and put 11 pink and 11 white on the table and explained the rules.† Then I taught them how to play paper football.† Keilee got a little too into it and jumped up on the table!

8.††††††††††† The purse Keilee knitted!† It was beautiful.† It was lime green on one side and turquoise on the other.† She used both colors for the strap.† She took it to her Sci Quest class.

9.††††††††††† This is a picture of the Tennessee River on the way home from Keiís science class.† It was so stormy and rainy all day.† She had a science class this week at Sci-Quest.†† It was the first time she has taken these classes.† She loved it and I loved sitting and talking with all the Moms.† We all exchanged APPS.† They learned about plant, animal and bacteria cells. When I picked her up the teacher told me she was ìa cool kidî.† I found a great Free APP to go along with her learning that she played with on the way home.† It is called iCells.†

Favorite Resources This Week: [Sorry Susan, I couldn’t pick just ONE! :)]

We are in Chapter 16 in SOTW 2 here are some great resources we used:

  • Middle Ages † .† We played ëTabla Lurosia Board Gameí from the Teachers Guide and learned about Old English, serfs and noblemen and castles.†
  • We watched this video about defending a castle.††
  • Keilee also made a short play about serfs and noblemen with iPad app called PuppetPals HD††
  • I am going thru a free ebook with Keilee called ìFiske 250 Words Every High School Freshman Should Know† I got this for free but it isnít free now. Not really sure why.
  • We are still doing ëEnglish From the Roots Upî† I think knowing Latin and Greek root words are so very important.††
  • We watched a movie about Georgia OíKeeffe.† We looked at her art work online.† I love finding a film about someone we are studying.† Keilee told me she would never forget Georgia OíKeeffe after seeing the movie.† [Warning: Probably not suitable for younger kids. It is Unrated but I think it is probably PG13]††

†The temperature fell about 20∞ yesterday in a couple of hours and it is COLD.† It was even spitting snow a bit outside, but it is warm in the house.† Keilee is planning on playing with a cardboard Dollhouse that she made yesterday from huge boxes and painted.† I plan to snuggle under the blanket and read on my iPad and Nomad will be snoring on the couch.† Life is good.

Linking up with Susan’s ìFavorite Resource This Weekî†

Favorite Resource This Week
and Mary’s ìCollage Fridayî†

Homeschooling Rocks!


ìAlways walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.î †~Vernon Howard

PARTY like it’s 2012…

Keileeís 12th Birthday was Tuesday.† She decided she wanted to have a spend the night party.† There were so many people she wanted to invite but we just didnít have room for everyone.† I was also going to do a Scavenger Hunt at Wal-Mart and I had to be able to fit everyone in my small car.

So she decided on her 3 best homeschooling friends.† We planned it for Friday and got ready to PARTY!

First of all we went to Skate Day.† Everyone had a blast as usual.

Girls at Skate Day *Picture by Gina Lackey

Then since it was nice outside we went to the park for awhile.† It wasnít THAT warm and I froze as usual but it was good times.

Kei and Chan at Park
Hanging Out
Big Plans...
Love This One...

Then all the girls piled in my car and we headed for home.† After Nomad enthusiastically greeted them, they decided they needed a snack.† I quickly opened the goodies and made some cheese dip.


Then they played HeadBanz and I laughed so much at them.

What Am I?

I had a GREAT idea earlier in the week for a Wal-Mart Scavenger Hunt.† I decided to ask for pictures instead of items.† I divided them into 2 teams and off to Wal-Mart we went.† I was afraid they would get in trouble or kicked out but they were very good.† Except for a little running and I’m not going to mention names ::coughKeileeEmilycough::† Here is the list:


Please do not destroy anything in the process of this scavenger hunt. Also, remember that we are in a public place so try not to be too loud. Finally, there is a time limit of 1 HOUR! We will meet at the entrance we came in through in 1 HOUR!


Both Team Members holding a Flag [any country]
One team members dress in a boa and tiara.
A Kiwi
3 unknown people doing ìCharlie Angelî pose
Take a picture of someone chewing gum
Take a picture of someone with a cart-load full of things.
A Barbie Doll wearing MAINLY RED
Something you can buy with a Lady bug on it
A Welcome Mat with DOG paws on it
ONE team Member holding a Justin Bieber CD
Someone wearing Camouflage
1 Team Member on a Bike
Polka Dot clothing item
A Ball with Spiderman on it
BOTH Team Members with Wal Mart Greeter
1 Team Member with a Pregnant person
A Family with at least 4 Children [all in photo]
An employee named Pat and take a picture of them w/ Name Tag
Something that you can buy that starts with a ìXî
an organic snack with a wild animal on the box
One Team Member with a Towel Dress on
Have a stranger sign their name on both of your arms in black pen.
Buy the cheapest item you can find and have receipt
[Only ONE team will get the points for this]


Tons of Fun!

They had so many funny pictures but this one from Keilee and Emily’s team was great.† Charlie Angel’s pose! 😉

Charlie's Angels

When time was up we went home to look through pictures and count up the points. There were so many funny stories told back and forth.† Obviously there were no Justin Bieber’s CD’s in the entire store and Emily had a hard time believing that.† She made Keilee look about 5 times.† Chan and Brit were told that picture taking was not allowed in Wal-Mart.† So they just went to another part of the store to find their things!† There was an employee named Pat [I picked a total random name] but he had left a few minutes earlier!† There were stories of trying to get a picture of a ‘pregnant person’ and not wanting to ask someone if they were pregnant in case they weren’t!† They both took a picture of the same ‘FULL SHOPPING CART” at different times.†† They both spent WAY too much on their one item, Kei and Em spent 79¢ and Brit and Chan spent 74¢.† I saw Christmas stickers on sale for 5¢!† After tallying the points Keilee and Emily won by only a few points!† The girls all loved the Hunt and I will have to do something similar some other time.

After talking about it for an hour they decided it was time for cake!

Nomad wants in on the fun!
"Zebra" Cake
Make A Wish.....

After cake they went to Keilee’s room and talked for awhile.

Chatting and Posing...

Then I went to my room for the night.† There was music and dancing and videos and laughing and music and giggling and more.

Keilee said it was her best birthday ever.† She is so lucky to have such great girls in her life.

Homeschooling Rocks!


There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents … and only one for birthday presents, you know.† ~Lewis Carroll

Collage Friday…First Week of 2012!!

1.††††††††††† Keilee at our friendís house in her winking Panda Hat.

2.††††††††††† A dress Keilee knitted for her Monster High Doll!† Her 1st ëclothesí knitting project.

3.††††††††††† Keilee at her first Wizard of Oz practice.† She is The Wicked Witch!

4.††††††††††† Perfect cupcakes from Gigiís.† Birthday treat.

5.††††††††††† Keilee and the ìWICKEDî tickets I got her for her birthday.† She has wanted to see this for years!† She has the soundtrack and listens to it every day.† She has auditioned for plays twice with songs from ìWickedî.† Here is the Birthday Booklet I made her with the tickets on the last page.† She had NO clue. She was bouncing off the walls when she came to the end.† She kept saying, ìSeriously? Seriously? Is this for realî?

6.††††††††††† Our church has convergence every three months.† It was this past week and it was amazing.† The first week of December they had a ëReverse Titheí and gave out $5000 with instructions to use your talents and turn it into whatever you can.† Kei made knitted things and we turned $10 into $60.† Everyone turned in their money last night and we got over $20,000 !† It was an amazing night.

††††††††††††††† We had given up television for our Churchís 40 Day Fast and we donít intend to go back to how it was.† We are only watching 2-3 shows that we love and movies and videos for homeschooling.† We got so much more accomplished and both feel so much better with it mostly out of our lives.†

I am linking up with Mary at Homegrown Learners for her Collage Friday!

Homeschooling Rocks!!


“Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.” ~Bill Gates

“I find television to be very educating.† Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book. “~Groucho Marx


Happy 12th Birthday to My Girl…

Today is your birthday.

You are 12 years old.†

I wish I could make you understand what you mean to me.† I wish you could know what you have brought into my life.

Before you I was just a female.† Now I am your Mother.

Being your Mother is the best thing I have ever done.† You are such an amazing child.† Your heart is huge.† Your smile is infectious.† Your laughter is music.†

I love that you jump up and down with excitement.† I love that you love with your whole heart.† I love that you despise injustice and refuse to stand by and let people say mean things.† I love that you stand up for what you believe in.

You love so many things; knitting and sewing and writing and performing and dancing and cartwheels and backbends and playing in water and watching the stars, and jumping rope and riding your bike and singing and swimming and playing with your dog and hanging out with your friends and laughing at the silliest things and listening to audio books with me and taking walks in the woods and exploring and building fairy houses and snuggling in bed and bubble baths and makeup and hats and putting clothes together and playing online games and talking to every inanimate thing in the house and cooking and baking and plays and shopping and summer nights and snow and wind and rain and playing dress up.

I love that our house is never quiet.† You talk to the computer, to the dog, to your dolls, to the television.† And there is always singing.† In the shower, doing work, and just walking around.

I love that we speak in a wonderful shorthand that no one else understands.† That we randomly dance in the middle of the kitchen or sing some crazy song.

I love teaching you.† I love for you to get excited about things.† I love that you come up with great ideas and I love seeing the light bulb come on.† I love the way your mind works.† I love that you love animals.†† I love that you don’t think you are too old to play with your dolls and your toys.

I love that you think ëbutt and crapí are bad words and refuse to say them.† I love to hear your prayers.† I love your belief in Jesus and how much you love him.

I want to give you so much.† I want to have years and years and years with you here.† But I know that wonít happen.† You have so many plans, so many dreams. You will grow up and live your life.† I want that for you, but at the same time it makes me sad.†

What I wish for you is joy and fulfillment and friendships and love.

What I wish for you is the world.†

You deserve it.

Happy Birthday Keibug

I love you my baby girl,

To Pluto and back,


“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” ~ Agatha Christie

Ringing in The New Year…

Many years ago, MANY years ago, I spent New Yearís Eve with Kathy.† She had a party at her house.† We were in high school.† I donít remember much of itÖit was a LONG time ago, but I do remember music and laughing and dancing.

Now, years later that is how we rang in 2012.† The only difference is we both had our much loved daughters with us.† How quickly the years pass…how much like a circle life can be.

We headed out to Kathy and Sophieís house New Yearís Eve afternoon.† The plan was to hang out, maybe get something to eat and then go back and get ready to go to some friendís of hers New Years party.

Kei with her New Years Hat on her Panda Hat

We decided to grab Chinese and all got stuffed at the buffet.† Then we decided to go book shopping.† I mean is there any store better than a book store?† Keilee and Sophie had a blast trying on hats.†† Then Kathy and I had to get into the act.

Hats and Hats

†Then we headed back to Kathy’s to get ready.† I had forgotten how it is for 4 girls to get ready to go to a party.† Keilee and Sophie were all about their makeup and clothes and bling. † We ALL had on black and grey.† Not planned.

Ready to Party!

When we got to the party our make-uped, dressed up, blinged up girls quickly starting playing NERF GUNS!

Dressed to KILL....

There was a couple there from England and of course Keilee had to quiz him for 30 minutes in a BRITISH accent.† She is so goofy.† He told her that her accent was very good.† She and he discussed William the Conqueror and The Battle of Hastings and more.† She told him about Wales being where King Arthur lived and he told her about living in Prague and she loved every minute of it!

We also played “Pass the Parcel” which is a game they play in England.† There was a ‘parcel’ wrapped in about 15 layers and you passed it around the room with music.† When the music stopped the person holding it would open the top layer and do what the little note said.† Sophie had to go up on the balcony and shoot the Nerf gun and hit 4 people out of 5 shots.† People had to do all sorts of things.† It was so much fun.† Keilee had to stand on one foot, make a counter clockwise motion with her foot and draw an ‘R’ in the air with her hand.

Passing the Parcel
Keilee doing her 'forfeit'

We counted down to the New Year. Finally it was 2012!!

Happy New Year 2012!

†Then there was dancing and more dancing.† Keilee and Soph ‘whipped their hair’ so much I am surprised they didn’t have whiplash.

Dance Dance Dance

Before we left I made this little video.† Bad lighting but cute.

It was a GREAT start to 2012!† I am looking so forward to this new year.

My word this year is going to be:† YES!

Saying Yes instead of No.† Taking chances, not worrying about everything being planned to the last little bit.†

Just living in the moment.

Hope your 2012 is a wonderful adventure.† I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Homeschooling Rocks!


We will open the book.† Its pages are blank.† We are going to put words on them ourselves.† The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.† ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce


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