January 3rd was her birthday. Her 16th birthday. How is that possible? I am not ready for her to be 16 but time is a funny thing; it happens regardless of if you are ready for it or not .

We had such an amazing day. We went to church to hear an amazing message then she led Kid’s Church. Their script for the next few weeks are 2 extremely county people in Louisiana (think Duck Dynasty) who take off on an adventure to the Arctic.  Then she made cupcakes for her Small Group of 4th-5th grade girls.  She adores these girls.  And they adore her back.

Keilee and her sweet girls. They made her a whiteboard card.
Keilee and her sweet girls. They made her a whiteboard card.

After church we went to IHop for the 14th year in a row!!! We started going when she was 3. There were ladies there who said they had been a part of singing to her since 2010!!!

IHop ladies singing Happy Birthday!
IHop ladies singing Happy Birthday!
The sundae!!
The sundae!!

Then back home for family visits. After that we went to an abandon railroad to take birthday pictures. Then we went to Olive Garden for dinner. We had gift cards for both IHop and Olive Garden that we had been saving.

Happy Birthday!!
Happy Birthday!!

One perfect piece of tiramisu.



For her birthday she wanted to change her bedroom. She completely took down her loft bed by herself and is now using an antique bed that I used to use years and years ago. She didn’t want me to buy her a new comforter but I insisted. She hadn’t had a new one since she was 5. She knew what she wanted and searched and searched online. She knew she wanted a gypsy/bohemian and we looked in stores and online. She finally found the one below. And loved it. She then bought 5 yards of in sale fabric and tore strips for the ‘curtains’. She made the crocheted bunting and the fabric bunting on her headboard. And she took off ALL her stuffed animals and spent a long time picking her favorite few; a wicked witch from “The Wizard of Oz’ when she played the witch when she was 11, Marie from “Aristocats” where she played The Duchess when she was 13, Butch the Bulldog that we got at The Opryland Hotel when she was 5, Meeko the Raccoon from when she played Meeko in Pocahontas when she was 8, an owl my brother got her last Christmas and her tooth fairy pillow I got her when she was 5. And the new colorful pillow my brother got her for her birthday Sunday.

The room reveal!
The room reveal!

I have had the utmost honor of raising this amazing girl. One who loves so many things. Who talks about “Fruits of the Spirit” more often than the Top 40. Who can take a stick and fabric and create something amazing. Who thinks that most teenagers are from another planet and she doesn’t speak their language. Who is happiest watching a documentary on serial killers or the brain .

Who never watches anything teen drama or a movie about anyone doing anything ‘inappropriate’ without saying “2 words people: Self Control”. Who gets a little freaked out about being 16 and wishes she was 6 at times. Who loves knowledge and music and corny jokes and Korean dramas and anything in the world animal related (especially dogs or baby animals). Who has Pinterest boards that she actually does the pins! Who loves being on stage or performing in any way. Who has grown and been stretched by God this year as she teaches children about God and prays over them .

Who delights me every single day. Who has never been in trouble really because she is just that good of a child. But who doesn’t have a clue what a ‘clean room’ looks like, she honestly doesn’t get it. Mess bothers her not at all. Who has to create the same way most people have to breathe. Who sings constantly and dances most always. And good Lord, her crazy dances are legendary around our house. Who has such an idea of right and wrong. Life is black or white to her. She will learn the ‘gray’ in time .

Who wants to be an psychologist; child, animal and/or criminal, and a farmer and a English tutor in Korea and a Disney Princess and an animal rehabilitator in Africa and an actress depending on the day. And who could do them all and rock them. And she doesn’t care about money. “Just enough to live on” she says .

This child who is almost grown up (but not really Mom there is still so much I don’t know) and who won’t be here forever and oh my goodness that time is getting closer and closer .

Who has taught me the meaning of ‘wings and roots’ (although the wings are hard y’all) .

Happy Birthday my Keilee girl. May you always soar. May you one day find your tribe and know without a doubt that you are home. May God always guide your choices and your life. May your light shine oh so bright and illuminate everyone you come into contact with .

And may you always, forever more, without one ounce of doubt; know you have a Momma who always loved you to Pluto and back. And then back again. And back .

Homeschooling Rocks!

“What I want most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be”. ~Helen Claes



Just a quick recap of our year so I will have it all in one place.  How do you document a year?  There were amazing times but I am sure I will leave out highlights no matter how hard I try.

Keilee turned 15 and got her permit.  She has been wanting to drive since she was 12 but once she got it she wasn’t that excited.  She drives occasionally but it’s just not that important to her.  She has zero desire to get her license at this time.

Kei driving

It snowed!  Which is rare and we always love.

snow 2Snow in Alabama!!!


She created and sold so many handmade items for Keilee’s Kreations.

KK collage

She joined a party Princess group and has absolutely loved it.

Princess collage

We spent days with friends.

friends collages 2015

We volunteered at Soulstock a Christian Rock Festival and volunteered hours and hours at our local soup kitchen.


We spent long summer days at our favorite pool.


Jessica and her girls visited in the summer and we had a blast.

jess summer

At Epic Church!!!

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Keilee started her YouTube channel Bringing Smart Back and the accompanying website with lesson plans.

She started leading worship at kid’s church and teaching a small group of 4-5th grade girls every Sunday.


We went on an incredible trip with Jessica, Grace and Lilah that I did not blog about.  Jess blogged about it at Teachable Moments.  This was one of our very favorite memories of 2015 and one of our favorite trips of all time.  Keilee has always wanted to do the Civil Rights Tour in Alabama.  She has wanted to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge forever and especially since seeing “Selma”.  Thank you Jess for making one of her dreams come true!

trip Civil

We had a wonderful Christmas and did so much.

2015 was a great year.  It had it’s bad moments but for the most part it was wonderful.

Now bring on 2016!!!  Keilee will be 16 on January the 3rd and neither of us are ready for that!!  We are making a few changes because that is what is awesome about learning at home.  You can shake things up as often as you want!

Homeschooling Rocks!

“Whatever you do or dream you can do — begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it”. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman



We had a wonderful Christmas season.  I tried to say ‘Yes’ more than ‘No’ during this month.

And because of that we had the best month, one full of beautiful memories.

We went to our town’s Christmas parade which we haven’t done in a couple of years.  And ate dinner at one of our favorite sandwich shops.

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We served Christmas dinner for over 250 people at our downtown rescue mission.

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We went to church to the kid’s showing of “Polar Express” in footie pjs!

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We went to the boat Parade of Lights and then looking at Christmas lights and out to eat with our dear friend Patsy.  (who was my Mom’s best friend)Search results for icloud2

Keilee and her princess friends were in a Christmas parade in a town near us.  They rode on a float and threw candy.  Fun was had by all!

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Keilee went to eat lunch right before Christmas vacation with her favorite little girl in the world.  She surprised her and she was beyond ecstatic.

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We took selfies. 🙂

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We went to our downtown and watched this amazing 3D light show on the Old State Bank.  Then we walked through downtown and ate dinner with some of our favorite people.


Keilee fell in love with my cousin’s new Lab while delivering a crochet order to her.

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We took photos with Keilee wrapped in lights.  Because we thought it looked cool.

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Keilee taught kid’s church every Sunday.  She taught over 100 kids per service and also led a small group of girls in 4-5th grade.  She LOVES this and even made each of her ‘girls’ a goodie bag for Christmas.

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She had a great idea of ringing the Salvation Army bell dressed as Elsa.  I took her to the main office and she met with the director and he told her she could.  She asked the girl who plays Anna and they both spent over an hour walking around the mall taking pictures with tons of kids and then ringing the bell for 2 hours.  And Keilee did it all in 6″ heels.  She’s kinda my idol.

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We had the most wonderful Christmas morning complete with great gifts for each other.  And Nomad.

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We plays tons of Board games, baked for friends and family, read Christmas picture books aloud, listened to Christmas music almost non-stop, watched tons of Hallmark Christmas movies and so much more.

So from us to you, we hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

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It was one of our favorite Christmases to date.

But…we are both ready to get back to ‘real life’.

Bring on 2016!!

Homeschooling Rocks!

“At Christmas, all roads lead to home.”

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

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