Ready for Geology?

We are going to have 1 or two kids studying geology this year. We haven't quite decided yet.
In preparation I've been studying all about rocks, minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes
and the like.

Can I just confess that science isn't my subject. Well, I love science, I just don't do so well at teaching it.

And then I created an Oreo lab for plate tectonics.
OREOS. You know, the cookies?

Ok, I'm in now. (As long as there's milk too...)

Although I am nowhere near ready for school, I am ready to jump into geology with at least one son.
That's a start!

Are you ready for school?

Are you teaching geology this year? You may want to take a look at this resource.

My Son Almost Died Today

I wrote this when son number three was 12.
I still have two more 12's to survive... Pray for me.

My son almost died today.
That's right, I almost killed him.

If you just sucked in all your breath thinking, "How can she say that?" then I can tell you either have never had a 12 year old son, or your sweet little boys are under the age of ten.

Now, of course I would never harm my children. I adore them and see them as precious gifts from the Lord on High. This, however, does not get them to stop testing my limits of self control daily.

As a mom of five sons I would testify in a court of law that nothing tests a mom more than a 12 year old son. Nothing. I mean NOTHING.

Do you have a hormonal 12 year old boy (maybe 11-13)?

My advice:
Watch Captain America together. 
Pop popcorn even.

Specifically watch the scene where the wimpy Captain Rogers willingly is strapped into the apparatus that will allow the injections required to transform him into Captain America.

Explain to your son, "this is EXACTLY what you are going through right now. You are the pre-captain, being pumped full of hormones that will transform you into being the man you are destined to be."   

It will hurt. It will cause pain, not just for you but for those of us watching. But you will come through the other side.

My job is to help you through this "gauntlet of change". Your job is to realize that while it is hard, there are some definite boundaries...

This clip is so great.
Not only does the captain transform, but he never gives up.
...even when he is closed in and no one can see what he going through.
The woman in the scene (like a mom) just want the pain to stop. As moms we cry, "STOP!"
Things explode.
Things break.

In the end, it is all worth it. He comes out the other side a man.

Yes. Watch this with your boys. Talk about it often!

Mama, don't despair about your hormonal son. He can make it through his transformation alive.
It may not be fun for either of you though. 

  • Pray often
  • Pray hard
  • Trust the Lord.
  • If you are married, trust your husband's instincts in regards to your son. This is not the time to coddle him. love him, yes. Coddle? no.
  • Work that boy! Make sure he sweats daily! Forget what society says and hand that son a shovel. If you do not have a yard big enough to keep him busy, lend him to the neighbors. (Obviously use discretion, but someone always needs help in their yard. who knows, maybe he'll earn a few dollars as well)
  • Give him purpose: He needs jobs to run and lead. Boys need to know they make a difference.
Hang in there!


Teaching Kids to Cook

My husband is brilliant.

Recently, I had minor surgery on my foot that has required me to be off my feet. My husband wisely decided that each of our five boys would take over a meal a week to help the house fun while I am down.

This has sprung into a full Cooking Camp in our home. 
So far, the results have been outstanding. 
Last nights dinner was the best version of Chicken Duvan I have ever eaten. 
I am still dreaming about it. 

The best part is that it was made by our 18 year old.

Enter Cooking Camp 1
I just completed our  official "Cooking Camp 1" Handbook. It includes everything from knife skills to kitchen clean up and all the cooking and preparation in between.

You choose exactly which skill your child needs to learn, and then they practice that skill until it is mastered. 

Cooking well takes time and practice, but it is well worth it.

Simply click on the link and download your copy of Cooking Camp 1 today!

Lewis and Clark: Following in Their Footsteps

 Lewis and Clark
What an amazing journey!

My boys and I spent far too long studying Lewis and Clark this past year. That's what happens in our home when mom falls in love with learning about something... We camp there a while.

I never paid attention in school when we learned about the Louisiana Purchase and Jefferson's desire to know all about America's new land. It wasn't until I picked up the book Undaunted Courage that I became enthralled.

This book intermingles the journals of the explores with "just the right amount of narrative" to draw you into the expedition. I loved every word.

To top it off, my husband thought it would be fun to explore some of their actual journey. Since we live a few hours from the Columbia River, we planned our vacation as a retracing the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. What a delightful trip!

Here's where we explored:

The Dalles.
This is now home to a great Dam, but at the time of the expedition was a treacherous stretch of the river that was riddled with waterfalls. Clark was appalled by "the horrid appearance of this agitated gut swelling [water], boiling and whorling in every direction." (They couldn't spell)
It was such a dangerous stretch of water that they sent all the men who could not swim by land carrying all the heavy and less valuable items with them.

This was a Class V rapid, meaning it could not have been run by modern experts.
The natives of the area were sure the white men would die and so they lined the banks to watch them fail, ready to scoop up all the abandoned equipment. To their astonishment, the Americans made the run without incident!

We stopped at the Dalles Dam/Museum and enjoyed learning all about the dam as well.

It is interesting to see the river today. The dam quiets the rapids quite a bit but you can imagine the torrents of yesteryear!

Discovery Center Museum
There is a fantastic museum that we explored which included quite a bit of information and some artifacts from the expedition.

Fort Rock Camp
We visited the site where the expedition spent three days regrouping- repairing canoes, drying their gear, and hunting. It was surreal to stand where they stood!

The Columbia River
We drove west along the Columbia. I was stunned that there were over 70 waterfalls! Nursing a foot injury, our family only explored the more famous falls which were easy to access from the road.
Multnomah Falls was my favorite.

Vista House
Up a windy road we found the Vista House. At the turn of the century, this area was declared a wonderful excursion spot for motorists in the "horseless carriages". The roads were groomed for pleasure driving and the vista house was a destination for travelers to take in the incredible view, picnic, and simply refresh themselves. Stunning view!!

Before leaving the Columbia, we stopped at the Bonneville dam to see the hatchery and the giant sturgeon. Worth the detour! In the main building we could see into the fishladder (bypass which keeps the fish safe as they swim upstream). It was incredible to see the amount of fish fighting their way upstream!

We then travelled west until we reached the city of Seaside.
Seaside is the place where the expedition first reached the Pacific Ocean. They also set up a salt harvesting team there as well.

Fort Clatsop

After exploring the west coast for a place to camp for the winter, the captains decided to build a fort with the Clatsop Natives. There were plenty of trees and resources and the hunting was good. Our family loved exploring the recreation of the winter camp. The original camp was long gone, having rotten away from the elements, but the recreation is considered to be very close to the original.

What a fun family adventure to walk in the footsteps of famous explorers!

Reading and Hammocks- A Match Made in Heaven

My brilliant husband is in the process of outfitting all five of our sons with hammock for relaxing and backpack camping. What a delight these hammocks have been.

The biggest benefits of hammocking so far have been:

  • Fellowship. The Boys LOVE hammocking and will spend hours together "hanging" out.
  • Relaxing. Nothing defines chilling out better than a hammock.
  • Reading. This one caught me by surprise. The hammock has become the favorite reading spot at home. Big brother has turned it into special cozy and read-aloud time too.

My husband has hooked the boys up with Special gear to make their hammocks easy to hang.

                                                              Here's his gear list so far:

The Ultimate Hang (book- Because we homeschool... There's a book for everything:))

For kicks and giggles, you can enjoy all about hammocking with our favorite hammocking YouTuber Shug Emery. Former Ringling Brother Clown and all around funny guy, he loves to share all about the art of hammocking.

So if you, like me, are always on the lookout for new ways to encourage reading, I would suggest looking into getting a hammock for your kids. What a fun, quiet place to curl up with a great book!

Don't Panic if Your Kids Cannot Read Yet!

Don't Panic if Your Kids Cannot Read Yet!

Just keep reading to them.

  • Grab an exciting book and suddenly have to "Stop Reading" at an extremely exciting part.

  • Leave them hanging in stories.

  • Talk to them about the books you are reading.

  • Give them access to books, lots and lots of book.

  • Gather books that are below their reading level and have them "hanging around".

  • You, mom, pick up children's literature and read silently to yourself. Let your kids see that there are no age appropriate kid's books. Help them see that a good book is simply that, a good book.

  • I have had 5 reluctant readers myself. I chose not to panic about it, but to follow my own advice. Our youngest was the most reluctant yet. He didn't begin reading until he was ten. Yes, TEN.


    I always read aloud to him and kept giving him opportunity to read, but it never "clicked". One day, that all changed.
    I was walking all over our home looking for him one day. He was silent...

    I was shocked to stumble over him reading quietly in a corner while snuggling with the dog.

    Did I say I was shocked?

    I knew it would eventually happen, but I was still shocked when it did.

    He fell in love with the Magic Tree House Series. As a matter of fact he has read a whole book every day since the day I took this picture. Amazing!

    Magic Tree House Book 1 Activities

    Do you have a reluctant reader?

    Keep reading to them.

    Supply them with lots of books.

    Visit the library. Often.

    Leave 'em hanging in a story.

    Just never give up. They will read.

    Never make it a negative, reading is fun.

    The only thing that matters is THAT they learn to read. 

    Sale on Back to School!

    Summer is almost over. I am Not Ready, Are You?

    There is still a full month of summer here in our home, but I feel it slipping through my fingers. I know I need to start planning. To make it less painful, I am joining in the Back to School Sale.

    My entire store is on sale until Midnight Tuesday Aug. 2, 2016!

    There are many, many resources available, but only a few hours left to take advantage of the sale.

    Have a summery day!

    Losing Our Beloved Dog


    Dead silence.

    Just over three weeks ago we unexpectedly lost our beloved Australian Shepherd Buck.
    We were all completely unprepared for how much his loss would impact us.

    Buck was 7 years old and a big ball of fluffy.
    Two days before he died my 18 year old son was petting him and playing with him and I
    said, "Boy are you going to miss that dog someday."
    He said, "I know, right?"

    I don't know why I said it.
    In the moment I was simply keenly aware of the bond between that dog and the boy.

    We had no idea Buck was so sick.
    We knew we loved him, but we had no idea how much "life" he brought to our home.

    When we came home without the dog I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that the unconditional love giver was gone.

    All five of our boys went to the dog for hugs when they were sad or down.
    Buck was a hugger.
    He would wrap his paws around your leg and use his neck and head to engulf you in his fluffy hug.

    It's been a hard three weeks.
    Lots of tears.
    Lots of hugs.
    Lots of big sighs.

    I never bonded with a dog before Buck. Our boys never bonded with a dog before either.
    We learned so much from our fluffy friend:

    • unconditional love
    • prancing makes everyone smile
    • smart dogs understand your language
    • it's fun to play
    • hugs and cuddles are never outgrown
    • love is the core
    Here is a tribute from our son to his dog...

    There are different types of friends. 
    There are friends who you talk to every once in a while and are able to catch up with immediately no matter what has happened. There are friends who will do everything with you: goof off, go to the movies, read books... Then there is another kind of friend, the one that adores you despite your flaws, the one that gives you hugs at random intervals, the one that constantly wants to play and hang out with you and your family. In fact, this type of friend is so loving and so close to you that he or she is a member of your family.
    My dog, Buck, was a beautiful example of this kind of friend. For the past seven years we laughed at his goofy and energetic attitude, his loving cuddles, and his passion to stick with his pack in any situation.
    Yesterday, Buck was being as ornery as usual: giving us hugs, pawing to play, and running around the house (which always drives my mother crazy). At around lunchtime he came up to me and gave me a paw and a look that said he wanted attention. As usual, I couldn't refuse those gentle brown eyes.
    Then dinner came and Buck threw up his dinner. He wasn't doing well, that was clear: shaky body and pink rings around his eyes. So naturally we brought him to the vet. Once we arrived, he started to act better out of mere excitement, tail wagging and all. But of course we knew he still wasn't feeling himself.
    A couple of X-rays later, we discovered what made him feel this way: a tumor. Oh the irony! Out of all the people in the family to love on the most, out of all the dogs my family could get, we got one with a tumor and he was sure I was his master.
    We were the tumor buddies without even knowing it.
    But different from my situation, Buck was in pain and there was very little we could do about it. With one look at those X-rays I think we all knew what was coming. We talked with the vet, who was very supportive and understanding. She agreed it was probably the best and most loving option.
    He was brought in, tail slightly wagging when he saw us not understanding my our eyes were getting teary.
    We had a couple minutes to say our reluctant goodbyes. He walked over and laid down, putting a weak paw in my hand as I lay next to him and looked into his beautiful eyes. Then, when we were as ready as we were going to get, we called over the vet.
    Buck peacefully passed away last night at around 10:45, knowing that we loved him very much.
    Though I am still saddened from watching one of my best friends pass, I am more thankful than I thought I would be. This experience made me remember all of the little things, the little memories that we love about our dog.
    We wished we had named him "Prancer" because he would constantly do just that whenever he played or got excited.
    Buck would sneeze whenever he got excited about something.
    Buck would smile by curling his lips away from his front teeth whenever he got nervous or really excited/relieved.
    The goofy dog would shake his butt whenever he relieved himself.
    He drove us all crazy at times, but he still loved us and we, him.
    But the best memory I have of him is his love for my family and me. He adored us no matter what and was always there to make us smile when he tried to love on us. This dog was a hugger: he would walk up to me, sit down at my feet, and rub the side of his head against my leg.
    What I am getting at is that Buck was a beautiful example of the type of people we should be: people who love everyone around them and have a passionate love for their Master.
    Everyone agreed that Buck considered me to be his master, something I tried not to openly agree to because he was such a wonderful family dog.
    You see, we could all learn from Buck. He loved his family, was excited and loving to any new person he met, and he adored and wanted to please his master.
    My friends, we are called to do the exact same thing.
    We are meant to be like Buck: loving everyone we meet, loving on our family and the Body of Christ, and following and adoring our wonderful Master, Jesus Christ the One True God and the Creator of Everything.
    To you who believe, I challenge you to love as my dog loved my family. I challenge you to not be afraid to show your love and passion for Our Perfect Master.
    To you who do not believe, know that I am praying for you and know that you are missing out on the greatest Gift anyone can ever give you: Salvation. God is Our perfect and loving Master and He sent His Only Son, whom He loved, to pay the penalty of our sins. Jesus Christ died on the cross for this purpose and rose three days later as a promise of eternity with Him if you accept His gift. Also know that I do love you, despite your imperfections and flaws because you were beautifully and wonderfully created by God. And above all else, know that God loves you and me more than we can possibly imagine.
    Thank you Jesus for Buck's life and love that You fabricated into his being. Thank You for showing Your love and life through him. Thank you Father for the past 7 years. Even though he was taken sooner than we wished, thank You for loving Buck enough to let Him pass before he went under more pain. Lord, thank you for Buck.
    And though my good friend has passed on, I am very grateful for the spirit and example he left in our hearts and minds.
    I love you buddy and I miss you very much!

    Pokemon Go: Why I Love this New Game

    My name is Bekki and I play Pokemon Go.

    Sounds like an AA confession, right?
    So Here’s my Pokemon confession.

           Important information:
    ·      I have been married for over 25 year to a wonderful man.
    ·      We have 5 boys ages 10-23.
    ·      I HATE video games.
    ·      I mean I HATE video games.    
          When I was a kid and my parents took us to an arcade, I would pocket the quarters my dad would dish out rather than play the games.
    The night before the release of this new app, our 10 year old showed my husband something he had created and then cheerfully ran to create something else.

    My husband whispered to me, “Sometimes I forget how young he still is. I need to remember he is still a little kid.” That comment was burned into my heart.

    The next day, our oldest (23) can home and excitedly announced that “The Pokemon App was released” and he had accidentally lost his ‘Pikachu’. 
    (That’s a character in the game… hang with me for a second).

    By Monday the two memories had merged. Our youngest is still little, and our oldest is fully fascinated by this new game. So, sitting at the doctor’s office with son #3 I downloaded the app. I was convinced I could shock all five sons simultaneously.

    I had no idea what was about to happen.

    Son #3 exclaimed, “YOU are downloading Pokemon?!”
    The nurse saw my phone and gasped, “You’re playing Pokemon Go? I was out all over my neighborhood last night catching Pokemon!”

    I came home and quietly talked with my husband. I said, “You will be tempted to roll your eyes and dismiss what I am about to say, but please listen for a second. I decided today to download the Pokemon Go app and be “cool mom” and embrace this game with the kids. I think we should do it as a family.”

    He stared at me blankly for a second and said, “Really?”
    I said, “All I ask is that you pray about it.”

    Well the game has been out a week. Here are my favorite moments:
    ·      The look on my oldest sons’ faces when they were talking about the game and I casually shared that I was on level 3. There are no words to describe that moment when your kids suddenly see that you are not an alien from a different time period. Priceless.
    ·      The joy that oozed from all five sons when my husband said, “Let’s go catch Pokemon!” They all started running and talking to themselves… “Did he just say what I think he said?”
    ·      Watching our sons teach their dad (and I) how to play the game. They are so eager to have us understand.
    ·      Relating the game to our loves as Christians:
    o   We should be looking for God’s fingerprints more intensely than we hunt for Pokemon.
    o   We should pray for the people we see playing the game.
    o   We should be light.
    ·      Seeing hundreds of people out and about, exploring and playing as groups.
    ·      Smiling, laughing and talking with people in the community.
    ·      Seeing new places. (The game sends you to landmarks, signs, churches, libraries, parks, and more).
    ·      The time with my family. For this short period of time, all 7 of us are playing the same game, going to the same places, experiencing the same fun at the same time. Since my husband and I are “all in” we are included in their circle of fun.

    It’s crazy. Pokemon?
    I know there are many great reasons to avoid such “silliness”. Remember I HATE video games. I HATE wastefulness.

    But this is not wasteful. 
    This is spending time with our kids, exercising, exploring, socializing, teaching, and witnessing all wrapped up in a bouncing Pokeball. 

    Thinking about going all in for a week too? 
    Let me give you some insider tips to help you blow your kids’ socks off as well.