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Just One Peanut (and a whole lotta laughing)

Sometimes you overhear conversations between kids and just have to scratch your head. Or laugh out loud for HOURS after when the conversation comes back to mind. 

Zachary (age 12) was in search of a peanut for a science project, and the following conversation took place between him and Kaleb (age 10). Why this particular situation even happened in the first place? I have no idea. But I do know that it possibly speaks to my pantry cleaning abilities (although I have no idea how long it has been hiding). 

So I just continue to laugh. 


Zach: I need a peanut for my experiment but I don’t know where to get one.

Kaleb: Just one peanut?

Zach: Yeah.

Kaleb: Only one?

Zach: Yeah…

Kaleb: I have one.

Zach: What?

Kaleb: Here I’ll show you. *leads Zach to pantry*

Zach: You have just a single peanut?

Kaleb: Yeah look. *pulls cereal boxes away to reveal single peanut sitting on the shelf* *picks up peanut* Here.

Zach: Why… do you have this?

Kaleb: I put it there a while ago. I was saving it.

Apparently being the fourth child means one has to hoard and ration food, wherever one is able. Because I have NO idea when the last time was that we had peanuts in the house.
For real. 

Smashing Homeschool Stereotypes Survey

Over the years of homeschooling, I’ve either had someone ask me some of the stereotypical questions believed of homeschoolers (or been guilty of boxing someone into a stereotype myself). We joke about wearing denim jumpers, but how often have you been asked one of the following questions?

When do your kids get their socialization? 

Do you wear your pajamas all day? 

How do you do it? You must have so much patience!

Are you qualified to teach your children? 


If you are tired of the crazy questions and want to set the stereotypes straight, there is a fabulous way to let your voice be heard – the Smashing Homeschool Stereotypes Survey. In exchange for your responses, you will receive over $100 worth of homeschool subscriptions (no boring PDFs) PLUS a chance of winning $1000 cash.

The survey will take about 30 minutes to complete, but at the end you will be rewarded AND be entered to win $1000 cash (yes, please!). 

Why complete this survey?

  • Immediate access to over $100 worth of homeschool resources ranging from vocabulary and art to sign language and virtual field trips for all ages PreK to high school. FREE to all respondents — no strings attached.
  • A chance to win $1000 cash!
  • This survey is a chance to let your voice be heard. Let’s set the record straight about who American homeschoolers are — who YOU are — and what you REALLY value as a home educator. Enough of stale stereotypes and cookie cutter assumptions! This is your chance to reveal the vibrant diversity of the homeschool community.

Every respondent who completes the survey will receive over $100 worth of valuable homeschool materials absolutely free. These gifts are not PDFs you will download and forget about next week but access to top-notch videos, online courses, and live, interactive events that will enrich your language arts, history, art, and science lessons. Immediately after you complete the survey, you will have all the details needed to start your free subscriptions and enjoy these no-strings-attached perks.

Take the survey, and then get your kids settled around the computer to enjoy their free art, sign language, and vocabulary lessons. What exactly is included?

1. A free 60-day Field Trip Zoom subscription — choose from nationally acclaimed zoos, science centers, aquariums, and historic sites located all over the USA. The best part is you don’t even have to leave home. All you need to experience these live virtual field trips is the free access provided after you complete the survey and an internet connection. You can even show up in your pajamas if you like! Field Trip Zoom is getting rave reviews from the homeschoolers who attend. Some moms are rearranging their homeschool schedules just to fit in all the live events their kids can’t wait to participate in.

2. Words That Matter – complete 12-week vocabulary program with three grade levels covering all of your children grades 3-12! Build responsibility as kids boost their word power. This online curriculum is designed to be used independently by students with only minimal input from you, the parent.

3. Atelier Art Online – make art painless  with a free quarter of online visual art instruction with 8 options for ages 4 to 16. Excellently crafted video lessons guide your children through essential elements and principles of art including line, color, space, shape, texture, pattern, and balance. Students will learn drawing techniques, explore different art mediums, and be exposed to various periods of art history. With this subscription, there are no more reasons to avoid art!

4. American Sign Language (ASL) from Dawn Sign Press – online access to their full collection of six fairy tales (25 minutes each), brilliantly retold with modern twists and performed entirely in American Sign Language by a deaf cast. Kids of all ages will love the stories in the Once Upon a Sign series and will master several signs by the conclusion of each video.

5. Homeschool Planet digital homeschool planner – To make homeschool scheduling and recordkeeping stress-free, you get free 2 month access to a state-of-the-art, digital homeschool planner called Homeschool Planet. This powerful tool makes it a breeze do to lesson planning, track attendance, record grades, and even make transcripts. Select the daily digest option to send family members reminders of assignments or chores. You can even view and edit your calendar on your smartphone or tablet. This tool is going to rocket your productivity so you have even more time to enjoy all the great freebies you get when you complete the survey.

One lucky homeschool parent is going to win our big $1000 cash prize! Yes! $1000 CASH. Sure, you can spend it on your homeschool, buying curriculum, bookshelves, or a new computer for the kids. Or you can put that towards an amazing family vacation, pay off debt, or buy new tires. How you spend it is totally up to you if your 30 minute investment in this survey pays off with the BIG WIN.

So go let your voice be heard on the survey and claim your freebies! Oh, and good luck on that $1000 cash prize. Someone has to win! Why not you?!

Fine print: 

The survey is open to any adult residing in America (excepting RI and D.C.) who is currently homeschooling at least one child. You have until February 28 to complete the survey and be eligible to win the grand prize of $1000. Free gifts must be redeemed no later than May 1, 2017. Please see all terms and privacy policy for additional details.

  • http://homeschool.marketing/sweepstakes-terms-conditions/
  • http://homeschool.marketing/privacy-policy/

The Beauty of Homeschooling is…

water ballon with school bus driving by

There’s something incredibly and splendidly wonderful to see your kids running around the front yard, chucking water balloons at each other with visiting family, and watch the school bus drive by. It feels a bit mean and exhilarating all at the same time. 

Such is the beauty of homeschooling. A full day of fun in the sun and a chance to enjoy the gorgeous weather while we have it. 

And yes, I had to take a picture of the bus driving past when I heard it coming up the road. Because THIS is one of those moments that I want to have a definite image of for days that are tough. 

Homeschooling has some wonderful, wonderful moments. 

Atomic Cookie Skillet Models

atomic cookie skillet model - hands on way to learn about atoms and the periodic table

One of the things that I want science to be (or any subject) is FUN. If there are opportunities to do something hands-on that will tie in with a lesson and make it ‘stick’ – well, count me in.

This year our fifth grader is studying Chemistry using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry (aff link). To understand how atoms look, we decided to go the edible route and follow an idea in our lesson on atomic numbers – atomic cookies. We are big proponents of making cookie skillets in our house, so the bigger the atom model, the better!

Note: In an effort to ensure I had enough different colored M&M’s, I may have gone a wee bit overboard at the store trying to find bags of them. If the store would QUIT MOVING the candy, it would also be extremely handy. I ended up with a fall bag, Christmas bag, and a mixed bag, as well as Reese’s Pieces. Just because.

If you’d like to share in the yumminess, you can use the recipe below and make your own as well.

atomic cookie skillet - hands on learning about atoms {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015

Atomic Cookie Skillet Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 7” cast iron skillet (we have this set of 2 aff link)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs and add remaining ingredients in order listed, mixing well. Place a chunk of the dough into the center of the skillet and press down, leaving some room around the edges for spreading while baking.

atomic cookie skillet - hands on learning about atoms {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-2

Create a nucleus using the correct number of protons and neutrons. Place them close together in the center of your cookie dough. You’ll have to decide which color you’d like to have representing protons and neutrons. Each atom has a specific atomic number (i.e. oxygen has an atomic number of 8, so there would be 8 protons and 8 neutrons as a part of the nucleus).

atomic cookie skillet - hands on learning about atoms {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-3

Once your nucleus is in place, choose a different colored M&M to create your electrons and place them along the outer edge of the cookie. Use the same number of electrons as the atomic number (so oxygen would be 8, the same as the protons and neutrons in the nucleus).

atomic cookie skillet - hands on learning about atoms {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-4

Marvel at the yumminess that will be yours in less than 15 minutes and see if you can identify the different atoms that you created. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookie is baked to you liking (ours took between 14-15 minutes).

atomic cookie skillet - hands on learning about atoms {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-5

Enjoy your atomic cookie skillets! Can you guess which atom models we made above? (Hint: count the nucleus or electrons and check your periodic table). And if any of you decide to make an atom representing gold (79), I’d really like to see pictures of that model. Or eat it with you.

Note: You can also  make monster cookies with this recipe. Double the ingredients and add in 1 cup of M&M’s and 1 cup chocolate chips. Use an ice cream scoop to portion on cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes.


Building Atom Models

Building atom models is a fun way for children to get a hands-on look at chemistry. Only a few items are needed to create a 3D example of an atom.

Looking for another hands-on idea for learning about atoms? Building atom models is an easy and memorable way to work on chemistry. 


Atomic cookie model - a fun, hands-on way to learn about atoms and the periodic table


Yarn Owl Craft Tutorial

yarn owl craft tutorial from Homeschool Creations

We have owls of all sizes in the works at the moment, because this yarn owl craft is just too cute!! We started out with one size of owls, but quickly ended up trying a few different sizes as well, especially when the googly eyes, felt, and yarn were in abundance!

The girls initially made something similar while we were camping, but we tweaked it to make it easier – and cuter!

Yarn Owl Craft Tutorial

Want to make one (or four) as well? I promise these are so very cute and will make some great decorations around the house. Picture a little owl family nestled in the corner of a bookcase…

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015

Supplies needed:

  • felt: yellow, orange, brown (white optional)
  • Elmer’s glue
  • dark brown yarn – we chose a multi-colored version)
  • googly eyes
  • 2.5” Styrofoam balls (we also have 2” and 1.5” that we’re trying out)
  • scissors

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-2

Based on the size of your styrofoam ball, cut your felt to size: wings, feet, beak, and circles for around the eyes.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-3

Lay them out – and start picturing how cute this little owl is going to be.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-15

Use the scissors to shave a flat area onto the bottom part of the styrofoam ball (if you can figure out where the bottom is…). You’ll need this area to make the owl stand without rolling over.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-4

Use glue to stick the feet onto the flat area of the styrofoam ball. Wait a few minutes to let the glue dry.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-5

Apply a small circle of glue to the bottom area and being coiling the yarn in a circle.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-6

Continue coiling and secure with a little glue. When you get closer to the top of the feet, begin wrapping the yarn around the opposite side of the felt feet, so you can wrap the yarn around the remainder of the styrofoam ball.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-7

Secure with just a little bit more glue, but the styrofoam ball will hold the yarn well as you continue to wrap the yarn around the ball.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-8

As you get closer to the top part of the ball where it gets smaller in size, use a little bit of glue to begin securing the yarn again.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-9

Continue wrapping, watching for gaps in the yarn so you don’t see any of the styrofoam ball through the yarn.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-10

Wrap some more.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-11

Finish up the remainder of the coiling and wrapping, securing with glue until every area of the ball is covered.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-12

Stand your little owl buddy up and prepare him/her for finishing.

Yarn Owl Craft tutorial {%{% Homeschool Creations 2015-13

Add your owl’s eyes, beak, and wings. and then pull out the rest of your supplies – because you are going to want to make more of these little cuties!

yarn owl craft tutorial from Homeschool Creations

The Last Few Weeks of Summer…

School officially started for us yesterday. I suppose that technically means we have to hole up in the house and forget to have fun, but we’re still milking the last days of summer as much as we can. (We may have celebrated our first completed day by heading to the pool.)

Over the last few weeks we’ve spent time camping and doing some fun things together as a family – in short, life. If you follow my Instagram or Facebook feed you may have seen some of this, but here’s a quick peek at what we’ve been up to.


We wrapped up our summer swim league with a long day of swimming at the final championship meet. The kids all did AMAZING! Zachary broke one of the league records and two of the kids placed first in their events. It was a great end to the season and the kids were so excited to share in the fun with their team. You can see a video clip of Zachary in his backstroke event here.


We’ve watched a ginormous spider build a web right outside my bathroom window and even saw her enjoy a tasty meal (if you are brave, you can see a little video snippet of that here).

reading and snuggles

Each morning the kids come snuggle in bed with me, sometimes chatting, sometimes reading. It makes my heart so happy to see this (and makes me not want to get out of bed!).


In just a few short weeks we are headed to Universal in Orlando for the Family Forward conference. The kids are literally counting down the days until we leave. They have been busy saving their money and working hard to earn spending money for the trip. It’s actually been a great lesson in what is worthwhile to spend your money on, especially when you see how much a sibling saves when not making seemingly small purchases like a candy bar here or a soda there (life in action!).

monarch chrysalis

The monarch caterpillars are out in full force and we have several that have already gone into the chrysalis stage. It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, there is something absolutely amazing and breathtaking watching the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. It never gets old.

night sky

Last week we took the kids to the top of a nearby mountain, laid out in the field, and watched the meteor shower together. SO much fun. Until one child had to repeatedly use the bathroom. Then not as fun. But watching it all was unbelievably awe-inspiring. (The above is my proof to the kids that a picture from my iPhone was not going to work.)

campfire building

Camping – ah, how we have missed it! We’ve had the chance to take two trips recently, Rick has been teaching the kids new fire-building techniques, and we’ve just had fun relaxing with friends.

catching crawdads

While camping, the creatures abound. The kids caught crawdads and boiled them for a little pre-dinner snack (I’d rather have lobster, thank you very much).

tree frog

At the pond/lake – little tree frogs everywhere. McKenna had one that wanted to stay with her. We also found tons of tadpoles and froglets (I may have wanted to bring some home with us), but Kaleb found many in different stages of tail development and that was so neat to see.


And last week I spent some time sorting construction paper by color (because it’s easier to grab what you need that way). The paper was a great deal and on sale, but hindsight – I am willing to pay a little extra so that I don’t have to spend 20 minutes sorting a small pack of paper by color. Dear Crayola – please consider sorting your paper by color otherwise. Thank you very much. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

Well, that’s our last few weeks in a nutshell – what have YOU been up to?