Blog Struggles and Complaints.

I’m having a really hard time dealing with the formatting on my blog lately. I don’t know if wordpress did some updates or something but one day I noticed that two years of my blog photos are just not showing up at all. I spent a little time searching for solutions but quickly gave up. I don’t have time to mess around with a blog. I used to, but I don’t anymore. I have zero patience and desire to fight with something.

It used to work, JUST WORK! Ugh.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging. I get massive motivation to, I feel like it again, I have hundreds of photos edited and resized and ready to go and I open my wordpress site and start adding photos and trying to type and it’s just a total MESS. I HATE it. And being busy and having this JUST be a hobby means that the second there is a struggle and it looks like total crap after the effort of uploading and writing… it takes the wind totally out of my sails and I angrily shut the web window and tell myself, “Forget it, just go make chatbooks and social books from your other social media accounts.” And that’s exactly what I do and it works fine, I have our life documented in books in our apartment for us to flip through, yay for that, BUT I genuinely like looking through photos and stories on my blog. My old blogging is entertaining to me. I LOVE being able to go to the search bar and type in a keyword I’m looking for and find the photos and stories in literally two seconds! “Ember’s birth…” boom, Ember’s birth. “Sierra’s first foot doctor appointment…” boom, first doctor visit to look at Sierra’s toe walking.

I’m mad at my blog. I wish I had time to invest in figuring out code better but I can’t and I’m just plain old sad about it.

(Here are some random photos, just so this isn’t 100% complaining. haha)

We used dots and toothpicks to make things, just like we did in 2016. (That link perfectly shows how some of my photos just disappeared. Grr)


These were for school when we were learning about colonial times. Hornbooks. Colonial children used them to learn from.009efbblog

I thought I already posted these next photos, if I did, sorry. I traced the kids’ bodies on a large roll of paper and they’re drawing and coloring their organs and body parts for science.011efbblog017efbblog020efbblog026efbblog

Starting Latter Day Learning!!

So 3 weeks (closer to 4!) after ordering our curriculum our supplies finally arrive! The kids are super excited!

 I was flustered and dropped the eggs as I was trying to put them back in the fridge. Luckily only 2 were left! I always put the shells back in the carton as I’m using it just because it’s easier that way. Regardless, it wasn’t a fun mess to clean up as the eggs that did crack got all over inside the fridge. *sob*

Everett has never seen the printer printing anything since he’s been old enough to notice so when I pulled our printer out to print some stuff for Latter Day Learning lessons he freaked out. First his eyes opened in terror, then he started pointing with a huge grin/shocked expression, then he started giggling like mad, then he brought his hands up to his mouth and laughed heartily into them. He ended up bringing me each and every page I printed, pointing and squealing and laughing at the printer each time something new came out. It was freaking adorable!!

Later in the day the kids were raiding our Halloween costumes box (which they do regularly) and were playing super heroes. Everett thought it was the best thing he’d ever seen and when Sierra stuck this mask on him he took it very seriously. He kept growling and “rawring” at everyone!

Back to Latter Day Learning, I got our timeline set up on our wall. We have very limited wall space in our house so the hallway was the only available spot!

I’d had the kids draw pictures of big events in our family’s history on index cards and then I taped them together with packing tape and folded them accordion style. This was their personal timeline and after seeing it and doing that they were much more interested in “God’s timeline” (history) and our timeline in the hall! We later taped the first index card of their timelines into the front of their binders so that they could pull out their timelines and look at them whenever they wanted to when we do school time.

By this time Everett was crying loudly and constantly so in the ergo he went while we finished up school.

This was three days after the caterpillars turned into chrysalides so we moved them to the butterfly habitat!

Everett was so exhausted that evening since he’s been fighting sleep hardcore this week. He fell asleep during dinner!!

Chrysalides Start!

Our caterpillars start turning into chrysalides!

Everett is really attached to his Sierra. Sierra is such a little mommy to him and treats him so well. If I am ever desperate to do something without Everett around (like put raw chicken in a pan!) and he’s hanging on my leg crying I call for her to take him for five minutes and she will either hold him or go play with toys with him. Such a help and she does it so cheerfully!

Man, I had some late nights that week. Everett suddenly decided that having a bedtime before 1am wasn’t acceptable. Just hanging out with Ember on my bed while she played the iPod.

That night I finally got Everett to sleep while nursing him using the boppy. I laid him down on my bed and shoved a pillow under his legs to prop him up. I knew that if I left him there for a minute before moving the boppy away he’d stay asleep. So I took this picture and then sat there for a minute and sure enough, I safely moved away the boppy and he slept for a good 4 hours! Whew.

Insect Lore Butterfly Garden – Our Caterpillars Arrive!

I’ve been wanting to do this butterfly garden for years. I don’t know why I never got around to ordering it before. Just preoccupied with other things, I guess.
Anyway I ordered a new curriculum for the kids to use this coming school year (will blog about that later) and one of the recommended purchases to go along with it was this butterfly kit. And also owl pellets but I didn’t get those because I was severely gagging just looking at the pictures online. I might order them and let Allan do those with the kids. I can’t handle it, though. *GAG*

So Monday our caterpillars arrived! At first I thought all 6 were dead because they didn’t move a bit. Not a single twitch on a single caterpillar hair.

About five minutes after opening the box and putting the cup on the counter one moved! It was a tiny twitch at first, and then it moved its head more, and then it started crawling! I wasn’t excited yet because I was thinking, if only one is alive I have to return this thing and that’s a pain!

Five minutes later, another one twitched! And on and on, every 3-10 minutes a different one would seem to just come alive. The last two on the bottom of the cup took FOREVER to move. I was certain they were dead. I think it was a good 35 minutes or more after I set the cup on the counter that the last one moved! But in the end they were all alive so, yay!

Ember was the most interested but Everett found joy in our new “pets” as well!

Payson liked watching them for a while. He had a green day (green days mean he can play video games and red days mean he can’t, we just do that to make sure he doesn’t play too often and rot his brain out, ha) so he was far more interested in playing Zelda than the caterpillars. But for a good 20 minutes they stole his attention.

The kids were fascinated with the webs the caterpillars make. They first learned about caterpillars making webs this summer during our evening walks. One day they noticed huge webs in the trees that line our sidewalk. We were all appalled at first and also, terrified. Thinking they were spider webs we “eeeeewed” and stared. Allan informed us that those weren’t spider webs but caterpillar webs! We stared again even more amazed. We couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe I could go my entire life without knowing this fact and the kids couldn’t believe these horrifying looking webs were from caterpillars!

Seeing the web in our caterpillar cup confirmed this new information we’d learned and made it more interesting seeing it up close! We talked about why they make webs (it says to protect themselves and move around more easily on the information that came with the kit) and how cool that was.

I left the caterpillars on the table for about an hour and Ember sat there the entire time watching them and talking to me about them. She named a couple and she talked to them and would occasionally exclaim to me, “I calmed them down! They actually like my voice! They really like me. Lovey loves me!”
She named her caterpillar Lovey and I let her name “my” caterpillar (the kids “divided” them up among the family members) and she chose Eatey because he was the second biggest so she said he liked to eat. And yes I was informed that hers was a girl and mine is a boy. haha! She’s so fun!

Oh yeah so I moved them back to the counter because Everett really wanted to play with his new friends and that would’ve been bad. haha
He immediately pushed a chair up to the counter. He’s too smart for his own good!

Hours later, our house was still in caterpillar-obsessed mode. Ember and Payson (though he wasn’t pictured here) watched a lot of youtube videos about the butterfly life cycle and some from the Insect Lore’s youtube page! They were even interested in the commercials for Insect Lore. Fun times!

Kitchen Science! Egg in a Bottle

I saw this idea on this youtube page. It looked fun and we had all the supplies minus a bottle. I grabbed a kiwi watermelon Snapple at Wal-Mart on one of our grocery shopping trips (and let Allan drink it) and then rinsed and dried the bottle and our science experiment was ready to go! Oh and also, if you do this experiment with your kids, use a bigger sized bottle opening than a snapple jar. A gatorade bottle has the perfect sized opening so maybe get a gatorade (32 ounce) and hold the opening up to other glass bottles in the store to find the right size! The Snapple jar opening was just small enough that our eggs broke as they were being pushed into the bottle.

Last thing before I get to the photos is, I would recommend doing this with kids. It was so fun and easy! My kids sat there stunned for several seconds afterward when I explained what had happened. It boggled their minds that the air outside the bottle was what pushed the egg into the bottle. They’d all assumed somehow the match and hot hair and smoke had sucked the air in. They were talking about how the air, which they couldn’t even see, pushed the egg in the bottle. It was really awesome seeing them think about that with wide eyes! Learning about air temperature and effects was so fun!

I found the source of our science experiment worksheets that I used to use with the kids. It’s here, second worksheet down. I tweak mine in photoshop before printing.

Ember drew pictures on hers as well as wanting to write everything the other kids were writing. I would write the words that she wanted on the white board and she’d copy them.

Everett busied himself with unloading our homeschool supply shelf.

Here are their finished science experiment sheets. We’ll put these in page protectors in their homeschool binders once they arrive. We ordered them weeks ago but they’re not here yet. We can’t wait, though!

After that we did math and language arts. I try not to take too many pictures of homeschool just because we do it every day and I’d have a million photos to sort through. But I couldn’t resist taking this of Payson hunched over his book.

Payson still gets confused over certain math terms. I need to make a printable for him to keep on hand to refer to which words mean addition and which mean subtraction. He’s good with minus and take away and fewer but subtract still confuses him each time. Same with addition. Though he’s good with all the other additions words. Well, he still doesn’t know what sum means. Haha! I need to take a day where we do nothing but learn the math words. I did that this day and it did help him a lot. I drew a cartoon of Link on the board because if Payson is ever struggling with a math problem (which is pretty rare, he’s pretty good at math!) I just tell him a story problem using arrows and bombs on Zelda and he gets the answer in a flat second. haha

Lemon Volcanoes!!

It’s been a hot minute since we spent some good time on science experiments. I hated that my life got away from me enough to put the things I really love to do on the back burner while I was trying not to drown in the things I had to do.

I love to do science experiments (and arts and crafts) with my kids. It’s my very favorite. Well, reading them good books is probably my favorite. Then crafts. Then science experiments. And then math. And handwriting next… honestly, is there anything about homeschooling I don’t enjoy?! haha! I really do love teaching kids. I don’t enjoy teaching every kid on earth. I don’t enjoy teaching someone who has absolutely zero desire to be taught… but any child remotely interested in learning, I’m golden.

So blah, I talk way too much. Let’s move on to our science experiment!

Isn’t a white board the best thing ever? You can use it for information or just for a nice visual for your lessons or experiments or even craft time.
I got the idea and information about lemon volcanoes from this site.

I got a bag of 12 lemons. We used 8 for the experiment and then 4 for painting later in the day.

I’m too lazy to explain all the directions but basically lemon juice mixed with baking soda is going to create a reaction. It’ll foam up. Adding a drop of dish soap and some food coloring makes it better!

Payson was so cute during this. All my kids were and loved it but I about died of cuteness every time he’d say, “I LOVE this! This is the MOST fun!! This is SO fun!! This is SO cool!! This is so much fun!!” He was smiling and laughing and kept saying all these things about it. It was seriously the freaking cutest!

I’m going to try really hard this year to do as many experiments as I can. I don’t know if there’s a “thing” out there called kitchen experiments but my hope is that I can find many of these experiments that you can do with things found in your kitchen (and therefore free or cheap) or with very few or very cheap purchases to help. I love science experiments but can’t afford to spend more than a couple dollars on each one. This lemon volcano cost me $3 total for 4 kids.

I had little cups (to save money they were the old used and wrinkled up cups I gave Everett to play with weeks ago) filled with more baking soda and lemon juice near each kid so they could alternatively add more baking soda and then lemon juice and vice versa, creating more little explosions.

This next picture makes me want to cry. Look how grown up my beautiful daughter looks! My gosh I wish her childhood never had to end. I wish she could live with me forever and ever. My kids are growing up!

The next thing we did is use the last 4 lemons in the bag to make paintings.

By then Everett was cranky that mom had spent an hour and a half not holding him (the arm tattoo is because sometimes your four year old wants you to wear tattoos with her)

Payson made a big mess of himself.

Next, because I’m crazy, we also did some salt painting.

And if that’s not enough we then colored pictures of the kids I made in photoshop using this tutorial.

I put Everett down so I could clean the kitchen and a minute later we spot him over by the drying lemon paintings having the time of his life walking a toy (I think lego) horse through all the paintings!! (Side note: he ADORES that toy horse)

And then he really wanted to talk to daddy. And then he carried my phone off and I couldn’t find it for a couple hours.

This was the mess I had to attend to.

USA Geography

I don’t know exactly what the kids are supposed to be learning in their grades at school this year for geography but I couldn’t possibly not do a year of USA geography with them! It’s so much fun! I use Beautiful Feet’s Geography Through Literature books as the core and then have found a variety of awesome sites that give free printables to go along with that. We also use Beautiful Feet’s books to dive off of for science! Though we have also done mini units on the human body and the rain forest this year just because my kids especially like those two topics! We’re learning more in depth about blood right now “on the side” just because with it being cold and flu season the inner workings of the body is intriguing my kids!

Back to geography:
We read a chapter or two in our book and then we talk about things we just read, we watch youtube videos, we fill out printables, we answer questions, and then that’s it for geography and science for the day. It’s the girls’ favorite part of their school day! Payson and Ember don’t join us for this because the books we read are way over their head. Their science and geography is totally different than their sisters’. Though they will do some of the printables and learn about things the girls are learning but in an easier way.

This book we just started (from Beautiful Feet) is called Minn of the Mississippi. Here are the printables (all free) we used for the first few chapters:
 photo Minn of the Mississippi_zpspg7zh5fq.jpg1: USA printables
2, 3, and 7: Little Schoolhouse in the Suburbs
4: Writing
5 and 6: Kidzone Geography

Some videos that went along with the first couple chapters.

Sources for state facts.
Minnesota State Facts
More Minnesota State Facts

I want to mention, all the sites I linked to above are sites that have great printables and information about all 50 states! So as we go through our geography books I can go to those sites each time we start learning about a new state and print things about that state. I love the internet and the people who willingly share free stuff for the rest of us!  photo 049eresized_zpsikxd1ce2.jpg photo 050eresized_zps6r9xirjw.jpg photo 052bwresized_zpsikpdta1l.jpg