samantha liz

Archive of ‘home free’ category

Something something… [insert as good of an excuse as any for not blogging here.]

As our family’s birthday season is quickly approaching (Starting with Marcus’ birthday coming up this Wednesday… what?) I stopped for a moment to realize that was already 3 months in to 2018. How did that happen??

While we are on the topic of how did that happen

When did this little chubby baby become a smart young man? Gosh, he’s turning EIGHT! How has it been 8 years already? All this thinking leads me down a slippery slope, because this cute baby girl…

Is now a beautiful and talented dancer who will be ELEVEN by month’s end.

Don’t even get me started on my almost TEENAGER…

That little baby of mine is now studying PreAlgebra, and is speed-cubing and photobombing like a pro. ❤️

And not to leave out my littlest dude…

Who is turning out to be as crazy and funny and smart as the rest of the crew…

Not to mention his photobombing skills that rival that of his oldest brother…

So, that’s what’s going on around these parts lately. We have been rocking 2018 with homeschooling advanced subjects, which has been as fun for me as it is for the kids.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

Raising Litterateurs {aka… my kids LOVE books!}

Every time Autumn comes rolling in, I feel a need to evaluate our curricula. Seeing what is working for us, and what we’d rather do without, is a vital part of keeping our homeschooling not only educational, but fun. This year, we took a modified summer approach to our schooling, choosing one day a week to cover the “essentials”, we really were able to fully emerge in the topic of the day {my favorite being a tie between History Fridays and Nature Wednesdays}. Another thing that I discovered is that, although we chose to focus on just one topic each day, reading time every day was solidly carved into our lives and we would naturally gravitate towards ‘quiet time’ and story telling to one another, especially when the kids recieved a new book. These two realizations are what brings me to this post.

When I sat down to see what we loved day to day, and what the kids naturally gravitated to, the answer was clear… BOOKS. More more often than not? Usborne books. From our history lessons to our free reading time. When learning about how our body works to exploring the world atlas, the resources we reached for time and again was our Usborne books!

This massively awesome pile or reference books is just the ones we’ve used in the last week. We just love them around these parts! What are your favorite books?

Editing lessons…

Thomas was hanging around with Colin and me while I took some product photos.  

 We got to talking about photography, and photo editing. Thomas asked why one would edit a photo, so we discussed how mood and feeling could be expressed through color and lighting. Then Thomas commissioned me to take some photos of him, to edit… 3R3A8543Off he went, returning with his lightsaber. I snapped a couple shots, then we uploaded them to my computer for some edits; Thomas style. 


Here’s what he came up with; complete with glowing saber and fire ball. What a fun little lesson we both had. ❤️ I just love watching this guy grow. 

Mini Train Riding

By our house, there is this park.

The kids and I don’t go often enough, but every time we do we say, “We need to come here more often!”

There’s two huge playground areas, a sculpture garden, a swim beach, and even a train that circles around. 

Today? We rode that train. 

We bought our 75¢ tickets, and got them punched as we boarded. 😉 This time, we got in the red caboose in the back.  

Yup, Thomas…


   …and Colin. 

 Well, me and Colin {photo courtesy of Thomas}. I had to sit on the floor it was so tiny… And so fun!


If you can’t make it out over the squeaky-squeaks, there’s even a tunnel!


Marcus: We’re going in there!!

Molly: Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to go in the tunnel! Are you guys excited to go in the tunnel?

Me: There’s a tunnel?

Molly: Yup!

😉 We all had a great time, and I promised this time, we would go again very soon. 

Alien Invasion

The kids created their own aliens, put together costumes and wrote and starred in a play for part of our “schooling” today.

Luna and Adipose 😉
Luna and Adipose

X-CO 3000 meets Luna
Luna and X-CO 3000

He decides that he wants to destroy the planet…
X-CO 3000 challenging Luna

Unfortunately for X-CO, he is no match for Luna!
Luna standing her ground.

Check out the whole play and their introductions with their origin and abilities! (and enjoy the comic styling of the adipose baby)

Exploring biomes, literally.

I thought it would be fun for the kids to learn about biomes. It’s only February and we are well on our way to discovering them first hand.

In January we visited the Coniferous Forest of Crested Butte, CO and partook in the snowy fun of sledding.
Crested Butte Sledding Hill
Thom and Marcus

The kids {and Thom} had such a blast on this trip, that we thought why not explore another biome? So we packed up the car and headed to the desert. Joshua Tree National Park to be exact.
Hidden Valley Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

This time, I made up some nomenclature cards about desert life. {Which you can download in pdf form in 4 parts here: Part1, Part2, Part3, and Part4}
Desert Nomenclature
We brought them along with us on our hike of Hidden Valley Trail while the kids photographed them with their iPods.
Photographer Marcus

I brought along my camera too and managed to get a couple shots…
Rock Chilling, Molly Style

Rock Chilling, Thomas Style

…as did Thom.
Photo Op

The kids hiked the whole mile without a complaint and many a climbing opportunity detour.

It's high up here!

Rock Jumping

Molly even discovered where the fairies live in the desert, and happily showed me.
Secret garden

Fairies live in the desert too!

Well, that’s two down and so many more to explore… who knows where life will take us next? All I know is that this girl is up for the adventure.
Striking a pose.

Crowd Pleaser {aka: Paint}

I just knew this morning would be a success. Elfie and Elva broke out the watercolors and tape for a snowflake project.

I just love the smiles on their faces that the elves bring.

20131212-095440.jpgMarcus’ painting.

20131212-095501.jpgMolly’s painting.

20131212-095533.jpgThomas’ painting.

Falling for Fall

Well, the kids have officially had their first Autumn memory in the backyard.
45/52/Life - Childhood Memories

The apple tree let go of it’s last leaves, which means a pile was made and jumped in…
One of my favorite parts of Autumn.

And laid in…
She can make a cozy bed.

And adorned as hats…
She can wear them like a hat.

And well, fell, just as they are supposed to…
45/52/Portrait - Leaves; All the cool girls are wearing them this season.

The one where I talk about the basement…

Yeah…. so you know how we have a finished basement…

The basement. Right now it is home to my photography "studio", lots of boxes and bins that need unpacking, another bathroom that I love, the laundry/utility room and the kids' playroom.

The one with the room full of boxes? Well, I may have posted a tiny picture the first time around… because well… it was a lot of boxes… and stuff… and boxes…

Yeah, it was a bit of a mess, and I couldn’t let that go on any longer. So today? With the help of my AMAZING husband who tirelessly unpacked and moved and sorted and stored and climbed the ladder time and again to the garage attic for proper storage, it now looks like this:
40/52/Life: After; clean slated.

I have alot of plans and ideas, but for now it’s so nice to be clean slated. <3 In the midst of it we did happen to come across the stand that Thom and I made to hold Thomas' moses basket alongside of our bed almost 9 years ago. Thom and I found the moses basket stand we made many moons ago.

It just so happened to induce sleepiness, and general day dreaming.
40/52/Portrait - Sleeping on the Job.

So many memories, and so many more to come. Loving life.

New house; making home.

When we first saw the new house, we fell in love. It was a charming 4-bedroom {all upstairs, squee!} center-hall dutch colonial. I immediately envisioned the kids growing up in it. Complete with obligatory prom on the steps photos of Molly. Thom and the kids instantly agreed; Thomas claimed his room and Molly was quite enamored that her room had a mirror on the back of the door. You may remember me posting about a great weekend we had as the summer started. That it was epic? Yup, that’s the weekend I took these photos {please excuse my iphone pics}20130628-220044.jpgBack then it seemed like only a dream that this could be our home, but we made an offer and put our house up on the market… and waited.

It felt like forever; funny thing that thing called time, it has a habit of sneaking up on you.

Before I knew it we were sold and all moved out there and all moved in here, and I’m sitting in my office as I type this right now.Back down the hallway and to the right of the front door is my office (Read: My space, yay!)Yup, that’s what it looks like now. I have lots of things planned for it, but right now? It’s completely perfect. However I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me give you an official tour.
As you walk up to the front door, it opens to the center hall stairway.When you walk up to the front door, it opens to a center hall stairway.

Walking down the hall {past my office on your right, eeks!!} you will find the kitchen {with it’s awesome pantry} in the back of the house on the left.If you walk down the hall, the kitchen is in the back of the house on the left.

…and the family room with it’s wood burning fireplace to the right.The family room with wood burning fireplace is to the right.{shh… this room already looks different, lol… more on that next time.}

Out that door next to the fireplace is the garage {aka: Thom’s man cave}.Out the door is the garage (read: Thom's space)

If you go back into the house and walk through the kitchen, you will come upon the dining room.Then connecting the kitchen and the living room is the dining room.

…and through that large archway is the living room {which has had a rearrangement since, lol, constantly evolving.}To the left of the front door is the huge living room. Totally dwarfs all my furniture.

Up the stairs is all our bedrooms.
Thomas' room

Molly's Room.

Marcus' Room

Thom’s and Mine
Upstairs is the master bedroom.

Our own little private bathroom {with wicked neat shell shower walls… I see BM irish mint in our future}Master bathroom with neat shell shower walls.

…and the kid’s bathroom with two sinks! {also with, ahem, interesting lighthouse wallpaper… I see this in our future}The main kids bathroom.

Then all the way to the down to the basement, we have my photo “studio”, lots of boxes and bins that need unpacking, another bathroom that I love, the laundry/utility room and the kids play space.The basement. Right now it is home to mr photography "studio", lots of boxes and bins that need unpacking, another bathroom that I love, the laundry/utility room and the kids' playroom.

Out back are two apple trees, a plethora of flowers and trees and bushes, and two planting beds. One is full of strawberries. I can’t wait until next spring to plan all the fun things we will grow.Out back are two apple trees and two planting beds. One is full of strawberries. I can't wait until next spring to plan all the fun things we will grow.

Well, that’s all for now. Many projects are in the works and many things have already been unpacked and hung and decorated since I took these just a couple days ago. Project home; underway.