Bean Boozled– Math Edition


I am always trying to find fun ways to get the kids to practice their math facts and today while standing in line at Walmarts I came up with a fun idea. While waiting in line I saw a package of Bean Boozled and decided that there was a way to use these in my homeschool. If you have never heard of Bean Boozled before they are jelly beans that come in delightful flavors as well as truly nasty concoctions and you never know what you’re going to get, for instance, caramel corn looks identical to moldy cheese. My kids think these are so much fun so I decided to create a math game using these jelly beans to motivate them to get the right answer.

Bean Boozled Math Game

1 Box of Bean Boozled– We only used a 1/4 of the box so you can get several games out of one small 1.6 oz box.

Handful of math facts or math story problems

Game Instructions: Give each player a different math problem to solve and they have 60 seconds to come up with their answer. Whoever gets the right answer gets to pick their own jelly bean from the box. If the player answers incorrectly the jelly bean is chosen for them. If everyone answers the question right then they get to choose a jelly bean for the adult or older child facilitating the game.

Give each player a different math problem to solve and they have 60 seconds to come up with their answer. Whoever gets the right answer gets to pick their own jelly bean from the box. If the player answers incorrectly the jelly bean is chosen for them by the game facilitator aka a parent or older sibling. If everyone answers the question right then they get to choose a jelly bean for the adult or older child facilitating the game.


  1. You have 60 seconds only to solve the math problem in your head, no paper is allowed.
  2. You can’t sniff your jelly bean first and you have to take whichever one you touch first.
  3. Jelly bean must be chewed for at least 10 seconds.


This was so much fun and we will be playing this game again in the near future. It was great to see the kids having fun with math problems. Learning should be fun and unfortunately for many kids, math is one of those subjects that often induces tears rather than joy or excitement. Math can be taught and practiced in so many ways so if your little ones are struggling over math worksheets take a break and introduce a fun game or a cooking lesson and incorporate math. Not only will you be giving your kids a special treat but it’s a great opportunity to make special memories.



Rock Hunting


We just recently learned about a new trend where individuals paint rocks with inspirational messages and hide them in public places. When you find the rock you are supposed to snap a picture with it, post it to social media and then rehide the rock for someone else to enjoy. I love this idea and we heard about this a few weeks ago but we just found our very first rock. We were enjoying a lovely day at the park walking the hiking trails when we saw a pink egg-shaped rock nestled into the base of a tree trunk. We stopped to look at it and saw a beautiful message that said: “You’re Beautiful”.  We took a picture with the rock and then hid the rock in a new location for someone else to stumble across like we did.

The kids and I are going to grab some smooth rocks and paint our own messages on them. We were thinking about doing interesting nature facts for people to enjoy (sneaking education into our arts & craft project). Once we have them completed we will take them out to various places and hide them so that we can contribute to this wonderful trend.

Have you ever heard of this trend? Have you found a rock with a special message? If so comment below with the message that touched your heart.

Our Summer Reading List


Reading is very important to me and it always has been which is why I have worked very hard to collect a large variety of books to stock our home library.  My hope is that by surrounding my children with great books it will encourage them to become avid readers. We read several times throughout the day the kids each have books that they read independently and then at night I read aloud from a chapter book. This summer we will be tackling a list of chapter books that I love and that I know my children will love as well.

  1. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder– Completed
  2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls– Just started this week 🙂
  3. The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
  4. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
  5. The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth
  6. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  8. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  9. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  10. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald


I am hopeful that we will be able to get to all of these books before the summer is out but if not we can finish our list off in the fall. Every book on this list is a book that I read and loved as a child and reading these books with my kids is not only a thrilling experience because I am passing down these stories, but it allows me to feel like a kid again. Reading to your kids is important but it’s only beneficial if they see their parents enjoying the stories as well. When deciding what books to read with your little ones seek out books that you are familiar with and know you will enjoy reading. It’s great to try out new books as well but mix in the ones you are familiar with that way your kids can feel your excitement with every page turn.

Reading great books is an amazing way to spend the day but take advantage of the warm weather and get your kids outside. There is nothing more relaxing than reading a book by a pond, in an open field surrounded by a picnic or even at dusk around a campfire with smores. Reading should always be fun and never a chore so get creative when you are choosing how and where to read with your family.

This is my list but I would love to hear what books you are reading with your littles ones this summer? Do you have a favorite place to read with your kids? Looking forward to reading your comments!


Watch our for the “Summer Slide”!


Typically, when we hear the words summer and slide in the same sentence we imagine a sunshine filled playground where kids are laughing and playing. That is the summer slide that most of us are familiar with but there is another type of summer slide that you need to watch out for and it’s not a fun piece of playground equipment. The type of summer slide that I am referring to is the backward slide that kids often experience during summer break.

Summer slide can occur to any of our kids whether they are homeschooled or attend a traditional brick and mortar school when a long break in education is taken.  When education is not a focus it is easy for kids to fall behind in reading and math and it will make it harder to catch up when they head back to school in the fall.

So how can we prevent our kids from experiencing the “summer slide”? The easiest way to prevent our kids from sliding backward is to give them plenty of opportunities to practice their skills during summer break. Weekly trips to the library to stock up on reading material is a great way to keep kids reading all summer long. Most library’s offer reading programs where kids can earn prizes for reading a certain number of books throughout the summer.  Make reading a part of your summertime routine and see how many chapter books you can read as a family. One of our favorite places to read is around a campfire, it provides the perfect ambiance for so many great books.

While reading is one of the areas kids experience the most drastic slide math is another area that can be problematic. I know your kids are not going to want to spend their summer vacation working on math worksheets but there are lots of other ways to practice math skills. One way is to get them involved with the grocery shopping perhaps have them plan out a meal and stay within a budget you provide them. This is a great way for them to practice basic math skills as well as critical thinking skills. Something we do in our home is I write an interesting math problem on our white board and whoever solves it correctly can win a special treat.

Overall the best way to prevent the summer slide is to not take a break from education during the summer months. Summer vacation should be a time for your kids to rest and relax but there is a variety of ways to keep their minds active so they do not lose the skills they have learned. Think outside of the box and come up with different ways to test their skills in a way that doesn’t seem like school work. At the end of the summer, you will be rewarded with kids who are refreshed and ready to tackle the oncoming school year.


How I get Salon results at home!


I remember the first time I went to a salon and had my hair colored it was a real treat. The whole salon experience is fun you get to focus on yourself for a few moments and just relax. My natural hair color is dirty dishwater blonde and as I started to get older the color naturally darkened to what looks more gray than blonde. Before kids and well to be honest common sense kicked in I had no issue paying a $100 or more to get highlights and lowlights to dress up my bland hair.

Once my kids were born my priorities changed and I could no longer justify an expensive trip to the salon. I would much rather pay a bill or buy something my family needs but I still missed being able to transform my hair which led to the coloring kits that populate many store shelves. I am not going to lie I have tried every brand and pretty much every color but eventually I began to tire of this because while these kits are affordable I wasn’t happy with the results that I was getting. Sometimes my hair would come out great and I would be super happy but then I would try the same kit to replicate the previous results and my hair would turn a brassy pinkish orange, not very flattering. This led to me casting away all of the kits and embracing my natural grayish blonde hair.

I spent a year letting my hair grow out and repairing the damage that I had done over the years. My hair went from being frizzy and coarse to soft and silky and I am so glad that I took that break but even though my hair was softer and healthier it was still dull looking. I began to consider having it done in the salon but I still couldn’t justify spending that much money on myself. This left the at home kits but I had done those for years and I was never truly satisfied with the experience so I started researching my options. This is when I discovered that there were several companies doing customizable hair color and instead of going to the salon for the service they would ship the kit to my home so that I could do it myself.

This left the DIY kits from the drug store, but I had done those for years and I was never truly satisfied with the experience so I started researching my options. This is when I discovered that there were several companies doing customizable hair color and instead of going to the salon for the service they would ship the kit to my home so that I could do it myself. After considerable research, I decided that eSalon was the right fit for me.

So far I am 100% happy with the results that I have had with eSalon and I love that I have 100% control over when I receive my next kit. I originally set my kits to ship out every 10 weeks but I noticed towards the end of last week that my roots were beginning to show so I went into my account and was able to get my kit a week early. The cost of the kit is a little bit more than you would pay for a drugstore brand but I feel like it is worth value. Typically my hair would begin to fade after just four weeks but this time around my hair still looks vibrant and the only thing I needed to do was a root touch up.

If you are tired of paying high salon prices or perhaps like me you gave up salon trips for the good of your budget then I highly recommend that you give eSalon a try. While it doesn’t replace the entire salon experience it is still fun to get your box in the mail with all of your goodies. I wait until the kids are in bed and then I put on my favorite reality show and grab some ice cream while I wait for my hair to process. I enjoy my new routine and I think it is so important to just take a moment to ourselves and do something indulgent. Not only do you feel better after taking some time for yourself but it allows you to recharge your batteries and this will affect the whole family because when mom is happy and rested everyone is happy.

Name one thing that you like to do to pamper yourself?


Photo Credit: Lift Arn. 2013. Lady in hair dryer traced from 

Just for the record I am not being paid or sponsored in any way to represent this product. These are my own personal thoughts and opinions regarding this product. I just wanted to share with other moms who may be looking for salon alternatives. eSalon is in no way affiliated with me or this blog.

Heat Wave


We have just begun the month of June and already we are experiencing a heat wave with temps in the nineties.  Normally the heat doesn’t bother me too much but the house we are renting does not have central air and at this moment in time we are not sure if we want to risk putting in a window unit.  Our neighborhood has had issues with break-ins and apparently having a window unit is just asking for a break in, so while we determine our options we are doing our best to deal with the heat.

We have tried pretty much every hack that we could find on the internet and while some of them have worked most of them have been a bust. Right now what has worked is having a fan pointing out from an upstairs window drawing the heat out of the house while circulating as much cool air as possible downstairs.

This has been a great way to illustrate to the kids how warm air rises because it is less dense than cooler air. We have also been tracking humidity levels and temperatures and this has led to a lot of discussion and research regarding weather. When you look for them, teachable moments, crop up everywhere.

This heat wave is expected to last clear through next week so we will continue to identify different ways to stay cool. Dinners are going to be simple and easy meals that do not require the oven so bring on tuna sandwiches, pasta salads, and fresh fruit and veggie platters. If you have tried and true hacks to stay cool this summer please share I would love to hear your ideas. I would also love to hear about the recipes you fall back on when it is too stifling to turn on the stove.

Must Read Article—->There Is No Behind in Homeschool — Grace Under Pressure

I regularly hear homeschool moms lament that their child is behind. This is public school mentality. For most of us it is all we have known, and it’s takes some amount of convincing to consider that it might not be the way we have always been told. But let’s take a step back. Someone, […]

via There Is No Behind in Homeschool — Grace Under Pressure


I consider myself to be an eclectic unschooler and while we do follow a scope and sequence in our homeschool it is fairly flexible and forgiving. I didn’t want to “school at home” I wanted to create a learning environment where my kids could just learn naturally and would enjoy the process. Up until a few months ago that is exactly what we were doing until I lost my confidence. I started to worry about where my kids fit in with their peers and we picked up our homeschool speed and it resulted in major burnout. Last week I decided we were taking a short break so I could figure out what I wanted to do and I decided to return to our relaxed homeschool schedule that was child led. This week was amazing I saw my kids accomplish more in this week than the previous few months and their smiles are back and so is mine. It is so easy to get caught up in others expectations that you can easily lose sight of why you made the decision to homeschool in the first place. It is more important to me to that my children learn in away that will make them love the process so they will become life long learners. When I read this article There Is No Behind in Homeschool– Grace under pressure  it struck a major chord with me. If you are experiencing burnout it may be time to evaluate where your going and how you want to get there but first read this wonderful article because it will inspire you.

Proud to be “Working class”!!

I posted this on Facebook a few days  ago and decided to include it over here on the blog.  I am passionate about shaking off the stereotypes often associated with the “working class”.  I look forward to any feedback that you may have regarding this topic.


Over the past few years I have heard more and more individuals make derogatory comments about the “working class”. There are those who seem to think that individuals who are “working class” are nothing more than uneducated yokels, incapable of reason. This bothers me immensely because I am “working class” and I am far from uneducated. In fact most of the “working class” people I know are intelligent, reasonable, hard-working individuals who care about their families and their communities.

If you aren’t sure what the term working class means here is the definition of “working class”: the social group consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work. Basically, anyone who has to work for a living and/or works in a field that requires physical labor is “working class”. Doesn’t this describe most Americans? How many of are able to get by without earning a wage? How many of us are employed in fields that require physical labor? The working class is what built this country and it is this group of people that will keep our country going. In fact when the economy tanks, and it will, it will be the “working class” that the “elite” will turn to for assistance.

The majority of American’s are “working class” and we have a right to voice our opinions. We are not unintelligent bumpkins without an understanding of life. In fact we have a greater understanding of what is happening around us because we are part of it and every day we struggle to get through to the next. We understand the rising cost of health care because it is the “working class” that is affected the most. We can feel the racial, sexual, religious, and political tensions around us because those who are most affected are part of our group the “working class”.

I may be working class but I am an intelligent individual who can clearly see what is happening in this world. I see those who consider themselves to be the “elite” fight and stir up controversies in an attempt to disillusion the “working class”. I see young individuals who do not have a full understanding of what they are fighting for fight vehemently. I see individuals who choose to live in poverty so they can live off of the government dime. Our country is divided some say “working” class vs “elite” and others say we are divided “conservatives” vs. “liberals”. However you want to look at the fact is that our country is divided and this is not what our forefathers wanted for our country. One hundred and fifty seven years ago our country divided and it sent our nation into decades of destruction and despair. In fact over 750,000 soldiers lost their lives and it changed our nation forever. We survived the civil war but will we survive a repeat? My opinion as a “working class” American is no we won’t survive another war caused by divisive issues.

Instead of focusing on what divides us we need to start focusing on what connects each of us regardless of class or politics. Each of us wants to see a safer world, a more peaceful world and a place that we can be proud to raise our children. If we continue to focus on what divides us we will never have that safe stable environment for our children or for future generations.



What on earth is that?

What on earth is that? This was the question that sprang from my lips earlier this evening while the kids and I were out in the garden. We found the strangest looking bug, it was similar to a caterpillar but not quite. This little bug had some intense colors on him and instead of being fuzzy like a traditional caterpillar he almost looked rubbery. After a few hours of searching pictures of bugs on the internet we finally were able to identify who are little friend was, turns out it is a ladybug larvae.

The kids and I learned all about the life cycle of a ladybug and learned that the life cycle is very much like the life cycle of the butterfly. We spent over an hour reading about ladybugs and then we went in search of more and found numerous larvae and ladybugs in the garden. We had so much fun playing in the garden and learning about our little insect friends. I will post the links to some of the websites we visited if you would like to learn more about these interesting little creatures.

What is the most interesting thing you have discovered while playing in the garden or outdoors?