Lessons Learned

September 12, 2014

in home school,homeschool,mess

This week in Science the kids learned about matter, mass, volume, and density.

This week in Science Mom learned that if your going to do an experiment involving food coloring, you should do it OUTSIDE.

Everything was moving along nicely.  The kids had finished all of their morning assignments and we still had about 20 minutes before recess.  Perfect, I thought, we’ll do our science lab.  I was feeling so on top of things because I had even looked ahead earlier in the week and made sure we had all the ingredients we needed… I made a run to Target yesterday morning for the necessary alka seltzer to make it all fizzle.

Our goal:  to make “lava lamps” 

The purpose was to discuss density. 

Ingredients needed:  water bottles, oil, vinegar, food coloring, and alka seltzer

I even raided the recycling can at the gym yesterday for empty plastic water bottles. 

Things were going great.  It worked just like it should and we were all enjoying it greatly. 

photo (4)

I was so excited.  I snapped a quick pic to post of our fun science class.


The book said you could put more than one tablet in, once the bubbling had settled down.  The kids were having so much fun, I went ahead and let them put in another one.  I was being careful and even put paper towels under the water bottles incase they leaked a little.  The book also said you could shake the bottle.

Well the next thing I know, my 4 year old is holding the bottle to shake it when suddenly the lid pops and we have an explosion. 


Oil, plus vinegar, plus BLUE food coloring is everywhere

the floor

the ceiling

photo (3)

Pictures don’t do it justice. 

We quickly take our clothes off and run them to the wash and then start scrubbing.


…. just when I think we have it all, I see another little blue dot way over by the back door… or on the chairs at the school table at the other side of the room.  The bottle exploded between the kitchen island and our stove


I had to scrub oily dye from the chairs at the table, the floor by the door, the dishwasher, the window behind the sink… all the cabinets….


The kids were champs.  The all jumped in and helped where they could. 

Mopping the floors has been on my to do list for 2 weeks now and kept getting moved… I had officially taken it off the list until next Sat… but then science class happened.  I had to scrub up the oil.  At least the kitchen floor got mopped… and I finally tackled those dust bunnies on the wall above the stove.

Our ceiling has a nice oily blue spackled pattern on it, that I have a feeling will be there until we try to sell our house years from now.

Whew!  All I can say, is that is a science experiment I am sure we won’t forget anytime soon. AND, I am so glad it is Friday… bring on the weekend folks!


And so a new year begins… this morning was our first day back at the tutorial.  I can’t believe it marks our 6th year of homeschooling.  What a blessing this community had been to our family. 

Here we are starting 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades!


“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11

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Our youngest child had his first soccer practice this week. 

first practice 2014

As I struggled to put him into his shin guards and knee socks and cleats, all while watching him grin from ear to ear, my mind drifted back to going through this same right of passage with his older siblings….

Fall 2009

first soccer game


Fall 2010


Grace preps to make a soccer goal

Spring 2011



Gosh…. look at all those chubby cheeks and teeny tiny legs chasing after those soccer balls….

I love pre K soccer… I love the way they swarm after the ball like a hives of bees…I love how you either have to convince them to chase that ball or remind them not to steal the ball from their team mate..they are so clueless and adorable at this age. 

I also love that finally after years of sitting on the sidelines at soccer games, baseball games, flag football games, gym meets,  jiu jitsu tournaments and countless practices, FINALLY it is his turn to be on the field and THEIR turn to cheer him on. 

So fun to be a soccer mom again!



September 4, 2014

in home school,homeschool

I feel like the month of August is much like the 9th month of pregnancy.  I go into crazy nesting mode as I gear up for another school year.   There is the ordering of curriculum… then the purchasing of school supplies… then the organizing of the binders… and cracking open that homeschool cabinet which ALWAYS turns into the junk closet over the summer.  Ya know, the “Company is coming and I need a place to hide all these papers and misc junk from the kitchen counters,”  place….

Then in addition to all of the school prep, I go into crazy nesting mode on the house… deep cleaning and purging and organizing… b/c much like in pregnancy, I know free time is going to come to an end soon and it will be ALL I can do to keep dishes washed, clothes washed and groceries bought… scrubbing the bath tub and mopping the floor typically fall to the wayside until the next school break.

And so I clean and organize and do all I can to prep for the new year.

This year I have spent a GREAT amount of time and thought into changes I want to incorporate into the new year.  I intend to be way more structured this school year than in years past and I’ve been trying to work out the best system for that.  I think I have it figured out.. it will take a few weeks to see if I need to adjust the schedule any. 

We started back with school at home this week.  We did math, spelling, handwriting, memory verse, typing, flashcards, reading and art.  It’s been kind of nice to have a week of adjusting back to school without our FULL back to school schedule.  It has helped iron out some kinks and give me some time to do more prep work.  Next week the tutorial starts back officially and we will add Latin, History, Science, Grammar, and Writing to our school day assignments.  I am both excited and nervous.  I will have a 5th, 3rd, and 2nd grader this year.   I also have a “very eager to start learning”preschooler.  I think this will be my hardest year yet of homeschooling, which is why I have spent weeks trying to plan and organize and set things in place.

Our first day was rough.  There was literal weeping and gnashing of teeth.   But, we plowed through and day 2 was MUCH better. 

I think I will need to take it one day at a time… and I think I am going to need to bathe the year and each day in prayer.  Patience and discipline and perseverance are going to be needed… and I know I can’t rely on my own strength for any of that.

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So Long Summer…

September 3, 2014

in family fun,summer

Ever since we signed our 4 year old up for soccer, he has asked when fall is… and my answer is always, “After Labor Day.”

So with Labor Day behind us, I guess I must officially bid farewell to summer.

If I am honest, summer break is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling… we work hard during the school year, but when our curriculum is done mid to late May, we play hard until fall.  And I love it.  Summer is one of my most favorite seasons.

We traveled.

 IMG_2830We had a really good time together.


We spent time with cousins.


And grandparents

nana boattraining camp 2014


We stayed home. 


We swam.


We visited friends.


We camped.


It was all I wanted it to be and more. 


We watched movies… I introduced the girls to two of my favorites, Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.  My oldest son finally got to watch all of the Harry Potter movies, something he’d been waiting 6 months to do since he had finished reading the series. 

We listed to the Chronicles of Narnia on CD.  It was my first time hearing the stories and the kids and I were instantly drawn into the world of Narnia.

Another big part of the summer of 2014 for our family, was making some healthy lifestyle changes.  We changed the way we eat, taking refined sugar and white flour out of our daily diet.  This was a huge adjustment to me as a cook and I spent A LOT of time relearning how and where to shop and how and what to cook for the family.  Scott and I started exercising.  It has been hard work… honestly, the hardest I have EVER worked to get in shape and become healthy, but I can proudly say at 35 I am the strongest I have ever been.  What a fabulous feeling!

What a wonderful summer it was.  Long and fun filled.  Capped off with our 13 year Labor Day tradition of a weekend away with friends who feel more like family…


And now after weeks of deep cleaning, organizing and brainstorming ways to be more efficient and keep on top of our schedule, it is back to the books at the Circus House.  Yesterday was our first day of school at home and to be honest, it had several bumps in the road… This morning was better.  Next week, we are back at the tutorial and fall is official in full swing. 

So long flip flips, bring on pumpkin everything….


The internet is a funny thing.  I know there are a million and one articles out their all over face book about parents and kids being too distracted… about the negative side effects of being on facebook and blogging… and well, this is not one of them.  Nor is this going to be an article in defense of face book or blogging.  Truthfully, like just about EVERY SINGLE OTHER MAJOR ISSUE plaguing Momma’s these days, I kinda think moderation is the key… and I also really don’t enjoy debating… so I just kinda stay out of it.

However, one thing is most certain… I would not have some of the friendships I have today if it wasn’t for face book and blogging and the internet.  Case in point would be my dear friend Sarah.

I can remember years ago when I first took the plunge and made myself a profile on that thing called facebook… like most trends (ie… maxi skirts and Spotify) I was late jumping on to the bandwagon… and I was cautious at first.  I remember making my profile and then searching for friends… friends from high school and college… before too long facebook was suggesting friends for me… and one thing led to another and some how I stumbled across Sarah’s facebook account and then her blog. 

I went to Towson University for one year.  Looking back, it was a difficult year for me.  It was my first year of college and half way through the year, my parents moved to a different state.   It was a year of transitions, sooo many transitions.  I was blessed to get plugged in right away with a Campus Ministry group called RUF.  RUF was a life line for me that year, as I made friends, good solid Christian friends… friends to pray with and run with and go down and eat meals with.  One such friend was Sarah… I was in a Bible study with her and I was prayer partners with her very good friend Lauren.   I remember hanging out in her room and in groups with all of them. 

At the end of the year, my in state tuition had moved to PA and so I too transferred to another school in PA.  (and shortly after that,  yet ANOTHER school… but that is another story for another day)…. bottom line is until 2008, I hadn’t really heard from or talked to Sarah… and then boom I found her blog and I was like, “Oh my goodness, our lives are soooo similar… I LOVE HER…. I wish she lived next door!”  But, she lived in Michigan… we began commenting on each others blogs and facebook posts and suddenly I felt like I knew her whole family quite well. 

Years go by and we end up getting our crew of littles together for lunch at Chick-Fil-A when she was in the area one time… then we started getting together yearly with some other Towson RUF gals over Thanksgiving… and our friendship grew… I was and am still amazed that they include me in this get together, because they spent 4 years together, but I really was only with them for one. 

I often laughed at how we were now texting, and sharing recipes, and reading about each others kids and husbands… marveling at this connection that NEVER would have happened without the internet…. and then Sarah invited my circus crew to her house for a weekend…

I remember asking Scott if he wanted to go to Sarah’s for the weekend… “Hey honey, ya know my friend Sarah, from Towson and blogging… well I know you’ve only met her once but wanna go spend the weekend with her and her family… I know you will get along so well with her husband.” 

Ok… if that situation had been reversed, I would NOT have been game AT ALL… but Scott is not me and he said, “Sure!” 

Sarah and I always had a feeling that our families would click… we knew enough about each other that we just felt like they would gel… but as the date got closer and then we were driving down, there was a part of me that though, “uh-oh… what if we don’t click?”  I remember Scott saying, “So what is it that makes you think Jason and I will get along?”  And I’m all like, “Well, ya know you both love your wives and your family and your both just great guys, you love the Lord and football, and just you’re a lot a like.”


What a great response… as if that meant they would click instantly.

But, they did. 

Everyone got along beautifully… truthfully, BETTER than I even thought they would… shorts6

We had an amazing weekend… Sarah and I looked over at each other at the pool on Sat and went, “Oh my goodness it worked!… Even better than we hoped.” shorts7

It was so relaxing and refreshing… they are so real… that is what I have loved about Sarah through the years… what you see is what you get… no pretenses… she is that girl you read on her blog… in real life…

I loved watching the kiddos play together… seeing their personalities mesh… and the grownups? We sat up talking till way past midnight.. laughing so hard we were crying…. it felt like we had known them for years even though really Scott and Jason just met that weekend.  shorts1

It was an amazing weekend and I am so glad Sarah took a risk and invited us and so glad we took a risk and went… and I am so so so glad for this thing called facebook and blogging and the internet… that connects people in a way unlike any other… I can’t wait to do it again!  Thanks Sarah and Jason!