color me rad

I haven’t updated on my health journey lately.
It has become a bit of a stale-mate.

Hiking the hills and then trying to begin a running journey has, in turn, given me a set back.  A knee injury. 

So for weeks I was more like a slug than a marathon runner wanna-be.  I learned some patience, and how to put myself in 1st gear.  Apparently, on a daily basis, I’d say I am at a constant 3rd gear, just simply going, going, going…. well, not.so.much.now.  In the meantime, my amazingly encouraging cousin signed me up for the Color Run 5K.  How exciting!  Amazingly enough, my knee healed up just enough to walk that run, cautiously mind you, but I did it.  And I got some fun hot pink sunglasses to boot!


Now I have another set back.  The same knee injury.  Oh, the 5k actually was great, but the puppy, however, is like a wrecking ball.  Pure muscle and speed, and well, a puppy.  So puppy and my knee had a collision and I am again learning patience and how to slow down.

In the meantime, my amazing daughter is joining me on a nutritional journey.  She likes to cook and make meals, and I feel a bit like I have my very own healthy chef.  I love that girl!

So, what are some challenges you have been facing lately?  How do you stay encouraged? 
Me?  I surround myself with people who care.



As we head into our 2nd quarter, I feel a bit of deja vu.
It is T.J.’s senior year, and I am acutely aware of how fast this will pass.

Our 1st quarter success this year is that we are getting school work done with minimal distractions.
What extra activities we have chosen have been picked thoughtfully.
My older kids are self-motivated to get their work done,
which in turn guides the younger boys to get their work done also.
Kind of a win/win for me.  *smile*

~October Goals~


Reading through the time era around 1860, preparing to enter the Civil War era next month.
Books on the list this month;  The Heart of the Rockies, The Pony Express.

To compliment the time era we are studying; Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn.

English Grammar:
adverbs, semi-colons, quotations vs underlining.

TJ- Negative exponents & functional notations.
Review of simplifying decimal equations.
Katie- Linear measurements, bars & graphs, & place values.
Review of the 4 basic operations of multiplication.


Book of Matthew.  Ideally I would like us to work through the four Gospels on up through Christmas time.  To really ponder the different angles of the same historical time.

Astrophysics- learning about the planets.

It’s safety month!
Fire safety, media/internet safety, and spiritual safety
(ie the study of All Hallow’s Eve, and why we, as a family, will choose not to celebrate Halloween).

All things food!
What to eat, where to eat, when to eat.

PRIMARY GRADE focal points:

Bryson- 100 Easy Lessons;
he is halfway through the book, woo hoo!
Andrew- Animal Pride series; 1 book per week,
ie Roy Raccoon, Billy Beaver, Redi Fox, and Brutus the Bear.

Read alouds:
Twin series; The Indian Twins, The Eskimo Twins.

letter writing, addressing envelopes,
and the various ways to write the date.

telling time, counting money, and measuring (baking, Mmmm).
working on addition and multiplication math facts.


We are a late night family; however, as of lately, it has been later.
(did you follow that?).  Trying to get our family in bed by midnight so that we can easily start our school day by 9.  The reality is that each child has randomly chosen when to do their work ie one child in the morning, 1 child mid day, 1 child afternoon, and one who leans towards the evening learning hours.  My goal is to get everyone back on track to do our RC learning (read, write, math) in the mornings, so we can effectively do our group studies in the afternoon.  Plus honestly, I enjoy our ‘after lessons’ quiet time.  A bit of sanity before facing the afternoon chores whilst heading into our evening happenings.

How are your daily routines going?  spontaneous?  derailed?  focused?

Remember the boy who wouldn’t write for me last year?
You know, that youngest child of mine, who would get eraser possessed?
and when I took the eraser away, he would scribble out his mistakes?
So I finally set formal writing lessons aside…

and handed him blank paper (printer paper) with no lines.

and we now have ended up with a writing process
of his own free will.  Go figure.


The top paper is a picture of a house (the beach house we stayed at on vacation) for a thank you note (his idea, lol).
The left paper is him randomly writing letters (with a few added question marks).
The middle paper it started to click that he could make words as he wrote\.
The bottom paper is the 4 teenage mutant ninja turtles (back to scribbles),
and what (supposedly) each turtle is saying.
This is all a natural process.  The age of progression can vary,
but when we get to this point I know we headed in the right direction.
The right side paper is his actual one of his writing assignments this week,
of writing to his pen pal.
He told me what he wanted to write,
and I wrote it down on a separate piece of paper,
so that he could do copy work.


Writing has become serious business since we got pen pals for the younger boys!
I often find one of the boys quietly in their room with paper and pens out.

Practice makes progress, eh?


Some folks head to the tropics,
others will will take a cruise,
for some, Disneyland is the hot topic,
for us?  A quaint beach house in the off-season is what we choose!

In all actuality, my husband and I share an Equinox birthday.
A day to greet the new fall season!
What better way to celebrate than to go explore the seasonal changes on the coast?
with our kids?  and our pets?
and treasure all the gifts that the Good Lord has provided us with!


5 (of our 6) kids came on the adventure with us!


The first few days we weathered the storms…


… yet, as always, we found things to do.
We looked at shells, observed small, smooth stones,
and batted rocks into the ocean.

Wild Life:


We researched Sanderlings, the small groups of sea birds,
that flock inches over the shore line,
following the wave lines as they stroll in.

Jellyfish, snails, and deer were also easy access to view



Our afternoons were filled with beach activities!


(Each day the weather cleared up just a little more.)
Walks along the shore.
Flying kites.
Playing baseball.



We spent our evenings playing games!
Skip bo, Sorry, Trouble, Rummy, Yahtzee,
and a Twister Tournament!


Our favorite game, by far, was…
Hide-n-Go Seek in-the-dark.
Admittedly, I was pretty good at it.  *hee*

Our Last Night:


Life doesn’t get much better than this!
Family, joy, peace, love, hope,
a God who loves us beyond our flaws and blesses us with His Glory.



Lesson are going pretty smoothly.
Consistent for the most part,
with a few activities thrown in.

Andrew (pictured above) & I sit in the reading corner for his reading lessons.  He is wrapping up this book.  He is excited to begin independent work.  He will have a reading lesson from McGuffey 2nd reader each day (read aloud to me) and can do his silent reading, math, and copywork by himself.  Oh boy, he is not longer a “little”.  This has been quite a journey to get to this point and I am so proud of him!


Bryson prefers to do his lessons in our dining room.
Last year he pretty much quit school, ha ha…
and voila, randomly this year, right before we began our new school year,
he decided he liked school.  His goal is to get done with his 100 Reading Lessons.  Bryson remembers what a big deal it was for Andrew to get through his 100 reading lessons (never mind it took 3 tries through the book) last year.  We had a party for Andrew, Bryson opted to want to go bowling instead.


Katie-girl opted to test through her current math book over the week end and due to the extremely low error rate is moving on to the next math book.  She’s my one that likes this kind of motivation and now is devouring her math much unlike last year’s aversion to it!  What can I say?  She keeps me guessing!


TJ, after 17 yrs, finally gets his own room!  Well, sort of…
Echo thinks he still needs to share!
I don’t think she helps much with his algebra though.


We’ve been studying the State of Israel for a few weeks now.
With everything going on in the middle east, I figure it was best to revisit the history leading up to current events.

Science Extras:

The kids have been watching our Moody Institute of Science videos lately.
I am a bit surprised at how well my youngest pays attention to it.
He is always pondering questions later on it.
This weeks focus was about our blood and circulatory system.

Other Activities of our Week(s).

Tiny Tot School:


We get this sweet little girl 2 days a week now,
and Katie is loving to learn how to teach her things.
TINY TOT school is always fun!

We have Little Adelaide on Mondays and Fridays.
When she goes down for a nap,
Katie sets up a small table near her,
and does her math and reading while this little one sleeps.



We had extra friends over one day and we learned about plant life.
Sometimes activities are just more fun with friends!


The leaves labeled the four things that plants need to grow.

Homeschool Tutoring:


TJ (on right) and I go hang out with this guy on Monday afternoons!
I help set up lesson plans for Shane to do during the week,
and evaluate his progress.  On Mondays we do poetry,
and science related experiments together.

Family Connections:

Gma M park day

Some of the boys and I spent an afternoon with Aunt Chanelle and Grandma M.
It was a lovely afternoon.  We don’t see Chanelle as often,
but we need to make visiting Grandma M a weekly event;
just haven’t found the rhythm for it yet.

Our goal this school year is to be more intentional with our activities and choices.
I think we are off to a decent start. 


I pulled out our planners for the youngsters,
along with their McGuffey Readers,
and they began their reading, writing, and spelling this week.

Bryson (6) is still continuing his reading lesson in 100 Easy Lessons, but we are also applying McGuffey Readers as he is very interested in reading currently.  Writing (penmanship) on the other hand is a stretch yet.  Thus, in the photo above (using a spelling lesson ie word family, long a sound, ~ay), I actually write out the majority of the lesson.  The actual lesson is to first create your own words (which at age 6 is minimal yet, but he is catching on that they all rhyme *smile*), then once he is stuck, I give him the sound to write down, and he figures out what it says.

Thus ~ay becomes day, say, pay (done on his own) and I gave him sound blends such as pl, st, str (play, stay, stray).
It was a big stretch for him, yet a perfect rhythm for Andrew (3rd grade).


While Bryson is going through 100 Easy Lessons and the McGuffey Primer,
Andrew began this book ^ and the McGuffey 2nd Reader.
The book pictured above is one written by the same author as 100 Easy Lesson.
I found the book simply reinforces reading skills before Andrew moves on to “real” books.


In other events of our week,
our friend, Ethan (5), stayed with us for the week while his parents took a trip to Ireland.
He just flowed along with our days.  It was great!
Ethan played on his own while the boys did their reading, writing, and math,
then they did table time (ie puzzles, paint, etc).
In the photo above they are playing with apple-spiced play dough.  *Mmmm* smells good!!

IMG_2878[1] IMG_2850[1]

Then we did a seasonal craft each day,
along with a journal entry,
thus making a book by the end of the week.


All our activities were followed by Quiet Time.
Oh yes we did, we added quiet time to our days,
quite successfully I might add.
Everyone finds their quiet spot for 1 whole, glorious hour.

IMG_2855[1] IMG_2857[1]

Katie-girl (7th grade) continues her weekly sketches.  These are week 2 and week 3.

TJ (senior) was able to check off items on his Home Maintenance List as he spent a whole day helping someone rebuild a deck.

Over all my older kids work smoothly through their independent work.

Homeschooling is kinda cool like that.  Gotta love it!


Building a rhythm:

I really wanted to slowly develop our days.
I kept things simple this week,
with the intent to guide my self-led learners
while building a routine for the littles.


The older kids simply did math, and read history and science.
The younger kids worked on random math facts, phonics review, and reading lessons.

Dare I say it was… peaceful?!


The senior student would get up early with the puppy…
do his math and reading,
and then go outside to play, er do recess with the 1st grader.


The first grader then got the wiggles out to focus on his reading lesson in the afternoons.


IMG_2705[1]   IMG_2706[1]

This was using the How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
Last year my youngest was anti-school, lol, so I “compromised”  *wink, wink*
He has his “sounds of the day”,
his “words of the day”,
and his “story of the day”.
Obviously, it is just the lesson from the book, but I am not telling him that!
For his writing last year he was like a crazy perfectionist who melted down at every letter,
so I decided he could trace for now.  Highlighters work well for that!

Admittedly, I was a bit concerned to take 2 months off for a summer break.
I felt like my youngest should probably maintain some form of structure,
and my 9 year old had just begun to read fluently.  I didn’t want to lose ground.
However, we took the much needed break, and much to my surprise,
the youngest is so much more focused now,
and the 9 yr old has picked back up with reading much more smoothly than before!


Getting ready to line up a soccer season for TJ (17) and possibly Bryson (6),


while Katie-girl has decided to do a 30 day sketch challenge.
No lessons, just going by sight and a few suggestions from Nick’s girlfriend.

Homeschooling in the Woods

~has been so relaxing…
doing school on our front deck.
Birds chirping, a light breeze blowing,
siblings playing afterward…

I can’t help but close my eyes and whisper a ‘thank-you’ to our Good Lord above.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. (May) the Lord be with all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16


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