Creation Scavenger Hunt

The boys went on a scavenger hunt today to find things from each day of creation. For the first day (light) Fritz chose a cell phone (it lights up) and Adrian chose the window (since light comes through it).

For day two (dividing waters) Fritz chose the bathroom sink and Adrian chose the refrigerator (since it dispenses water).

For the third day (grass, herbs, and trees) Fritz picked a little green plant and Adrian picked his sister’s cactus.

For the fourth day (sun, moon, and stars) they both chose the sun.

For day five (water and air creatures) Fritz picked birds and Adrian picked fish.

For the sixth day (animals and people) Fritz chose Lola and Adrian picked himself.

For day seven (He rested), the boys pretended to sleep.

Map Work

In History today, we learned about megaliths in Europe. It just happens we actually saw an amazing one, Poulnabrone, in Ireland three years ago. Fritz barely remembers it and Adrian doesn’t at all, so we pulled out the book I made using the pictures I took on our trip to look at it.

We found some European countries that have megaliths in them on our big world wall map.

Then we opened up our huge, amazing atlas for the first time. We found Salisbury, England, the location of the most famous megalith, Stonehenge. (We also glanced over at Ireland and discovered Nan’s tiny little town is even labeled in our atlas!)

One Week Down…

We have completed our first week of the 2016-17 school year. Personally, I think we should go back to summer break. It went by way too fast! But we have to wait until May for that.

My observations of the week:
1.) We need to get back to work as soon as possible after lunch. That break really messes with our momentum. (Side Note: This is the first year we’ve needed to regularly continue after lunch to finish school.)
2.) 5:30 in the morning comes way too soon. And Cameron needs a nap after seminary because of that.
3.) On their own work before lunch and together work after works well because of #2, but we really need to work on #1.
4.) I’m still happy with our curriculum choices.
5.) Adderall is awesome. Or, rather, it makes school so much smoother for Adrian.
6.) I need to try to get all of the all together work done by Thursday. We had a whole lot to finish today.

Back to School

We started back to school yesterday and so I of course took their pictures and asked them some questions. See how they’ve changed from last year!



Adrian, age 8 years 2 months, 3rd grade

Favorite food: Pasta with Parmesan
Favorite movie: The BFG
Favorite book: I don’t know
Favorite song: I don’t know that either
Favorite subject: Experiments
Favorite thing to do: Play video games
Favorite color: Yellow
Wants to be when he grows up: Marine Biologist
Height: 4’1″
Weight: 57 lbs





Fritz, age 10 years 1 month, 5th grade

Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite movie: The BFG
Favorite book: Artemis Fowl
Favorite song: Heathens by Twenty One Pilots
Favorite subject: Latin
Favorite thing to do: Video games
Favorite color: Dark Blue
Wants to be when he grows up: Cancer Researcher
Height: 4’6″
Weight: 81 1/2 lbs




Cameron, age 14 years 10 months, 9th grade

Favorite food: Food
Favorite movie: I don’t know
Favorite book: Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
Favorite song: I don’t know
Favorite subject: The one that doesn’t exist
Favorite thing to do: Sleeping
Favorite color: Pink
Wants to be when he grows up: I have no idea
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 140 lbs




Ani, age 16 years 6 months, 12th grade

Favorite food: Popcorn
Favorite movie: Rise of the Guardians
Favorite book: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Favorite song: On Purpose by Sabrina Carpenter
Favorite subject: Psychology
Favorite thing to do: Taekwondo
Favorite color: Orange or green
Wants to be when he grows up: Own a taekwondo place
Height: 5’3 3/4″
Weight: 110 lbs



Bonus: Heather, age 38 years 4 months, teacher
Favorite food: Salad
Favorite book: Harry Potter series
Favorite movie: Miracle on 34th Street (original version)
Favorite TV show: Psych
Favorite song: Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison
Favorite subject: History
Favorite color: Purple and sometimes green

Not Back to School Day 2016

Tomorrow we’ll hit the books, but today, while everyone else went back to school, we celebrated Not Back to School Day with a trip to the San Antonio Aquarium.

The first hallway of the aquarium includes displays of dinosaurs and one of those interactive games projected on the floor.

Most of the aquarium exhibits are interactive, but a few are not. The shark egg was fascinating because the little tiny shark inside was wiggling all over the place.

This critter, and axolotl, was a bit terrifying.

I think a megaladon could’ve eaten the boys in one gulp.

We petted and fed the stingrays.

This teeny tiny baby stingray was adorable and so incredibly soft.

We also fed the koi.

And the sharks.

The big birds were beautiful. I’ve never seen one as pretty as the red one. The green one was doing its best to unlock the door and escape from the cage.

I was surprised at how the iguanas feel. Their skin isn’t at all how I imagined it.

Fritz likes to get up close and personal with the animals. I’m glad there was a thick sheet of glass between him and the Burmese Python (and that he’s not Harry Potter).

Cameron had his fortune told by a creepy pirate. Not quite Zoltar, but still pretty cool.

There was a whole conversation about who would be the second female mermaid. Littlest brothers will do anything you tell them.

We fed the caiman. One wasn’t interested at all, one was suspicious of the food hanging in front of him, and the other gobbled it right up.

We all got to pet a caiman.

The parakeets were awesome. So many of them looked like the ones we used to have, Mickey and Goofy



The parakeets swarmed all over us to get the birdseed we got to feed them.

Adrian hung out with the tortoise roaming around the gift shop.

The little guys played in the I-Guana Jump area. They had a great time.

After we left the aquarium we went to Golden Corral for lunch. Cameron ate a ton (amazing what a tall, active teenage boy can eat at one time!) and the boys got cotton candy, so it was a wonderful meal all around.

Check out previous years’ Not Back to School Days: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015. (I missed blogging about Not Back to School Day in 2011 and they went to public school in 2013.)

So this happened…


I tested for my black recommended belt on Thursday.

I passed!


For the first several months we took taekwondo, I didn’t believe I’d ever make it this far.


Turning around and seeing myself with a black belt around my waist was pretty awesome.


This makes 5 of the 6 of us (Adrian is a green belt now on the “some day I’ll get my black belt” track – 2 or 3 years to go for him).


First degree testing is in December… less than 4 months away!


A Year of Science Bags

I learned years ago that unless I put science supplies together in weekly bags, I am not likely to do all the experiments planned. Last year, I planned to do three weeks at a time, but then I was getting ready to have surgery and not knowing how recovery would go, I went ahead and assembled the bags for the rest of the school year. It helped so much having things ready and waiting that this year I decided to put them together now so everything is ready before the school year even starts.


There is one bag for each week of school/chapter in REAL Science Odyssey Biology 2. That means each bag holds supplies for 2-3 experiments.


Each bag has a card listing what additional supplies we need for the experiments. Sometimes those supplies are on the shelf (too big to fit in the bags), sometimes they are things in the kitchen, and sometimes they are things we use day to day.


The bags fit nicely in the bin. Each week, we can just grab the bag from the front and get to work. Super easy.


Not everything I ordered has arrived at this point (should be here Wednesday), so I have a “cheat sheet” telling me what I need to add to the bags. It also lists what I need to buy (perishables), grow (radish plants), or find (dead insects) for certain weeks. I’ll probably transfer that list into my Bullet Journal so it’s always handy throughout the year. It feels nice to be all ready for the whole science year like this.

It’s Almost School Time

The first day of school is Tuesday so I’ve been busy getting ready this week. Almost everything was ready by days after we finished the last school year so it’s just been last minute stuff.

Saturday we went shopping for school supplies, art supplies, and science experiment needs. I also placed an order for science supplies from Amazon and Home Science Tools. The Amazon order arrived today. The Home Science Tools order will be here Wednesday.

I’ve adjusted a few lesson plans and even changed the school year slightly. Christmas break for the local school district is two weeks going from a Wednesday to a Tuesday. I decided to give my kids three full weeks off instead. I added a couple things (like a typing program) and changed Adrian’s reading to regular books since Magic Treehouse, which I had planned to have him read, is beneath his reading level now. Mostly, the plans stayed as I wrote them a few months ago.

The last couple days I’ve been working on putting together science experiment bags. Now all that is left is to finish putting stuff on the shelves and in drawers, dole out new pencils and scissors, and wait for Tuesday. It’s going to be a great year!

We love Pokemon Go

We’ve been playing Pokemon Go since a few days after it came out. We have so much fun PokeHunting all together. Sometimes we stay in the comfort of our van’s air conditioning (we do live in Texas after all), but sometimes we brave the heat and walk (gotta hatch those eggs).

Of course when we first started I apparently made a terrible mistake. I made it to level 5, went to a gym, and chose Team Instinct. I had apparently not gotten the memo that our family would all be Team Mystic. After some minor intense pressure from two of the kids in particular, I gave up my progress all the way to level 6 and started over completely. This time I went blue and one of my children who shall remain nameless actually hugged me and told me he loved me again. I’m up to level 15 now, and that child still loves me, so it’s all good.

On Fritz’s 10th birthday Cameron got his first lure module when he hit whatever level it is when you get one of those. It was like 10:30 at night, but the six of us loaded up in the van and headed to the church (our church, conveniently enough, is a PokeStop). On the way we picked up a friend and his teenage daughter. They had been out PokeHunting, but her phone died so they were walking home. We were prepared with charging cables and external batteries so they jumped in the van with us. We got to church and Cameron set off the lure.

Within minutes 30 people had showed up on foot and in cars. When our friend’s daughter learned it was Fritz’s birthday, she started singing Happy Birthday and all those random people joined in. We met a guy, a vet who fought over in the sand, named Adrian. That’s the first Adrian our Adrian had ever met. Adrian was a really nice fascinating guy. We still get happy when we see his username with a Pokemon defending a gym. Once the lure ended, we went next door to another church that is a gym. We worked together, along with Adrian, to take over and level up the gym. We never would’ve met Adrian if it wasn’t for Pokemon Go. We got home after midnight. Fritz said it was the best birthday ever, largely because of those memories we made late that night.

Ani and Cameron and a friend of theirs sat at the gym for a long time one night going back and forth with two girls, a set of twins, who are on Team Valor. In between the fighting, they chatted. They exchanged Instagrams and Snap Chats. Saturday Jamie and Ani went to Sonic and one of those twins brought their milkshakes out to them. That was fun because a friendship had already been made thanks to Pokemon Go.

The other evening we noticed the gym was easily beatable so we all headed over to battle. We took it over and then spent some time leveling it up to level 5 (Adrian doesn’t actually play since we only have 5 devices it works on, but he’s always with us when the rest of us are playing and sometimes we let him catch Pokemon on our phones). And then we all added a Pokemon. Jamie, Ani, Cameron, Fritz, and I each had a Pokemon defending that gym for a few hours. It was really cool having a family gym for a bit.

We were tipped off that the library is an especially fun place to play. There are 6 PokeStops and two gyms. Three of the Stops are right together and at least one pretty much always has a lure going. You can walk in a circle and hit all six Stops one after another and get some egg hatching time in at the same time. We’ve gone there several times (including just Jamie and me on a date). It’s so fun to watch the groups of people playing together. Friends, grandparents and grandchildren, parents and children. There’s a playground by the grouping of three Stops. Little children (including Adrian when we go there all together) run around playing happily together while their siblings and parents play Pokemon Go.

It’s not uncommon to see a child teaching their parent or grandparent how to play the game. Adrian is one of those children. He has been watching Pokemon for years and has an encyclopedia of knowledge in his brain. He can identify Pokemon by their outlines, he knows the evolutions of them all, and he can tell us which to use in battle since he knows what type each is and what fights what best. It’s so neat to see the adults really listening to what the children have to say as the child becomes the teacher.

Pokemon Go is a silly game. On the surface, it’s nothing more than a distraction. But from what I’ve seen, it’s also seriously awesome. I’ve heard of people losing weight from walking around hatching eggs. I’ve heard of parents connecting with teens in ways they were unable to before. I’ve heard of so many people making friends with people they’d never have met otherwise. There’s a camaraderie to playing a game so many others are.

Of course I’ve also heard of the dire warnings about how dangerous Pokemon Go could be. Well, life in general can be dangerous (and the number of people using the game for nefarious purposes is minuscule compared to the number playing). What it comes down to is if a silly game is giving families – mine included – and even random strangers a reason to spend time together talking and laughing, I’m in.