Creative Eggs

The orthodontist office (that both children, unfortunately, frequent) held a contest for the most creatively decorated Easter egg, so the kids decided to enter. With Mimi’s help, they came up with some amazing designs.

A Robot Egg

An Eggy Ballerina

Sometimes, I wish I had just a fraction of the creativity that they have. Whether or not they win the contest, their ingenuity makes me proud.

Posted in Holidays, Kids | 3 Comments

Screen Time

It is probably not surprising to learn that we spend a lot of time at home. Of course we spend a good portion of the day doing school, but one of the perks of homeschooling is that it doesn’t take as long as traditional school, so we are usually done around lunchtime. Often the kids would fill their time in the afternoons in front of the TV or computer.

We were tired of telling them to turn off the television. As important as we thought it was to do something beside veg out in front of electronics, as soon as we suggested an alternative, we became the “bad guys”. It is more fun to watch Ruff Ruffman than practice piano and we were spoiling the fun.

In order to combat their default position on the couch, last week we instituted “Screen Time Tokens”. On Sunday, we handed out plastic tokens to each child and explained our new system. Each token was good for 30 minutes of screen time – television, computer, Wii, or DS. They could spend their tokens whenever they want, but once they were gone, they would not be renewed until the following Sunday. Tokens do not roll over from week to week (we feared our “saver” would at some point cash in 32 and ask to watch 16 straight hours of the Disney Channel), and they are free to partake in the screen time of their sibling.

We also reserve the right to call a “Family Night” where we play games or watch a movie without charging their accounts. Additionally, we can reward acts of kindness or generosity with more tokens or take them away for disobedience.

In the first week, the boy had blown through half of his by Monday. His sister, though, saved a majority of hers for the end of the week. Both of them used some of their new-found free time to help me around the house without being asked (for which they were rewarded with another token), and Luke read five books in the time he wasn’t in front of the TV.

I’m sure that we are probably the only parents who have faced the need to pull the kids away from the screen, but I am thrilled at our new system. We are no longer the bad guys – they determine whether or not to watch based on their current account. We have given them the power to make the decisions and choices that they need to make, and they are thriving with this freedom.

Posted in Family, Homeschool | 3 Comments

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a festival primarily observed in North India which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother’s wrist. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her.

Since we are studying Ancient India right now, we thought it would be a fun celebration to observe.

A promise to look after his little sister.

A promise to pray for her big brother.

Tying the rakhi on her brother’s wrist to symbolize their promise.

I wish our culture celebrated the bond between siblings instead of expecting and accepting the rivalry that so often comes. I am proud that our kids really do love each other and I love anything that celebrates their relationship. If I can tie it into school – even better.

Posted in Family, Homeschool | 2 Comments

Sibling Love

When we began to plan for Ellie’s birthday, Luke decided that he wanted to do something special for her. He finally decided that the best thing he could do was sit down and write her a song. After writing down the lyrics, he went to Matt’s office to record his song.

On her birthday, he was so proud to present his gift to his sister.

Happy Birthday Ellie

I could not be more proud of a son who cherishes his sister so much. He truly loves his little sister and takes his responsibility of being her big brother very seriously. I know that she feels blessed, too.

Posted in the Boy | 4 Comments

Cousin Fun

We were blessed to have Matt’s cousins, Lindsay and Megan, come with their kids to visit us for spring break. We always have such a good time together.

The kids made their own fun, playing in the mud.

We spent one day at Palo Duro Canyon, hiking through the most beautiful part of West Texas.

We spent time in the park, enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

It was so good to have them here, and it was made even more fun by the fact that they were here for Ellie’s birthday.

Between the fun at the house, going to the drive in, adventures hiking in Texas, and games with the cousins after the kids had gone to bed, it was an amazing weekend.

It is so special how much these seven children love each other. I am blessed by this part of my family, and could not be more grateful that they were part of the package that came along when I married Matt.

Posted in Family | 3 Comments

Six Years Old

Our sweet baby girl came into our lives six years ago. She brings joy to our house and laughter to our family. I don’t know what we would do without you. We love you, Ellie.

Posted in the Girl | 1 Comment

Birthday Girl

To celebrate her sixth birthday, Ellie decided to have a garden party.

Her friends (and some of her cousins) joined us to paint pots. I was impressed by how much creativity they showed.

While the pots dried, we went inside for lunch, cake and ice cream, and to open gifts.

After the paint was dry, everyone got to pick out a flower to plant in their pot. They made sure to water their newly planted viola.

Ellie had a great day surrounded by friends, family, and beautiful flowers. What a great way to celebrate six years of life.

Posted in the Girl | 2 Comments

Rhett and Link in Texas

So, anyone who knows us know what big fans we are of the Internet comedy duo, Rhett and Link. We have been following them for several years and when we found out that they were stopping in Amarillo on their road trip across the country, we didn’t even have to think about whether or not we would go.

It was great meeting people whose work our whole family enjoys so much (along with about 15 other people from all over Texas who also admire their work). It was a fun night that the kids will remember for a long, long time.

Posted in Family | 2 Comments


What do you call a homeschooler who isn’t doing school at home? Whatever the answer is, that’s what the kids are today.

While I am here at my conference, Matt is filling the role of teacher. Today, he took them to the office with him. I made each of them a folder filled with all their assignments for today and he is going to (hopefully) get some work done while they do their school.

[As a side note, look how cute Luke looks. He said he wanted to dress like Daddy to go to the office with him, so argyle sweater it was. Ellie, on the other hand, appears to be wearing her Christmas shirt.]

Posted in Homeschool | 1 Comment

Homeschool Conference

After returning from Tennessee less than two weeks ago, I am back. This time I am alone in Memphis to attend the Midsouth Homeschooling Conference.

This is my first homeschooling conference and I am hopeful and excited to learn new things, see what’s available, and meet other people doing the same crazy experiment that we are doing. There are 19 class times over the next three days with 12 classes in each time slot to choose from. I am overwhelmed and excited at the same time.

It’s also kinda nice to be here by myself. I can’t remember the last time when my schedule wasn’t at least partially defined by someone else. I have been reading… for pleasure. I vaguely remember doing that before I had children, but once they came it was all parenting books, faith-based books, homeschooling books, etc. This weekend I am reading fiction, and I love it.

I am a lucky girl to have a husband that is willing to take the kids to allow me the time and finances to do this. Hopefully I will learn a lot from this journey and go home refreshed and reinvigorated to be a better mom and a better teacher.

Posted in Homeschool | 2 Comments