The Christmas Season

Whether you celebrate “the true meaning of Christmas”, Hanukkah, presents, or Festivus, you probably experience the busy, illness-filled, crazy-hectic month that is December. There have been many events and happenings crammed into this month and I just want to lay down and hibernate for a few months! Stick a fork in me, I am done!


December for us was so busy. So. Busy. So busy, in fact, that I ignored all of my social medias almost completely. I am sometimes asked how I “do it all” and the fast answer is: I don’t. I fed everyone, made sure we all had regular showers, and got us to appointments on time. I did not spend hours on Facebook, I did not look for the perfect picture in every activity we did to post on Instagram, and I forgot completely about Twitter.

I tell you all this to share what actual real life is. Real life is busy and stressful.

But, as all this crazy business is starting to slow down, I am slowly getting posts ready and working on future blog posts (I have some really awesome reviews in the line-up so stay tuned!). But I wanted to share some of what has happened in the WDWW house during the holiday season.

The month of December started with a Bang. I was planning another meet and greet complete with Santa and gifts, when I was graciously given a donation for even more gifts than I had already planned for. It was a wonderful way to start out the month!

We didn’t slow down at all and we bundled up to go and see the world’s largest living Christmas tree be lit up with lights! It was a great event, but there were WAY too many people for me with both girls sans daddy. But we stayed and watched from a slight distance, then we went to get pizza! I had the girls eat it in the car on the way to get daddy at work and while we waited in the parking lot, we had some nice warm hot cocoa to warm up. We played “questions” and ate yummy pizza and drank hot cocoa till daddy was done then went home and collapsed!

We did throw in some math games and a sight word snowman!

Along with the regular weekly classes and therapies, I took the girls to an excerpt of the Nutcracker at a local theater with our Charter as well as a truckers parade where local truckers decorate their trucks with lights and they drive through town. It was a great night but so chilly!

I also took Bug on a special mommy-Bug date to see her first ever play at another local theater. She loved it! I was almost in tears watching her smile and giggle and be so well behaved! It was truly an amazing experience and she still talks about it and shows anyone who visits the program.

We made erupting snow! If it isn’t going to snow here, then we will bring snow to us!

Bug was also able to come to the meet and greet I hosted. Gwama hug out with her then walked her down to the fire station when there was a lull. Gwampa volunteered to be Santa for my meet and greet and Bug instantly knew it was him! She also got to ride in a fire engine, talk on the loud speaker of the Highway Patrol vehicle, and try on turnouts and a helmet. I will make a post specifically for this meet and greet because I believe more of these need to happen!!

We grew magic growing crystals! Which, if you haven’t done so already, should be at the top of your to-do list!


Here is where things started to go wrong. The Sunday leading up to the last week of school before winter break, every school in the local area was hit with a nasty flu. So bad in fact that many public schools closed in the middle of the week. Bug was hit with it Sunday, conveniently after a sensory screening of Ferdinand (great movie, by the way!). She was down. Bug doesn’t get sick often, and if she wants to lay down, you know she is very sick. Bug wanted to lay down around noon on Sunday and she didn’t move till noon on Monday afternoon. Then Six got hit Wednesday-Friday, then I was hit Friday and Saturday which was also convenient because Auntie Fred flew in for Christmas and got in Friday night and came to the house Saturday. Daddy was the only one in the house who got out of being sick!

To keep them calm and occupied I had them play the very rare game Eye Found It Disney. It is a special occasion game.

We got to go ice skating this year too! We do not live where it snows, unfortunately, so a local town rents an ice rink and sets it up in the parking lot of a park. Bug was her normal self and ran before she could walk and fell down quite a few times. Thankfully, they had walkers that Bug and Six were able to scoot along with by themselves. Hot cocoa was needed afterwards to warm up frozen (but intact!) fingers.

Ice Skating!! Break time!
Remind me again why I chose to brave Target by myself with two kids three days before Christmas?!! At least they both still (barely) fit in the cart!

We managed to drive around Christmas Eve to see all the light displays. There were some really awesome set-ups for sure! We saw so many inflatable decorations and lots of bright lights!

Auntie Fred was here for one week, we had planned to make cookies and do Christmas dinner with my grandma and a great uncle. We exchanged gifts and ate cake. We even went to a few shops a few days after Christmas to see the sales and I was able to grab a few odds and ends that were 50% off! Oh, how I love sales!! We had another set of relatives come over for some sweet treats and more presents. Then we sent Auntie Fred home. Boo. Six LOVES Auntie Fred, she was talking about what she wanted to tell her when she finally got here, what games she wanted to play. So many things!

Gwama got each of them their own dream tent for their bed, but they refuse to let us put them on their beds, instead they have to be on the couch. Because, of course!

So we didn’t escape December without getting sick, but we did make it through fed and mostly happy! I will even admit that I really slacked on our weekly worksheets, but we were learning the entire month! And that is why homeschooling wins during the holidays. Baking cookies? Math and Science! Family coming to visit? Social Studies! Caught the flu? Health! Singing Christmas songs non-stop? Language Arts, Speech, and Music! Learning is happening all the time if you talk to your kids about what is going on around them.

I hope you all had a festive, illness-free, somewhat relaxing holiday season, no matter what you celebrate (if anything!).

I hope we all can have a happy New Year! ❤


A Weekend Full Of Adventure

This weekend was filled with slugs, pumpkins, woolly caterpillars, vegan donuts, and learning fun.

We started off Saturday morning with a trip to see Gwampa and to go on a little hike on the (decommissioned) railroad tracks to the tunnel. Both of which are in the town I grew up in so I am very familiar with the turf.

The hike ended up being just over a mile round trip, we didn’t make it all the way to the tunnel and decided to head back to do our observation journal at the park. But on our walk, I set Bug in charge of collecting woolly caterpillars…I put the child most obsessed with counting things in charge of collecting caterpillars. We ended up with well over 20! I lost track after 14. Six was in charge of slugs. Not picking them up, we forgot our rubber gloves, but spotting them for me to put into our container.


I took them hoping to find some snails for an art project I had planned for when we got home, but only found slugs. Thankfully I knew our back “yarden” was full of snails.

We got to the park and I told them we were going to draw in our journals first then they could play. Motivation! We had made our journals out of a blank book I found in the dollar section of Target at the beginning of the year. I even made one, it is actually really fun to participate with what I have them do. So we drew the slugs and woolly caterpillars and what we used to look at them with; Bug drew eyeballs and Six drew a magnifying glass.

I shoo-ed them off to play on the playground and I released the slugs and caterpillars.

Crawl away!

We eventually meandered homeward but I decided they had been very well behaved and had great listening ears so they deserved a donut. I recently discovered one of our local grocery stores made vegan glazed donuts and was excited to try them! They were delish! And of course we had to make sure their sprinkle donuts were tasty too. I had happy girls and I was happy we now had a special occasion treat option again!

A spooktacularly Halloween-y themed #vegan treat!

After our donut tangent we made it back home. Uncle C and Hubby were playing video games so I broke out the paints and told the girls to go snail hunting. They found some really awesome snails too! My surprise art (and science!) project was to paint…with snails! I did lots of research to find a paint that wouldn’t harm the snails, and made sure the girls were gentle with them. Six had to be reminded that we don’t push on them….that particular snail protested with a lot of bubbles. But they had a lot of fun dipping the snail’s foot in paint and watching it paint as it crawled along the paper. It also produced some interesting artwork the girls insisted needed to be hung up immediately.

We played a “find how many” game with our new MobiKids that we love so much but forgot to take pictures of on this particular day, then I ended up letting them watch Ninjago till dinner. What even is that show, by the way?! I am clearly not the target audience, but Bug sure is! I had to protect everyone from getting ninja-kicked in the face…and really anywhere on our bodies, it wasn’t like she was aiming! But I got all seven loads of laundry that had been sitting in my “laundry room”, aka garage, for the past week and a bit so fairly productive.

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Sunday morning I dressed up the girls to go take some pictures. I am in no way a photographer, I don’t have the photoshop skills, but I love taking pictures of the girls for seasons and sometimes just for fun! They are so photogenic that it is easy for even me to get some great shots! I am just good at filters. But I got some great shots to share with our family as well as a few pictures of our surroundings! I think I like taking pictures of plants and bugs because I don’t have to tell them to stop squirming 9,000 times for one shot. Silly squiggly sisters!



We came home from taking pictures and changed back into our jammies. Bug and I did a worksheet and Daddy and Six worked on letter formation. We made lunch, ate lunch, cleaned up lunch then they, and by ‘they’ I mean Bug, Six AND Daddy, badgered me into letting them watch Ninjago. I got to work on my first responder project so I’m not complaining!

Learning is everywhere, you just have to know what questions to ask and what to talk about. It doesn’t hurt having a kiddo *cough cough Six cough* that asks exactly one million questions a day. I have to keep reminding myself that they genuinely do not know the answers to these questions, but my goodness does it get exhausting. I may have hid in the garage to eat a So Delicious ice cream sandwich to recover from what felt like a quick fire round of questioning from Six about why we had no yogurt.

Find the learning everywhere, in everyday; have adventures and make moments. Be with your kiddos, they like you like you!

Have A Whale Of A Time! A Review.

Fun fact: the phrase “a whale of a time” was coined around 1910 and of course means a great deal of fun. Not relevant to the review, but just another wrinkle for you!

Math is hard. I am not a math person. My dad and Hubby have math brains, Auntie Fred has a masters in physics, and I am over here drawing pictures to figure out how to triple a recipe. Cooking math is as hard as I get. Even percentages throw me, I have to break out the calculator (the one every math teacher growing up said I wouldn’t always have with me to do math problems) to figure out how much something will be on sale at the store.

So when we started homeschooling, Hubby and I agreed he would do math. Well that hasn’t always worked out with his work schedule, so I have had to face my stress-inducing subject and learn how to teach Bug math. Hubby still does a lot of math games and such with her, but we have very different teaching methods and strengths. Hes plays with hundred blocks, I play with Mobi.

We were actually sent the Mobi original by an out-of-state relative who lives less than a mile away from the best toy store I have ever seen. I had no idea what it was when I opened up the box and saw a whale. I thought it was a stuffed animal at first! I opened it up and saw it was a game much like Bananagrams and was instantly hooked!

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Playing with Mobi original was a weekly occurrence through our first year of homeschooling.

Then. Mobi came out with a new game…MobiKids. I was so excited! And after a lot of searching local stores and finding nothing, Hubby surprised me and bought MobiKids!! Now we have both! One can go in our to-go bag and one can stay in the house!

Now that we have both, I wanted to share the differences between the original Mobi and MobiKids. So for those of you reading who are not sure which version would be right for you and your kiddo, you can make an informed decision.

First, price. I was gifted the original, but it is $20 on Amazon. Also found on Amazon is the MobiKids for $17. Both are prime as well. If you are lucky enough to live near a toy store, you will most likely be able to find the original. MobiKids was just recently released in August of this year (2017), so it hasn’t made all the rounds yet.

So, the original Mobi served us well for our first year homeschooling. We played many different games with the tiles, none of which were probably intended when it was created, but we have never played any game how it is intended! We used flat marbles to represent the numbers, we played a similar game to find the sound (which we play often with our Word-A-Melon); find the number. I would pick a number tile out of Mobi and tell the girls to find two of something, or something with five or more stripes, or something that had four legs (usually our kitty).


The original Mobi was great. Then we got MobiKids. The tiles are brighter colors, it comes with an activity booklet that I got lots of ideas from, and there are less math symbol tiles. There is only addition, subtraction and equal signs; Original Mobi has multiplication and division symbols as well.

MobiKids was an instant hit solely because of the colors! My girls love bright colors so they were so excited to start playing. We took it outside and played on our picnic blanket in the sun. We lined up the numbers 1-10, Bug HAD to find all the equal signs and put them in a line, Six was super confused because the 6 and 9 tiles are interchangeable and she couldn’t wrap her little brain around that concept (she’s four, we give her a break).


We came inside and found our shape blocks and found the number of sides they each had and put the number tile with them. We counted how many legs their toys had, and we had to line up more equal signs.

Overall, the MobiKids is a much better fit for us. And I love the Mobi games in the little booklet. I would definitely recommend Mobi original or kids for any homeschooler. There are so many ways to adapt and play to fit your needs and it makes math fun which, to me, is very important.

We will continue to use MobiKids in our homeschool and keep Mobioriginal in our to-go bag for when we are out and about and have a moment to play a game. These are really great games as well because they don’t take up a ton of room. Board games are one of my most frustrating things to organize and with pouch games we can just throw them in a basket. Or if you want to be silly, like we are, you can get a fruit stand for all your pouch games!

I hope you will check out Mobi games and find one that will work for you! They are really great resources and fun, interactive, hands-on learning tools!

Homeschooling On A Budget

Homeschooling can be expensive. Curriculums and games and toys and supplies can all cost a pretty penny. But I am here to help you if you don’t want to spend a fortune on homeschooling and still be successful.

Through our charter we have a budget for the year. This budget covers on-site classes, curriculums, games, toys, supplies, and even local classes. If the item is non-consumable (teachers guides, toys that aren’t made, books, etc) we have to return it to the charter eventually; if we ever leave the school or we no longer have a need for it. BUT I am a weirdo and don’t want to give things back. This is probably one of the main reasons we have so much stuff because I become attached to all our stuff and never want to get rid of it. But I digress.

So, because I want to keep the things we have our eye on, we buy them ourselves.

There are a few things we do get through our budget: printer paper and ink, gymnastics classes once a week, two on-site classes a semester and curriculums we don’t actually use but we get to keep our CT happy.

Most of the things we use on a daily basis, however, we bought or were gifted to us. So I would like to share some tips to not break the bank as well as some of our most-used, favorite homeschool must-haves.

First up: homeschooling on a budget.

  1. Shop around. Walmart, the Dollar Store, and even Target and Costco have workbooks, and of course school supplies. I was shocked when I went to our local Dollar Store for buckets and found half an aisle of beginning writing paper, workbooks, flash cards, calenders, and learning supplies.
  2. Yard Sales, curriculum shares/swaps, craigslist, and sales/clearance. I have found so many amazing toys and learning resources at yard sales, and have been fortunate (and unlucky) to live in a town that has lost a few awesome toy and school supply stores. So when they went out of business, I jumped on a ton of sale and clearance items that cost over half off of original prices!
  3. Share. Do you know any homeschoolers in your area? Maybe they have a kiddo a little older than yours? Ask if they have any unused or lightly used curriculums if you are going the curriculum route. Ask what their favorite homeschool resources are and ask to borrow them.
  4. Library! If you are not following a curriculum and are going more in the delight-directed homeschool route (aka unschooling), the library is an awesome place for resources. Our library had videos, CDs, books on tape and so much more besides books as well as some free classes and events.
  5. DIY. Getting an all-in-one curriculum sounds so nice, and there are some great ones out there! But if you are anything like us, a full-blown curriculum just doesn’t work for you. That isn’t the end of the world! There are still tons of stuff you can do to keep up learning! Podcasts, Youtube, the library, field trips, games, and so many more. One of my favorite bloggers Jill Krause has recently embarked on a homeschooling journey with two of her four kids and she has a fantastic idea for getting homeschooling done in a fun way! You can check that out here.
  6. Wish Lists. I am a HUGE fan of Amazon wish lists. I’m not going to lie, I abuse the wish list button a lot. I have so many wish lists for so many different things. But it has been really great for birthdays and Christmas. My family is awesome at asking what we would like or what we already have, so I create a wish list each birthday/Christmas and share it with them. My mom will usually take the items on my list as suggestions and get a ton of similar items, whereas my sister and aunt stick to the list. Either way is great, we are getting toys and games and books that will support us in our homeschool journey because our family wants us to be successful.

Next: homeschool must-haves

  1. A Laminator. You may think this is a frivolous purchase, but let me tell you something: this is my most used homeschool-related gadget. I use this thing so much sometimes I have to turn it off to let it cool down because I have been using it all day. You can make worksheets reusable to be used with a white-board marker, you can make your own books or photo albums, you can preserve artwork (I have many subject dividers in my homeschool binder that are the girls’ artwork), you can do so many things with a simple laminator. We got ours on sale for under $25!
    Hey! Laminating another favorite!
  2. Bananagrams. I genuinely love all the Bananagrams products. We started with the original banana and it was great, but then we were given the My First banana, and Word-A-Melon and they have changed our homeschool days. We use one or both of these games DAILY. I’m not kidding, they are amazing! The original and My First bananas are $15 on the Bananagrams website or at Target!
  3. Rory’s Story Cubes. I go into depth about how we use these in my blog post, but in a nutshell; use to build imagination, a speech building game or to practice writing! There are MANY different packs/themes you can find, all of which I want desperately! But the original 3 packs can be found at Target for $8 each! We loved them so much I gifted one pack each to our Speech therapist and resource teacher at our charter.

  4. Mobi. I plan to do a review of Mobi Kids if I ever get my hands on one! But for now I will tell you about the original Mobi. This is another zipper-pouch game (we have a thing for pouch games apparently!), that is full of number tiles and math symbols. Think Bananagrams for math equations. There are so many uses for this game and not just as it is intended to be used. This is an ongoing theme in our homeschool, I don’t think we use many things as they were intended. But, this is a wonderful math skills game!20170324_183533-1
  5. Chapter books for reading out loud and Level Readers. We are raising readers in this household. My girls LOVE reading/looking through books/being read to. We have found bunches of children’s books, chapter books and level readers at yard sales, used book stores and curriculum swaps. They can be up to $5 at our local (tiny) toy store, or Target, but if you find clearance books they can be $2-3, or at used book stores for $1-2. Shop around! Chapter books such as The BFG or The Phantom Tollbooth are great for reading out loud. We read a LOT, we usually get through one chapter book a week. I have noticed a significant difference in both girls’ language since we started reading together last year.

    Our last used book store haul!
  6. A basic all-in-one workbook (Brainquest or Scholastic brands can be found at Costco and Target). For us, we don’t follow one curriculum. I am currently in the middle of writing my own all-in-one lesson plan/curriculum I hope to publish someday soon. But for now, I jump around from book to book of the curriculums we bought through our charter. However, I have returned more often than not to the $15 Scholastic workbook Gwama got us at Costco (we don’t have a membership). It is really straightforward and laid out well. Because of Bug’s hatred of worksheets though, we don’t usually finish or use the worksheets, but I use them to play a game off of: let’s spell this word, let’s do this math problem etc.
  7. Internet + Printer; if you have access to the internet and a printer, you can do anything! I have Googled what 1st graders are taught or are expected to know at the end of the year and have based our learning off those guidelines. I have printed off worksheets and games and made our own Velcro game binder. I have found board games and their rules that I have printed and laminated then 3-hole punched and put in our binder.

These must-haves truly got us through our first year of homeschool. We made them a bigger part of this year’s homeschool after seeing how well they worked for Bug last year.

I was not paid for any of my reviews, I genuinely love using these products, and we love how versatile they can be. If you can think outside the box, you can think of some fun games to play, adding some fun to your daily homeschool!

I wish you luck on your homeschool journey. Please know, though, that just because someone is doing something, doesn’t mean you have to. That is the beauty of homeschooling, you do what works for you and your kiddo and family. Don’t let anyone tell you you are doing it wrong; if you are moving forward, if your kids are learning, then you are doing a great job.