This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Candy Day reinstated

Earlier this week the Lt. said that the girls could go out Trick or Treating this year.  To say that Montana and McKenzie were excited would be a slight understatement. This would be McKenzie’s first time ever going out.

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So, because of the short timing of the announcement we got creative with costumes this year. Marie, who according to our town’s law is not allowed to Trick or Treat dolled up herself as a Magic Zebra with a wand to walk around the neighborhood with us. Madison had lots of wild and crazy ideas but finally decided on being a nerd. While Mikayla was a 50’s diner hop girl.

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Montana and McKenzie’s costume choices where the easiest of all since they were dolled up as their favorite princesses when we went to Disney World in September. Montana as Jasmine and McKenzie as Cinderella.

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The girls had a blast and McKenzie walked majority of the neighborhood. She was so excited after visiting each house. Towards the end she did say that her feet didn’t like Halloween and that they were tired in her glass slippers. So, she hoped in her royal chariot for a ride home. We now have enough candy to last until Easter!

While I am not fully convinced about the benefits of celebrating Halloween, I will go along with my husbands wishes.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mr. Evan’s Pumpkin farm

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We ventured out to Mr. Evan’s Farm this morning so the girls could pick out their pumpkins.  Marie and McKenzie always pick small ones but this year the other 3 girls went JUMBO!

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Next year we hope to have a bountiful crop of our own pumpkins but it is always nice to support Mr. Evan’s Farm.

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It took all three big girls to lift Mikayla’s monster of a pumpkin!

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Because Madison, Mikayla, & Montana choose such huge, heavy pumpkins they had to stay in the back of the van until the Lt. came home to get them out. No need to hurt my back trying :)

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Bridgeway Academy: Magic Tree House:Middle Ages Learning Lab ~ a TOS review

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For the past several weeks Montana (7) has been taking a history class from Bridgeway Academy. It's always good to have the opportunity to have interaction with other kids In a classroom setting and this fulfills that need for her.

Join Jack and Annie as we travel back in time to visit with kings, queens, lords and ladies, knights and squires! Learn fascinating facts about the lives of ordinary people during the Middle Ages as we journey through the countryside, towns and cities of medieval Europe. Music, art, literature, science and war are all explored as we explore this fascinating period in history using Knight at Dawn to jumpstart our learning.                                     ~ website

We were truly blessed to be apart of the 8 week Magic Tree House: Middle Ages Learning Lab. Bridgeway Academy's  Learning Labs are weekly virtual co-op classes taught by certified teachers who have a passion for what they teach. Normally classes are 9 weeks long and between 45 minutes to 1 hour each week. Classes are available for $145 per session. Our class was taught by Kathy Thomas and we logged in for class On Monday afternoons from 1-2pm. Quick and easy to complete homework was assigned each week along with a big final project.


Here are some of the topics covered in this class. . .

Overview of the Middle Ages
Life on a Medieval Manor
Life in a Medieval City
Knights and the Crusades
The End of the Middle Ages
Art & Music

Getting set up in the learning lab was quick and easy. You just log on to the website given and it will tell you if you need to make any further enhancements to your system, like a Java update. It is recommended that you have available a pair of headphones with microphone to keep out background noise. However, we had trouble getting our microphone to work simultaneously with the headphones so we chose to go without. I made sure the girls were especially quite when it was time for Montana's class so there was no background noise.

Since Montana was one of the younger kids in the class she had a bit of trouble staying focused on the computer screen. That was no fault of our teacher, Mrs. Thomas, just an attention span/age thing. She was paying attention she just needed to be able to play with something small during her class.



Montana says her favorite part of the class was:
Making the castle! McKenzie (4) and I used a lot of Popsicle sticks. We didn't get to eat Popsicles, my mom bought them from the store. It took a long time to glue each one on. I used my Littlest Pet Shop toys for my King and Queen. I also made a menu for another project and Pig Stew was my special of the day.

I would consider Bridgeway learning Labs again in the future for Montana or any of my girls. It's like going to co-op within your own home. I would however, like to see the age range a little tighter such as 1st-3rd and 4th -5th just because of the varying abilities of the children. However, this would not deter me from signing up if the grade ranges stayed as they are listed.

I definitely think you should check out all the courses Bridgeway has to offer, there is something for everyone! Also be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this class and the other ones being reviewed, Marine Biology (Grades 5-8), and Easy Essay (Grades 9-12) by clicking the banner below to read the reviews.


Company ~ Bridgeway Academy

Product ~ Magic Tree House: Middle Ages

Price ~ $145.00 per 9 week session

    Ages ~ grades 1st - 5th

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Barbour Publishing: Diary of a Real Payne, Book 1: True Story ~ a TOS review

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We love good books in this house so you can imagine that I did not turn down the chance to review Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story from Barbour Publishing. Written by Annie Tipton the story tells the diary / narrative of 10 year old Emma Jean Payne, EJ for short.

Diary of a Real Payne is the first book in this series and tells the story of a fun and precocious protagonist EJ. From the beginning we are introduced to her family. Her father the pastor, her mother a teacher and her 5 year old brother, Isaac a Kindergartener. As you follow along with EJ on some of her misunderstood misadventures you will be smiling and laughing hysterically.

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EJ has big dreams of leaving her drab little town of Spooner, Wisconsin. However, the only thing going for her right now is small- small town school, small town shopping, and small town tourist attractions. While her body may physically be living in small town Spooner her imagination takes her to dreamy places like racing cars, a Spectacular Circus, or even owning her own Super Stylz Hair Salon. The reader gets a first hand look into the wild imagination of this spunky little girl.

With 192 pages Diary of a Real Payne is recommended for ages 8-12. I chose to use this book as a read aloud for the girls. While Montana (7) and McKenzie (4) are below the recommended age they still enjoyed listening and laughing about EJ's daily hijinks. McKenzie wanted to see all the pictures throughout the book. Madison(12) and Mikayla (10) really enjoyed the book. I can definitely she a bit of EJ's personality in Madison and her thirst for adventure.  Because my reading voice only last so long I often found them reading ahead.

This book is extremely affordable at just $5.99 for a paperback edition from Barbour Publishing. I highly recommend you get your hands on this book! It would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for the readers on your list. The next book in the series is scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2014. You can be sure that we will be adding that book our home library too! Be sure to also check out what my CrewMates thought of this book by clicking the banner below.


Company ~ Barbour Publishing

Product ~ Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story

Price ~ $5.99 paperback

Ages ~ 8-12 year olds

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

God’s World News ~ a TOS review

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Starting in 7th grade I like to incorporate current events into my girls schedule. This year that includes Madison. I was having trouble finding a good source to use so you can bet I jumped for joy when we were asked to review Top Story from God's World News. Using the resources published by God’s World News is a great way to make sure your student, whether young or old is aware of what’s going on in the World. The best part is that all the news is from a Christian worldview.

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We were blessed to receive a full year subscription ($28.00) to the Top Story edition of the magazine. Full year subscriptions include 10 big, full-color, monthly issues every month except December & May. Each magazine includes 32 pages filled with age-appropriate news and features. Also included in your subscription are helpful biographies and topical lessons that can be downloaded and printed. You are also given the option to quiz your student to check for comprehension. And as a bonus the answer keys are included.

Top Story is the middle school level of God's World News packages, designed to help teach a biblical worldview. Consistent with all of our publications, Top Story emphasizes News, Knowledge, and Wisdom… website

With our subscription we also received a Map-It world map which is a full-sized (20x30) map sent with the September edition. Different sites are presented in the magazine that you then locate on the Map-It map. It is a great reference point and also comes in handy for other subjects in our homeschool.

A weekly email newsletter  that includes answer keys to the magazine quizzes and puzzles is provided to parents and/or teachers.  Your subscription also grants you access to a student website at


Madison has really enjoyed this magazine and so have I. I love the fact that is written from a Christian perspective. It has been a great springboard for conversations about what is going on in the world and how it fits into Gods plan. The articles in the magazines are through enough for her to get the gist of what is going on in the world without all the unnecessary gory details she might encounter from a regular publication.

I was also surprised to receive a copy of World. This is Gods World News’s magazine for adults. I was engrossed in reading this magazine and read it in one night while waiting for Mikayla to finish practice. I love the Christian perspective once again about stories happening around the world. The articles contain many stories of interest and relevance to my family. Plus, I had a few parents inquire about what I was reading. I took the time to share and hopefully encouraged them enough to further examine the magazine for their children and themselves.

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Overall, I am 200% happy and thrilled with this magazine and what it offers for my family. So much so that I am getting subscriptions started for each of my girls. What child doesn’t like getting mail? I wholeheartedly recommend you check out all of the magazines levels available from God’s World News. There is something available for each learning level and you will be blessed by the fact your children are getting good quality news from a source you can trust. Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this level, Top Story, and the other levels that were offered for review by clicking the banner below.



Company ~ God's World News

Product ~ Top Story

Price ~ $28.00 full year

Ages ~ middle school, 6th-8th

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chess House ~ a TOS review

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Have you ever wanted to learn how to play chess? Well today I am pleased to share with you a chess set from Chess House. The Lt. knows how to play chess but I admit I was totally clueless until we were able to review the Starter Chess Learning Kit.

Chess is a game that can be played by the young and old. It is meant to challenge your mind and what parent does not want that for their child. The Starter Chess Learning Kit is recommended for ages 6-12 but it can be used with beginners or advanced players. 

This chess set is HUGE! It includes:  34 large size plastic chess pieces with two extra queens just in case a little sister happens to misplace one (just saying), a detailed instruction booklet, a large 20" x 20" vinyl roll up chess mat, a 49 minute teaching DVD called Elliot's Chess School, and a large 24" x 8" x 3" zippered canvas bag with a detachable shoulder strap to hold or transport everything.  The bag comes in several colors and we were blessed to receive a green camo print which the girls love.


Let me tell you a little more about the teaching DVD called Elliots Chess School. The set comes with a Pawn Level: Beginner instructional DVD. On the video your student will be introduced to the fun and exciting game of chess right from the start. The video goes in detail about each of the pieces, pawns, rooks, bishops, nights, castling, pawn shields, development, and the King and Queen. You will learn how each piece can move, steel or overtake the other player's pieces, and how to develop strategies for playing and outsmarting your opponent. You will also learn the correct point value scoring for the game.

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We started out by watching the DVD and then the girls dove right into playing. They had a little knowledge of the game beforehand but did not know all the correct movements of each piece. Overall, we had a great experience and they have beaten me several times. The Lt. returns home from his business trip in a few days and they are eager to play him!


So, you’re probably thinking this chess set is going to cost a lot of money right for all that you get? Nope! It retails for just  $49.95 but right now you can save $10.00 and get it for $39.95.  This would be the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for any child. It is very durable and the pieces have withstood a 4 year olds hands. I know that we will be enjoying this chess set for years to come!

This was a great learning experience for the girls and I and we wholeheartedly recommend you look into Chess House if you are in the market for a chess set. Be sure to read the reviews of my CrewMates by clicking the banner below.



 Company ~ Chess House

Product ~ Starter Chess Learning Kit

Price ~ on sale for $39.95, normally $49.95

Ages ~ 6 and up

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Friday, October 11, 2013

M is for… #fmsphotoaday

Cinderalla and girls

M is for Marie, Madison, Mikayla, Montana & McKenzie with Cinderella at her Royal banquet.


Montana wrote a descriptive paragraph about bubbles this week. Here is her finished story.

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Bubbles are round circles.

They are clear.

Bubbles can be big or small.

Bubbles feel wet when they pop on you.

They are fun to blow!


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Good job Montana!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It’s not normal…


for 10 year old girls to train 26 hours a week. But because she loves it, we support her every inch of the way.


So, when she gets these aches and pains we ice and rest and take Ibuprofen. Which I really don’t like doing, but that’s my issue not hers Smile Then I gently remind her that what she does 6 days a week is not normal.


However, because she is driven she keeps on setting goals and checking them off her list.

GOALS = dreams with deadlines

Even though I hate to see her achy and stiff, I am glad she is not normal. Her determination is just one of the many things that makes me so proud of her.


image credit ~ pinterest