LightSail for Homeschoolers- homeschool language arts

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

With my very book enthusiastic crew of kiddos, we have been using LightSail for Homeschoolers. This is a one-year, language arts subscription program; we have been using the premium subscription which focuses on the four pillars of language arts: reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. They offer over 14,000 books, over 100K resources, faith based content, for all grade levels. You can choose a monthly or annual subscription.

Their resources include, but aren’t limited to:

  • 14,00+ books from top publishers
  • 13,000+ audiobooks with read along options and real voice narration
  • 20,000+ educational videos
  • 40,000+ comprehension questions for all levels
  • 51,000+ World Book Encyclopedia articles
  • 1,000+ multimedia resources like maps, timelines, 360 photos and more!

LightSail is so comprehensive, and so full of features it is going to be hard for me to hit on all of them! We reviewed this with my 9 and 11 year olds, who are in 5th and 3rd grades. The program adapts to your child’s reading level using an assessment, and then adjusts it to their individual needs, as they move through the program.

Stress Free

Don’t worry about being overwhelmed by content. At the top of every page there is a small play button that explains where you are and also give options for other areas. you can use the bookmarks within the video to find what you need. It is so simple! The video pops onto your screen and can be moved around while you navigate the site.

Within LightSail, there are parental controls which allows parents to turn on and off reading of certain books; LightSail rates books for you, so that you don’t have to guess! I can’t tell you how many books we have had to put down because, though highly recommended by others, they were not a good fit for our family. The LightSail rating system gives you a list of all the topics that may be of concern, the books that include those topics, and then the ability to allow them or block them for now. LightSail takes the frustration and guess work out of selecting titles for your family! If you come across a book in the library that needs approval, the child safe content rating system will tell you what topics the book contains that you may need to be aware of. I noticed a few biographies with mental health as one of the notes on the rating system, or death of a child.

Within the program, families will find on the left side menu:

  • the Library
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Vocabulary
  • Fluency
  • and Chat (within your family, regarding books and assignments)

When you the parent are logged in, you will see the dashboard and libraries from your perspective. You can also toggle to the child’s avatar to see what they see. However, for your child to work in their account (to log their data and complete their work) they need to be logged in. You can find their user name and password under settings.

The Library is just that- this is where your child will do all their reading. Within each book’s overlay are the questions, related content, and where you can check it back in. My children have really enjoyed reading the books and exploring the other media- videos, articles, streaming, etc. I love that books have related World Book Encyclopedia articles that correspond with the reading. For example Robin Hood corresponds with the articles Bioethics and Friendship. There are also videos, action clips, audiobooks, and related books listed for students to enjoy.

Reading offers unit studies, booklists, memory work, and so much more. There are family book clubs, and read aloud included (each child can listen on their own). There are built in assessments and record keeping.

LightSail for Homeschoolers

The Writing dashboard allows parents to see notes the child has taken on books, any book reports assigned, and this is a place to keep track of grades. There are so many ways for parents and students to document their writing here! We did not use them all for this review, but I most definitely will utilizing them in the future. I can’t wait for my daughter, who has been learning to type, to have a place to do some writing and documenting of her own. Students can become authors and share their books, there is essay writing options, grammar skills work, and authentic and informal writing options.

LightSail for Homeschoolers

Vocabulary is going to increase spelling and vocabulary using fun games, assignments, and filling in the blanks of reading (clozes), all while keeping record of your student’s progress. I really like that spelling lists can be curated by the parent.

Fluency is where students improve language fluency by connecting speaking, listening and writing. I love that there is a narration option- students can retell a book in their own words, via recording. Parents can then listen to the retelling at their convenience, and assign grades. This is so much fun! Here you will find read aloud, narration, speak-listen-write, and a memory module for memory work.

LightSail for Homeschoolers

Honestly, there is just so much in LightSail, I can’t hit on all of it. This is just a quick overview, with my personal opinion of things I love. What I don’t like? … Hmm, maybe that there is so much? But the program also offers settings to black out any distractions for students who are easily set off course by color and lights! So, really, I can’t find anything we don’t love about it.

The program includes all the classics, lots of more current books, but not a lot of mainstream reading. I don’t find this to be a problem for our family; the selections were fun and interesting to my kids. My daughter loved the Little Prince series (a retelling version) that has some 20 books in it. She is begging to do assignments and answer questions about the books she’s read in LightSail. My 9 year old thinks it is a fun challenge, so he is also enjoying it.

LightSail for Homeschoolers

Connect with LightSail

Lots of Crew members reviewed LightSail, so check out their reviews by clicking the banner below. I am sure you will find different information than what I shared-

Improve Reading Skills with LightSail for Homeschoolers
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Preparing for Next Year’s Homeschool: PreK 4/5 Curriculum Choices {2014/2015}

curriculum choice 2014/2015 Sonlight

Well, for years months and months I have gone back and forth over what we will use for our curriculum next fall.  What curriculum, what style suites us best, what will keep Lexie’s fire going, her passion for learning; what will also work for Max so we can reuse some materials, etc.

I have also had to consider what will be easiest to fit into our life, with baby #3 due in September of this year.  =)

As you know I have mostly decided on a classical/Charlotte Mason education style for our family because it just fits us (and our love of the outdoors, learning, and books); but I have also been contemplating joining Classical Conversations.  There is a community not too far from us that a dear friend is also a part of.  I really enjoyed the open house I attended and Lexie did AMAZING sitting in the room with me for the 2 hours we were there.  However, I just don’t know if we are ready for it yet.

love the Charlotte Mason approach to learning.  It encompasses everything I believe about education and family uniting.  It is Biblically based, and literature rich (so is classical education).  It is truly where my passion for learning and educating my children comes full circle.

Charlotte Mason is also what I see in my children.  I see Lexie loving books- asking questions about everything we read; wanting to know more and making connections from her books to her world.  Max is beginning the same process- he didn’t love reading books at first, but at about 13 months old, he became obsessed with them, just like big sister.  When I sit on the floor, he will bring me a book and say, “boo-k,” turn around and plop into my lap.  He then proceeds to open the book and I will read.  He really likes for me to take his finger and point to everything in the picture and say its name.  He loves reading.  And that tells me he will also love learning.

I want to keep their fires burning, but I need to do that in a way that will fit our young family’s lifestyle.  As a busy mom of soon-to-be 3, there won’t be much time for the intense planning that a combined classical/Charlotte Mason style education can require.  So in the fall, (well, really in January probably) I think we will begin with Sonlight’s P4/5 curriculum.

Sonlight P 4/5 includes: read alouds and language arts, science, Bible, rediness skills, beautiful art books and studies, and introduces world cultures.  One thing I love about classical education is it begins history at the beginning.  So children not only learn there is much, much more to their world than just their immediate surroundings, but they also learn where it all began.  Sonlight does an amazing job of choosing wonderful children’s literature and living books to teach every subject, which is where the Charlotte Mason style comes in.  Another point I love is that Sonlight is fairly adaptable.  You can supplement with as many books as you’d like, whatever math you prefer (although they sell a few great curricula), and you can make it work with just about any style of education, if you really want to.  Their book list is what has driven their popularity for years, but as more and more families have used it, the more it has become known for being a wonderful core curriculum.  (no, this is not a review and I am not being paid to say any of this!).

We already have a phonics/reading program we will use, which we haven’t started yet.  I chose All About Reading because it is so child friendly and hands on, which I think will be fine for Lexie (as I am mostly sure she has a photographic memory) but I know will be great for Mister, because he is my 100% tactile learner.  We will use this with our Sonlight, along with Saxon or Horizon’s math, and a few supplemental activities in science.

I have many friends ask me about two things :1) homeschool curricula and options and 2) converting to a healthier, real food lifestyle.  #1 is mostly why I am writing this post.

I tell you, I cannot wait to get started next year.  We might begin in August, to get a head start, then take off in September-Christmas with the baby coming, holidays, etc., then start back in January.  Or we may just begin in january and go through part of the summer…  I know me, and I know Lexie, and chances are we will not want to take that much time off.  We both crave structure and our learning time together, so I imagine we will get back to it pretty quickly.

One thing I am really looking forward to is not having to plan and print every thing we do in this season of life.  Right now, I am using a printable curriculum (that we both love) and we are doing Five in A Row which is Charlotte Mason style, but requires all the planning be done by the parent. So it requires a lot of time on my part.  Sonlight has done most of the work for me, meaning I can enjoy my time teaching, learning, and snuggling, all three of my babies this fall.

So, I have to get busy filling orders in my etsy shop, since that is how I plan to pay for this curriculum!  haha  If you haven’t noticed I haven’t been writing much lately.  There is a two fold reason for this. 1) The first trimester of this pregnancy has kicked my butt!  Between the extreme nausea and exhaustion, I am just now catching up on household duties! and 2) I have been very busy making baby blankets in my etsy shop.  I keep saying I am going to slow down, finish my drapes for the kitchen, and make a few dresses for Lexie, but so far that hasn’t happened.  Hopefully soon!

Ultrasound Photo- 13 weeks 1 day

Here is the ultrasound picture from Monday. Doesn’t it look incredible? It’s amazing how powerful the technology is, be it from Butterfly Network or from other makers of those devices. When it comes to the picture though, actually it is one of several we were given. She even did a 4-D, which I didn’t expect at the early ultrasound. The baby looks significantly bigger than Lexie did in her 12 week ultrasound, but I was only measuring a few days ahead- 13.4 and I was 13.1. The doctor talked us through the next steps and made sure that the baby was healthy which was reassuring. A lot of people don’t realize that ultrasounds are vital to check on the baby’s health and development so if you’re pregnant, go to somewhere like the waynesboro health clinic to get one. It just gives you peace of mind knowing that everything is ok.


I definitely feel bigger this time; maybe that is because I have 10 lbs leftover from lexie.. But I can say I was in pregnancy pants earlier this time, like 3 months earlier, and I could feel “the bump” way earlier, too. It just looks like I’ve had a bit too much bread if you don’t know a baby resides in there.

Speaking of babies, I said I would write more about our chicks! I ordered 6 Rhode Island Red pullet (female) chicks from www.mypetchicken.com We will raise them in a brooder, aka a cardboard box, in the house … somewhere. They shouldn’t be raised outside; they will only be 1-2 days old when they arrive. I guess we will keep them in the bathroom downstairs, since that is the least trafficked area by the tot. After the first six weeks or so we will put them out in their coop- I’ve told JTom what I want in the coop, abd we have all the specs needed for our number of hens. Though we are getting 6 RIRs, I think I will get a few Easter Eggers locally; they lay beautiful green. blue and cream eggs/ We will need a coop that houses 6-10 hens; it will need 2-3 nest boxes for laying, roosts for sleeping, and pine shavings for bedding in the bottom. It will have windows for ventilation (very important for healhy chickens) and an attached run. This is a “tractor” or portable coop, it ca be moved around the yard so our girls can forage like free range chickens. I think after a few weeks, when they know to return to their coop, we will let them freerange a bit while we are outside during the day. The nest box(es) will have an opening roof for easy egg collection, and I hope the entire thing is tall enough to walk into- since 2×4’s are already 6ft long, it will make that part easy. We will use hardware mesh, not chicken wire; the mesh is much more predator proof and most chicken owners equate chicken wire to having no protection at all.


RIRs are known for the big body, great dispositions, and good egg laying. They large- xlarge eggs; 3 hens will lay an average of 2 eggs a day, usually more. So we can expect quite a few eggs from them, starting at about 4-5 months old.


I am very excited! Jtom, not so much, but this was orginally his idea several years ago, and it’s just been brooding in my mind ever since! We will keep you up to date, the chicks should be here the first week of April. =)

Playing in the Dirt

I don’t have a green thumb, my husband does. However, he is so busy with work he has no time this year for the prepping and planting of our plants and garden. So yesterday I went to our county exchange office and got the boxes for our soil samples. Then I came home, dug up some dirt from the yard, garden, and flowers beds, and took it all back to the exchange office. We should have some test results in a few weeks; they will tell us what type of soil we have, what grows best, and offer suggestions based on what we said would be grown in each bed.


It has been such a long time since we have been able to spend time together outside I cannot wait to get out in the garden again. Which reminds me, a friend of mine has recently had to reach out to a pest control expert after her garden became infested with ants. Ants can be a nuisance when they get into your home. Although ants are not thought to carry diseases, the trouble is you cannot know where they have been foraging outside, so you do not want them inside your food cupboards. Correspondingly, if you are having trouble with ants in your house or garden, then you might want to call out a team of experts to find a solution. For more information about dealing with ants and other pests, go to https://www.pestcontrolexperts.com/local/texas/dallas/.


Today, Lexie and I went to Lowe’s for some soil and flowers. While we were there I grabbed some herb seeds, a long planter, and some rosemary plants. I need another herb planter, though. I don’t have enough room in the one for each type of seed. They didn’t have any mint, which stinks- that is one of my favorite herbs! We got pansies for the big planters out doors, and a few clearance plants for pots in the house. Let’s pray I grow a green thumb soon…


Lexie helped me plant the herbs this morning, AKA, she played in the dirt with the “shovel” and watering can. This afternoon should be great fun! I will post pics.



OK, so no pics. =( My video camera has died. For good. And my other camera needs batteries and we are out. So I did take one or two with my phone, but am not going to take the time to upload them tonight.
However, as you can imagine, Lexie had a BLAST! She was covered head to tow in dirt, and mud. It was so warm here today, I turned the water spicket on low and let her just play in the water, with her rain gardening boots on, of course. She used the trowel to scoop dirt into the watering bucket, and helped put the pansies into their proper holes. We planted six pots, and still have a flat of flowers left. So it looks like I am going to go get some coconut baskets for my hanging baskets and plant in there, too.


Daddy came home for a minute since he has been in meetings for 3 days and hasn’t seen us at lunch; he helped me get the bird houses out and the paint to paint those. He built us some bird houses that you attach to the window with heavy duty suction cups! The side that faces the window is see through plexi glass, so you can see the birds in their nest! It was an idea I saw on pinterest, and JTom made it come to life. So anyway, I painted them the color of our shutters and after they finish drying and get another coat, we will put them up! Hopefully a little sparrow or some other little birds will make a nest in there and get used to us looking in on them.


I will try to get some pictures up of our pretty pansies and bird houses sometime this week or weekend.


-Meg

Toddler and first Trimester

Aaah.. Friday! For me that means coffee, and a few tv shows. Since I’m pregnant I don’t allow myself coffee during the week, only Friday-Sunday (which may or may not actually be better for me … probably not). Once the new baby is delivered, I can get back to my normal habits. A friend’s been speaking about the hand roasted coffee delivered to their home, and I have to say it sounds really good. For now, coffee is just a weekend treat alongside some much needed relaxing time. I would usually go to the Y, but today we are being lazy. =/



J.Tom has been deathly ill with a cold and sinus infection. Last night I slept downstairs so I could actually get some rest from the hacking, coughing, and nose blowing. I slept better than I have in WEEKS! I’ve been getting up anywhere from 2-5 times a night to use the bathroom, dang pregnancy bladder. But, much to my surprise I got up only once last night. Would you like to know why?! I slept on a regular mattress!! Our mattress in our room is a very firm memory foam mattress and we love it. After a week of sleeping on it, I vowed to NEVER own a regular mattress again. Never ever… But I discovered something last night- a memory foam mattress gives way under your body, not putting pressure on your growing uterus, full bladder, or aching kidneys, during pregnancy. For about two weeks when I laid on my tummy in our bed, I could feel that firm basketball feeling in my belly. But when I lay on the regular mattress, it’s not there! I also found out from reading this article that not having the right mattress foundation can also cause your mattress to sag and give way under you, so we might need to change our foundation too. Need a comfortable mattress on a budget? Keep needing to use the bathroom in the night? Use a regular mattress!!
So I’m convinced now that the memory foam is why I have been getting up so much at night, because it’s like it pushes back against my bladder… That probably sounds ridiculous! But I promise if you did the experiment I did, unknowingly, you would agree! What’s even funnier is on the forums on babycenter the other night a lady was complaining about her memory foam during pregnancy- and I just couldn’t imagine why it would be different. As the great Bill Nye the Science Guy would say- “Now you know!”



Anyway, back to coffee … Mmm! That’s all I can say. For a while, on days I didn’t have coffee I would feel sick, achy, nauseous and so worn down. I’m pretty sure that would be the caffeine withdraw people talk about. Another silly thing about Fridays, is I allow myself more tv than I do on other days. Lexie and I play a lot more, but since it is winter and we are stuck inside most days, we keep the tv off. She is obsessed with the television when it’s on. I think it’s like the forbidden fruit for a 17month old. But on Fridays, I watch a little bit of Good Morning America, Regis and (I miss Regis) Kelly if it looks any good, and the hot topics part of The View. Then I turn it off-but Im usually busy folding clothes or vacuuming and don’t actually watch it.. I hate the idiot box, really it just provides a little entertainment sometimes. At that point in the morning, if it has warmed up outside, we go out. She naps so much better when she has been out first. It’s like the fresh air triggers sleep! Amazing ..

This morning, Lexie wanted to play with her foam letters while I made breakfast and coffee.. So we got them out and she picked up the number 2 and said “two! two!” I asked JTom “Did you hear that?! She said two!” Then she started identifying a bunch of letters- A, B, C, D, I, J, M, O, P,R, and T! So now she can identify the number 2, count to 8 and sometimes 10, and identify all those letters along with say her ABCs most of the time. BUT, she doesn’t do colors. I thought that was like the first thing most kids picked up? Not Lexie … she will identify blue, but everything else is blue too. haha I guess in her own time. I haven’t pushed anything, she just picks up on it. She’s so funny. I will say, “you’re Mommy’s baby!” and SHE REPLIES “Daddy baby!” over and over. It’s pretty sweet. I didn’t teach her to say that either! She walks around singing her ABCs and counting. She loves to tell you everything she knows, like what everything in the house is. And her favorite activity is cleaning up! Well, maybe not her most favorite thing, but pretty close. She likes to clean up and sings the clean up song while she does it. SHe really likes playing with her tutu and putting on her “hat” which is her crown. Sorry there are so many repeats on the pictures, that’s all we have taken this week!


Lexie is saying two and three-word phrases like crazy! One favorite is “daddy mama!” haha In case you are wondering that is one word. =) She loves pretending with the play silks I made her. Her is a link to play silks and how to dye them in case you are interested. I think I spent about $30 total, and for as many silks as I made, I would have paid well over that for them. They are one of her favorite things.


OK, so I started this post on Friday, and here it is Monday the 20th and I’m just now finishing it. Sorry!


The pregnancy this time around is going well- I’m tired a lot. But it is a different tired than last time, I guess that has something to do with caring for a toddler. =) I feel pretty good, but get queasy some, and feel run down a lot. But it was really the same with my last pregnancy in that regard … I have the same food aversions and cravings, actually. Red meat and sugar. haha Im trying to eat fruits instead of sugary foods- but everything gives me indigestion. EVERYTHING. I did start this morning with oatmeal and 2 scrambled eggs; I’m hoping the eggs help me to feel better though the day. I don’t usually eat eggs, they just gross me out, but they were pretty good this morning. Lexie shared them with me. =) One week from today we get to finally see the baby- We will actually be 13weeks 1day. It should have been this week, but there was a scheduling issue. We haven’t told Lexie about the baby, I don’t think we will until this summer, when my belly is bigger and she can understand better. I also don’t want her to wait5 months for the baby to get here, that seems too long. So those are our updates for the last few days/weeks!


Have a good Monday-
Meg



The Y, healthy foods, and pregnancy update

Today was my first day back at the Y since I was about 9 months p,regnant with lexie! It was great to be back. I went to Yoga, and oh how I have missed it! I feel so much better afterward. Lexie did great in the kids room, she was a bit anxious at first, but there was no crying when I walked away. They said she played the entire time. She also schooled the ladies on the difference between red and orange bowling pins. I wasn’t aware she knew the difference between red and orange … Evidentally she does. She definitely knows blue!

After yoga we went to walmart, the first thing she did was point out the blue on the glass door, then immediately started asking for “boobies,” so off to the produce we went! She ate blue berries the whole time and I got a few things we needed. We were in and out in 35 minutes- someone give me an Amen! That is record timing! But I spent $120, somehow. Groceries are so dang expensive, healthy ones are anyway. I left with 4 pints of blueberries, 6 4packs of organic Greek blueberry yogurt, strawberries, apples, cutie oranges, milk, cream cheese, canned peas, granola thins, bread, kashi pita crisps and hummus. Mmm I love hummus, my mother in law made this great recipe, and I really need to get it from her- it’s red pepper hummus, two kinds of olives, tomatoes and cucumbers. Mmmm sooo good! And healthy! Speaking of healthy, for dinner last night, my daughter ate half a grilled burger patty, and an entire can of green beans. I cooked them with a bullion cube and some onion flakes- she literally ate the whole can. She just kept signing for more! I can’t complain .. That’s for sure!

What’s your family’s favorite healthy, go to snack?

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I have had a lot of friends and family asking how I feel, etc during my pregnancy. Im only 6wk3d today. I get headaches from time to time, get super sleepy during the day, and want lots of red meat. I’m having a lot of cramping, just mild cramps, which is common but I don’t remember having this much last time. Also, yesterday I woke up with my back killing me. I don’t know if it’s the progesterone making all the soft tissue relax, so my muscles are more tender ? Or whats going on. But it hurts on either side of my spine. I’m learning already poor lexie will have to do more walking than she already does. The cat lays on my tummy though. So she is like a built in heating pad, that’s very nice! (since you’re not supposed to use heating pads during pregnancy). Overall I feel good, not too many symptoms. Which makes me worry a bit. I hate waiting for the first dr visit! It’s so hard .. Just not knowing if everything is going ok in there, that the baby is still growing, etc. It’s so common for women to miscarry and not know it until the first ultrasound, at 12 weeks. But if that’s all you think about you’ll go crazy- so I try not to. Just keep us in your prayers that everything is good! I did go back and read during my last preg the exhaustion kicked in around 7 weeks and the heartburn at 11. So I still have that to look forward to.

16 months old

rSo last week while my mom was here, lexie and i were playing with her peeka blocks on the floor. I stacked one and said “one” then she did the next three and counted “two, three, four!” giving each block it’s own number! I know right?! Mom and I practically squealed we were so excited, that would be the teacher comingout in both of us. Then, when my mom is here, she always pulls up www.starfall.com and let’s lexie play with the abcs game. (here’s the back story- lexie has a little toy barn w letter you push through the top and she loves them! I have always told her what each letter was, and she would repeat after me. So she has had early exposure to literacy in that way. It’s not like we are forcing education down a baby’s throat- it’s all through play and conversation or reading, which she loves.). So anyway, she and mom play on that website, and lexie now says “a, /a/.” the /a/ means she is sounding out the a! So it’s “a, /a/,” and then sometimes she says “apple” afterward! The sequence on the game is the exact same; it amazes me that she knows this. And if you ask her what B SAYS, SHE WILL RESPOND /b/. Just this morning she picked the B from the bag of foam letters, and said “B, /b/.” I swear. It’s amazing what children will do if you just give them the tools. One day she will understand what all of it really means.

And, she has started singing her abcs. It’s pretty funny, because at any time during the day you could record about 15 minutes in our house, and one of us will be singing and/or dancing. Lexie sings all day. She sings “clean up clean up” when she outs her toys away, when I wipe her face, or when she picks her blocks up off the floor and outs them on her table. She sings silly songs with mama, I say the words and she just mumbles along. And she now sings her Abcs. Haha. It goes something like this, “A, um, oo, ah, b, hmm, ooo, da, b, ah, we, nam, num, I.” Lol. Now sing that to the tune of the abcs. It’s precious and I’m going to try to record her doing it, but I’m sure she will stop once I get the camera out. The last week or two she has started saying whole phrases and a few complete sentences. They have included “Bye Daddy,” “silly mommy!” and “Silly daddy!” I can’t remember what her sentences were, it’s been a while. =/


Also, the other day I got her a swing! We’ve been wanting to get one for some time, but just never got around to it. A lady posted one on free cycle, and I got it! It’s a blue dolphin? I dunno what’s up with that, but it’s a fisher price and in good condition. Lexie loves it! She won’t be in it much longer, because she is the size of a two year old … But it will do until we get her a swing set this summer I hope. Oh yes- for her birthday this year jtom is going to build her a swing set! We may buy one like these Colorado swing sets for sale, if things just get too busy, but i know he wants to build it, then we will add all the swings and slide. She loves the playground and slide at the park, so I know she will love having one of her own. I can’t wait!


And a funny story- we were in the devils den walmart Wednesday. You know I’m methodical in everything I do, grocery shopping is one of them. I make my shopping list according to the route I take in the store, depending on the store. I also take my AMEX Blue Cash Preferred card to make sure that I earn rewards on my purchases. If I forget my card, the day is ruined! At walmart, my route looks like this: pharmacy for toothpaste, dog food, etc. To the back for diapers if her school is low. Then to the front for produce, around to the meats, back to the cheese, milk, and eggs. Then I shop the inside aisles and finish in the frozen section if we need veggies for baby. Well, on this day we started in produce because I didn’t need anything from the pharmacy. The minute I put the blue berries in the cart, SOMEONE starts yelling “boobies! Boobies!” while kicking her legs. “boobies” is lexie talk for blue berries (mom, she has that beginning sound down!). So I tear the tape off the container, and start shoving boobies blue berries into her mouth and my pockets. I filled my pockets up so I could just feed them to her while we shopped. She ate all but about 10 blue berries in the pint. But I left there with a happy toddler! Whew. She’s a mess.

“bye, bye”-wanting Payne to go read

My dad came this weekend, and we had such a great time! He got in sat morning; we visited outside while jtom worked on the bench for our table. He brought Guss who played like he was puppy again, not a 10 yr old dog. Payne pulled lexie around the yard in the wagon, and they had a big time! Saturday afternoon, while lexie napped and I rested, the boys went to the woods and shot guns. Ooh, those are days I miss! Next time lexie will stay w someone while I get to go shoot too! Haha. But anyways, so they had a big time in the woods and then Sunday we just played and visited until dad left that afternoon. Lexie was constantly asking her Payne to go “bye” with her. She asked him to “eee” which is read to her, and of course teased him all day wi her silliness. When she woke up from her nap, she asked for “Mayne. Mayne”. (Payne Payne). It was pretty cute. She loves her Payne for sure!



Her outfit of choice-wouldn’t take off the boots or hat!

Payne and Lexie reading “Nose”








I wrote the above about a week ago. Today is Monday the 9th. I wanted to mention, that speaking of “boobies” Lexie’s Papa and SueSue went to the Galapagos Islands last week. They had a fantastic time and said that this Guide to luxury in Galapagos is essential for anyone who wants to visit the beautiful island. It’s definitely on my bucket list! They brought her home a (toy) Blue Footed Boobie. lol It’s a bird only found in the Galapagos, you should Google it. =) Now Lexie knows her elbows, knees and back (sometimes). She also loves to read her Bible-it is currently her favorite book. I am okay with that! haha We have been battling thrush for a few weeks-t comes and goes. Since it replicates itself in a different strand every few days, it makes it hard to kill it off. UH-not fun! But she is doing well with it.


She LOVES the coconut oil I’m using to help treat it. Plus it is good for her, even when she’s not sick. I plan on writing a post about the benefits of coconut oil and its many many uses! I am eating a few tbsp a day of it-it is the best fats you can ingest, and helps with nails, skin, hair. I’m even using it as a moisturizer-me, pregnant Meghan with oily pregnancy skin and it’s AMAZING! Leaves my skin feeling like silk, and not even oily by the end of the day! I won’t go on here, but you should Google it, then go to your local foods store and buy a jar of organic, virgin pressed coconut oil! Best ten dollars I ever spent-and I plan on getting more!

New beginnings … Again

Each year for the last 3-4 years I have written a short list of things I am thankful for. This year that list would be so long if I included everything. So I am only going to mention a few things.

  • First is my amazing husband. We have a chemistry and friendship like no other. He is the most giving, practical, fun, loving husband and daddy in the world. He is Lexie’s hero and my sanity. I am most grateful for him and his selflessness.
  • Of course, Lexie is next. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She teaches me new things about life every single day and helps me push my limits (of course, what else is a toddler to do?). I have more fun being her Mommy and playmate than anything I have ever done in my entire life.
  • I am thankful for my part-time cleaning business and being a stay at home mom. I will start with the cleaning business-if it were not for friends encouraging me, telling me I can do it, lifting me up when it didn’t seem to be going well, and keeping Lexie so I could begin, I would not have the business at all. I don’t make a lot of money, but I make enough to cover Lexie going to school 2xs a week, and to put a little back for savings. My plan is to train newly hired maids to expand my business but I’m taking things slowly at the minute!
  • Staying at home is the most amazing gift I have ever been given. Though there have been phases Lexie made me second guess myself, I would do absolutely anything to be home with her, even clean other people’s toilets twice a week. 😉 I can’t thank my husband enough for his support and encouragement so I can be a full time mama. I will never get these years back, and I am so thankful.
  • Next is my family. They put up with my craziness, OCDness, and don’t mind being quiet when the baby sleeps (because she no longer sleeps through everything like when she was 6 months old). They have supported our family, our decisions (and if not kept their mouths shut), and loved us unconditionally. Most importantly, they have prayed for our family and I believe that is the most powerful blessing. Thank you.
  • Here, I would like to mention how thankful I am to have a home. We bough a lot in the country this year, considered selling our house, looked at buying a house, and overall decided to stay put right where we are! To even have the above options we know is a blessing. Our home is just perfect for us, and it may take some more hard work and time, but we are going to make it even better. We did seriously think about moving home at one point though, we even looked at different estate agents on sites like getagent, and we even found some pretty nice houses as well. But then we sat down one evening and just were like why are we moving? We love the house that we are currently in, so we decided to stay.
  • Last, I am going to mention the “new” baby. Although right now, all we can do it pray there is a healthy baby in there. I don’t go to the doctor until Jan 24, at 8 weeks (that’s just how they do it … And one more reason why we probably should have waited to tell the world … but we are weak!) So keep us in your prayers that everything is growing healthily and happily, and that we get a good report come Jan 24th!


A few updates:

As we save money for the few updates of the house, I am writing out my to do lists. I plan to repaint all the trim (a white, instead of the icky cream we painted when we moved in. ick), redo all (bathrooms included) cabinets, tear out that damn a wall (every time we plan to do this, I wind up pregnant. Go figure!), and put in new carpet for the nursery before baby #2 gets here. This is going to require saving money in the next few months which means an even tighter than usual budget, but I think we can do it. Another option might be refinancing, I hear that Perth Broker could help with that from what a friend told me. I might have to have a conversation with them about it.

I sometimes wonder if people on the outside realize how hard it is for a family of (soon to be four) to live off ONE middle class income-by middle class I mean less than $100,000. I get this feeling sometimes that our hard work to save, NOT use credit cards, and be frugal is overlooked. And buy “our” I mean all the families with a stay at home mom and working husband. Were it not for our budget, organization, and thriftiness I could not stay home with Lexie. I say organization, because if you’re not organized, you don’t know what you have and therefore waste money buying products already stuffed in your cluttered cabinets. Of course a budget is key-knowing what you spend on everything each month, and sticking to it. For example, when the grocery budget runs out, you eat what’s left in the pantry that month until it’s all gone, then return to the grocery when you have to. It means not wasting left overs or letting food go bad. It also means limiting eating out, going on expensive date nights that involve a sitter, and making your own laundry detergent. =) I say none of this begrudgingly. I love this life. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Literally. I love budgeting our family and organizing our home. Most of all, I love being a full time homemaker-and I feel blessed to do so.

OK … on to a more fun topic- BABY!
I changed my mind (duh). I think we will put the new baby down stairs. She will share it with my craft table. When she is old enough, she and Lexie will share a room. That room downstairs needs new carpet, so I am hoping to find some beige on clearance or closeout for the cheap, then have someone like Carpet Now – Austin Carpet Installation install it. That room also needs new blinds. Desperately-I don’t know how old they are, but they are beyond being cleaned. I’d really like to do blackout shades (for naps and bedtime) and plantation shutters (since it’s on the front of the house, and I would like them across the front eventually anyway). Since we’re not finding out the sex, I’m going to pick out my bedding stuff and have it ready to order once baby arrives. I have an antique white crib picked out, and we will refinish JTom’s dresser for the baby. We will move all of JTom’s clothes into my closet (YIKES!), which means it will require a new hanging rod, so we have a top and bottom. A family member is giving us a cover for the 4wheelers, canoes, and camper. (we just have to get it moved to Hot Springs). Once we get it here, that will free up space in the barn, where all of JTom’s hunting stuff will go. That will also become his much needed shop. Yay! He may be losing a “boy room” for his junk, but he is gaining a shop .. sorta. All of this is subject to change with the rise and fall of my hormones. I am most excited about knocking out the wall, and new carpet in the new Baby’s room.

And … on to my most precious baby. Lexie is just going to be the best big sister ever. I know it. I want to take a sibling class, so when the new baby arrives, we can be sure to make her feel just as important as she does today. For instance, letting her come in the hospital room to see us first, spend time with Mommy and Daddy, then bring in the new baby. That way we are hers (lexie’s) and the new baby is ours, as a family. I want her to know that this baby is going to love her just like we love her. I want to foster a good relationship- I don’t find it humerus when children don’t enjoy their new siblings and parents think it’s cute. I understand it is natural, but rather than laugh at this emotional upset, it seems better to foster a love for the new baby. Not a jealous attitude towards it. But hey, that’s JUST me. I also don’t want everyone coming to the house at once to oogle the new baby. I think we need time, like last time, to bond as a family and let Lou get used to our new family arrangement.

Mamas with two or more- what do/did you do to foster a healthy relationship between your young children?

-Meg
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