Monkey and Rex Sleeping

Teens and Sleep

I recently purchased Tell Your Time by Amy Andrews {a steal at $2.99 with code Spring12, btw}, and I have been going through and figuring out where I need to schedule my time in order to accomplish my goals.

One of the last steps is to grid in a rough idea of your schedule. Well, one of the first things to put on the grid is sleep – so that you don’t accidentally forget to schedule it! This is definitely an area where we need help.

Monkey and Rex Sleeping {Pre- the teen sleep crisis} Aren’t they sweet?

Lately, my monkey seems to be sleeping the day away. Now, granted – we are also going to bed later at night because of other commitments. So, my mommy guilt kicked in overtime, and I started researching exactly how much sleep teenagers are supposed to need. I seemed to remember reading that they needed more sleep, so I figured we were going to need to start going to bed earlier to get that extra shut-eye.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that according to several sites out there, teens’ circadian rhythm actually changes through puberty, and they turn into night owls – where they naturally go to bed later and sleep in later. {Well, they would sleep in later if they didn’t have to make it to school so early.} In fact, I only found one site that disagreed, but truthfully, I found their argument more along the lines of “since they’re able to function on less sleep, that must mean it’s ok.”

In fact, it’s becoming so widely recognized, that some public schools are actually changing the time that high schools begin in the morning to accommodate their new sleep patterns, but even with the change, they still may not be getting enough sleep. What a great opportunity we have in homeschooling! I can let their natural sleep patterns emerge.

But, first things first – I need to figure out how long their sleep needs are {the average ranges from 8.5 – 11 hrs!} in order to plan the rest of the day – not to mention, paying off the sleep debt that we’ve all built up. {Bet you didn’t know that you could catch up on sleep – not all at once, mind you, but you can catch up.}

So, for the next several weeks, we will all go to bed at the same time {not as each other, but the same actual time on the clock} each night. It will probably be around 11pm – midnight for the kids because that’s when they are naturally getting tired – and, then we’ll sleep until we have gotten enough sleep that night.

Apparently, if you do this for a couple of weeks, you can actually get caught up on your sleep as well as figure out how much sleep you actually need. Once we have that number, I’ll be better able to draft out a schedule to help keep us on track toward our goals instead of letting life just happen to us. {Seriously, get the book Tell Your Time – you won’t be disappointed!}

How long do your teens need to sleep to feel completely rested? Tell me about it in the comments!


Disclaimer: if you do decide to purchase Tell Your Time, I am an affiliate and will make a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Learn Math Fast!

Learn Math Fast! {Review}

Math has been a struggle for us lately. Not so much because the kids didn’t know what they were doing, but because I haven’t trusted how much they have actually learned.

We tried Speed Math and Real World Math Problems. Both went over very well, but there was still the problem of not enough structure to make me comfortable that we were covering everything that needed to be covered.

Luckily, right about the time I was about to throw my hands up in frustration again, I was introduced to the Learn Math Fast! program. I was immediately intrigued. When given the opportunity to review the program, I jumped on it.

For us, one of the wonderful parts of this program is that everyone starts at the beginning. Well, that let me make sure that they understood the beginning concepts without making them go though something labeled First Grade – which would have been destined to create grumbles from the 7th grader.

And, the program truly lives up to it’s name. Each lesson lasts about 5-10 minutes, and then they have a worksheet to complete on their own. And, the awesome thing is that the book is a non-consumable and you can print the worksheets directly from online. Which means that if you need to go back and do a section again, you can easily print the worksheet again – no muss, no fuss.

The author has also been wonderful answering questions when we ran into a bit of a quandary with the timed tests portion. (Monkey does *not* do well when timed on anything – it makes her quite stressed.) It was fabulous being able to ask JK about how to handle the situation.

I really can’t say enough good things about this program. The kids learn very quickly, without getting bogged down by pages and pages of the same problems. It also allows them to feel confidence in their abilities which makes them eager to do more.

We’ve been using the program for a little while now, and it is definitely a winner for us! They are just zipping right along, and I can easily envision a day where they will be doing the work all on their own – yippee!

I’m thrilled that I get to offer one of my lucky readers a copy of Volume I to get you started. Just follow the directions in the rafflecopter to enter. The giveaway will end on Thursday, May 17th at midnight, and a winner will be chosen on Friday, May 18th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: I was provided a free copy of Learn Math Fast! in order to review the system for my fair and unbiased review. Prize fulfillment will also be provided by Learn Math Fast!


Giveaway Day

Returning from Hiatus

Well, I’m back! Miss me? I feel so badly that I was absent for so long, but family life called and I answered. I know you’ve all been there and understand.

I’ve got some really great giveaways coming up this month. The first one will be live on Thursday, so be sure to check back to see the goodies for the month of May.



Handi-Skill Spotlight: Cross-stitch

Not sure what a handi-skill is?

Source: via Lindsay on Pinterest

Cross-stiching is an age old craft that comes in neatly packaged bags in craft stores everywhere. You can easily get started for under $10.

The sky is the limit as to the number of patterns that are available for your child to pursue.

There are towels, wall hangings, pillows, or how about the newest kid on the block? The Purl Bee has instructions for cross-stitching an iphone case. {What could be cooler, right?}

Source: via A on Pinterest


window painting

Handi-Skill Spotlight: Window Painting

Not sure what a handi-skill is?

Have you ever admired the window paintings in a store window? Did you ever think that people are paid to paint them?

Here’s a neat idea to start making those paintings at home.

For younger children, Hands on as We Grow has a great tutorial using soap and tempura paint which makes for easy clean-up – at least on the outside of the house.

For older kids (and for something more permanent but still removable), Glory’s Mischief has detailed instructions using a dry erase marker for the outline and acrylic paint. She tells you step by step how to create a cat in the window and pumpkins for a Thanksgiving Theme, and you could easily adapt the directions for other designs. (Note: The Window Woman warns against using acrylic paints that are advertised for glass because these are designed to be permanent on glass.)

If you have any questions, The Window Woman has free informational tips covering the types of brushes and paint to use as well as how to prep your window.

And, who knows – maybe one day you’ll have an artist who paints something like this…

Have fun!


Linking up with

HSBAjoin - Shamrock

Easter Eve Cookies

Today, I’m over at The Homeschool Post sharing a recipe for cookies that can be made on Easter Eve as a very tangible lesson for your children to experience the Easter story.

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!


hammocks in a tree

Relax and Renew

When was the last time you relaxed? Let your children relax?

No, I don’t mean the let’s take a day off of school {so that we can clean the house} kind of relaxing.

I mean total relaxation – letting all the cares slip away and just be.

No responsibilities.


I ran across these girls celebrating their Spring Break.

Can you imagine anything more relaxing?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you necessarily need to run out and hang a hammock in a tree, but I did get inspired to try to take some real time off. Not that I would ever be guilty of that fake time off where I take care of housework instead. {Yeah, right.}

So, that’s my next assignment – plan a day {or maybe even a few days} of complete relaxation for the family.

What are some of your family’s favorite ways to cut loose and forget about all your cares? Tell me about it in the comments – we definitely need ideas!

Oh, and in case you’ve been inspired by these wonderfully creative young ladies, they told me that those hammocks are called ENO Hammocks.


handicraft - teach children massage tecniques

Handi-Skill Spotlight: Massage Techniques

Not sure what a Handi-Skill is?

Monkey and her cousin Lilly used to set up a spa in her room complete with dimmed lights, signs reminding you to be quiet, and soft music playing in the background. Oh, how I wish I had thought to teach her the art of massage.

Do you have little girls who like to play Spa? Or a darling son who like to massage his poor mother’s feet? Well, then what a perfect time to teach them how to do massage correctly. (Not to mention, how awesome would it be to get said massage?)

Sadly, the best site that I found for teaching massage techniques seems to be directed more towards couples massage, but they do a good job of showing the hand movements. You definitely want to take a look at the site before letting the kids on there – or of course you can learn the techniques and then teach them yourself. has free video tutorials on back, foot, and arm massage as well as hands and fingers and some that you probably don’t need/want your kids to learn…

If you’re looking for some baby massage techniques, has a good article with some how tos.

And, massage has so many proven health benefits, what could be better than the whole family trading off massage time?

What do you think? Would your kids enjoy giving massages? Getting them? Tell me about it in the comments.


Linking up with the

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Baby Me

Gifts from the Father (5 Minute Friday)

On Fridays, I really love participating in The Gypsy Mama 5 Minute Friday. This is when you write for 5 minutes straight without editing and just allowing the ideas to flow. (I must admit that I fix spelling errors, but I leave the grammar errors. I also add the pictures after my writing time has elapsed.)

This week’s inspiration word?


There are so many gifts to be thankful for. God has blessed me with so much.

See that little bundle of joy? That's me!

He gifted me amazing parents who gave me the freedom to grow into myself while grounding me with what I needed to become a responsible adult. (Well, as responsible as they could – you can only do so much with what you’ve got to work with.)

I have an awesome extended family that others just wouldn’t believe. Who else still gets together with 4 generations every Christmas?

The ones who started it all.

My grandparents gave us the gift of family and of togetherness and of belonging – and LOVE. Love in Christ enables us to love each other.

Our honeymoon on The Big Red Boat

My husband was an another gift that changed my life. Thanks to him, and to HIM, I have 2 amazing little gifts running around. What a blessing to wake up this morning to find the two of them sitting quietly together in the den reading the books we got from the library yesterday.

Monkey and Rex as Pirates

How unworthy I am to have had all these gifts from the Father who loves us all – and, yet he has chosen to bless my life immensely through them.

Thank you, God for your care of even me. Thank you for your blessings that are evident every single day. I just hope you will use me to give a gift of blessing to others.


Won’t you come link up your best five minutes and experience the freedom – I’m sure you’ll be surprised. I have to admit that this post went in a completely different direction than I thought it was going to when I started.


using neglected wall space for map hangings

Are You Neglecting A Valuable Resource?

One of the best resources we have in our house?

The vertical spaces. That’s right – the walls.

When the kids walk down this hallway, they are constantly stopping to look at the maps and {maybe less often} the Periodic Table.

Recently, this principle was driven home again. I was looking for a place to hang the Tapestry of Grace Map of the Humanities {Full Disclosure: Even though this looks like a great program, we have decided not to use it because it is just too intense for my level of planning ability.}

I considered hanging it in the den because then you could see it while watching TV. The problem is that once you open the door, you wouldn’t be able to see it. And, it definitely seems that my kids are more likely to stop while walking by instead of sitting there and staring contemplatively at information on the wall.

So, I chose a wall that we walk by, but you don’t really notice otherwise, and guess what!

Within 30 minutes, Rex had stopped and was investigating and asking questions about the Unification of Germany.

So, if you have things on the walls that the kids aren’t looking at, have you considered moving it to a walking area instead of a sitting area? {and, if you’re worried about your home looking like a classroom, well…. it is, isn’t it? But, it if really does bother your sense of style, there are lots of nice decorative maps out there. I’m using the old world style.}

We’ve also had luck using this principle with printing out famous artwork, with the name of the author and the piece below it, laminating it, and hanging them up with removable poster strips. Please forgive the flash glare.

And, don’t forget the horizontal spaces!

It’s super easy to add a World Map to the dinner table {well, maybe slightly more difficult for a round table…} We’ve had great conversations start from just looking over the map. Even mom and dad get stuck looking at the maps. :)

What have been your most successful things to hang on the wall? I’m looking for ideas – so please tell me in the comments!



Handi-Skill Spotlight: Origami

Not sure what a Handi-Skill is?

Origami is such a neat little skill to have, isn’t it? From amazing your friends to being able to fold napkins for a fancy dinner party, it’s just one of those things that always surprises those who see it.

It’s really not as hard as it looks (well, some of it) – especially if you buy the specially made origami paper available at most craft stores. The key seems to be starting with a square. Also, the store bought paper is nice and thin which allows for more folds without getting bulky.

The great thing about origami is that the initial expense is very low. There are online resources with the directions, and you could even cut your own paper if you didn’t want to purchase the special kind. (Although from personal experience, I will tell you that it is much easier when using the purchased papers.)

Source:  Sean on Pinterest

Origami-instructions has some particularly easy beginner pieces for very young children or to use as a great confidence booster.

The Origami Resource Center seems to be targeted to a little bit older child – or once you’re ready for something different.

And, for something a little bit different, Tammy Yee offers Print and Fold Origami which allows you to have an end result that is very colorful.

For the adventurous types, check out the Napkin Folding Guide and be ready to amaze your next dinner guests.

Happy Folding!



5 Minute Friday: Loud

All right, here we go again with Five Minute Friday – and, I was lucky enough to get the children participating this week again, so under my five minutes, you’ll find theirs as well.

Here are the rules from Gypsy Mama’s site:

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:




Sometimes life is just too LOUD. Everyone is talking over everyone else – you can’t hear yourself think.

And, then all of a sudden, no one else is at home and it is quiet – too quiet.

And, then I get sad because I realize that the loud days of childhood are starting to come to a close. Anytime the kids are off at an event or camp or something, and it’s just me and moondoggy starting at each other I wonder – is this what it’s going to be like when they leave?

just quiet. No excitement?

So, I’m trying to treasure these loud days – even when they are so loud I don’t know how to cope because I know that the quiet is coming. And, I’ll take loud any day of the week – although quiet is nice in small doses – it helps you appreciate the loud even more.

I’m just hoping that as they grow, the noise will become more organized – more purposeful – so that maybe, just maybe, i stand a chance of keeping up and understanding what they are talking about.

Because really, in the end, that’s the most important thing – connections, understanding, and LOVE through the LOUD.

Monkey (13yo)

rex. loudred. kaito is annoying.

i like gakupo better even though they’re just about the same

kyaaaaaaa dare kana yo whooo! mikumikuni shiteageru nyanyadada………… don’t be sad, be happy, it’s our day to make some joy. stand up and play around cmon lets do the dance, cmon. nyan nyan.

makes me wanna wag my tail, when it comes i scream and wail, * SCREAM *

***note from momma: some of those words are pokemon, vocaloids, and Japanese words. If you didn’t understand it, don’t feel bad – I had to get her to explain it to me too. :)

Rex (11yo)

I want to rock rock rock!

I want to rock rock!

There’s a feeling that you want me to turn down and I say No, no, No!

Ok, that was the start of one of my favorite songs “I want to Rock” and I’ll tell you another one of my favorites – well, the song is a very fun song but I can’t remember the name, But, there is another song that I like called I love Rock and Roll.

Some of the people out there don’t like the fact that rock and roll is loud.

The reason that rock and roll is loud is because it is amplified for the instruments.

They use an electric guitar – not a regular guitar – but an electric guitar which gives it a rock and roll sound.

Then there is the drums and when you push on the pedal it makes a specific sound.

There are other instruments that are also amplified. They use pianos and keyboards that are amplified and make a great song.

And, then there’s the singing. If the singing wasn’t loud, then you wouldn’t be able to hear what they are saying.

And, that’s the reason that almost all of rock and roll songs have amplified instruments.

It makes it sound great glorius that’s what rock and roll fans see in rock and roll.

Good night!

Then end.

Won’t you give 5 Minute Friday a try? I’d love to read yours – please let me know about it in the comments! (And, be sure to let comment-luv link you up.)