Month: September 2015

Toys ‘R Us Time Machine

FullSizeRender 5Periodically, we go to dinner at ‘Sweet Tomatoes’, which happens to be across the street from Toys ‘R Us. Vegas dreads this dinner outing more than any other, because we always end up at the toy store. Its like groundhog day, or deja vu. The kids go in, the choices are overwhelming and terrible, nothing is particularly interesting, but everything is so fantastically expensive. We leave, always with at least one child weeping. FullSizeRender 2

Last night was our trip to sweet tomatoes, {we had a 25% off coupon and boxed macaroni at home…so a salad buffet sounded awesome.} The boys had saved some money and begged to go into Toys ‘R Us, so we said yes, and Vegas groaned. We wandered around, riding horrible bikes with fat tires and pushing buttons on a hundred noisy toys. The boys couldn’t decide on anything, because a.) it was all awful, and b.) it was all expensive.

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I was having a great time though, because there were some things on my school list that I wanted to see in person, rather than buying them on Amazon, sight unseen. I found some 1.3mm mechanical pencils right away, on clearance for less than half the amazon price, and super cheap pencil boxes, {for the new crayons that couldn’t stay in the box..who designed crayon boxes anyway? Ugh.}. Magnadoodles were next on my list, and I had to hunt for them. I wanted them for letter and number practice, to save on paper, and to offer a different tactile medium for writing. The small size that I had planned on getting seemed awfully small for their $11 price tag, but the big size seemed too pricey at $19. So, I went and asked the kids what they thought. Try asking any three {or five} year old what they think about school supplies while they are riding Spiderman bikes and singing along with life-size frozen dolls. They can’t even hear you.

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I bought them anyway.

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And some play dough.

Guess what they have used non-stop since we got home?

Planning on planning all day, Shelley


Planning Takes Time…

IMG_4249We did it. Starting is most of the battle, in my experience. Having ‘your work cut out for you’, always sounded like a bad thing, growing up. Now I am realizing that having your work cut out for you, is really having the hard work done. {at least some of it!} Sometimes, trying to figure out what to do, and how to do it, can be a paralyzing challenge. With that said, much of our work is cut out for us now. We have chosen books, ordered many of them, and yes, we have actually started reading and writing in them. What a relief!

Vegas is wrestling with Harold Jacobs Algebra, reading about the Vinland Map, and learning about the earliest glimmers of art history.


Elvis is embarking on ‘A Cricket in Times Square’, sharpening his math skills, and honing his orienteering.

FullSizeRenderAxel blazed through the first few lessons in McGuffey’s reader, and is enjoying his first grade math workbook, even though he is technically in kindergarten.

America is working on her colors, drawing shapes and people, and learning to spell her own name. She loves to sit and work while her brothers are doing their lessons.


Last, but not least, we have inherited a full size van. While we don’t actually need all the seats ourselves, it enables us to go on field trips with our cousins, and head out to skate church in style. {especially once we get the Screaming Hand on the back window!} I am looking forward to having many adventures in it this year, and thanks to miss Meri, we are all referring to it as the ‘Battle Tram‘. We may have to get custom plates.

Planning takes time that men of action don’t have. ~ MC Bat Commander

{and we are men of action}


On the Move


{on the move is one of our favorite records to listen to while working….}

Things are beginning to take shape around here, due largely to the generous support of the go fund me page we set up. In addition, my wonderful family in Seattle brought us grocery bags filled with things like notebook paper, and legos…teaching tools, pencils, and sketchbooks. We took our yearly summer ‘sort of stay-cation’ to Seattle last weekend, and it was fantastic.



Vegas was the only one to ever have ridden a ferry across Puget Sound before, {still, it was several years ago!} so right off the bat, we picked up my mom and headed west on the Tillamook towards Southworth. I managed a quick Craigslist stop in Port Orchard, and we drove north to Kingston and took the Walla Walla back to Edmonds.


{BTW~ that lady in the background was cracking us up! I was afraid she would get blown away!}

The weather was beautiful, the wind didn’t bite at our ears too much, and the vending machines were grossly overpriced! Yikes! $2.50 for a little bag of Sour Patch Kids, I felt like I might as well be going to the movies!



Later that night, some of us actually did go to the movies, and I am still processing what I think of the new Mad Max. Mostly, I feel like there were not nearly enough leather jackets, or awesome outfits.


Back on track.


Our trip also included a visit to the Burke Museum, Dick’s fries, Pagliacci Pizza, the most amazing gyro/gyro plate EVER from Mr. Gyro’s {if you haven’t been, go! It is amazing. Greenwood & 85th},Pike Place Market, The University Book Store, Byrnie Utz Hats,  Carkeek Park, thrift stores, hair appointments, the Fremont Troll, and an epic rainstorm.


We packed our car full of art supplies, books, binders, ideas, and memories. I came home with a much more specific book list, and began ordering curriculum today. In the mail {for Vegas} already, is Harold Jacobs Elementary Algebra, which is an exciting step off the beaten path for us, we’ve been sticking to the tried and true Saxon math for the last few years, but I am excited for this text. Also, {for Vegas} Windows to the World, which is a literary analysis course…right up his alley. In the next order I will have the math and language arts books for Elvis and Axel, as well as magna doodles for Axel and America to practice Handwriting.


Soon after that order, will come the order with all the knives, ropes, knot tying books, field guides and nature handbooks.  {that will be the hardest to keep simple!}


Vegas starts Orchestra at the local middle school this Friday, which is completely crazy to me, but I think it will be fun!


School will start for us on the 15th, even though I am sure some of the books won’t be here yet. It will be a soft start, so to speak, getting the routine down, figuring out how to get Vegas to orchestra and back, etc.


On the back burner, I am considering joining the Wild Explorer’s club, {or starting my own club, just for the merit badges}. Anyone know where to get patches made?

Trying to eek every inch out of my tiny office area, Shelley