Music is what feelings sound like.

I LOVE music! I love to sing along and rock out to all sorts of music….classic rock, country, alternative, old school hip hop, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I have a song and a playlist for every mood or occasion. 

But I am also tone deaf. As much as I love music, I’ve never played an instrument or attempted to learn one. Air guitar is as far as my music career has gone.

Both of the girls have recently decided that they want to play an instrument. Great-I am all for that but this is an area where I cannot teach them myself. Too far out of my realm.  Our schedule is a bit cramped right now so we just don’t have time right now to work in traditional instrument lessons.

Avery started asking for a guitar several months before her birthday and she was so excited to get one. Her dad plays guitar and is giving her lessons but due to his work schedule, their lessons are infrequent.  Our musically inclined friends have led us to a few different apps and websites that help beginners learn so we are trying that out.

Kaylee decided that she would love to play piano. A piano is a bit harder and more expensive to accommodate but she has been talking about it for a year! We were so lucky that one of dad’s coworkers was looking to get rid of his piano and not only gave it to us for free but helped move it to our house too! Kaylee and I are using Hoffman Academy on YouTube to learn how to play. We are only a few lessons in but so far, it is working well. I am officially a pro at hot cross buns so maybe there is hope for me yet!

We’ll have a family band going in no time at all….

Do you or your kids play any instruments? Have you always been musically inclined or do you have to work at it like me?


Party time!

Avery just recently turned 7. One of my favorite things about this girl is her creativity in picking party themes. One year, she did a Malificient theme. Another year, she did a Grinch theme….for a September birthday. 

This year, she wanted to do a Nerf party. These are pretty popular in our circle but instead of a war (because why would she want to shoot her friends), she wanted a Nerf challenge party. 

She decided on 7 challenges for her  7 years. Everyone got 7 shots at each target and we had a prize for the “Top Shot”.

I spent a few weeks deciding on the challenges and creating them. It was so fun! We had a blast planning and preparing for the party and all of the guests had fun too.

The 7 challenges we did were: spinning targets, swinging targets, zombie attack, ping pong precision, sniper training, balloon pop, and tin can challenge.

The “Top Shot” award

The party itself was relatively inexpensive because I made the challenges from mostly recycled materials and we did snack foods instead of a full meal.  The most expensive part of the party was getting these cute little single shooters for the favors but they were a big hit so it was worth it! 

This was possibly my favorite theme that she has picked so far….but she’s already brainstorming for her 8th birthday so we’ll see what she picks next….

Never a dull moment

Oh boy! Where to start? We’ve been busy over here, discovering and navigating some heath issues. 

[Excuse the poor grammar and lack of full sentences. Much of this was entered cliff note style into my phone as it was happening.]

A few weeks ago, I took Kaylee to her pediatrician for excessive/unexplained bruising. We’ve done this before when she was 2 and the diagnosis was honey badger. She actually had 2 blood draws done that time, 9 days apart. After the first one, they called back and asked us to come in for a second. When the second one came back fine, we didn’t question it.  I took her in this time expecting it to be fine but wanting to do our due diligence because she has woken up with new bruises which is obviously not normal. Her appointment was at 2 and she had bloodwork done at 4. Milkshakes after that for being brave! The doctor said that he would call me in a day or two with the results.
I was at a co-op meeting at 6:30 when an on call doctor called me and said “Kaylee’s results are critical and you need to take her to the ER immediately.” With a little pressing from a then frantic mom, he further explained that platelets should be 150, kaylees were a 3. Not 30, not even 13….3. I rush home, grab bare essentials for Avery, drop her at a friends house, and  get Kaylee to the ER. In the 45 minutes it took me from getting the call to arriving at the ER, I received 3 calls making sure I understood and was bringing her. Nothing strikes fear in a mother’s heart like that does.

Once in the ER, they take more blood, more urine, more labs. And then we wait. While waiting, Dr. Mom consults Dr. Google. Eventually an actual doctor confirms that they suspect Kaylee has something called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (itp).  Only the first of many times I’ll hear those words and initials in the coming days.

Our local hospital doesn’t have a pediatric icu so they then tell me that Kaylee needs to be life flighted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 2 ambulances and 1 fixed wing plane ride later, we arrived at PCH (only slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to ride in a helicopter like daddy flies in!).

It’s important to note that Kaylee feels fine all along. She is her normal happy, smiling self. At one point in the local ER, she looked at me and said “so what? Do these people think I’m sick or something?” She wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about.

More pokes, more labs, more fussing. We finally get admitted to our room on the hematology floor around 2 am. Because there was no active bleeding, they let her rest and just observe through the night.  The morning team will then decide treatment.

ITP usually happens after an illness  (cold, flu, etc). You make antibodies to fight that infection but somewhere the wires get crossed and those antibodies start attacking your platelets and killing them off.  In those cases, it is usually a one time thing and never happens again. Because Kaylee has had bruising issues before and has not recently been sick, hers may be a recurring case. We mostly just have to wait and see.

ITP  is also a diagnosis of elimination…..they think its ITP so they will treat it as such for now. If that treatment doesn’t work, then they’d look at other things. The treatment is IVIG, iv-immunoglobin. The doctor was very honest that they dont know how or why it works but that 2 rounds of it usually works. So day 1, they would give her round 1 (a 6 hr treatment) and then recheck her levels the next morning and start round 2. Assuming everything went well up to that point, we could be discharged after round 2 and would return to PCH in a week to check levels again.

Kaylee tolerated round 1 with no issues (premedicated with zofran). Other than all the needles, she is having a mini vaca…all kids movies at her fingertips, a kid loaded ipad, coloring books, a playroom, a superhero cape, room service! Oh to be 4 and be excited by all this instead of a nervous wreck like mom!!

Kaylee responded great to the first round with her numbers rising to 41! This was so great that they didn’t think she needed the second round. So they will discharge us and have us come back in a week to make sure her numbers are rising. Best case scenario, her numbers continue to rise and we make weekly/biweekly visits to Phoenix to monitor her numbers. Once they reach the normal level, we would then make a few monthly visits to make sure they stay up.

Despite being a honey badger, she is such a sweet, caring soul. Her first couple meals at the hospital, it didn’t go unnoticed by her that I didn’t get anything except coffee. Every meal, she was asking me “mom, what did you order? What are you going to eat?” Who is taking care of who here? And every time we laid down, even though it was her who had ivs and needles and wires all over, she would ask “are you comfortable mom?” My sweet, sweet girl.

On her first follow-up visit, her platelet number surpassed the normal range! The doctor explained that it was likely that the hospital treatment made her body realize it was doing something wrong and so it overcompensated to fix the problem. She was confident that the numbers would level out.

After all of this, we were able to track down her blood draw results from 2 years ago. The reason she needed to get the second draw was because her platelets were low the first time. Not critically low but definitely below normal. By the time of the second draw, her numbers had risen on their own. If only we had known, if only we had more information and more details, maybe she never would have gotten to this critical point. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

She is still our happy girl and now that her condition is being monitored properly, she is our healthy girl too!

Adding Enchantment


I know, I know, I’m obsessed with all things Brave Writer.  Sorry, not sorry.

One of my favorite things about Brave Writer is the emphasis on enchantment.  One of Julie’s key phases is “An Enchanted Education.”  What does that mean exactly?  You can read it straight from the source here.

I am in the midst of planning and researching HOW I can add enchantment to our homeschool.  I know that part of the magic is in the unplanned but I want to be sure to set my girls up with lots of opportunities when they may easily become enchanted.

For me, planning field trips and “Good-Enough-Parties” are such great ways to add opportunities for enchantment (more on Good-Enough-Parties later).  The girls and I made a wish list last week of field trips that we would like to take this year.  I added the usuals: Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center.  Kaylee added camping.  We usually do a lot of camping but daddy has been out of town this summer so we haven’t been lately.  My girls are missing it and it’s clear that our camping time is some of most important, best quality family time.  Avery added Texas and Alabama to the list.  We’ve never been to either and I have no idea where she got the ideas for those but as soon as she said them, I knew I wanted to make at least 1 happen for her.  Her dad called the next day and said his next training is going to be in Dallas…..fate?  I think so! We are definitely planning to piggy back on that trip!

Our Field Trip Wish List:

Word Art

But Julie is clear on the fact that enchantment doesn’t have to be these big, grand ideas.  Is there enchantment to be found in letting your 6 year old decide a location and plan an across-state-lines trip? Sure!  But all of that isn’t necessary.  As I learned in another blog post of hers, enchantment can be as simple as using cookies as your math manipulatives, taking our read aloud to the park (or Starbucks!), or dressing up in princess costumes to do their fairy tale Jot It Down project.

I want to see all of YOUR enchanted ideas!  How do you add enchantment to your school year? Any brilliant ideas for me?!

Wikki Stix Alphabet

Back in February we went on vacation to Maui and on the airplane, my girls received coloring books and samples of Wikki Stix from the flight attendants (seriously, A+ Alaskan Airlines!).  The girls loved the Wikki Stix and spent a good portion of the flight playing with them.  For a mom traveling with 2 small kids, anything that keeps them occupied is a total win in my book.

Imagine how awesome it was to see that Timberdoodle carries Wikki Stix and that they are used in an educational capacity! Timberdoodle has the Wikki Stix Alphabet in their Pre-K Curriculum Kit which is perfect for Kaylee’s age!

wikki stix blog1

Kaylee is 4.5 and is right in the middle of mastering her letters.  She knows most of them well enough that she sometimes gets bored doing the standard alphabet workbooks but she does need more practice to master them.  This Wikki Stix Alphabet set is perfect for her to keep practicing her letters while switching up to something new and different and FUN!

Wikki Stix are easy to use and easy to manipulate.  They bend and flex in the tiniest hands and you just push them gently onto the boards to stick.  The boards clean up with a dry paper towel without leaving a sticky mess around (because we’ve got enough of those already).  As per the instructions, we cut a few of them into halves and thirds but the girls were also happy to fold them over as needed.  Try as Kaylee might, they don’t just tear apart which is awesome if you have a little honey badger like I have 😉

Even 6.5 year old Avery got into it!  Since she wanted to try them out too, I gave her the boards with b and d since she still occasionally mixes those up.  She also went “rogue” and started spelling her name and small words with the Wikki Stix.

wikki stix blog3

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite things about Timberdoodle curriculum is that it is FUN and the girls don’t necessarily see it as “doing schoolwork.”  Wikki Stix Alphabet totally fits into that category!  The girls love it and choose it during free play time, in addition to when we work it into school time.

wikki stix blog2

Anything that puts such huge smiles on my girls’ face is worth every penny….the fact that its educational?  A serious bonus!


Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own!

Farm Life

My parents recently moved from the neighborhood where I grew up to a 5 acre hobby farm.  This has been our first visit to the farm and we are having a blast!!! 

I cannot imagine a better way to wake up than coffee on the deck, watching my horse run!! 

In addition to our normal family fun, this visit has been chock full of Grandma’s farm animals! I have owned my horse Cody for over 20 years and this is the first time that any of our horses have been able to be home rather than boarded at someone else’s farm. 

Grandma also has chickens, kittens, bottle fed baby goats, and she hatched a baby peacock while we’ve been here!!

I’m calling these 3 weeks an extended field trip because they sure have been educational! #homeschool