REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to school!

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

Yes, my dad let my three-year-old drive his wheelchair. But boy, did he have fun!

We just finished the longest Christmas vacation ever. 3 weeks!!! Full weeks!! It was a blast.  It was genuinely fun because we didn’t spend the whole 3 weeks in any one place. We went south, then we went north, then we went home, then we went back south, then back home. We had a good time with it!

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

We watched pretty much every Christmas movie ever made.

And we were terrible.

Truly terrible.

We let the kids stay up as late as 10 some nights. I know. The shame! Other nights we put them to bed at 8, but there was one night we were at a big reunion party. It was an hour and a half from home, and by the time we got home and got the boys all in bed, it was after midnight!

I know!!! We are never this shocking. We are such boring people normally.

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

Some people skip stones…..we chunk boulders. (Don’t worry. Only into the water, and no one got hurt.)

I don’t think I got out of bed before 7:30am a single morning.

Discipline? I would say we were the opposite of disciplined…

We took the kids to two different movies. We let the boys sleep as late as they wanted, and for some of them that was actually until 8 or 8:30am!!

A disproportionate amount of corn dogs, candy canes, and chicken fingers was consumed.

JD has about quit napping completely.

The boys played so much Skylanders they’ve already beaten the new game twice.


REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

decorating the Christmas tree cookie cake

We built Lego creations, we colored, we ate ice cream, we played with cousins and friends. We got spoiled by grandparents. We completely forgot about reality.

I kept saying things like, “Tomorrow we HAVE to get back on schedule. Tomorrow we’ll all go to bed at 8, and I’ll set alarms and get up at 6….”

Never happened. Never.

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

Dan and I found this centipede(?) on a walk. I’m not a bug expert. Centipede was my best guess.

And so tonight we didn’t even bother to put everyone to bed until 9 or 9:30. I made coffee and did the dishes. You will be happy to know that we did actually make them shower.

Alan is furiously re-immersing himself in work emails. He took a ton of time off too.

I laid out my clothes but totally forgot to lay out THE BOYS’ clothes. Who knows if we’ll be able to find anyone’s shoes or belts tomorrow.

I set my alarm for 5:30am…..but you know I’m the worst EVER at getting up when my alarm goes off. I set my alarm, and Alan actually laughed. Sigh.

I’m scared y’all. I think we actually had too much fun on our break. I don’t think we can go back to real life. I’m afraid no one will be able to wake up tomorrow morning!!!

I don’t think this is an irrational fear.

We played Star Wars. Ha! Just kidding. THEY played Star Wars. I’m not that cool.

Why does real life have to be so very very real and strict and work-like???

Ah, but it does. You can’t train children for the world without upholding standards in their childhood. You can’t expect them to go to college if you don’t first teach them elementary math. And have you seen elementary math??? It’s not all that easy!

Tomorrow is the big day! Are you ready?? Were any of you as big of slackers as we were??? Tell me we are not alone!!!

Well, if you were, we would like to wish you all the best of luck. I’m sure everyone’s shoes will be clean, dry, and easily found. Everyone will be on time, and no one will cry. Well, maybe me at 5:30am. I might cry. I’m just not so sure I “got this”!!!

Okay. Deep breaths. We’ll be fine. What’s a good verse we can recite to ourselves?? Oh yeah.

Joshua 1:9


Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Gotta go. The Benadryl I took to make myself go to sleep earlier is finally starting to kick in…


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Classical Conversations Cycle 1: Week by Week with Brain Pop Jr.

Classical Conversations Cycle 1: Week by Week with Brain Pop Jr.

I’ve mentioned before that Brain Pop Jr. is a hit at our house. As part of my planning for next year, Cycle 1 of Classical Conversations, I combed through each week and lined up the material with the corresponding videos. I am not a Brain Pop Jr. salesman or affiliate. We just like the videos and find them helpful!

Each link will take you to a Brain Pop Jr. video, with lesson materials that correspond to that week’s CC lesson. Note that Brain Pop Jr. does require a membership fee. They DO offer free videos as well. You can find just the freebies here. You can also download an app with freebies.

Brain pop Jr.!


All of the book links are quick and easy Amazon links.



SCIENCE: Classifying Animals Video, Animal Card printable, and games (This one is FREE.)

I also think this book looks fun for this topic Is a Camel a Mammal?

WEEK 3 or 4

Cells: This video is actually on regular Brain Pop, not Junior, but it’s FREE!




HISTORY: Ancient Rome video, game, and mosaic printable activity

 I also recommend this book! My boys, especially Joshua, LOVE this series.



SCIENCE: For week 6 we memorize that fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds are all vertebrates. The possibilities are endless for enrichment.

Fish Video, Activity, and Quiz

Frogs Video and Activities



MUSIC: Reading Music Tutorial, printable activity, quiz, etc.

Great book with CD:


WEEK 8: Ancient China video and activities This one has a really cute dragon craft.


WEEK 9: Parts of a Plant, complete with science experiment and lab sheet

MUSIC: Pitch, Tone, and Beat


WEEK 13:  MATH: Cups, Pints, Quarts, and Gallons

SCIENCE: The Earth  This one’s really good! It goes with our memory work perfectly.


WEEK 14: MATH: Inches and feet

SCIENCE: Rocks and Minerals


WEEK 16: History: Maya Civilization

Math: Area


WEEK 19:  History: The Pueblo People

Science: Ocean Habitats Another really good one!

My boys love this book: It comes with a poster, which is already hanging above Caleb’s bed.

WEEK 22: Music: Mozart

Presidents: Presidents

I now have this in an easy-to-print PDF format:  Cycle1BrainPopJrPrint


I hope this list helps! If you are new to Classical Conversations, be sure to read my article for newbies. Brain Pop Jr. is a fun way to engage children in the learning process, but of course it’s not a replacement for memory work, and my favorite CC help of all is the app!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more fun ideas. Happy Planning! 🙂

I’m off to bed. I did want to remind you all that the Money Saving Mom course on “Making Over Your Morning” goes on SALE tomorrow morning–as in TUESDAY morning. The earlier you shop, the cheaper you get the book. I’m looking forward to reading it! It’s not supposed to be about getting up earlier than you already are. The focus is more on what you do with your time, I think. I will tell you more about it once I get the book in my hands. 🙂 Here’s the link:


13 Wonderful Things That Are Happening at Our Homeschool

Joshua and Daniel sang with the children’s choir on Easter Sunday.

I put this list together throughout this past week. Would you believe we only have 5 WEEKS of home schooling left for this year!!?  Have you ever had a new job that just took all you had and then some? Well, that was my first year of teaching, and I cannot wait for summer!!!

A lot of good things are happening right now, though. I need to keep that in mind when I’m feeling beat down! I made a little list:

11. I hear my three oldest boys outside having a BLAST on their trampoline. It’s technically time for lunch period to be over, but how do you call in three brothers that are getting along so well together? The giggling is pure music to my ears. Of course, if I wait too long, someone will inevitably fall on someone else. Then they will wrestle, and soon someone will get angry from that. Wrestling pretty much always leads to fighting.

So I will go and drag them in, while they are still happy. It’s time for me to read to them.

2. “Teacher Reading”

We have always loved that time of day that I read to the kids, and being their teacher has allowed me more time to do this. Here are a few of the titles we have been reading lately:

Our American Heritage may be the only textbook that we actually finished this year!!  Keeping the history geek gene alive and well! 😉 They even enjoyed the story about Louisa May Alcott.

Do any of you (grandparents) have a copy of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn? I think those would be a huge hit here.

Then at night Alan is reading this to them:

Joshua read it back in December, but he never gets tired of Greg Heffley. I think Alan is enjoying this book as much as the boys are. There was this part where the dad bought a boat and the home owner’s association called and told him to put it in the backyard……haaaa!  Been there!!!


3. CC Mom’s Night!!!

This has been such a blessing to me! I can’t tell you how much I have learned from these women!!! I learn so much more from other moms than I do from books! And you know I love books!

My favorite tip from CC Mom’s Night:

This Science Curriculum:

Ordering this for next year!

I haven’t decided yet what to order for the geology portion. Ideas, anyone?

Pre-School Time with A Beka games!

4. A Beka Preschool Games

Daniel, JD, and I have been learning the sounds that the letters make, using A Beka games. These have been a hit with all of my boys. These are all the same materials I used to teach Joshua and Caleb!!

JD’s participation is unsolicited and unappreciated by the Dan man.

“No, JD! No, JD! NO!”

“Mom, him have my cow!!”

But it can’t be helped. JD insists on joining, and it is really cute to hear him occasionally say the sounds with us. “Uuuuuuu”

I don’t make Daniel do any worksheets, but seeing his brothers work makes Daniel want to work. Therefore, Daniel does a ton of “work.” By work, I do mean coloring and tracing letters. He’s learning to write his letters in cursive, like his brothers, which is weird to me. I’ve never done it this way before, but we’re just going to roll with it.

Daniel whipped through all of the K3 workbooks in 5 months, so he is now on “Lesson 23” of the K4 workbooks, which he isn’t technically supposed to be in until August. That’s all Daniel.

endless supply of wild flowers

5. Poppies!!!

Orange poppies bloom around our house in abundance, and Caleb and Daniel keep my window well supplied. I love this.


JD is 22 months old–and SO much easier to manage now! What a difference a few months makes at this age!

6. Big boy!

What a difference a few months makes! JD learned the word “no.” This week. He mostly uses it when I got to put him down for a nap.


🙂 But once I lay JD in his bed, he always kicks back happily. He puts both hands behind his head, and he’s asleep in no time. While he is still master of the scowl, we are very pleased with JD. You can tell him to “stay with mama,” and nine times out of ten, he will actually do it.

We get wonderful reviews on him from childcare workers.

“Oh, he is just precious. I so enjoy your boys.” This is medicine to my soul.


“Can you put some syrup on my eggs, please?”

7. Trying to eat healthier! We are truly making a team effort here on the healthy foods, but it can be very difficult, especially with breakfast. Eggs are a hit with some boys, but not others. Eating sugary cereals or pancakes sabotages their school morning. You wouldn’t believe how much better they behave when we replace their sugar breakfast with a protein one.

Unfortunately, Joshua has informed me that eggs are bothering his throat again. *GRoAN!* I’m running out of ideas on how to feed this *always hungry*but *allergic to everything* boy!!!

8. Playdoh!

Daniel uses it the most, but it’s a hit with all of them!

9. Word searches

I forgot that Caleb loves puzzle type activities. I need to find more of this that’s on his level!

About the poster they made in the background: That’s a geometry poster they designed. It has the formula for finding the area of the different shapes. I thought they did a really cute job with it. Each of the characters is drawn out of shapes.

10. CARS!!


If you want to keep JD busy for an hour, give him 10 cars, a ramp, and this Mac Carrier. He is in love.

If you want to see a really good JD/Daniel FIGHT, let them “share” Lightning McQueen, the King, Chick Hicks, and Leak Less. *shudder* Apparently, I now need two sets.


11. Geography

coloring the different regions of the US

I struck gold when I finally discovered the Classical Conversations iPad app. The iPad now gets used every single day here. For geography, I pull up what I want them to label on the iPad, and they can copy straight to their marker map. The best part: I don’t have to stand over them and say, “This is the Great Plains. This is the Eastern Woodlands……” Anything that takes work off of my plate is a GIFT!!

Caleb loves the regions map so much, he does it for fun sometimes. I don’t know if he learned all of the names for the regions, but he surely enjoyed coloring them! 😉

12. Little Kids are FUN!

Don’t you love that beautiful elephant and Ee? I am impressed by his work ethic. He thinks this is so much fun.

I got this idea from Aunt Amy.

Yeah, he’s cute, but he destroyed my ABC wall.

I took it down when Chris and Meredith were coming over, so then he drew on the wall. Did I ever mention that Daniel is an awful lot like Caleb? They are happy, fun-loving boys, and when they are tired, they can do some damage!

I have a little good news for you. JD is a lot less happy-go-lucky, BUT he’s also less mischievous. Every kid is so different.

Together, they make the house an exciting place. 🙂 It was funny. A couple of weeks ago, we had Chris and Meredith over. Our two families combined makes 7 children! And yet, it was perfectly quiet in the house! The big boys were out jumping on the trampoline. Their little girl sat nicely at the table with us, and the little boys (Daniel and his best bud) were playing costumes and cars and just having a wonderful time.

I’ll tell you a little bit more about Dan and his best bud on my next post, in which the boys go camping with their friends and the dads. A ball was had by all. 🙂

One last thought…..

13. Marriage Class!

Alan and I just began attending a marriage class at a local church, not our church. We are plumb giddy about this! We were invited by a couple that we met through CC, basketball, and our neighborhood. When you keep running into a family, it’s a good sign that you should be friends!

This family has five children, has been living our same transient, patriotic lifestyle for even longer than we have, and they are leading a marriage class on Sunday nights. Childcare is even provided! We went for the first time tonight, and even the kids had fun!

First, we drop off the kids, while we attend a 30 minute class. The kids are all in one big group together, so that went a long way to ease JD’s seperation anxiety! Then they dismiss us to go on our own 2 hour DATE!

I know!!! It is that awesome.

Easter 2015, photo by Caleb

I had a sad week. It doesn’t really matter why.

Date night was something I have literally been praying for. God is always so faithful to answer our prayers. Things are looking way up, and I’m going to bed hopeful tonight.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Just think, summer is almost here!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”   Hebrews 10:24

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  2 Corinthians 13:14