Starfish Gazing

During this week in Science class the kids have been learning about invertebrates. Think back really hard to your school days and remember what an invertebrate is. Can’t remember…well here I will help you!  Cover Starfish

Definition of an Invertebrate as found on Wikipedia:

Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a backbone or spine), derived from the notochord. This includes all animals apart from the subphylum Vertebrata. Familiar examples of invertebrates include insects; crabs, lobsters and their kin; snails, clams, octopuses and their kin; starfish, sea-urchins and their kin; jellyfish, and worms.

So, now we have that out-of-the-way! The kids were skeptical about dissecting a poor little animal. I convinced them it was in the name of science and by the time we were done they would have a clearer understanding of the animal and a new respect for it.

All too often the kids will view and animal such as the Starfish as unimportant because it is not cuddly like a cat or dog. This study helped them to see that all creatures have a purpose and are beautiful in their own way. Well…except roaches right? I think we can agree that no one likes roaches.

The neat thing about the dissection kit was that it had step by step instructions and I did not have to make up the steps as we went. There were some words that took some time to pronounce but we were all the better for trying!

On to the photos!

Starfish Tray

The dissection tray and tools.

Bri Starfish

Bri focusing on making the right cut.

Audy Starfish

Audy cleared out the intestines.

Mav Starfish

Mav removed the skin.


This is our project table cloth. It was on sale, kind of ugly and perfect for our projects. It has seen a lot!

I am always into making sure the kids have fun while learning. This seemed like the perfect way to get them involved in the lesson. We live very close to the beach and I try to instill in them respect for the ocean and all animals.


A Little Motivation Goes A Long Way

We all need a bit of motivation or incentive when it comes to boring or mundane tasks. Let’s face it, no one and I mean no one likes to do chores. As parents we often have to be creative when it comes to getting our kids to do certain tasks they that they do not want to do.

As a homeschooling family, chores an essential part of the day. When the kids were in public school the house was a mess because we never had time to do any cleaning. Coming home was more of a pit stop, with shoes and backpacks tossed everywhere. We all reasoned that since we were so tired we would wait until the weekend to clean up. But when the weekend came we wanted to use our off time for fun not staying home to clean up!

It was difficult to get the kids to see the importance of making sure our home was neat and organized. I mean, we were not living in filth, we were just messy and nothing had a place. I tried everything I could think of to get the kids to complete their tasks with pride and satisfaction but chore time was always met with whining and grumpy faces.

Most people might reason that since the kids live in the house they should just clean it and that’s that! To a degree that is reasonable. But back to the title of this blog, a little motivation and incentive goes a long way.

For the past month the kids and I have developed a little test program. Every day they have a chore chart with chores that I assign to them. At the beginning of the week I fill out a “check” with their name on it. Instead of printing new “checks” each week I reissue the same one to save on paper and ink. They are responsible for keeping up with that check and handing it to me every Friday for successfully completeing their chores. It’s a way to get them to do the chores and allow them to earn money instead of being handed an allowance.  I have two ten-year olds and a twelve-year-old so the idea of a check with their name on it is pretty exciting.


Check template can be found here. I edited the Bank Name, School Name and Address.

The way the chore chart works is when the chore is complete they mark the time, using an analog clock. I also work with them on the chores to make sure they clean effectively and not just according to what they think is clean. That doesn’t mean I hover over them and pick out everything they missed. Instead I want to show them the proper way and also that I am working alongside with each one of them and not sitting on the couch eating bon bons. But they do the heavy lifting with the chores they are assigned.


Chore Chart – Magnets can be found at my Etsy Shop (Shameless plug 😉 )

The kid have been super motivated and enjoy their work knowing they get paid at the end of the week for a job well done. I have seen a great improvement in their attitude and thoroughness of completing their job.


What have you done to help motivate your kids to do their chores? Share in the comments!

Sea Turtle Field Trip



Visting NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Lab in Galveston Texas

This week in science class,the kids learned about the seven species of Sea Turtles. As a special treat we went on a field trip to the NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Research Lab in Galveston Texas to learn more.

The whole experience was great. Our tour guides were patient with all of the kids who were present and thoroughly educated them on the plight of sea turtles. After about an hour educational session we were finally able to see the turtles. I had never seen one, like, ever!! So, it was super exciting for me.

We stopped in a field where our tour guides showed the kids what a TED is. The turtle excluder device or TED is a specialized device that allows a captured Sea Turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman’s net. Each kid had to hold their breath while running through the net to escape through the device. Holding their breath helped the kids to appreciate what a Sea Turtle would have to do.


Learning about the Turtle Excluder Device for fishing nets


After the demonstration we headed inside the turtle barn. There were all Loggerhead turtles in the facility but Kemp’s Ridley are the main turtles who nest and frequent the Texas Coast. Us natives know that y’all. Sorry my Texan slipped out. 😉

All in all it was worth the six month wait. It was such a beautiful day that we headed down the Sea Wall and walked the beach. The kids got to see a Moon Jellyfish and Barnacles attached to a rock. I am not a fan of barnacles but it was cool to see the kids so fascinated by them.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle


Loggerhead Sea Turtle


Loggerhead Sea Turtle

jellyfish blog photo.jpg

Moon Jellyfish on the Beach

Galveston 2017 Mural Blog photo.jpg

Technically, I did get to see a small sea turtle that was less than a year old. I think that qualifies as a baby and thus fulfills one activity on my Life List!


I got to see a baby Sea Turtle. Life List checked!!

I do know that Sea Turtles are on the endangered animals list so I was not expecting to hold one today. Hopefully one day, I can have the privilege of holding one.

On the Gulf Coast we know not to touch Sea Turtles or disturb their nests. If you visit the coast and see Sea Turtle tracks or an actual turtle you can call 1-866-Turtle5 and someone will come out to assess the area.

Have you ever seen a live Sea Turtle or the nest hatchlings?


Photography Class



As a home schooling mom, I try to come up with exciting and interesting activities outside of core subjects that the kids will enjoy. I like to think of our style as a mix of unschooling with a few basic structure subjects. It might sound odd but it definitely works for us.

We like to spend time outdoors and homeschooling allows for just that. Yesterday we took a trip to the Japanese Gardens at Hermann Park. The kids assignment was to take one photo of a tree, water, a flower or an animal. They took these photos with their cell phones since we do not have a great camera.

Later, when we arrived at home they did some editing and touch ups. My son was totally against editing his photos. He felt that if he took the photo then he wanted it to stay pure. I respected his decision but also told him that he could make minor touch ups to enhance the photo. He agreed but only made minimal edits.


Audrey’s Photos

Brianna’s Photos

Mavrizio’s Photos


I love how we all went to the same place and yet they captured different photos.

They had so much fun taking the photos and editing them. We hope you enjoy them!


Quiet On The Set



In this house we have always loved movies and cartoons. I grew up spending countless hours glued in front of the tube watching nearly every Disney animation on repeat. Movies like Star Wars, The Labyrinth, Goonies, E.T, The Princess Bride and Indiana Jones were likewise viewed as if they were going out of style.

These movies had such imagination that it oozed from the screen into our unsuspecting minds, molding, shaping and inspiring us in ways we may have not expected. Many in my age group associate these movies with a happy, exciting childhood.

My kids have seen the movies I grew up and they have not had the same reaction that I had when I was a kid! But it’s easy to understand, movies are incredibly different today. CGI saturates many movies and the pace moves so quickly with action or events happening at every turn.

I have had to help my kids to appreciate the art and dedication it takes to many any movie or Broadway show even! I have had a bit of experience with the entertainment industry in the past so I understand to a degree the dedication it takes.

So, as a project we decided to create a mini series that the kids are responsible for drafting a script, creating costumes and sets as well as lighting. My son was not as excited about this so I told him he could make one “boy” episode but still assist the girls with lighting or whatever.


Indigo and Madeline Spa Day

The girls took full responsibility and after a week of rehearsal, script changes, arguing and finally getting their act together they produced the first episode of ten!

Once the work was completed with editing and adding sound they were exhausted. I asked them how they felt about the process and they replied that they didn’t realize how much effort it took to make a movie. I made sure to point out that hours of preparation was needed in order to produce a five-minute video.

All in all they had a blast and my son wouldn’t touch the filming area with a ten foot pole! He was not down with the “girly” story line. But then I don’t blame him.

After they viewed the finished product everyone celebrated. Planning has already begun for the next episode.

You can watch it here. We hope you enjoy it.




Health & Fitness


If you would have asked me, when I was a teen, what my health would be like in 10 years I would have answered that I would be healthy and living life to the full. Throughout high school and early twenties, I was into fitness and eating well…for the most part. But as almost every parent knows eating well and exercising are hard to fit into the day.

It does not help that we live in a major city and there is food from a variety of different cultures on every street corner. It’s easier to say you will cook tomorrow night and order in!

It was not until a couple of years ago that I noticed my health was taking a turn for the worse. I had constant headaches and migraines. If you don’t know the difference between a headache and migraine, ask a migraine sufferer. Worst.pain.imaginable.

Fatigue, depression, lack of motivation and a host of other ailments began to overtake me. I am not writing this post to tell you what new diet to try or discuss the latest exercising fad. The point is to share something I knew to be true a long time ago but I did not put into practice.

Eating well and exercising! Yeah, that is it. The secret weapon. Now, I do understand many people have health problems and need their medication. I am not saying to stop any of that. But it is helpful to learn about what could be the source of your health issues and work to eliminate foods or activities that have a negative impact in your life.

For instance, I had to go cold turkey from sugar. It was rough and tougher than I thought it would be. Detox symptoms are no joke! Sugar is in everything! Once I started on to make those changes for myself  I began to include my kids. After a year of no soda, we barely drink it anymore. It’s not the first thing we request to drink. I am proud of our progress.

Another thing we do around here is smoothies. Ask many of my friends and they will tell you I am a smoothie guru! It is a perfect way to wake the kids up and get them started on their school work. We also do smoothies for a snack a couple of days a week. I do not know about anyone else but blended food is not always on my meal list. I like to chew! So we limit these.

Check this guide out on how to make a yummy smoothie:


As far as a workout routine, there are so many people on the internet willing to share their knowledge. Not every workout works for everyone. The kids and I start out with light stretching and then a 7-minute workout. We bought yoga mats and special workout clothes that make the process more fun! We will post a fitness article on how we start our day.

In conclusion, it has been a couple of years of fighting off bad habits and trying to replace them with good ones. I still have some ailments I am working through but I am proud of my journey thus far.

Care to share any healthy recipes that you have found particularly yummy?

An Unexpected Trip To The Texas Capitol

We took the kids on a day trip to visit a little place where we love to get pecans. It is about 20 miles from Austin.  We live about two hours from Austin so it was not an entirely long trip but with three kids in the car they can get fidgety. I will say this, the kids did not appreciate my 80s/90s karaoke session!

While visiting Berdoll, we stopped at the 14 foot squirrel and snapped a photo. It was a lot of fun and the now the kids can tell people they have seen a 14 foot squirrel!


Friendly little fellow!

Once we finished with our pecan trip, the kids suggested we keep driving to Austin in order to see the Texas State Capitol. The husband and I thought it was a great idea. I more so because it is on my Life List!

capitol front.jpg

It was a great trip and the kids go to experience Texas history. Homeschoolers never stop learning!

Here are a few pics inside the Capitol.

We had a great time and finished it off with some great Texas BBQ! I consider this trip a success and can update the Life List Page!

Kids And Electronics

Kids.pngA few weeks ago the kids and I were having fun with an activity that required each of us answer 30 questions that help us to get to know each other better.

One of the questions was “What is your favorite season?”. Bri asked for clarification by asking me if I meant a television season or an actual nature season. It took me by surprise and we all laughed about it but it helped me to see a bigger problem. Ever since she was young the television has always been there.

Cartoons were my main source of entertainment growing up so I did not think it would be so bad for my daughter. Who knew the world would change so rapidly and introduce thousands of types of content and gadgets to use on them?!

My kids have always been around electronics and we own many different types. Cell phones seem to be the most convenient now since they can be carried anywhere. Audy and Mav have a cell phone but it is not activated since we feel they are too young to manage it. We bought the phones for them to play games.

On average the kids are spending five hours per day on their phone! I monitored their usage for one week. This is what I noticed:

  • Upon getting out of the bed the phones are checked to see what progress the games made overnight.
  • A breakfast, instead of talking they are on their phones checking…one last thing.
  • During the lunch break they are checking the game progress again.
  • When the school day is over they have free time and most of it is spent on the phone playing games or watching YouTube videos.

That is a lot of screen time!

Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against technology. I just felt as a family we needed to put the electronics down and focus on each other more.

During our family meeting the kids agreed to cut back on the screen time. A few rules were put into place.

  1. Cells at meal times are banned (This includes my husband and I).
  2. All cells have to be turned in at 6 pm no matter what.
  3. Cell phone use was now limited to three hours per day.

The meeting ended on a high note and with everyone feeling optimistic.

The very first day of our plan, I encountered major resistance and whining. It was like the kids were having some sort of withdrawal symptoms. When free time was over and they had to put the phones in the “Phone Home” everything came crashing down. The kids were fighting and bickering with one another. It was like for the first time in a long time they actually had to learn to interact with each other.


This is our Phone Home. Corny? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely!

Any mom can tell you that we do not like when our kids argue and fight with one another. It was tempting to call the whole thing off and let them get back on their phones. I am glad to say we stuck it out and the kids are cooperating with the rules. It has only been a few weeks and it was a hard fight but I found that having board games and other activities on hand really helped the kids get through the rough time. We started our family fitness nights again and it has helped the kids to get that extra energy out.

“I sustain myself with the love of family.”  Maya Angelou

Have your kids gone through something similar with their electronics? What have you done to minimize screen time and maximize family time?

Quote Credit:



Homeschool Supplies

10-things-w-1You might think it would cost an arm and a leg to buy supplies for your homeschool. That is not necessarily the case. You likely have a few items around your house that could be re-purposed. Keep things simple and stick to your budget. Never underestimate dollar stores or other discount stores where you can find some of the best deals!

Now let’s get started on the list.

1. Good electric pencil sharpener. I could not even begin to relate how many inferior sharpeners we have been through.  This is an invaluable product to have. Whether you purchased cheaper pencils or the more pricier brands, a good electric sharpener will be able to get that perfect point.

2. Printer. Having a printer that can scan and has color capabilities is extremely helpful. There are so many free and valuable homeschool resources on the internet.Having the ability to print them for use in instruction is helpful.

3. Laptop/Computer. We base most of our homeschool on resources found on the internet. Even so, the kids do not spend a lot of time sitting on the computer. Be sure to install pop up blockers and teach your kids about internet safety.

4. Simple Storage. I use the word simple because as mothers we tend to over think things at times. Well, at least I know I do. I purchased a few mason jars (picked up from the dollar store) to store pencils, highlighters and pens. I re-purposed a cube storage shelf we already owned and turned it into our homeschool supply area. It’s great because we can store our books and other supplies there.

5. Entertainment. We live in a major city so entertainment is not far. But during school hours we need something that is educational and fun. Netflix (no I wasn’t paid to advertise this)  is great because there are many nature documentaries that go well with our science studies. It’s also fun for the kids after school to watch their favorite cartoon and unwind at the end of the day.

6. Art Supplies. I know you’re probably thinking that this is where we blow the budget. Not the case at all. We bought a few paints, brushes, crayons, markers, construction paper and small poster boards. There are so many things lying around your house that you could use for art supplies.

7. School Supplies. Since my kids were not attending public school this year we saved a ton of money on supplies. A few pencils, scissors, binders and notebooks were all we needed.

8. Dry Erase Board. We have had a lot of fun with the dry erase board. It makes explaining complex subjects and ideas easier. I don’t just use the board for solving problems. It’s also used to write encouraging notes and tips of the day.

9. Teacher Supplies. Again, you do not need a lot of things. Depending on what curriculum you have settled on, you can prepare yourself for what you need. I have found an online planner that lets me keep track of the kids assignments, grading and even print report cards. I have purchased a stapler, paper clips and five subject notebook to further help me keep organized. In a later post I will explain how I use the notebook.

10. Classroom Decorations. We use our dinning room for our main classroom. We have a map of the world, various education posters and inspiration quotes on the walls. Even if there is limited space or you feel like you are not creative, you can still come up with a cozy spot in the house or apartment for your kid(s) to spend their school day. Homeschool is not about sitting in one room for hours. After all that is one of many reasons why we chose to keep our kids out of public school. Field trips, science experiments, family time and lounging on the couch while you complete an assignment is what homeschool is about. But it’s still nice to have an area that is dedicated to a quiet area to study.

Do you homeschool? What supplies have proved to be most useful for your family?


New Endeavour



It has been quite some time since I have used this blog. I do plan on using it more frequently now.

We have recently started our first year of home school. So far, we are about 4 months into it and the kid could not be more happier!

It was difficult to figure out how we should go about the process. Each state has different requirements and there was a lot of research involved. It took about a year to make the decision but I am glad we took the plunge. This year we saved money by not having to buy back packs, school clothes and numerous school supplies.

Normal supplies and “classroom” decorations were a must if we wanted to be able to complete day to day task. Our dinning room was transformed into our classroom and the kids happen to love it. The kitchen is close and that means all the snacks are easily accessible!

So, this is my starter post. I plan on creating a post that covers the materials we use and supplies. I look forward to posting more photos and videos from our Youtube channel.