Our Annual Pumpkin Toss

Happy Thanksgiving


Before we had kids, my husband and I both felt Thanksgiving was a terribly boring holiday for kids. We decided to make it a more kid friendly fun holiday and turns out it is one of our favorites now! One of the events we host is our annual pumpkin toss and the kids love it! As Joy from INSIDE OUT would say, it’s a core memory in the making!  The day after Halloween I buy anywhere from 75-100 pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. They sit patiently waiting for Thanksgiving Day.





We try many techniques, under hand, over hand, left hand, right hand, kick it, roll it, smash it, catapult it, fling it, etc…and every year we think, that darn bush, my pumpkin would have won if that bush wasn’t in the way! Next year we should trim that bush back!

When the event is over, we hike down the canyon and smash all the pumpkins open, which is great fun! We are hoping to one day have our own wild pumpkin patch down in the canyon, but to date no random pumpkin plants. We also like to smash them open so the wild life can enjoy the Thanksgiving feast! We see rabbits eating the pumpkins and assume many other critters nibble away too, like wild pigs, coyotes, fox, birds, etc..

I think the kids are getting clever enough now that next year they might be building projects that start months in advance to really get the pumpkins flying! Maybe that could be a homeschool science project! Hmm my wheels are turning! Research project, building project, this could be good!

We hope everyone in the states had a nice Thanksgiving and are ready for the holiday season ahead, which is blowing right past at lightening speed!

Whale Watching Field Trip


This week we decided to stock up on Dramamine and go whale watching! It was great fun! We watched a couple of whales for a while, traveling at roughly their same speed and expecting their spouts at the 4-6 minute mark. Very predictable, which was nice for the kids. However, the photos we captured look more like barnacle filled rocks with a poof of spray…as seen here:


It was much more exciting in person! And my son got some fantastic glimpses using his binoculars!


However, we did find (or maybe they found us?) a very playful and large pod of dolphins.

One of the dolphins my daughter named Hannah and said she could identify her by the rake marks on her back. When we got home she was thrilled to find out I captured Hannah on the camera twice!


Hannah is now a favorite and she wishes she could track Hannah’s life. This moment has spurred a desire to learn more about wildlife/biology.


We spied some lazy sea lions sleeping in the sun on a buoy.


The most interesting and exciting part of whale watching for my kiddos were the dolphins, by far! There were mamas, babies, fast swimmers, jumpers and curious cruisers that would look up sideways at the boat trying to figure us out.





If you are interested in learning more about whale watching (or dolphin watching haha) you can find a plethora of web sites on the web…here is a site to start with: http://www.whalewatching.com

Have fun!

Side notes: One question that came up on our drive home was how do barnacles reproduce if they are stuck on a whale or a rock? If you too were curious, here is the answer…Beware barnacles are apparently porn stars!


And a great documentary to watch after a day of enjoying the beautiful ocean is: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/

it is a good reminder of what we can do to keep our oceans healthy and let those barnacles continue on with their rock star parties!

Fun Adventures with My Kiddos

This past weekend was full of travels and adventures. We had a whirl wind trip to southern California.

Day One we explored the Los Angeles Science Center. There are plenty of exciting exhibits as you can see in the photos like:

Wind tunnels that blow hurricane level winds all over the kids.

image and rock walls


which of course he must make it to the top to ring the bell and light the lights up…

then get his congratulatory slam down hug from his sis!

imageThere were “crystal balls” which magically make your brother do ridiculous things!

imageWind poppers that are irresistible to my drum player!

imageThermal Imaging is always fun…

…and of course MY kids were hoping they could create gas that showed up on the screen!



The science center also has a fantastic aquarium/touch pools.





There were ICE (real deal COLD) walls


Quickly my son discovered punching ice, isn’t quite the same as punching snow!




lots of opportunities to push, pull, feel, examine, etc…







and last but not least…the Endeavor Space Shuttle has a home at the science center.


My kids were thrilled to touch wheels that have ACTUALLY BEEN IN SPACE!

“mom seriously these wheels have been in outer space! touch them mom, they were really in outer space!”

Day Two we met up with some friends and conquered LEGOLAND!


Day Three we celebrated with my childhood friend and her daughter at her daughter’s “Fancy Tea” themed birthday party.

I can remember as kids thinking when we grow up our kids will play with each other and we will all live happily ever after! ❤


Well it’s true minus a billion miles between us…amazingly our daughters are really close regardless!


I was cracking up watching these girls attempt delicate moves! One little girl had a tea-cup airborne giving the host a heart attack,

another nearly ripped her dress trying to break dance and my own sweet daughter ended up ripping off one of the roses on her dress…


Graceful they were not, but beautiful and happy they were!…these girls loved being fancy for a day!

 It’s great when homeschooling gives you the freedom to learn on the go and share such fun memories with close family and friends!

Thursday – Day Four

Well first thing this morning neither child had forgotten I promised a BEN 10 episode, so they started their day off with a cartoon. When the one was over, they were hooked and wanted more, more, more…so I figured if they worked together to clean my daughter’s room (which looked like a tornado blew thru a hoarder room) Then I would agree to another Ben 10.

 A few minutes later they came out and said they were finished. I’m pretty sure this is not the case. I ask, did you really clean up her room in that short of time? And they said, OH I THOUGHT YOU JUST WANTED A NICEPATH THRU HER ROOM…ha ha! So I look, they had neatly shoved everything to the sides so one might have a lovely path threw the disaster zone.

 With a little guidance they did a beautiful job on her room and they also worked on compromise, working together to tackle a fairly large job (giant really for a kid!) I could hear them deciding who would do what. It was pretty cute!

 A few jobs needed to be accomplished before our play dates arrived today.


 We had two separate play dates today and to be honest I got way side tracked chatting with my mama friends to document much of today. I do have photos to share, but not a lot of “homeschooling” stuff other then SOCIALIZING…today was SOCIALIZING DAY! Ha ha! 🙂

 A little dress up time:


Breakfast time:


 My son is researching Ben 10 alien costumes and preparing himself for HALLOWEEN already! He will most likely change his mind a billion times, so we have a rule, I will purchase ONE costume, but if you decide you want to be something else, then you have to make the costume yourself using stuff from our dress up bin….or literally MAKE IT yourself with card board or whatever you have to use.


 Contemplating life I suppose? I wonder if school kids get much quiet time to just think their thoughts. I know when I have a busy day it takes a lot of quiet practice to come down and feel grounded and able to just think my thoughts, so I love seeing my kids pondering life or maybe Ben 10 costumes ha ha!, but just having quiet moments to think their own personal private thoughts.


image Son: Did you know your body is complex? You can eat upside down! (as he puts a handful of popcorn in his mouth upside down…apparently one can defy gravity in some ways)



Play time: (trying to sort out weapons, game rules, costumes…all really important stuff!)


Lunch Time:


 Playing after Lunch…(mama is starting to loose steam and forgetting to document…sorry!)


 Kids came in the room where the mama chat was going on, so I have a few photos of the games they pulled out and played…





Then back to base camp to plot some more weapons, war tactics, game rules and strategies for conquering the other team!


 Little break to jump on the trampoline (and it is hard to see but one kiddo is up in the tree)


These magnets are still fascinating to him. He has had three days of processing these magnets. I know more is going on up in his brain regarding the magnets then just positive negative charges…he had that mastered when he was two! I’m guessing Thomas Edison type stuff, so I’m glad there isn’t fire involved and it’s just magnets! ha ha!


A bit later one set of friends left and another arrived…The girls were playing with the doll house and it wasn’t really my son’s gig, so he played this game by himself in more of a puzzly way.


 This is where I failed on documentation miserably today…I was having a nice time visiting with friends and the kids happily playing. The day got away from me… 

Dinner time… 


I took the kids out for an ice cream. As much as I dislike them having ice cream right before bed, I had promised it to them two days ago. I figured we should just get that promise over with and hopefully the sugar crash happens in their sleep. Ha ha!

 I’m going to snuggle up with hubby and watch whatever show he’s watching then head for bed…I hope to do a better job tomorrow. 

I’ve been thinking about it, I think I will try this again in the fall/winter when we are doing more schooly things then we do during the summer. We do school year round, but we are relaxed schoolers and the month of July we are SUPER relaxed schoolers…lol…might not be the best week, oh well, hind sight is alwasy 20/20 we’ll do it again some time down the road… 

Good night!

Life’s a Beach!

During the summer we often take the day off from school and hit the beach with family or friends.


(Dude, we must be those homeschooler types you hear about that are grooming the next Jeff Spicoli…what could you possibly learn in that vast nothingness?!?)


Well it’s not all boogie boarding and sunbathing…

We dig…


We search…


We find…





We research…

We often stop by the local sea center and ask questions after a productive day at the beach, as well as pet their fishy friends.


They let us use their equipment and microscopes to look at our teensy tiny microscopic finds.


You decide if a day at the beach is worth cutting class.

I think so!

P.S. Did I mention I’m typically lounging in a chair, enjoying the sunshine, the warm sand in my toes and hanging out with good company or a good book. And I also learn a few interesting things along the way!

I mention this because so many parents THINK they don’t have what it takes to homeschool, but the hardest part of homeschooling is making the decision to do it!

Reality Check for New Moms – Scrapbooking

I keep getting “Creative Memories” sale notifications. This has brought to my attention the massive amounts of scrapbooking materials I purchased right before I had my first child. I was ready to make amazing perfect creative memories. Or open a scrapbooking store, lol.

I took my first child to have his photos taken professionally every month on the day of his birth, so my scrap-book would be perfect, he’s 1 month old, 2 months old, 3 months old, and so on…I did this for at least the first two years of his life…when baby number two arrive I continue each month, but quickly dropped the professional aspect and only really had time to pluck out cute shots from my obsessive ‘camera in baby’s face constantly’ collection.

This obsessive photo documentation must give you some insight to my determination towards making these creative memories. I am the youngest of five and the only documentation I have of myself as a baby is the card from the hospital nursery identifying me.

Truth be known alllll of those amazing scrapbooking tools went untouched.

All I had time for was sticking each months photos into an old fashion paper scrapbook and jotting some notes down on the sides of each photo stating what he or she was doing developmentally or some comical tid bit that happened. Spelling wasnt perfect, handwriting was messy, even have some scratched out words, etc but the intention was to pluck from this book and make a beautiful perfect creative memory out of it when I had time. Ahhh good intentions….haha!



I was flipping thru this book the other day and realizing this is THE BEST CREATIVE MEMORY EVER!!! I love this book. I love to flip thru the pages, read the notes, see the photos, look back on those fun, crazy, TIRED days and know from the scratched out and quickly jotted notes just how it really was, perfect in our own special way. I love having this hard copy because I recently lost digital photos that were not backed up in time.

I highly recommend new moms to toss aside the notion of perfect.

Your definition of perfect will quickly be changing. You will endure spit up, poop explosions, inconvenient lactation issues, exhaustion, bad hair days, bad mood days, messy house, the biggest laundry piles you’ve ever seen, etc… Simply try to enjoy your child(ren) during that chaotic time, document it the best you can without causing yourself additional insanity. When things get less crazy and you look back, you will be so glad you have this silly scratched out not perfect memory book of the kids.

The Unsocialized Homeschooler

The socialization of homeschooled children is a common topic that many homeschoolers are asked about by non-homeschoolers.

When people are considering homeschooling, often they fear their child will miss out on the socialization a classroom brings.

When people are unaware of what exactly goes on in a homeschooling home, they assume the children are unsocialized or rarely get to play with children their own age.

People assume homeschooled children only socialize with their siblings as playmates.

Socialization seems to be one of the biggest concern of the non- homeschooling community.

As a homeschooler, socialization is my least concern, and I’d like to share with you why.


Each week on average we have 3 play dates with a variety of friends.

Each week we meet up with a homeschooling group and have a park or beach day.

The homeschooling group arranges monthly field trips.

We have sleep overs, camp outs, BBQs, parties, community activities, etc.

We sign up for clubs, sports, dance, horse riding, music, etc.

I was recently told by a friend whose children attend the local public school, that my children have more of a social life than hers do. She confessed, she had worried about homeschooling kids, thinking they sat at home all day with nothing to do, while the other kids were at school playing with friends.

The truth is, school kids spend majority of their day sitting in the classroom, not outside playing with friends. Where as homeschooled children are generally finished with their studies hours before school kids are let out for the day; therefore, homeschool kids get to spend the rest of their day truly SOCIALIZING with friends.

If you are concerned or would like more information on the topic of socializing homeschooled children, here are two really good books on the topic.

Thomas Edison Jr.

I am forced to remind myself it could be worse….Thomas Edison’s mother homeschooled him and he burnt down their barn with his experimental adventures.

Today I wrote a horrendous post, long and dull…I hit publish instead of save draft and then my Internet service crashed. I couldn’t delete it! Ugh! I had to go about my day with that post out there for all to see and I couldn’t fix it, rewrite it, delete it, nothing!

After a LONG conversation with the phone company I have an appointment for next Monday to have a tech come to the house and fix the situation…nearly a week of no Internet and that horrendous post is out there.

Tonight, my husband calls me into our son’s room with a tone like I’m two and in trouble for something. But then when I get into the room I see what he’s wanting to share.

Our son has rigged up his own “cell phone” (think I mentioned he’s been wanting to do this) he purchased an old school phone at the thrift shop for fifty cents. Used his handy dandy wiring skills and a spare phone jack in his room to create his “cell phone” He actually had a working phone in his room, but in the process disrupted our Internet service.

I’m lucky I have a handy dandy smart hubby who can fix nearly anything. We are back online again and my horrendous post has been removed with only ONE view! (Best slow visitor day ever!)

I’m tempted to keep the phone company appointment as it is their fault my son has this new sparked interest. Maybe they can come out and teach him how to make his dreams come true without electrocuting himself or blowing out our Internet!

Do You Think For Yourself?

I am realizing I’m far more opinionated than I thought, great lesson for me to learn about myself. Blogging is a fabulous platform to express ones opinions huh?

What plagues my thoughts often are how blind our society is towards all the subconscious messages bombarding our minds all day long. It’s everywhere we turn. Sports, Schools, Advertisements, Friends, Internet, etc…And how we just accept these messages without much thought, regardless if it’s in our best interest. Or the best interest of the next generation.

“Go Big or Go Hungry” (fast food catch phrase)


In reality it should read:
“Go Big and Get Fat, possibly die of heart disease”

But that wouldn’t sell more burgers….so a threat of hunger is their motto.

I found it particularly interesting that the person wearing this fabulous marketing tool was not small, not medium, not even slightly over weight, but rather a prime example of my reason we need to start thinking for ourselves a bit more.

According to the CDC the average sized male has increased by 20 pounds and the average sized female has increased by nearly 30 pounds in the last few decades. (This is AVERAGE sized people)

Fast food has become a staple in the last few decades.

Eating in the car on the go has become the norm in the last few decades.

Obese defined by Webster dictionary: “having excessive body fat”

Obese defined by http://www.medterms.com: “if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person’s height, age, sex, and build.”

Obese defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above.

I was as guilty as the next when it came to fast food. However, we as a family have started thinking for ourselves. Now when I see “Go Big or Go Hungry” it reads “Go Big and Get Big” to me…..loud n clear….anyone else see it that way?

Let’s start a revolution to think for ourselves. Block out alllll the crazy advertising we are suffocated with each day. Be your own person. If you want to “Go Big” go for it, but do it because YOU gave it thought and its the choice YOU want.

Look for the irony in life…

Quick thought on our stressful busy lives

It’s our own fault.

Told you it was quick. Ha ha!

But seriously, Think about it….give it some really good long hard thinking!

WHO signs the kids up for all these activities?

WHO agrees to pick up this or drop off that here and there?

WHO commits, volunteers, over schedules, etc?

Take back your life.

CONSIDER what you are agreeing to before you agree.

(this is where I thought I was done….but get ready this is where it no longer is a quick thought, now I’m thinking out loud and eeks, blogging might be my mental thoughts in type…aka not so private diary!) ha ha!

I recall a time long ago, a friend laughed at me because she noticed in my date book I had a chunk of time blocked off each day that said “RELAX” … I still schedule down time. It’s important! For your soul, your health, your mind, your body, your family, your friends, your kids, your dog, your cat, hamster, bag boy at the market! The world is a better place when you have a little down time!

Think about the kids, they say they are bored, but some of the greatest creations grow out of boredom. Give your kids (and yourself) the chance to do nothing!

That reminds me: I love these two books and HIGHLY suggest them if you have a busy life. And if you can’t slow down enough to read them, you can get one of them on audio which is very handy, a set of ear buds and you’re on your way!

I have actually read both of these several times and I read the children’s book to my kids all the time! They love it because it reminds them of all the things they can do when they have NOTHING TO DO!

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Nothing to Do by Douglas Wood Nothing to Do by Douglas Wood

I ran that ragged race and lost. Everyone who runs it ends up loosing, just depends how long you want to run.

Our lives are at a much slower pace now. (Thanks to HOMESCHOOLING, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done for our family!) And I’m in shock that people don’t think they can slow down. They think it’s not possible. They are WRONG. You can slow down as much as you’d like, it’s entirely up to you.

Our once go go go family, now carves out “quiet time” each day (at least 4 days of the week) where the kids spend an hour in their rooms reading or playing quietly by themselves. And get this….(drum roll please) the kids ASK FOR IT if it’s been a couple of days without it!

We also have two days of the week (sometimes 3 or 4) that we schedule NOTHING. It’s these days I casually get house chores accomplished (or not) kids play and create new games while complaining of boredom, we can stop in the middle of laundry and play a game, read a book together, bake, etc…whatever comes up. And it’s these days my kids love. They remember these days. These are the special times that are missed when you spend 24/7 running here and there and loosing that rat race. What will your kids remember about you? (the back of your head while driving in the car? Your frazzled expressions as you race here and there?)

It’s up to you to make the changes and slow down your world. (for you and for your kiddos)

Own it…it is YOUR fault. Change it…if you want to!

I challenge you to one 24 hour period of scheduling nothing! Doing nothing! And enjoying it!  I’d really like to challenge you to a week, but didn’t want to push it…ha ha!