Welcome Back…. You do strictly homeschool, right?! Uh… Uh…

This summer has been a whirlwind. We have been here there and everywhere trying to make as much out of the summer as we could. While summer isn’t over, we do have to start getting back to our regular schedule.

I’ve met alot of people this summer and had alot of conversations about homeschooling and what that means. Since so many people concern themselves with labels I thought I would clear up how we run our school at home.

I have a Master’s Degree in Post Secondary Education and spent alot of time writing and auditing curriculum. This included developing mixed media classes where a portion of the classes were online and on ground. As I took my conversations from this summer and compared it to what we do in our own home I had an aha moment. While obviously our children are still in primary school; in our home we do what could be considered a mixed media learning environment. We are enrolled full time at K12 and like the structure, curriculum and support of the teachers and staff. However, I also choose to supplement with my own lessons – generated from a variety of resources. I would say that we teach our kids mixed media via virtual and home school. (Whew! There! I said it! Now we have a label too…..)

What I find interesting is that people are so quick to label the type of education without taking the time to understand the format of it; and how it applies to what the child truly needs. Our kids need opportunities to explore subjects more (for example last year we started a virtual Science lesson about the layers of the oceans and what animals are in them; then we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about all those creepy critters on the very very very very bottom of the ocean. How did they get there? How do they see? What do they eat? Do they get cold down there? How can they make that blue light glow?) On and on the questions went, we kept looking up information. This is called understanding a child’s curiosity to learn; and NOT ignoring it. The love of learning is like a fire which must be stoked; and never squelched because of a label or particular predetermined view you have of a delivery style/type of education. Questions are the fire; the fuel is the way you respond.

Please don’t let the label of the educational delivery style deter the way you teach your children, please allow the children’s curiosity and love for learning to drive the path of the education. Ask yourself this, if you were at my home and we were doing a K12/Virtual lesson on triple digit addition – would you not allow your child to participate because it isn’t pure homeschooling? If the answer is Yes, wow – guess what all kids have to learn triple digit addition, does it matter if it comes from K12 or pure homeschooling? If the answer is NO, bravo your an open minded educator.

Be open and understand that every child learns differently, it’s all hard work but if mixed media works – don’t judge others, support others – everyone’s is on a path to educate their children and help them become strong, smart, free thinking, open, well-educated and successful adults. (And success doesn’t always mean marrying a billionaire, having a Stanford education, developing the next successful IPO and wearing a perfect Prada suit to work. For some it means virtual/homeschooling, climbing Mt. Everest and calling home for money because you’re trying to decide if you want to be a fashionista or a famous rock star).

Hope everyone has an amazing school year!! 🙂

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Oak Meadow Curriculum Giveaway

Remember the awesome iPad Giveaway DenSchool had a couple weeks ago? What an amazing organization and now they are partnering with others to giveaway something to help prepare your curriculum for next year!

We have teamed up with DenSchool and Teaching with Cents to bring you this great giveaway from Oak Meadow! Enter today on the Giveaway Tools form below.

One lucky reader will receive a Complete Curriculum Package (of their choice) from Oak Meadow. Imagine that, everything you need for homeschooling your child next year – for FREE!

Complete Curriculum Package Review

Oak Meadow has specialized in homeschooling curriculum for 35 years! They are committed to providing creative, innovative, and child-centered educational materials that can be utilized towards every family’s needs and routine.

We believe that true intelligence arises when children are given opportunities to engage not only their heads, but their hands and hearts as well. Our curriculum includes assignments that ask children to read, write, and think, and also to paint, draw, play music, write poetry, and build things, encouraging balanced and healthy development.

Oak Meadow

Have you begun planning your next homeschooling year and not sure where to start? Stop by DenSchool to read reviews for some of your favorite curriculum packages! There, you will learn all about Oak Meadow and what this great giveaway has to offer you!

Visit DenSchool’s Oak Meadow Reviews

DenSchool has reviewed curriculum packages for Grades 3, 4, and 6 – with an 8th grade review coming in August!

Contest Information:
*This great giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 18+.
*Giveaway ends on July 24th at 11:59 p.m.
*DenSchool Contributors, immediate family members, and group giveaway bloggers are not eligible to enter DenSchool giveaways.

IPad Giveaway from DenSchool


“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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Summer Classes Start June 17th – (Early Bird Discount!)

This summer DenSchool will be offering self-paced, teacher supported classes. Some of the classes are Accounting, Algebra, Art, Beginner Guitar, Social Studies, English, Science, Journalism, World History….the list goes on and on. Remember these are not just for High School learners. Normally these classes are $59.00, but if you order by June 10th the cost is only $29.00; that’s more than a 50% savings!  These classes offer flexibility; with a 9 week format and learners are free to complete the class at their own pace taking more or less time. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all the courses.


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CLIP classes are free and there are some fun ones to choose from….Remember National Doughnut Day on June 7th? Oh boy we did in this house!  While we enjoyed the doughnuts, it would have been more fun to have a lesson. From Summer Solstice to 4th of July there are lots to choose from.



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Note: This is a sponsored post by DenSchool. Please see a full disclosure on giveaways.



The Blue Mouse Movies




My parents have been heading over to  The Blue Mouse Theater for as long as I can remember. It’s a cute little neighborhood theater in the Proctor District of Tacoma. They just recently underwent a major fundraising and transformation effort to stay open in the digital age.

They always do the Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night!  I have been wanting to go for a while, as I’ve never seen it – so it’s on my bucket list for this summer.

This week they are showing a great movie called “The Croods”. My daughter went to go see this and said it was fantastic! It is in 3D, but she said it didn’t bother her in fact it made it more fun!

View Trailer

Monday Movie Madness is fun – all seats are $3.00.  Be sure to check out their Facebook feed for updates on movie times.

It’s a great way to see big title movies before they leave the big screen, without the big screen price!

Checking In

Wow what an amazing month this has been! I didn’t even realize I hadn’t written in a while. We have met at TON of new people and are so excited about all the amazing friendships we’ve made. I can not wait to share some of the amazing blogs we’ve read over the last couple of weeks. The stories are so inspirational, the recipes look amazing and the crafts are inspiring.

We participated in an amazing P.E. program through Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) in partnership with Pacific Lutheran University. The program involved student teachers and a visiting professor to PLU/WAVA High School teacher running a 5 week physical education program, twice a week for about an hour and a half each time. The girls learned a bunch of new ways to work out, they loved their student teachers and made some really great new friends. In the end they got the cutest rewards for all their hard work and “sweat”. Hopefully the program will continue and allow the kids to progress through, as they get older, through various stages of new lessons. What a great program!

I got to participate in my first blog hop. That was a fun way to meet new people, and Katherine from Katherines Corner was so patient with me while I got the ins and outs of html code. I just recently started learning, in very limited fashion, how to write and manipulate some of my own html code. Which has opened up a world of doors as far as adding things to Word Press. However, it also at times has added to frustration when I can’t get a code to work, or try to add something and it shows up – but the code shows up to. This blog has been a true learning experience and continual work in process for me. Hopefully I can resolve my most current issue which is, how to add a Instagram widget – so confusing….an yet so challenging. (hopefully there aren’t a bunch of computer engineers sitting around laughing at me right now – 🙂 )

I have been exercising quite a bit in the last couple of years and recently made the goal to start running again. My overall goal is to walk the Golden Gate Bridge on my 40th, but for a closer goal I had hoped to run a 5k in February 2014. Well, that plan has been botched as recently the pain in my knee got pretty intense. After trying about every home remedy I could think of, I gave up and went in for XRays. Apparently I have osteoarthritis and bone spurs in both my knees. (well that would explain the shooting pain – thinking of bone spurs in painful period!). My doctor said it comes from too much sports when I was younger, along with the impact of current exercise, and not enough concentration on building the muscles in the leg to support the impact to the joint. Interesting….so old age is starting to kick my butt. Not for long – I have a 6 week treatment plan which includes some anti-inflammatory meds, yoga, low impact exercise, as well as starting to work on building leg muscles. So, lesson learned – proper strength training is important. In the meantime, I’m also headed to see a physical therapist whom I hope can help me become stronger overall so I don’t have to keep having an argument with my knee every time I want to walk a couple of miles in the sun.

In the meantime as well we have been working on doing a little more revamping to our diet plan at home. I use diet in the sense of food consumption – not being on a diet. The way a person eats is a lifestyle choice, and while ours is a constant evolution – I’ve recently been motivated by not only LaLa’s desire to be a vegetarian, but by my own desire to cut out the crap food (what little was left). I’ve had a lot of fun trying new recipes and chatting with people about food and meal choices. One of our friends Dottie shared this amazing recipe which we tried the other day  – and LOVE IT! We used vegan chocolate chips instead of blueberries (because we’re about blueberry out with smoothies) and it was SO enjoyable! Jump over to her blog and check out the recipes! Thanks Ms. Dottie!!

Almond Pancake Recipe
5 T. Almond Meal (I buy Trader Joe’s) 2 t. Flax meal (I buy Big bag at Costco)
1 T. Sour Cream …
3 T. Water
1 egg
1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. baking powder
Mix all together and cook like regular pancakes. I add blueberries to the mix. this recipe is 1-2 servings. Robby eats the entire batch 4 pancakes

Well, off to the races! Another day of school and finishing up a sewing project tomorrow…pictures to come. Enjoy the day!


Secret Happiness


I was cracking up last week reading everybody’s Oh No You Didn’t Valentine’s Day Gifts.  Some of them were so funny or foreign to me; I couldn’t believe people would actually give them as gifts, but it happens!

This week is fun too. Yesterday, 2/17 was Random Act of Kindness Day (#RAOK). This week’s Listicles kind of follows that same theme: 10 tiny (or secret) things that bring you joy. It took me awhile to narrow my list down, as I realized – selfishly – there are quite a few small things that bring me joy!

1.) E n K’s uninhibited, gut busting laughter; E is so serious all the time that when she laughs a big belly laugh it is so heart warming.

2.) K’s singing – even though she does it every second of the day, and sometimes I pray for quiet – it brings me joy to know that she is so uninhibited in her love of music.

3.) When the perfect song comes on the radio, singing in my car (while hopefully no one is watching because I can’t carry a tune!).

4.) Waking up to warmth and sunshine.

5.) All the laundry being done, and the house being cleaned.

6.) My hubs making the bed for no random reason.

7.) Cards, letters or phone calls just because.

8.) Doing a #RAOK

9.) Shopping for gifts for other people. I love giving gifts – Christmas is THE best holiday EVER – for selfish reasons I get joy out of watching people open presents I’ve given them 🙂

10.) Cooking or baking something delicious brings me great joy and peace. I think because I refuse to follow a recipe I’m always surprised when it actually works out (most of the time!).

“If you surrender completely to the moment as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

What brings you joy?

Monday Listicles: When I Grow Up I Wanna…..

I was excited for this week’s listicles. I’m always listening to the twins and all their ideas about what they think they will be when they grow up. E is certain she will be a Vet and K is sure she will be a famous singer/fashionista. It makes me think back to when I was a kid and all the things I thought I would be!

1. Beauty Shop: this was my number one. I always was doing my Mom’s hair, and buying all kinds of weird new hair tools. I was certain throughout my entire life I was going to grow up to be a beautician.

2. Teacher: I always admired all teachers and thought what a cool job, plus you get summers off to play – bonus!

3. Veterinarian. I never really wanted to work on the animals because I saw it as such a horrific way to heal animals (even though obviously as an adult I understand it better). However, I wanted (and did sometimes) rescue every stray animal that came in my path! We had more stray animals than you can count, and I love my Mom for never saying no when I brought home an animal in need. Much to my hubby’s dismay I still am this way to this day. It’s hard for me to say No……

4. Mommy. I know it’s an odd one, but ever since I was little I always wanted to be a Mommy; I somehow just knew it was my destiny. 🙂 Even though we didn’t have a lot growing up, my Mom tried to make our home to be the best it could. She could take lemons and make lemon aid and to me that made her the best homemaker ever. (By the way, I am the luckiest Mommy on the planet to 2 beautiful twins E n K, so that worked out!!)

5. Travel. I always thought it would be cool to be the person who traveled all over the world and saw things no one else saw. I wanted to have a passport with a hundred stamps on it and have stories to tell my Grandkids when I was old and gray.

6, Chef. I’m defiantly against following recipes; it’s always been that way I just don’t see the need. It’s a damper on creativity. I read a recipe and then make it my own. However, I do understand baking is truly a science and have come to grips with following those recipes (truth be told though, I still sneak a tweak to ingredients here and there – I can’t help it!!).

7. Writer. I loved to write and read. I was obsessed with reading everything I could get my hands on. Especially living in the South there was so much fun and history to read about.

8. Nurse. Taking care of people (and animals) brings great joy!

9. Race Car Driver. HA! Like that’s a surprise to anyone, I have a lead foot!! However, I thought the cars were SO cool and wouldn’t I be SO cool if I owned one.

10. Singer. Oh yes, I am a horrible singer, but I would sing so loud and out of tune that it would make every one laugh. My Mom would always say “Paigie, if your going to sing, sing loud, what do you care what people think!”…. and so I did. Now, K sings all the time and so loud – her voice is prettier than mine, and she is much more in tune. She sings non stop loud so all can hear, and I love it!

Funny thing is, all these things that I wanted to do/be as a kid, I am. So many of them become who you are as an adult. They become your goals and aspirations. I don’t quite have the traveling part down yet, but we’re working on it.

How does your career wish list as a kid compare to where you are now and what you’ve done?

Happy Monday!

Monday Listicles

I’m late! I’m late for a very important Monday date! Wow it’s been a long 10 days what started out as colds in our house, quickly turned to flu passed to every family member in our home. So, you’ll forgive me if my Monday Listicles is on a Tuesday timeline. 🙂

The writing challenge this week was 10 things in my closet so here we go:

1.) My favorite high heel chocolate brown leather “sexy” boots! (woot woot for sexy for a MaMa of twins!!)
2.) a Dora The Explorer Laundry hamper overfilled with 3 days worth of laundry
3.) Hubbin’s athletic shoes
4.) a scale which gets little attention
5.) a lot of dust (which I never understand)
6.) a shelf full of medicine and boo-boo fixes up high where little hands can’t get it
7.) My favorite long-sleeved oversize Old Navy sweater
8.) sheet sets
9.) My Grandma’s crystal
10.) a hand painted japanese parasol My Dad had made for me an a Cultural Fair when I was about 7 or 8

That’s an eclectic mix! What’s in your closet?

This should be fun!!

Happy Monday & Tuesday!

To Electronic or Not to Electronic?

Recently I’ve been struggling a bit with the balance of what is the appropriate amount of time to allow kids to use electrical devices and when does it become too much.  For a long time we used it as a reward system. Then there was a week when I was sick and it was a free for all, do as you please, just please let me rest to get better.  What I noticed during that week was zoned out kids. As I look around now having had that realization, I notice more and more kids are zoned out and in their own world instead of moving and partaking in the world around them. The future of electronic gadgets is exciting, but the zoned out part is my fear for our kids if I ever release my Stalin like tendencies on their daily electrical time allotment.

What sparks kids to move these days? Our kids are motivated by trips to the park, swimming at the Y, trips to Mt. Rainer anything that keeps them in continual movement. However, everyday can’t be about trips to faraway places, but it can be about movement.  When I hear those few little words “can I play on electronics” I reroute our kids to go for a walk or a bike ride, read a book or draw. Where is the next Leonardo Da Vinci going to come from if every kid has their head buried in a Tablet or PC? It’s a double edge sword because I realize a lot of amazing things can come from creating and playing on electronic devices, but a lot of trouble can come too.

When you look around the house and every person has their head buried in a phone, computer, tablet or even a television – it’s time to blow a referee whistle and break it up.  We try to eat dinner at the table every night we are all home together, even on the late nights when dinner is at 8:30 pm. The break from everything, the personal connection, laughter and even blissful silence that come at the dinner table can ease a parents concern about whether they are connected with their kids or not.

Setting limits with electronics and encouraging family togetherness is all about setting an expectation for your kids about what they should practice as individuals – self-control and boundaries.
Establishing and maintaining time restrictions allows them to understand rules are made to be followed. Understand that you’re not a bad parent if you allow your kids to play on electronics; some purists may say you are, but it is truly the direction of their future. Providing boundaries and encouraging educational and creative use of apps and programs whenever possible ensures you’re putting in place expectations they can meet.

Make sure always to check in so they don’t check out. Talk instead of text, give them a hug before they walk out the door, no matter how old they are, and don’t allow electronics to keep your family from being connected.



“If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles”—LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN, Family and Politics