November Randoms

November picture dump, coming up. It may have been November but we had some wonderful warm weather park days. Sleeping.  With her glasses.  Of course. I thought I had some crazy hair days. Family movie night with Chinese food and Kung Fu Panda.  Yep.  Yep.  (Okay, I also had the dining room table covered in schoolwork) Emmie was getting ready for her television debut for promoting the NF Walk.  It happened so fast, I didn’t get to grab a picture with the anchor.  It was a great opportunity and we are so grateful for all of our news agencies who shared about the event. A Knight and Warrior Princess!   After the NF Walk, we headed home for a break and then off to Cracker Barrel to celebrate my birthday.  The kids were quite the talk with all the face paint.

One member of our church family is a truck driver.  Mr. J came over last time he was in town and brought the kids special gifts from all over the west coast.  Needless to say, he was a hit that night!  Thanks Mr. J for hanging out with us and loving on our kiddos.

Family Time

Thanksgiving weekend was spent with Ge and Granddaddy.  Always a blast.  Especially when we can watch Alabama beat Auburn! Ace exploded sticks-a gift from Aunt Yaya and Uncle J. We went downtown (before the game, of course), to celebrate Small Business Saturday.  Bryant loved his birthday gift from Aunt Yaya and Uncle J. Emmie was ready for the game.

Silas enjoyed Steak n’ Shake this time.

October 2016 Randoms

Our picture life in October was fairly low key. We were focused on getting our school up and going, planning for an NF Walk and just enjoying being a family of eleven. Have you ever seen the Keva Planks?  We saw something similar at a homeschool convention, loved it, and found these planks.  We have had them for several years and they go in cycles of wanting to get them down and build everything.  Silas had a blast with them on this cycle.
Nothing like selfies with daddy. When you reach a certain age of dishwashing, there is a rite of passage that goes down in our house.  We call it the “YouDid” secret.  Because of privacy policies, I can not disclose what the rite of passage involves.  I can say that it involves a story of how a simple pot cleaner became known as YouDid.  The rest is on a need to know basis. Emmie sat in a lawn chair in the driveway at our street party.  She leaned forward.  Her head met the pavement. This bruise made me sick to look at, but we were so blessed that she just had a nice little toddler bump. Silas loves catching lizards.  Thankfully, our property is covered in them! This is what we did…go to a trampoline park (this was not our first trip).  Mark had to leave early for work.  As our hour was up, we started heading out.  I was busy making sure people had shoes on and buddy hands and all of their stuff.  By the time we got to the parking lot, Zoe let out a giant scream.  She was going for a split on her last jump and her foot caught underneath her.  Leg moved.  Foot didn’t.  After x-rays and a week of rest, she was as good as new.  Once again, she managed to avoid a break.  But it was a high ankle sprain.

Zoe let me do her hair!  I have to document when these things happen.

Sometimes cuddling on the bed reading, is just what the doctor ordered.

What we do

for free doughnuts… On October 31st, Krispy Kreme gives a free doughnut to anyone dressed in costume.  The kids were game and went to work the day before to find things around their house for their costumes.  We have Anna (the mama), Alice in Wonderland, Spiderman and a slew of characters from The Wingfeather Saga book series.

I know these guys are probably not familiar to many people, but to us, well they represent hours of audio books in the van.  Since we tend to accrue audible credits, we splurged on a four book series called The Wingfeather Saga written by one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters, Andrew Peterson.  The kids hung on every word they heard (and Christmas brought the actual books which have been slowly making their rounds among our readers).  The fun part of this picture is that we shared it with Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Facebook page.  He, in turn, shared it with his personal performance page and on the Wingfeather Saga blog.  My kids had their 15 minutes of fame.  Yes, the doughnuts and this bit of fame definitely made their day.


A bit last minute last year, but we managed to squeeze in some pumpkin decoration before October ended. While Mark worked on our chosen designs to carve, the kids got to work painting baby pumpkins.
While he continued to work, they started rolling down the hill. I mustache you if this was a cute pumpkin!

We worked on a pumpkin with a message.  The design in the back worked but I didn’t print out the words with enough gaps.  So, we had to write out the words instead of carve them.

Zoo Trip

We absolutely love taking trips to the zoo.  And that means I love sharing pictures of our adventures at the zoo.

Feeding some super excited lorakeets.
Touch a snake.  I love petting snakes!  At least a couple of the kids were willing to pet too. Sky high kids.
Saying hello to da birds. Trying to catch a glimpse of sea lions.


September Randoms

For a change, Emmie got to keep Josiah company at a medical appointment.  He had a quick two week post-op follow up. Come home.  Get a haircut.Silas enjoys helping with vacuuming.
Silas was super excited to wear his vishyvanka (traditional Ukrainian shirt) to his first Sunday at church.

Emmie talked Malachi in to being her dance partner. Silas found the hair gel. I think he might have used almost all of it. Blue haired Malachi the day after our Awana Crazy Hair Night. When your Ukrainian-American requests borscht.  You make borscht and a nice cucumber salad for bonus points. Sliding on the floor.  Why?  Why not? Talk Like a Pirate Day means free doughnuts for our crew with more to share.
We dropped off doughnuts to our local fire department and they treated us to a tour of the station.  Then the station EMT let us see the inside of his ambulance.  Pretty cool.  He even hooked up Silas (the only volunteer) to the heart monitor.

Emmie got a little too in to the whole pirate talk thing. Washcloths on heads.

Stickers on arms.


I can’t believe another ten years has passed since I walked the hallowed halls of my high school alma mater.  And yet, it has.  In September, we made the trek to our hometown (Mark and I graduated from the same high school) and spent time with our family and some of my classmates. We attended a high school football team and cheered on my nephew.  Ya’ll I have a nephew old enough to play high school football.  Emmie had a wonderful time and was cheering and yelling along with us.   Playing at Papa and Grandmere’s house is always a treat. We took the kids over to a local lake where we braved sprinkling rain to play on the playground and feed ducks and capture Pokemon. 

Emmie was patting her leg trying to call the ducks to her.  They wouldn’t listen.

The First Days

One of our first days of school was on fire.  Literally.

See ya’ll, this is what happens when you have five kids working on one experiment and another working on a different one…then you get confused on which eye on the stove you turned on only to smell burning plastic, metal and paper.  I toasted it good.

Ac thought for a second he wasn’t going to have to do labs.  Ha kid.  We do labs around here burnt paper and all.  Actually, my neighbor-friend (because she is a neighbor and a friend) heard of my plight and brought over the perfect binder for science journals. All set and the house is still standing.

Once we got over the shock of my experiment of trying to set the house on fire, we made rainbows with water and straws. And floated raw eggs in saltwater.

Everyone worked hard.  Regardless of what was left of our journals.

Zoe made a really pretty Franklin-ism for History.

And Ace drew silly cartoons to answer questions about Science.  Ya’ll, I know I shouldn’t allow this but I love the creativity!

Ethos Academy Resumes

We got a late start this year for school because we were waiting on Silas and Mark to come home.  And here we are halfway through and I’m getting to this post.   This year, I remembered and had time to actually do some fun first day pics!  Here they are with a little snipit of what we are using for curriculum.  Our altogether curriculum for most grades includes:

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics (Apolgia)-This is for grades Pre-K to 6th.  This volume is full of fun experiments and information and the kids all seem to be enjoying it so far.

PictureSmart Bible Old Testament-This is our Bible for the year and we all seem to be enjoying the general survey it gives us of the books in the Old Testament.

Mystery of History Volume IV-We skipped Volume 3 of history because the new volume came out and I got impatient waiting to do it.  I have to say it is my favorite volume so far and the most thorough.  We are loving it!

Our first grader is still working on learning to read.  We’re using Primary Arts of Language or PAL as well as All About Spelling.  Usually, when I have kids who need a little extra time learning to read, this one curriculum has helped reading “click” with them. So far, that seems to be the case with Bryant.  He is now reading words when we go out and about and I feel like he should be reading really well by the end of the year.  He is doing Math Mammoth Grade 1 for math.  He’s working on First Language Lessons of the Well-Trained Mind Volume 1.

Silas is working on 2nd grade Math Mammoth and learning to read using PAL with Bryant.  He is a hard working and I can’t wait to see reading click for him!

Ceili Rain is in 2nd grade reading with our Veritas Press comprehension guides.  She is working her way through Building Spelling Skills 2 and her Math Mammoth Grade 2. She is almost complete with her First Language Lessons… Vol. 2 as well. She loves math and can’t seem to get enough of it.

Our 4th grader is rocking the grade with his goofiness.  He is in First Language Lessons… Volume 4 (and is so sad he’s almost done…not really), 4th grade Veritas Press reading comprehension, Math Mammoth Grade 4 and Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Continuation Course Level A (IEW SCC Level A).

Liam is cruising through Math Mammoth Grade 5, Veritas Press comprehension guides, and is joining Josiah on his IEW SCC Level A for writing.  He is also doing Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree.

Ace is stepping out of the Exploring Creation series by Apologia and is now in Apologia General Science.  He finished up Math Mammoth Grade 6 and is now working through Saxon Math 8/7 and doing very well.  He is also doing an IEW course but it is Level B instead of A.  He is doing the same grammar as Liam and is working on Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 7.  He’s also venturing into the world of foreign languages (although not with as much gusto as Zoe) and taking Spanish 1.

Last year, ya’ll.  This is the last year I’ll not have a high schooler!  Eek.  I think we are closed to ready for that.  Zoe has a general idea of what she wants to go to college for.  But prepping for that is adding even more gray hairs to my head.  Anyway, our polyglot-in-training (mutli-language speaker) is working on several things.  She is doing Apologia Physical Science, Algebra 1, Windows to the World/Literary Analysis, IEW with Ace and Spanish 2.  We found an ASL course online and she completed 50 hours for a course certification at the end of December.

That’s it!  All of the kids are working really hard and will be duly rewarded.  I believe this next nine weeks (our third of academics) we’ll have people finishing up several subjects and working on zoning in on the skills they need to master (read:  multiplication facts).  We’re already starting to look at next year and pray about what they will be learning!

A couple of notes:  None of the links are affiliate links.  I included them in case anyone wanted to know more about the curriculum.  Also, I purposely work to make sure a lot of our curriculum is non-consummable to help cut down costs.  And we “buy used/save the difference.”  So, while a lot of the curriculum (especially when you account for seven kids) looks pricey.  It’s not.  I make a spreadsheet of everything I need to purchase and how much it costs retail and then I work from March until the new school year searching for it used or at a discount price.  I get really excited when I see I’m saving three to four hundred dollars (which is about how much I can save)!