A Peek Into Our Homeschool – January

Phew! I’m can’t believe that January is finally over! This month felt like a year in length. We took a week off of school time at the beginning of the month to ease into things after the holiday break. And this month, after nearly three years,  our family caught Covid. Thankfully we are all doing ok and have recovered. But needless to say, homeschooling this month was more of an adventure than I expected! 

Trying a schedule 

Lala and I talked a bit as I worked on planning for our new year and both agreed that we would try a more time based schedule for a week or two and see how that worked for us. In the end, we decided to go back to our old routine of time blocks and fitting in what we can when we can. I was surprised that the schedule seemed to work less for me as a homeschool mom than it did for her. In the end, I still think it was a successful trial. I got a much better picture of what time I currently need to budget for each subject and a realistic look at what my time looks like. 

Diving into books

Books have always been a big part of our lives and homeschool, but this month has felt much more saturated in books and it’s been lovely! Before our back to school time officially began, we read Ella Enchanted so that we could go to a local book club discussion that was happening. When Lala decided that she wanted to attend the book club we really had to read a lot each day to make to that timing happen. I don’t think either of us enjoyed that amount of read aloud time each day on a deadline like that, but the story is captivating and helped us make it through. We made it to the book discussion, which was fabulous. I loved watching Lala share her thoughts and opinions with the group, even though she was the youngest there and the group consisted of all ages, including adult. We followed up the book and discussion with a family movie night of the movie version. She and I both agreed that the movie version was awful and nothing like the book. It was a good lesson for her in the difference you often see in books and movies and I think she finally understands why I insist that we read books before we watch the movies or shows when we can. 

Our little Bubba diving into books too!

Pizza is still motivating 

I decided to propose a challenge this month! I told Lala that if she read and then logged digitally 75 books between now and the end of our homeschool year (we homeschool year round, but have a break  starting at the end of April that we consider our grade year’s “end”) that we could have a pizza party. My husband chimed in and said that if she could make it to 100 books read in that time, he would add on ice cream sundaes to the party. Even though pizza and ice cream are something we have from time to time, it is apparently still a great motivation to kiddos, as it was in my Pizza Hut BookIt days! (Which still exists, by the way!) I hope this challenge will help her realize just how much she can read. I’m having her log all of the books so that we can look back on them as well. I’ll talk more about our books from the month and our digital book logging systems  in other posts coming soon. 

Snow ❄️

I suggested our unit study for the month to be on snow and Lala agreed. Usually I let her lead the topics but I needed something easy to prepare after the holidays and I was grateful she agreed with my idea. I found this unit study on TPT and we’ve really enjoyed it. There are more resources and activities than we will use this month, but the ones we have used have been fantastic. I’ll detail more about what we used for this unit study in an upcoming post. 

Snowflake decorations for a snowy month


Right now we are allowing Lala to pick one outside sports activity each season. For this winter season she has decided on swim lessons at an indoor facility in a nearby town. We did swim lessons before the pandemic and I’m glad to see her getting back into them for a bit and working on her form. She loves it! 

Know Yourself

We also started a new curriculum this month. I wanted us to get a basic overview of anatomy so we started the Know Yourself curriculum. I was surprised to see that the curriculum not only covered anatomy, but also touches on history, geography, and cooking. This month we have been learning more about the senses and Ancient Greece. Lala made dinner for us one night inspired by flavors from Greece. We had a Greek salad and meatballs.We’ve been enjoying this curriculum even more than I thought we would! 

Our delicious Greek inspired meal

Shop class

For the first time since the pandemic began, we returned to in person kid workshops at Home Depot. Both kids loved it! It’s a great way for them to practice following directions and building skills. The January project, a foosball style game, also helped give them a peek into how games like that work. And best of all, it’s free! 

Preschool Begins

I do NOT think that two year olds need any formal schooling or learning time. Learning at that age happens best during play. However, I wanted to have a little focused time to expose Bubba to some videos and songs that I think were a good foundation for Lala when she was younger. So most school days we take about 5 minutes and watch a couple of YouTube videos and then set him up with a more independent activity that he can play with while I focus on math with Lala. 

The Raccoon Rumpus game was a big hit this month

Resources for Political Sanity

Please know that I am not trying to discuss my political feelings on this post. I have always disliked politics and, while I have very strong feelings about many things this year, it’s not something I’m looking to discuss here. 

From my Instagram page:

What are you grateful for today? 

I am grateful that I was able to vote early weeks ago since unfortunately we are not allowed to do mail in voting because of COVID concerns in my area. While I was not happy about needing to vote in person this year, I’m grateful that I was able to vote and that the process was very smooth. 

I’m grateful for good resources that have allowed me to discuss the voting process with my little gal this year.  This year’s election season seems even ickier than I could have imagined and, while I felt this was a good year to cover some basics about elections with her, I wasn’t sure if I really felt up to covering it with her. Thankfully, I came across some of these really good resources that I could feel good about sharing with her. 

I’m grateful for really good resources that have helped me mentally as I deal with emotions related to the election. I’ve had a hard time processing and dealing with the emotions that have come up this year from all of the hate and conflict I have seen and heard. I’m thankful for these resources that have helped me feel that I’m not crazy in the ways that I am feeling and that gives practical tips on how to shift my thinking back to love and care for others, no matter their political position. 

I know it’s late in the game (mom life doesn’t always allow for all I would like to do), but here are some resources that I’ve found helpful. I pray they may be helpful to others as well. 

Resources for Kids

Grace for President [affiliate link] is a great look into elections. It does a great job of covering the electoral college. I appreciate the focus on voting for the person who is actually working hard for positive change.

Soul Pancake’s Kid Correspondent YouTube series does an amazing job of explaining elections, the decision making process, and disagreeing with others. My daughter loved watching the series and I learned from watching alongside her as well.

Resources for Adults

The Practical Christian podcast did a great job of covering politics through a spiritual lens and who Christians should vote for.

Tiffany Dawn’s YouTube video, What Needs to Be Said About Voting as Christians, also does a great job of guiding thought about voting as a Christian.

The Lazy Genius podcast episode, Loving People You Disagree With, gives amazing practical advice about how to love those that you disagree with. A definite must listen if you’re like me and struggling with your thoughts and emotions around the passions (as Kendra puts it) of others and how they express those passions.

You should take notes in a hospital

When I’m at a hospital with a loved one, I’m “that person”.  That person that has a notebook and pen poised and ready to go whenever a doctor or nurse steps foot into the room. The majority of workers I meet in a hospital aren’t fans of that type of behavior. In fact, when a family member came to visit my husband in the hospital one time, she looked at my notebook and scoffed, saying “oh, you’re one those…”

Yes, I’m one of those. I note down every detail that I can regarding the care of my loved one. There are a few reasons I do this: 

  • I am blessed to have people in my immediate circle who are in the medical profession. Often they will ask me for updates about the patient.  I’m not overly familiar with many medicines or procedures and my vague “I think they are giving a medicine to do this…” doesn’t cut it for medical professionals wanting to be in the know. 

  • I am never at the top of my game in a hospital. I am concerned, tired, uncomfortable, and often I don’t even know what day it is. I’ve tried to not take notes a time or two and by the time a doctor leaves the room I’m blanking on key words that they have relayed to me. 

  • I’m often blessed to have others that will offer to help with care of the loved one (my philosophy is, whenever possible, don’t leave a loved one alone when they are not fully capable to advocate for themselves). Without notes of medications and times of care, transitioning caregivers would be extremely difficult. There was a family member who was in the hospital when I was a child who would have been given the wrong medication if it wasn’t for the careful note taking of another family member. Today’s technology makes these sort of mistakes much less common, but I still like to do my part. 

Note taking is a top priority for me when being a caregiver. I know that it can be intimidating the first time you start to take notes. Here are some of the things I make note of: 

  • Date – Whenever the day changes, I write the date at that point in the notes. 
  • Time – Whenever writing a note,  I note the time and if it’s AM or PM. 
  • Stats – Depending on the reason for the stay, I don’t always take note of stats like blood pressure, oxygen rate, and temperature. But there are times when that is valuable information and I am sure to note it when that happens. 
  • Highlights that doctors and nurses say – This especially includes medicines. It’s very likely that you don’t know exactly how to spell a medicine name. Do your best to write it down as it sounds.
  • What the patient eats and/or drinks – Again, this is not needed most of the time, but it can come in handy. 

Taking notes is just one of things I suggest to caregivers as they are helping their loved ones in the hospital. One other thing I suggest is having a hospital go bag packed and ready to go (that post is coming soon). Nothing will take away the yuckiness of needing care in the hospital, but, with a little prep and thoughtful planning on the front end, you can make the trip a bit easier for you and your loved one.

Little Learning Highlights – Early 2020

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Bookshelf Highlights

Stegothesaurus (Heos, Bridget)

This book was a little over little gal’s head, but my hubby and got some chuckles out it. I think this would be a great book to read when teaching about thesauruses.

Yes, Yes, Yaul! (Czekaj, Jef)

Little gal picked out this book at the library. The rap references and rap sections made me chuckle. I’m not a natural rapper and would have loved to hear someone with some rap skills really perform this book. I’m not sure little gal got much out of this, but It was an amusing read for her momma!

Hank’s Big Day: The Story of a Bug (Kuhlman, Evan)

My daughter LOVED this book and asked to read it more than once. I’m not sure what captivated her about this book, but I did love the little asides added in to the illustrations.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver (Grigsby, Susan)

This was a beautifully written and illustrated book that taught me quite a bit about what Dr. Carver taught. I expect to revisit this when little gal is older.

The Day My Dogs Became Guys (Markoe, Merrill)

Little gal also loved this book and requested to read it multiple times. I can’t blame her, the imagery of adults acting like dogs is pretty hilarious in this book.


I have heard how bad worksheets are for learning, but little gal begs to do the workbooks I have in her school supplies. We’ve been doing worksheets a lot this week and she’s been really enjoying them.

Judy Moody read aloud

This book is a good case for pre-reading, which I obviously don’t do right now. I bought Judy Moody Declares Independence at a yard sale because I had heard she was popular for kids and I thought the cover was adorable.

I actually think the historical content is really great and I’ve even learned about the American Revolution from the book. I was especially excited to see Sybil Ludington referred to in the book (Hubby and I just recently listened to her story on Drunk History). However, I have a really hard time with Judy’s attitude, words, and behavior. I probably wouldn’t have read it with her if I had pre-read it.

We are finding a good flow with little gal coloring in a book or doing copy work while I read aloud. I’m going to see how it goes long term, but for the time being this is a good fit. 

That Mom Life

Fingerprint Animals

Earlier this year, I bought washable ink pads for a church project and we recently put them to work in a really fun craft! I’ve always been a big fan of handprint, footprint, and fingerprint crafts, but after a few challenging attempts with Little Gal when she was much younger, I haven’t been up for attempting them recently. I finally decided to brave up and Little Gal and I sat down and made fingerprint animals (like these) on greeting cards. Little Gal LOVED the project and it wasn’t as messy and challenging as I thought it might be. The end results were super adorable and I’m looking forward to doing this craft with her again soon!

Penn and Teller’s Fool Us

We have pretty much “cut the cord”, so to speak, and almost everything we watch is streaming through our Roku. One of the things we’ve missed from our cable days is Penn and Teller’s Fool Us. My hubby loves magic, especially Penn and Teller’s magic, so we have been watching this show for years. I was so happy to find out from my father-in-law that you can watch the show for free on the CW Seed Roku app. We’re having such fun catching up on the show. I even figured out one trick that neither my hubby or Penn and Teller knew how was done!

Andrea Mills

I’ll caution you that the next little bit will include some sad talk about death and loss. Feel free to skip if you don’t feel that this would be good for you to read right now.

I was so deeply saddened to hear about illness and death of Andrea Mills and her unborn son. I began watching Andrea Mills’ videos several years ago. While I live a very different life from her in many ways, I still found inspiration from her faith, kindness, and motherly care of her large family. She was an amazingly organized and accomplished woman who took such good care of her family. She touched so many through her channel and willingness to share about her life with the world. She will be missed. Please pray for her family as they navigate through this loss and adjustment of life. 

I’m Back…For Now

As some of you may know, 2018 was a very challenging year for me and my family. God helped us through several challenges, including a miscarriage and the loss of two family members very close to us.

During that time, I felt God was leading me to take a hiatus from my extra activities, such as this blog and my YouTube channel. I talked a bit about that in this video:

I continued that hiatus through 2019, although I did do some prework and a lot of prayer about returning. I even recorded this video several months back, however it did not turn out to be the correct time to do a trial at that time.

As I discuss in the video, I’m going to return on a trial basis as I prayerful consider if I am able to sustainably share here and help others through this site without taking away from the big blocks within my life – time and serving with God, family, friends, homeschooling, and my virtual assistant work.

My plan is to check back in, either way, at the end of the month and let you know what to expect. In the meantime, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and/or this blog to see what I will be sharing this month.

Incorporating Books and Literacy for Preschoolers at Home

A love of reading is one of the top things I want to instill in my little Mudpie during our learning at home time. As a long time book lover, I know the power that literacy can have in an education and in life as well. We started early on by surrounding her with books and reading to her regularly. I loved seeing her explore books on her own at such an early age. 

Now that we are doing preschool at home, it’s really starting to sink in that my little gal is getting closer and closer to the point where she will start to read on her own. Throughout this year, I’ve been researching ways that I can incorporate those early skills that will come together as she starts to learn to read and write. I’m not an education major, so pulling together lessons, tools, and games became a self educated, DIY experience. 

That process went well enough, but was a time consuming rabbit hole to navigate. One of the things that I loved the most about Mother Goose Time curriculum is their emphasis on literacy. The people who create this curriculum are pros, so I no longer have to wonder if I’m incorporating the most important skills needed into our lessons. It’s already done for me. 

I love that each month with Mother Goose Time, we receive a full sized themed book that we can add to our library here at home. The books have great illustrations and include activities that Mudpie can interact with in the book. In addition, other activity suggestions with the book are added into the teacher’s guides as well. 

I love seeing my little girl’s love of reading grow and know I’m giving her the skills she needs as she starts her own reading adventure! 

Ocean Commotion Mother Goose Time Unboxing

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

Unboxing this month’s Mother Goose Time curriculum was a lot of fun. The theme this month is Ocean Commotion, so there were plenty of sea animals and plants. There were some really nice manipulatives in this month’s box and I love the ocean letters book that was included as well. I learn a lot just from taking a look in each month’s box. Check out the video above to see what’s included in this month’s box! 

Building in Creative Arts Time for Preschool at Home

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

To say my little Mudpie loves the creative arts is an understatement. Crayons, paint, chalk, glue (oh, yes, ESPECIALLY glue)… she loves being able to create something new. It’s one of the only activities that will hold her preschooler attention for more than a few minutes at a time. She also loves creating her own dances and shows to perform for us.  

I also can see how much she’s learning during her creative arts times as well. Her fine motor skills are developing and growing. She’s growing her creativity and problem solving skills. I love seeing how fun this type of learning is for her (and me too)! 

Despite our daily creative arts habit, I must admit that it didn’t occur to me to regularly  incorporate the creative arts into our planned learning time until we started going through the Mother Goose Time curriculum. I love how so many of the learning activities are built around the creative arts. The ideas and concepts that we are learning are lasting with her so much longer since they are built around these arts activities. 

If you aren’t already incorporating the creative arts into your preschool at home time, it’s definitely a great addition to learning time for preschoolers. It’s a way of learning that is especially fun for kiddos and parents! 

Our First Week With Mother Goose Time

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

Our first week with Mother Goose Time went really well! As with any new routine, we are still trying new things and finding our rhythm with the program. The circle time routine is fairly different from what we have been doing for circle time since the beginning of the year. I really like the format of Mother Goose Time’s circle time, however it does feel (understandably) more centered around preschool or daycare centers. I think that as we continue with Mother Goose Time, we will probably find some combination of the activities we used to do and the activities suggested from Mother Goose Time.

Trying out her new cardboard telescope

I have been really enjoying exploring the different activities with Mudpie and learning more about space myself. So far, my favorite day of activities has been our day learning about stars. Mudpie made both of us star headbands during the Make and Play activity and she her own constellation after learning about what constellations are. We also played a fun star game that helped her work on her counting skills but also gave me an opportunity to teach her about graphing and greater than/less than.   

Modeling our new star headbands

I also really enjoyed our day that was centered around the sun. Mudpie made a sun mask during the Make and Play activity and we practiced and later that evening performed a small song for my hubby and my parents.

Learning all about constellations

I was a little surprised that there wasn’t a general teaching section for each subject, but the way that Mother Goose Time lays out the teaching opportunities is even better because preschoolers learn best by doing. Each teaching opportunity is tucked inside an activity where they are either doing or creating. I’m looking forward to learning more as we continue with this curriculum. I hope you’ll join me as we explore during this part of our homeschool journey!