Tents up!

We got a head start on the “Tents up! Tents down!” project from this Shabbat’s lesson. Enjoy! And make sure to take pictures of your version of Abraham’s journey. We can’t wait to see them!

We started out by cutting circles out of an old sheet.
We started out by cutting circles out of an old sheet…


...and cutting a hole in the center.
…and cutting a hole in the center.


For the structure, first we tried tying craft sticks together (two and two, tied and the "x" and then all four tied together). This is not as easy as it looks. Ha.
For the structure, first we tried tying craft sticks together (two and two, tied at the “x” and then all four tied together). This is not as easy as it looks. Ha.


Three pencils (using the erasers to hold them steady) worked better. Make sure to wrap a string or rubber band around the bundle to keep the tent from collapsing.
Three pencils (using the erasers to hold them steady) worked better. Make sure to wrap a string or rubber band around the bundle to keep the tent from collapsing.


We even resorted to hot-glue (which worked really well). It doesn't make the tent as portable, though.
We even resorted to hot-glue (which worked really well). It doesn’t make the tent as portable, though.


We spent the majority of our time folding paper into tents. This worked best (especially for the younger ones)! And the tents are portable and perfect for the lesson.
We spent the majority of our time folding paper into tents. This worked best (especially for the younger ones)! The paper tents are portable and perfect for the lesson!


The result was hours of fun!
The result was hours of fun!



Where Homeschooling Meets Blogging

I was without a computer for about six weeks (can’t. stop. twitching.), but now we’re back with the surprise I’ve been promising the kids ever since I looked up one Shabbat evening to see this:

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They love to write. And I love to encourage them in any non media related passion.

So they’ll be here, with me. This blog is about to get a lot more interesting. I’ve told them they are free to share their silly stories, their serious thoughts, their dreams, their drawings…maybe even a video from time to time. I hope that you’ll be blessed!

From all of us at Kingdom Twindom!


We Don’t Eat the Crayon Muffins

My kids love to color. I’m told this is a good thing. If they have a five minute break from school or I just leave them directionless for any amount of time, they will color. And then they will cut out whatever they have drawn. And then they will cut the extra paper into tiny bits. This might be their favorite part.

This is not my favorite part.

The hundreds of drawings and millions of bits of paper are often what stand between me and a clean house. Well, that and the dishes. Today, they were threatening to do just that, and the kids’ whining over picking them up was threatening to kill me. Be warned, today’s stroke of genius involves bribing my children with candy. But most kids get candy on the 31st of October anyway, right? So I felt somehow justified in my bribing. Ha.

“OK, everybody quiet down and listen up,” I said. “I’m going to split you up into two teams. You two go into the school room and you two take your baby brother into the bedroom and give him a job. Then you’re going to clean and not whine anymore.”

“Whaaaat? It’s toooo haaard. We caaaan’t!”

“And then I’ll buy the winners their own bag of candy.”

“Whaaaat?! Yes!! I’m gonna beat you!!”

Mad-skills cleaning began immediately after my declaration. I own three brooms and a whisk broom, I have no idea why I have so many; but they all came in handy today. I pulled out my violin and played along to Pandora while my children cleaned–happily, rapidly, yelling a little smack talk from one end of our house to the other. It was a twenty minute slice of heaven that resulted in two very clean rooms. And of course, I bought them all candy. I was already planning to, anyway. Don’t tell.

Once the rooms were clean and everyone had their candy, we set out to do what I had wanted to do for days. I’m finally learning to include the kids in those little projects that are work to do alone. Or maybe it’s just that they’re finally old enough to be helpful.

We gathered every crayon, marker, and pencil from the four corners of our house. Excuse the embarrassing, random basket.

Then we set out sorting, sharpening, tossing, and organizing while we munched sour gummy worms and red laces and watched a movie. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night.

“No, Baby, the crayons are out of the oven but that doesn’t mean we can eat them.”

And now we have brand new chunky crayons (crayon muffins), working markers, a box of marker caps (Never, never throw away marker caps or tooth paste caps. They disappear on their own, so you can never have enough. Umm…or it is just us?), and perfectly sharpened crayons and pencils.

Whoever said it was the little things sure was right!

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Tomorrow, we start the new school year…because one school day before the weekend sounds just about right to me. Today, I’m getting the school room ready and the kids are still in their p.j.s watching cartoons. They are mourning the end of summer, I think.

Tomorrow, I will be sitting at my desk, writing and teaching (and unplugging the internet from 9-1). Today, I’m Facebooking like a mad woman.

Tomorrow, I will be back to my one load of laundry a day. Today, I need to do about five loads to catch up.

Tomorrow, we’ll be eating breakfast by eight. Today, some of us are still finishing our eggs.

As sad as I am to…ummm…stop being so lazy, I really am looking forward to the school year.

Which, you know, starts tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

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School and Summer

This morning, I woke up sick. Surprisingly sick. Don’t you love it when sickness is surprising? And Bay Bit woke up with the exact same symptoms. When I got out of bed to let out the dog, though, the air was thick with smoke. So I think that explains the weird throat and sniffles; but, really, it’d be better news if we were just sick. We’re praying for our firefighters. Summer can be pretty scary in the mountains, and it would be a heck-of-a-lot scarier without them.

I’m sending the kids to Grandma’s tomorrow, and that’s just all there is to it. They’re driving me nuts this week; nuts, I tell you! We have one more month of school before our one-month summer break. Technically, we’d planned to be year round homeschoolers, but I decided that we needed  a little gone-fishin’ time. I might be looking forward to it more than they are…it’s a toss up.

Next year, I will have two second graders, two first graders (who are gonna have it pretty easy cause they’ve been following along this year) and an officially official preschooler. Baby Bear is so eager for school. Of course, I work with him here and there, but he hasn’t had anything even remotely structured, yet. He’s ready, though! Yesterday morning, he got right up in my face and said, “Hey…Mom, if yow enemy is hungwie, give him food to eat. If he is thuwsty, give him watu to dwink.”

And I melted into a big gooey puddle that the big kids had to clean up.

But, really, I didn’t even know he’d been paying attention during Bible. Yes, this is gonna be fun! And by next year I’ll have my school room back, meaning we can use our kitchen table for…

[drum roll please]

FOOD! Yea!

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Prefab Failure Days

When I was pregnant with my first set of twins, I was the best mother in the world. Y’all (who are now post-pregnant mothers) know what I’m talking about. I knew what I wanted for my children and even how many times they’d hear the Bible (in its entirety) by the time they were two. Oh, the glorious know-it-all ignorance of mothering pre-born children! I’d sit with my cup of pregnancy tea and detail my plans to my smiling and nodding mother. She was never one to burst my bubble when the world would do that quickly enough.

Y’all might as well know that I started post pregnant motherhood as a failure…a dangerously anemic, spit up covered, I-used-to-be-able-to-see-the-floor!—what-happened-to-the-floor?–Is-that-ME-that-I-smell?!  failure. My first two delightful little angels evacuated my uterus and proceeded to smack me across the face. I couldn’t believe it. The death of my expectations was heartbreaking. Tail-spinning. It was often difficult to breathe. I found motherhood, in its most basic form, to be natural and delightful, but every time I thought about what  it was supposed to be (and how I perceived others were doing it)…my throat tightened. And, for awhile, the disappointment (leading quickly to depression), caused me to toss all of my expectations (including the desire to exit my bathrobe) lest I would ever feel like that ever again.

Two years passed, then three…and, as I began to learn, the poster child for lounge wear wasn’t who I was, either. I was an arts and crafts loving, cute clothes wearing, homeschooling, gourmet cooking, cinnamon roll baking mom who would occasionally (often) fall on her butt…and would get knocked there a few times, too. I’m like an over-achieving fire that burns itself out and then waits to be re-lit. Steadiness is something God is developing in me, it is not a quality I was born with.

In recent years, I have lived through those times that would stop anyone cold and would render many useless. And because my life does not come with the option of sick days, vacation days, or personal days, I’ve known the bitter defeat of plowing head-on into a morning, determined to make it work, only to end up a screaming and then crying puddle on the bathroom floor. Failing, when you’re not allowed to fail, is one of those emotions far too crushing to survive without a Savior. And that’s good. But Jesus doesn’t simply live to lift us from the muck and mire. He likes to help us avoid it, too.

Now, I’m a year round home-schooler. We home school year round because I think three months off is a little counterproductive. But, probably more importantly, it allows us to have days where I wake up and make a plan to fail.

Failure days are my reset button. I don’t know what I’d do without them.  And, no, they don’t really amount to failing…not in the long run. They are simply days when I wake up doneundone. There have been desperate times when I’ve prefabricated entire failure weeks. I’ve stocked the freezer with chicken nuggets and added every educational video ever made to the Netflix queue. But, usually, I just need a day-off. Sometimes, I simply need a day where I’m not asking six year olds to redo their handwriting work or wondering why-on-earth the kids’ room gets messier when I ask them to clean it (and why this only happens when I’m busy with something else).

Last week, I woke up tired. As I held a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee between my hands, all I wanted to do was drift back to sleep. My bed is the most seductive on those cold mornings when I’ve stayed up way too late the night before. Even when the fitted sheet has shifted in the night and the top sheet is now nowhere to be found, there is still nowhere else I’d rather be on those winter days where my thoughts are as dark as the morning.

I knew exactly what we needed to do on that Wednesday. But I also knew that, if we proceeded unchecked, we would all hate each other by the end of the day. I set aside my work, put away the school books, turned on our DC Talk Pandora station and pulled out our favorite games…

And, at the end of the day, after hours of cuddles, games, popcorn and movies, hot tea and story time, we (not just Mama) headed to bed with big smiles and “I love our family!”s. 

And that, to me, means success.

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My Father’s World – Day 17 – a Review

First things first, Courtney Clifford, contact me with your mailing address so I can forward it to the folks at Easy Canvas Prints! I hope you enjoy your canvas!

Next on the list, I’ve been meaning to tell you all what I think (so far) of My Father’s World. We’re on day 17, so we’re far from experts. But can I just tell you that I’m loving it…loooving it so far!? I will write a formal review at the end of the school year.

It’s not a skip-a-grade and home-school your child to Mensa, program. Actually, I’d taken kindergarten past the point that was necessary to prepare Cuddle Bug and Tiny Dancer for MFW 1st grade. But I love the slow, repetitive, solidifying pace. It’s never boring, though. From cutting and pasting to writing, coloring, copying, or manipulating everyday household items, each lesson is taught using a variety of methods. We laugh all morning. That’s how I know it’s working. And did I mention that each lesson is already written (proof that there is a God!)?!

Lil Prince and Bay Bit sit through most of our lessons. I also provide them with their own (K-5) worksheets, and manipulatives (below is an aspect of MFW K-5, which we are only using pieces of).

If we start around nine, we can be done with our academics by lunchtime. I don’t make the younger three sit though everything; but if they’re interested, they’re certainly allowed to. Baby Bear usually cuts out first. He sat and played with play dough last year…this year he’s a little more boy active. He’ll still sit, but for not as long. When he’s had enough, he heads to his room to play with toys, and sometimes he heads to mine to watch Superman and play with a set of blocks that I leave out on my bed during school time. I plan to involve him more and more every year; but for now, that’s what works for us.

Everyday starts with Bible. This works well because we’ve schooled that way since preschool. The kids (I include them all) are given one new Proverb every week. This same Proverb is used for discussion (don’t teach children what to think…teach them to think), for memorization and for handwriting. I think know that’s my favorite part.


After Bible (in the 1st Grade set up) are Reading, Handwriting, Math and Art. Science fills every fifth day, and History begins in a week or two.




I love being prepared. I love being surprised (in a good way), too. And I really love working alongside my kiddos as they learn new things. In fact, we’ve been inspired to explore further…our itty bitty baby worm (that we’re measuring weekly) and our captive caterpillar are [hopefully still living] proof.
We’ve dissected seeds and flowers. We’ve drawn. We’ve journaled. We’ve colored. We’ve painted. And we still go off script whenever we come up with a good idea.








I can tell you, as a former piecemeal homeschooler, that I couldn’t have imagined loving one program as much as I love MFW. I’m not saying I’ll never part ways for math or science…but for now, we’ve found the perfect fit!

Of course, as always, we’re taking it year by precious year.

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