Easter 2020

We had a wonderful, quiet Easter. I spent most of the previous week sewing bunnies for my kids. Each kid chose their fabrics. The first set, the smaller ones, didn’t turn out as well as I wanted them to. The ears were too small and I couldn’t stuff them. My 12 year old figured out a way to stuff hers, but I’d finished the others by then. Back to the drawing board. I revamped my pattern and made it bigger. I’m much happier with the bigger ones! Of course, I let them keep the small ones, too. My oldest stitched all the mouths, according to what everyone wanted.

The big kids saw me stuffing eggs with candy and decided to help me. It went really quickly with their help!

We woke up naturally on Easter morning and made blueberry muffins (from a box, because easy 😂) for breakfast. We decided on an easy, less sugary breakfast since we’d get so much candy and such later. My oldest turns everything into an art medium; she sculpted a cat out of a muffin 😂

After breakfast, everyone got dressed for at home family church. It’s been such a blessing to hold church in our own home! Honestly, it’ll be hard to go back to normal when COVID-19 is under control. We had a lovely sacrament meeting, complete with the sacrament and Easter hymns. This is how I’m filling my chorister calling for now. We read The Living Christ, did our resurrection eggs, and watched The Testaments.

The kids enjoyed their Easter baskets. They got their bunnies, little chicks, erasers, slime eggs, and candy.

The kids played while my husband and I started on food prep. He tackled the marshmallow jello salad, with 2 little helpers. I made my delicious glaze for the ham and got it started in the crock pot.

Then I hid plastic eggs in our backyard. There was a special golden egg that was essentially the grand prize. My 10 year old found that one. Our egg hunt was a huge success! I’m pretty sure they found all the eggs 😂

After our egg hunt, the kids dug through their loot while my husband and I made the rest of our dinner: ham, mashed potatoes, 2 types of gravy, stuffing, baked beans, corn, and marshmallow jello salad.  Yum!

We bought a couple of pies for dessert, but we ended up having them the next night as our family home evening treat. We ended the holiday with our daily scripture study and bedtime routine. All in all, we had a wonderful Easter with our little family ❤

Memes Galore

More memes to keep you smiling and laughing during these crazy challenging days 🙂

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And now I’m all caught up!  This was a larger batch, and it wrapped up my current stash of memes to share.  I’m sure I’ll have more in the coming days.  I have several posts of funny memes to enjoy, so you can go back and get more laughs from previous posts as well.  🙂

Let’s Taco ‘Bout Memes

Ok, I know it’s cheesy, but there’s a funny story to go with my punny title. My 8 and 10 year old boys share a room. My 10 year old heard his brother saying, “taaaacooooos, taaaaaaacoooos” in his sleep. Obviously, my 8 year old was dreaming about tacos – which really isn’t surprising if you know him. He woke up just before he could eat his dream tacos. So, he went back to sleep so he could eat them in his dream 😂

And now for another batch of memes!

Hope you enjoyed this batch! Hang in there. More memes coming soon!

A Memorable and Unforgettable Conference

Last October, President Nelson promised us that this weekend’s General Conference would be memorable and unforgettable.  And oh, how it was!  Even before it started, it was unique.  The unprecedented global pandemic changed the way this particular conference was held.  Instead of opening up the conference center to thousands of people, it was held in a smaller auditorium with only those speaking or offering prayers present.  The row of chairs up front were spaced 6 feet apart, in accordance with recommended guidelines to flatten the curve.  The music was recorded in advance, including selections from various previous conferences.

And yet, that was only part of what made this conference unique and special.  This conference celebrated the bicentennial of the First Vision, the beginning of the restoration.  The majority of the talks focused on the restoration in one way or another.  The entire conference was a feast of the restoration of Christ’s church on the earth today.  Much of the focus was on personal revelation and learning to hear Him.  My testimony of the restoration grew and strengthened as I prepared for conference and listened during each session.  I look forward to studying these divinely inspired talks in the coming months, especially the new proclamation on the restoration.  Official proclamations are rare; the last was given 25 years ago.  What a beautiful and special occasion to receive a new one today!

A new logo, featuring the Savior, was also announced.

We were asked to participate in another worldwide fast for relief from the effects of COVID-19 on Good Friday.  Our family will do so, and we invite you do to the same.

Usually, the Saturday evening session is either for women or priesthood holders.  For this conference, it was a combined session.  It featured two youth speakers, and they both gave excellent talks!

Eight new temples were announced: Bahía Blanca, Argentina; Tallahassee, Florida; Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Benin City, Nigeria; Syracuse, Utah; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.

What a glorious and inspirational weekend!  It can be difficult to focus on the talks with young children; I know I didn’t catch everything as well as I’d have liked.  I’m grateful that I’ll be able to study these talks in-depth soon.  What a blessing it is to have the technology that allows people all over the world to participate in this memorable conference!

I am grateful for the way the spirit touched me during this conference.  I know every talk given speaks of divine truth.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that He knows us and loves us and advocates for us.  I know that we can receive revelation and inspiration for our unique, individual circumstances.  I know that prophets and apostles lead and guide His church on the earth today.  I know that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He was a true prophet, just as President Russell M. Nelson is today.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know that families can be united and sealed together for eternity through temple covenants.  I am grateful for the knowledge and testimony I’ve gained throughout my life.  I’ve tried to imagine what my life would be like without it, and it’s hard to picture; there are too many variables.  But I know I wouldn’t have the same peace, comfort, and understanding without it.  How grateful I am for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!

For more information, or to read or watch this unforgettable General Conference, please click here.

Memes-piration

Haha, I keep trying to think of fun titles for these meme posts. Not sure if they’re clever or corny, or perhaps a bit of both. In any case, here’s another round of memes to make you smile 😁

Poor adverb usage aside, Oregon Trail 2 was much more fun and a lot easier to beat 😁
Shout out to all the essential workers out there! My husband and sister are right there with you.
Stick with me, and you’ll never be stupid again! 😂😂😂

Well, that’s it for this round. And I still have more, including a few I put together myself. Hope you enjoyed this memes-spirational batch 😜

Meme-ing it Up

Another batch of memes to get you through the day 😊

I don’t agree with the first part, but the second? I have witnessed way too many people leave bathroom stalls without washing their hands…

Hope you enjoyed! I still have a whole bunch more, so stay tuned!

Messages of Hope

I think I speak for most everyone when I say that life has been tough lately.  The world is going through one big trial together.  We’re all under a lot of stress.  We’re worried about our health and that of our loved ones.  Or perhaps you’re more worried about the economic impact this virus is having throughout the world. Maybe quarantine is making you stir crazy.

But!  There is hope!  I was feeling pretty discouraged yesterday, but today is a better day.  Why?  Because I’m choosing to focus on the good.  As I crawled into bed last night, I was reminded of the countless blessings I have throughout these troubled times.  I have a cozy home, a wonderful family, friends who inspire and love me, a pantry full of food, a well-stocked fridge and freezer – these are only some of the wonderful blessings in my life.   I’m grateful for them.  We are also blessed with a large fenced backyard for our kids to play in.  We have more books than we have room for, plenty of board games and educational activities to keep us occupied, and of course, electronics.  We truly have everything we need.

But the most important blessing in our lives is the gospel.  Our faith.  Our knowledge that our Father has everything in hand.  We will be ok!  I am so grateful for inspired revelation from our esteemed leaders, our modern day prophets and apostles.  President Ballard recently said that the world will win the war on COVID-19.

What a comfort that is!!  This is something we can overcome.  We will get through it!  And we will be all the stronger for it.  With God’s help, we can do this!  If we focus on what is most important, we’ll see the blessings rather than the burdens.  Let’s use this unrushed time to strengthen our families, to love our neighbors, to deepen our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Let’s seek joy in this challenging time.

joy and focus

As I pondered last night, I wondered how I can best serve those around me from a distance.  I love the idea of making masks and such, and I sew well enough that I could do it – but, I’ve also had a few symptoms.  I think it’s just allergies, but I’m not taking any chances.  I’d hate to make a bunch of contaminated masks that are meant to protect others.  The kids and I haven’t left our home in over 2 weeks now, but my husband is working his normal schedule because his job is essential.  He’s our designated grocery shopper for the time being as well.  So, even though the kids and I are staying home, it’s possible that we’ve been exposed.

Which leaves me with the question: how can I serve others without leaving my home or making goods to donate?  But there are ways I can reach out and serve others.  This is one of them.  Words, inspired by the spirit.  Sharing messages of hope with anyone who finds them.  Bearing my testimony.  Sharing the gifts that God has given me: writing, music, Photoshop, the various experiences I’ve had through my life, faith, hope, charity.

And let’s not forget the importance of serving our own families, in our own homes.  The vast majority of service I give is in my home, to my own family.

I am so grateful for Come, Follow Me – a home-centered, church supported program.  I love the emphasis on teaching the gospel in our homes, that started before COVID-19 shut the world down.  Our family was already living that way, but it helped prepare us and everyone else for the days we now face.

We are so blessed to be able to have our own little sacrament meeting in our home.  Our bishop gave permission for all temple recommend holding priesthood holders in our ward to administer the sacrament to their families, and others as needed.  Last week was our first time doing so, and it was an amazing and beautiful experience.

I put together this simple program for our family to use each week until church opens up again.  You may use it for your family as well 🙂

our family church

This week, we’ll participate in a special world-wise fast for relief from COVID-19.  We invite you to join us.  We will be praying for comfort, strength, and healing for all who are sick or afraid.  We will also pray for the doctors, nurses, and scientists to have the stamina and inspiration they need to care for those who are afflicted.

I know that God is at the helm.  He can see us through this and every other challenge we face.  He will help us when we turn to Him.

Meme Therapy

Next batch of memes! Today’s been rough, so I need the laughs. Enjoy!

That’s not really how I feel, since I already homeschool, but…it’s funny. Even though I want to add an apostrophe 😜

Well, that’s it for now. I’m limiting it to 20 memes per post, but I have so many more saved! The memes really are on point. I love them!

Coping with Memes

Life is pretty stressful right now, for most people. Humor is a great coping mechanism. This quote sums up how I feel about laughing vs crying.

At this point, it’s either laugh or cry. Laughing is my approach through life. I have to find the humor, or I’ll fall apart. Sometimes, I fall apart anyway. But humor helps me pick myself up again.

I’ve been collecting memes. They are on point! I’m going to post some of my favorites. I’ll likely do multiple posts. I’ve saved a lot of them 😂

These are meant to be funny. Please don’t be offended. Laugh or cry!

Hope you enjoyed some laughs! I’ve got more coming 😁. Laugh or cry, my friends. Laugh or cry.

Personal Affects

Overall, our family’s day-to-day hasn’t changed much in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We already homeschool, so school closures don’t uproot our routine. We aren’t in any co-ops or do many extracurricular activities outside of our home. PE? Backyard. Music lessons? I’m a musician. Art? Cooking? We teach those at home, too. The only activities we do are church ones, and those are suspended until further notice. And honestly, it’s a bit of a relief to have those off the schedule for awhile. In the meantime, we’re holding family church at home.

Grocery shopping is different, though. Basic necessities like soap and toilet paper are flying off the shelves. But, my wonderful husband has done all our grocery shopping recently, so I haven’t experienced the craziness firsthand. I haven’t left our home in over a week, and I’m honestly fine with that.

My husband is still working because the company he works for is considered essential. They are looking at work from home options if it becomes necessary, but so far, he’s still going in to work like he usually does.

I thought it wasn’t affecting me. After all, our home lives haven’t changed that much. But…I was wrong. I recognized last night that it’s having a bigger impact on me than I realized.

My kids have been asking to go to the Air Force Museum again. That’s on hold indefinitely. We also planned to go to the Grand Canyon this spring with the free 4th grade National Park pass. For now, we’ll have to take a virtual tour. But, that will prepare us for when we finally do get to go. The spirit stopped us from actual planning it a couple of months ago when I started researching, which is an unexpected tender mercy. At the time, I was really disappointed, but now I can see it as a blessing in disguise.

However, I’m mostly concerned about loved ones. My parents are in their 70s. They both have underlying health conditions that increase their risks. I also have a brother with Downs Syndrome who has a weak immune system. We nearly lost him to pneumonia and ARDS 3 years ago. He spent 70 days in the hospital and likely has permanent damage to his lungs. If he gets COVID-19, it would probably be fatal. I could lose my brother, or my parents. All 3 of them live in one of the worst outbreak areas.

I also have many elderly friends and neighbors. I have other friends and family in the high risk category due to health issues.

It’s easy to be afraid. It’s easy to get bogged down with worry for those I love. We also had a 5.7 earthquake this week, which shook us all up more than we realized.

But every time I begin to feel afraid, this verse comes to my mind:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

And then I remember that “perfect love casteth out all fear.” God doesn’t want us to be afraid. He wants us to strengthen our faith and rely on Him. He wants us to turn to Him. He’s got this. He’s watching over each of us.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy. It doesn’t exempt us from losing people we love. But we don’t need to be afraid. Constant worrying and borrowing trouble that may or may not come doesn’t do anyone any good. Instead, it causes us to retreat into ourselves, which makes it that much harder to help those around us (but from a safe distance). It increases our stress. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed, I’m not exactly pleasant to be around 😜

I’ve been listening to good, uplifting music. The songs get stuck in my head, but in the best way. They remind me that I’m never alone, that I am loved more than I can comprehend, and that He can help all of us through this when we turn to Him. I also feel it when I study the scriptures and pray earnestly. He is there, and He’s aware of everything we’re facing – far more than we are.

Because of everything going on right now, we’ve decided to take a step back on our schoolwork for the next 2 weeks. And after that is our spring break. We’re temporarily putting aside most of our curriculum. We’ll still be learning, but in a lighter way. We’ll play games, read, play in our backyard more.

Math and LA curriculum will take a 3 week nap. We’ll still do our history lessons, though. Science will be earthquakes and a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon. For the sake of the learning logs for our online school, we have to get at least something for each class each week. But it’s really easy to find ways to do that.

We could all use the break. We’ll reassess when spring break draws to a close. I’m looking forward to our light plans and spring break!

About half of these pictures are old, but they capture most of our plans for spring break. I have a few household projects I want to tackle, but this is still very fitting.

I’m trying to seek joy, peace, and comfort at this troubling time. I hope all of you can find them, too ❤

To the Unexpected Homeschooler

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has closed many schools around the world, leaving thousands of parents in an awkward position.  You may be scrambling to figure out how to educate your children from home, while also dealing with the stresses of a global pandemic.  Perhaps you are also under quarantine or are practicing social distancing.  Whether your time as a homeschooler is relatively short term – lasting only until schools open again –  a permanent change, or anything in between, experienced homeschoolers can help!  I think I can safely speak for all of us when I say we want to help.  We, along with your child’s teachers, want your child to continue learning during this uncertain time.

But learning doesn’t have to look like public school.  If you are trying to replicate public school at home, you are going to burn out.  It’s exhausting and frustrating.  If your school provided packets and online instruction, you likely feel pressured to get it all done.  That’s normal and natural.  However, please give yourself and your children grace through this transition.  And it is a transition.  A huge transition.  Many homeschoolers call this transition time a detox.  Everyone needs time and compassion to adjust, especially with the added stress our world is currently experiencing.  Please don’t try to push your kids too hard while they – and you – are adjusting.

Try not to stress too much about schedules.  That can lead to burn out as well.  We’re more of a routine family than a schedule one.  Many homeschoolers prefer a routine over a schedule.  Be flexible!  Your child may need more than the allotted time for their math, or maybe they need less.  Instead of following an hourly chart, find a routine that works for your family.  For instance, we don’t schedule out a set time frame for any of our subjects, but we mostly follow an order.  Some days we do our group subjects first, some days we tackle the individual work first.  The order of each is typically the same.  Our group learning time starts with a hymn, a prayer, and scripture reading, followed by a poem and our current read aloud.  Then we do that day’s group subject (M = science, T/Th = history, W = art, F = tech).  Our individual leveled work starts with math, followed by handwriting and their language arts course books.

Many homeschoolers are feeling the stress of social distancing as well.  Co-ops, community classes, public libraries, sports, activities – most of these are shut down for us, too.  That aspect hasn’t affected my family as much as others, as we are a house of homebodies.  We prefer a quieter lifestyle.  Well, it’s not really quiet – I have 5 kids, after all!  But it’s intentionally less busy, which for us means most of our time is spent in the comfort of our own home or playing in our backyard.  However, I know that is not the case for a lot of other homeschooling families.

One of the most beautiful things about homeschooling is the flexibility.  I encourage you to take this time to take a step back and focus on family relationships.  Bond with your kids.  Learn new skills and grow together.  Read, read, read, and read some more.  This is a great time to work on life skills like cooking, cleaning, and money management.  Giving my kids daily chores is necessary for our home to function properly.  Focus on the things that matter most to your family, such as faith, character, or service.

10 things that matter more than grades

Disclaimer: I did not make any of the graphics in this post, and I don’t know who did for some of them.  Each graphic came across my Facebook feed, without all the original source information.  If you recognize any of them, I’d love to give credit where credit is due!

I’ve been homeschooling for almost 5 years now.  I love it, and it’s the best option for my family, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  There are days that are really, really hard.  Today was one of them.  Please take comfort in knowing that experienced homeschoolers have rough days, too!  You are not failing if you have a bad day.  We all have them!  And our kids have them, too.  Be kind to yourself and to your kids when it’s hard.  Escape to your chocolate stash if you have to for a minute.   I do that frequently!

One of the great things about homeschooling in an online age is the vast number of resources out there.  There are so many options!  I’ve compiled a list of some of them, and in some cases, it’s a list of lists.  This is by no means comprehensive of everything that is out there.  But it’s a start.

Curriculum:

  • The Good and the Beautiful – this is my top pick for language arts, handwriting, history, and typing.  We also enjoy their Creative Arts & Crafts Projects book.  They also have science and math for lower grades.  Language arts levels 1-5 and marine biology are available as free PDFs.  Be sure to take the assessment with each child, as levels are advanced and do not correspond with public school grades.  They also have a fantastic selection of high quality literature, which you can find under the library tab.  They also have helpful blog posts and videos.  Their curriculum is non-denominational Christian, but many secular or other religious families modify it to work for them.  Prices are very reasonable.
  • Math U See – this is my top pick for math.  We’ve been using Math U See from the beginning of our homeschool journey and love it!  The instructional videos explain math in ways that make sense.  My kids love the blocks (they mostly play with them).  You can do as many workbook pages in each lesson as you feel your child needs.  It’s a bit pricey, but worth it.  My daughter initially struggled with math when we pulled her out of public school.  Now she excels at it.
  • Easy Peasy Homeschool – this is an all-in-one Christian curriculum.  I haven’t actually used it, but I’ve heard great things about it.  100% free.
  • Kids Cook Real Food – online cooking lessons!  I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s on my list of things to try.
  • Cathy Duffy Reviews – this is a fantastic resource for curriculum reviews.  There are so many options out there!

Subscriptions:

  • Kiwi Co (Tinker Crates, Kiwi Crates, etc) – lots of subscription options for various ages.  Mostly STEM and art.  I haven’t used them yet, but a lot of homeschoolers love them.
  • Bitsbox – coding subscription kits.  This is high on my list for next school year.  I think my kids would love this, especially my older boys.
  • Ivy Kids – this one looks so cute!  Each kit comes with a book and relevant activities.  This is high on my list for my upcoming kindergartner.
  • Raddish Kids – cooking subscription.  This is also high on my list of things to try.
  • Home Science Lab – this is the only subscription we’ve actually tried so far.  Each kit comes with 5-6 themed science activities.  We’ve only done about 8 of the labs so far, but we’ve enjoyed them.
  • List of education companies offering free subscriptions – how fantastic is this?!  There are far more educational subscriptions out there.  I’ve only listed the ones I’m either currently using, am most interested in trying, or a list someone else compiled of freebies.

Books and Story Time:

  • Usborne Books – one of my favorites!  They have a fantastic selection of non-fiction and reference books.  They also have various learning tools.  I highly recommend checking them out!
  • Free Public Domain Books – who doesn’t love free books?!
  • Audible – currently free audio books for kids!
  • Author Story Time – children’s books read by their authors!
  • Stories Read by Josh Gad – is your child obsessed with Frozen?  They can listen to Olaf reading bedtime stories.

Worksheets and Printables:

  • 1+1+1=1 – lots of fun educational printables and learning activities
  • Mr. Printables – more fun learning printables
  • Handwriting Worksheets – you can make your own custom handwriting worksheets here!
  • Teachers Pay Teachers – lots and lots of educational materials here, in every subject and level.  Some are free and some cost a few dollars.
  • Great Schools – another resource for educational printables

Science:

Art, Activities, and Coloring Pages:

outdoor scavenger huntindoor scavenger hunti'm bored25 things teens can do during social isolation

Music:

Educational Shows:

Virtual Field Trips:

Free Educational Resources:

free learning websitesfun and free ways to learn from home

Special Needs:

Online Support:

  • Homeschooling Community supporting Public School Community – a very helpful Facebook support group for homeschooling families and public school families
  • Homeschool to Homeschool – videos and tips from an experienced homeschooler.  She also has lists of her favorite educational products and curriculum.  I took a Homeschooling 101 class from her at a convention when I started this journey and it was so helpful!

There are tons of regional, method based, and curriculum specific Facebook groups that can be helpful.  Use the search bar to find groups that fit your needs.  I’m a member of several that meet mine.  I learn so much from my fellow homeschooling moms!  They are a wealth of wisdom, support, and love.  We are all on this journey together.

Games are another great learning tool.  Board games, card games, logic games – there are so many to choose from!  We love logic puzzle games from SmartGames and ThinkFun, which you can find on Amazon.  We’ve found so many fantastic educational items on Amazon.  I can put together another list of our favorites if anyone is interested.  But that’s a list for another day.

Life is different right now, for all of us.  Let’s band together (but at a safe distance!) as we face the tremulous challenges of our day.  We can get through this, especially as we help each other.  Try to find joy in the day-to-day, in having your children around you.  Learn and love together.  I need this reminder too on the hard days.  Take a deep breath, eat some chocolate, and try to get a good night’s rest.  I am not very good at that last one, but I’m trying to work on it.

You are the one who taught your child to walk.  To talk.  To use the bathroom.  To sleep in their own bed.  To share.  To be kind.  If you can do that, you can teach your child math, reading, and any other subject they need.  As you can see, the resources out there are endless!  You can do this!  Yes, it’s hard, but you can do hard things.  If you are religious, turn to the Lord.  He will help you.   He wants you and your children to thrive, even more than you do.  Best of luck to each of you on this journey!

Minor yet Meaningful Transitions

I am not the most consistent blogger.  It’s been a few months…ish.  We’ve had our ups and downs, just living life.  We’ve celebrated lots of birthdays and holidays, all of which were beautiful.  My oldest turned 12 in November and my second turned 10 almost 2 weeks ago.  I may post more on those later, but…we’ll see.  Inconsistent blogger here 😉

It’s hard to believe it’s 2020.  This year will see the 20th anniversary of my high school graduation, the 15th anniversary of my college graduation (I took a much-needed year off between high school and college), and today marks the 10th anniversary of losing my uncle to cancer.

We’ve had quite a few minor yet meaningful transitions recently, particularly in regards to our homeschool.  Shortly before we started our Christmas break, my 12 year old informed me that she wasn’t really a fan of our custom-built electronics tech class.  My initial response was that we’re going to stick with it.  Especially since my boys LOVE it.  But as I thought about it, I realized that a class she doesn’t like and struggles to understand isn’t going to be as helpful or enjoyable.  And, since we hadn’t used any of her tech class funds yet, changing it was still an option.  But just for her.  All 3 of my school aged kids were doing the same custom-built tech class, but the purchases we’ve made were only with the boys’ funds.  They’re sticking with electronics.  They enjoy it – especially after they discovered that they can conduct electricity through themselves…ah, boys.

We did some research on the Direct classes and decided the best option was the Drawing and Animation Foundations class.  It comes with all the things needed: a Wacom tablet and Frames.  The tablet also comes with some great digital art software that she’s been making ample use of.  We only installed her Wacom tablet a week ago and she’s already done several drawings.  Here is her first digital drawing, followed by my favorite piece of digital art she’s made thus far:

blue riderladybug on a blade of grass

This switch was definitely the right call!  We’re still learning how Canvas (the platform the Direct classes are on) works, but we’re figuring it out.  Not only will this class teach her digital drawing and animation, but she will also increase her general computer skills while she navigates her way through this course.

She also finished up TGTB Language Arts Level 4 just before our Christmas break and started the new year with Level 5.  The course format is a bit different, so it’s taking some getting used to, but we like it so far.

All 3 of my school aged kids recently leveled up in math.  Now they’re on Math U See Epsilon, Delta, and Beta. Fractions, decimals, division, and multi-digit adding and subtracting, here we come!

We also started Unit 3 in TGTB History Year 2.  We finished listening to all the conference talks before break as well, so our daily devotionals have transitioned to coincide with this year’s Come, Follow Me.  Lots of schooling transitions at our house this month!

But another big schooling transition will happen next school year.  My 4th will be turning 5 on Monday, which means he’ll be going into kindergarten this fall.  His middle name is my uncle’s name; he was born 5 years and 3 days after his name sake’s passing.  It’s hard to believe my little brown eyed boy is nearly 5!

We started our year by setting goals, using the concepts for the new Children and Youth Program.  I popped into Photoshop to make this simple goal chart:

goal chart

Transitioning back into our regular school routine after a 3 week break, however, was not exactly fun.  It was a rough transition for all of us!

Now that Windows 7 is no longer supported, I made myself switch over to Windows 10 this week.  I don’t care for the start menu and other nit-picky things with 10.  So…with my tech-savvy sister’s help, I made my Windows 10 look and feel more like Windows 7 😀

win 10 screenshot 1win 10 screenshot 2

So much better than the defaults!  My sister had already done the same with her own computer, so it was relatively easy for her to walk me through the process from 800 miles away.  The process was long and tedious, but it’s done!  Most of my programs transitioned easily, but Photoshop decided to be naughty and required a reinstall.  And just for kicks, a screenshot of my Windows 7 prior to moving up to 10:

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Hard to tell the difference, right?  Just as I like it!  I’m really not a fan of the user-interface in 10, so for me, the 7 imitations are perfect 🙂  I wish the task bar could be a semitransparent color in 10 like I had it in 7, but oh well.  I like my new 10 settings, though like any change, Windows 10 will take some getting used to.  Just add it to our long list of transitions this month!

 

Baptism, Burns, and Fall Fun

Our adorable redhead got baptized on the 12th! It was a beautiful baptism. His big sister got to be one of the witnesses. It was a special experience for our family.

Now if I could get my kids to willingly cooperate for pictures, that would be fantastic! However, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

When one of our children get baptized, we go out for lunch afterwards to a restaurant of their choice. My oldest chose IHOP, my second chose a local pizza place, and my third chose…McDonald’s. With the play area. We went home to change clothes before we went to McDonald’s so they could play without worrying about damaging their church clothes.

We’d originally planned to go to the pumpkin patch after McDonald’s, but we all decided together that that would be too much for one day. The plan was to go to the pumpkin patch the following Saturday.

The next day, our sweet little 4 year old touched a hot burner and burned the tips of his 4 left fingers. Nothing like a trip to the Urgent Care to liven up a Sunday afternoon. Burners and little fingers don’t mix. He had mild 2nd degree burns on all 4 left fingertips. It’s hard to see in the pictures, but he did have little blisters on each finger.

They put a prescription burn cream on his fingers and wrapped them up. We had to stop by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for the same cream for home use. Thankfully, the burns were mild. However, the doctor we saw said he would have brought his child in for the same thing. I found that very reassuring. It can be tough to know when you should bring your child in and when you should treat it on your own at home. I’ve been parenting for almost 12 years and I still struggle with that at times. I don’t think that ever goes away – at least not until they move out on their own! But then they call home and ask for advice, so probably not even then.

We had to keep his hand wrapped for a day and put cream on it twice a day for 5 days. He complained about it hurting when we initially tried to not wrap it, so we wrapped it for an extra day. After that, he was fine. Although he did keep wiping the cream off when I wasn’t looking… It’s amazing how quickly kids heal! Now, there’s almost no evidence of his battle with the stove.

That Monday, my 9 year old was really feeling out of it. He tried to do his schoolwork, but he wasn’t feeling well at all, so I had him rest nearby. Later, after we finished our school day, he threw up. I suspect he picked up a bug from the McDonald’s play area. Poor kid.

Then that Thursday, my 4 year old threw up a few times. Just when we thought we’d escaped everyone getting sick! At some point in the ensuing days, the other kids felt sick as well. Thankfully, only one more child ended up vomiting, but it was the 2 year old. Although I’m not sure if hers was from sickness or just crying too hard about fighting her nap…I told her I needed to switch over laundry and use the bathroom, then I’d come back and check on her. I could hear her screaming from the laundry room, and then heard the coughing/gagging sound. I called up the stairs to my 11 year old to check on her, in case she threw up…and she had. I threw the rest of the load into the dryer, got it started, and scrambled up the stairs to clean up my baby.

Needless to say, the pumpkin patch did not happen that weekend! But it did eventually happen. We finally went on Thursday night. It was really fun! There weren’t many people there. I loved that it wasn’t crowded at all! We had the entire maze to ourselves as we ran around it. The pumpkins were pretty picked over, but we managed to find some good ones. We let each person pick out a larger pumpkin and a mini pumpkin or squash. Our pictures didn’t turn out great since it was getting dark, but that’s ok. We had a blast.

We love our pumpkin patch! It’s only about 10 minutes from our house and the people who own it are really nice. Their son and his family are in our ward, and some years we see him there helping his parents out.

Yesterday I spent most of the day helping my boys make their Halloween costumes. We don’t do scary or creepy things for Halloween, but I’m totally fine with potty humor. My boys decided they wanted to be outhouses this year… We saved our Amazon boxes and any other box that came into our house for a month or 2 to make this happen. My oldest used her artistic talents to add fake advertisements to their outhouses. We had entirely too much fun making these costumes!

We also finally put up a few Halloween decorations. It’s been such a crazy month that it just didn’t happen until yesterday. And that’s ok!

Now we’re mostly ready for Halloween! We just need to buy some candy for the kids who trick or treat at our house 😜😂

Chaotic Normal

After 2 very busy weeks, it was so nice to have a “calm” week.  Ok, so it’s not really calm.  Nothing about life with 5 kids between 2 and almost 12 is “calm” – except maybe when the littles are sleeping or Dad takes them to the store.  Which, incidentally, is exactly where they are now.  I’m taking advantage of the moment and printing math worksheets for the next few weeks.  And blogging while my printer does its job.  Rather than buy new workbooks for each child, I keep a master copy and print out pages for about a month at a time.

Our science lab was really quick, easy, and fun this week.  We did the Grow Your Own Cave Popcorn activity from our Home Science Lab.  We placed 2 dolomite rocks in a tart pan and poured vinegar on it.  Dolomite absorbs the vinegar and it recrystalizes on the surface of the rocks.  We observed it for 5 days.  White crystals formed on the dolomite in mini popcorn looking clusters.  It was so cool!

We’ve been learning about ancient China in our history curriculum.  The lesson we did on Tuesday suggested eating some simple foods that were common in ancient China, such as rice, boiled millet, or tofu.  Instead, we chose to make Chinese food for dinner.  We did it the easy way, using frozen things and instant rice.  Yummy and easy is always a good option around here!

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For art on Wednesday, we made paper snakes from Construction Paper Crafts for Kids.  The directions weren’t very clear, so it took some trial and error to figure out what to do.  We folded strips of paper and interlocked them to make snakes, then glued on eyes and tongues.  They turned out pretty cute, despite the inadequate directions.

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We finished up our lessons on ancient China on Thursday.  We’re almost finished with the first history unit!  I love what we’ve learned so far.

Today was our Fun Friday.  The kids solved puzzles in their Math Puzzle Pads and they each picked a different language arts activity.  One simply read, another did Bananagram puzzles, and another played Sight Word Swat.

My 9 year old built the Solar Music Space War Combo 1 & 2 with Snap Circuits.  One of them used the whistle chip and the other used the speaker; the one with the whistle chip was quieter than the one with the speaker.

My 11 and 8 year olds built the Low Light Noisemaker with Snap Circuits.  It had a light sensor on it.  It made a lower pitch sound when there is a lot of light; in lower light, the pitch goes higher and fades in volume.

Then I typed up and submitted our learning logs for the week.  My husband kindly took the littles grocery shopping.  He’s the best!  I just finished printing all our math for the next few weeks or so.

Tomorrow will be a very special day.  My 8 year old is getting baptized!  We also plan to go to the pumpkin patch, weather permitting.  It should be a wonderful day!

Nathan - 8-11-2019