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Homeschool Hideout Blog

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Field Trip: Right Choices Corn Maze

I am so excited about fall! We had an awesome summer but I am ready for things to slow down so I can enjoy all the sights and smells of fall.


We are lucky enough to have several great corn mazes and pumpkin patches near us.  Our favorite is the Right Choices Corn Maze.  While other corn mazes offer more mature activities, like a Spook Maze, Right Choices is perfect for families with young kids.

History Unboxed

History Unboxed

When a box this large shows up in your mailbox, people tend to get excited.


When an 8 year old girl spies this stamp on a box, suggesting time travel, she tends to get overwhelming excited.


So when History Unboxed sent us this awesome box to review, you can imagine the smiles on a couple of little faces.

Unfortunately, those smiles faded quickly when mean ol’ mom said we couldn’t immediately get started on the awesome activities.  Instead, I made them wait until the next day.  You would’ve thought I was torturing them.

The next day was GORGEOUS, so we grabbed the box and headed outdoors to indulge in the fun.

The China Unboxed set we received included a sticker for a timeline, 2 activities (a kite and a statue of Emperor Qin,)  as well as a package of green tea.

IMG_0533          IMG_0528


Blessings in a Box

I was pleasantly surprised last week when my brother and sister-in-law called to discuss how our homeschooling was going.  They wanted to know how they could help us out.  Ironically, I had just…

Super great ideas for what to buy homeschoolers! Must show this to all grandparents, aunts & uncles and family friends

What Homeschoolers REALLY Want

What Homeschoolers Really Want

It’s happened again. Another well-meaning relative has given me another stack of notebooks and 43 more boxes of crayons. While I really do appreciate their generosity, wouldn’t it be nice if they bought things we actually need instead of whatever random supplies they see at out local supermarket? Don’t you wish they knew what homeschoolers REALLY want?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could simply make a list for everyone to see before they buy us another package of glue sticks?

You’re probably familiar with a school supply giveaway.  This is an amazing idea that many churches and communities do every August, just before school starts. Simply show up and the church will provide you with all of the supplies on your list, as well as shoes, backpacks, clothes and haircuts.
What a blessing these events are!
Can you imagine the hundreds of parents who don’t have to scrimp and save to buy all of those overpriced supplies? It really is the greatest thing to see a child’s eyes light up at the sight of a new pair of tennis shoes.

Last week, our church had a massive giveaway, with over 1,000 backpacks given away in just 3 hours.

Later, I was asked if there is a similar type of program to help homeschoolers. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was? Can you just imagine pulling up and being handed a box full of printer ink, copy paper and art supplies?

Since there isn’t this type of service in my area (and if there is one in your area, let me know. I’m not opposed to moving!) I have been thinking about ways someone could help homeschool families get ready for the year ahead and have gathered up a few things that homeschoolers REALLY want.

Super great ideas for what to buy homeschoolers! Must show this to all grandparents, aunts & uncles and family friends

Curriculum for 2nd & 6th grades

2015-2016 Homeschool Curriculum

 It’s hard to believe that we officially have our first year of homeschooling under our belt and am already chipping away at year #2.

We started our school year on Monday and have been working on getting back into the groove of things.  We have most of the same curriculum as last year because, well, it just worked for us. So, here is a round up of what we have planned for the 2015-2016 school year.

Curriculum for 2nd & 6th grades

Just a reminder, Miss Bookworm is in 6th grade (11 years old) and Miss Manners is in 2nd (7 years old.)

blueberry patch field trip

Blueberry Patch Field Trip

I love watching my kids acquire skills. They may never need to use these skills but it is still so much fun to watch them learn anyways.

Our latest trip to a local blueberry farm was a great learning experience. The sun was already hot at 7 am but we were troopers. It didn’t take long before we were drenched in sweat but the kids kept right on a’pickin!

blueberry patch field trip

Epic list of educational shows to stream on Netflix! Perfect for homeschool families and kids of all ages!

15 Educational Shows to Stream on Netflix

15 Educational Shows to Stream on Netflix

I’m always on the lookout for new movies and shows that my kids can watch, without worrying about any inappropriate content.

I thought I’d share a few of our favorite educational shows to stream on Netflix.

These are our “go to” streaming movies, while eating lunch or when we need some “down time.”

Epic list of educational shows to stream on Netflix! Perfect for homeschool families and kids of all ages!
10 things i've learned during my 10 years of wedded bliss

10 Years of Wedded Bliss (and some days of not so much bliss…)

By the time you are reading this post, I will be sitting on a beach, sipping some fruity drink, from a fancy glass.

(Okay, I’m more likely to be sippin’ a can of Dr. Pepper, but that doesn’t sound nearly as fun.)

That’s right, folks.

I am enjoying some time away from the real world, soaking up the sun with only my husband.

(Pretend the other 4,000 people on the cruise ship aren’t there, would ya?)

Yes, you read that right.

We are away for a whole WEEK, while our kids are staying with grandparents.

In honor of our 10 year anniversary, I am going to give you my 10 best marriage tips.

10 years of marriage

I am, by no means, a professional wife.

(Or am I? Hmmm. Maybe it’s safer to say that I don’t wear professional attire. Like ever.  Heck, I hardly even put a bra on anymore.)

So you can just take my “advice” with a grain of salt.

And I’ll take a little salt in my tequila.

(Not even sure that you put salt in tequila? Clearly not a drinker, but typing out “tequila” gets me giddy about being in Mexico.)

I do think I have a pretty awesome marriage though. And I don’t think that all of it is just luck. I think we kinda go good together, figuring it out as a team, one little hurdle at a time.

Happy Miracle Day!

Happy Miracle Day!

 April 15th.

It’s just another day to most people but it is known as “Miracle Day” at our house.


Happy Miracle Day! An inspiring tale of a man who fell so far, yet found himself on the top.

Well, because on that day my entire family was granted a miracle.

Let me backtrack a little bit.

This is my brother, Freddie. He is a globe-trotting, life-experiencing kinda guy.

You know the kind.

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He works for a little bit, saves his money and then travels the world until he runs out of money again.

At the tender age of only 32, he had been to over 36 countries.

Pretty amazing, huh?

In 2011, he had settled down in China, working as a teacher and living with his then-girlfriend, Tania.
We had never met his girlfriend and she spoke little English, so we had not really spoken to her on the phone much.
(She spoke French and knew just enough Chinese and English to get her by.)

On Tuesday, April 19th, my parents phone rang, at about 3 am.
You know the feeling when you’re phone rings in the middle of the night?

Imagine the horror when you have a child living in another country and you get that late night call.

Backyard Chickens

Backyard Chickens

-Backyard Chickens-

The average American eats 248 eggs a year!

That’s a lot of eggs and a whole lot of hard working chickens.

I’ve wanted to get some backyard chickens for a while now.
Considering we barely make it through a dozen eggs a month, I didn’t really see a need for them but then I started thinking of the other benefits of having backyard chickens.

But, being the crazy person that I am, I talked Mr. Man into letting me buy 7 chickens.
I researched and read and asked questions and by the time we got the chickens, I still didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

Backyard Chickens

Why I Don’t Want a DVD Player in the Car

Why I Don’t Want a DVD Player in the Car

I see it everyday.

Kids quietly sitting in the backseat of the minivan, eyes glued to Tangled on the screen in front of them, while mom chats away on her cell phone.

Why don't I want a DVD Player in my car? Because I prefer memories over movies.

I can’t help but wonder if this is what our future holds.

Kids who cannot” behave” while in the car for a 20 minute commute.

Kids who can’t look out the window and *think.*

Do they constantly have to be entertained?

Would they scream and fight more if there wasn’t a DVD player in the car?

When I was a kid, we played tons of games in the car. We played the classic “Slug Bug,” we played the “ABC Game” (find every letter of the alphabet on the signs), we played the “States Game” (find a license plate from every state), we played the “Future Car Game” (the next “red” car is what “Jeremiah” will get for his 16th birthday) and we played the always entertaining “Future Spouse Game” (next person to pass us is who “Jeremiah” will marry.)
These games were fun! We would laugh and laugh when “Jeremiah’s” future wife turned out to be a chubby bald dude with no teeth, puffing away on his cigarette.

My drug of choice? Sugar.

My Drug of Choice


I have lived a pretty sheltered life.

I’ve never done drugs or been a drinker. I’ve smoked a cigarette, which was more like dying from coughing because I had no idea what I was doing. Not to mention, I’m allergic to smoke, so that didn’t help. Ha! Sometimes I wonder how teenagers even survive.

My drug of choice? Sugar.

However, I will admit that I am totally and completely, 100% addicted to sugar.
Everyday, I start my day by making a gallon of sweet tea.
And everyday, by dinner time, that gallon of tea was gone.

Now that the kids are home all day, it’s usually gone by 2 or 3:00!

But I don’t always drink sweet tea…

When I go anywhere, I always stop to grab a Dr. Pepper fountain drink.
Sonic’s “Happy Hour” is probably the greatest thing ever created. I can’t even count how many times I have driven the 15 minute drive into town just to grab a Route 44 Dr. Pepper. It’s just so good.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you are drinking? I never put much though into what I was drinking. Sure, I knew it was an unhealthy habit, but just how bad is all that sugar for you?

apple taste test

How to Hold an Apple Taste Test

Apples are one of the most popular fruit in America and we all know why! Whether you choose to bake with them, eat them raw with peanut butter, or make apple sauce with them, they are downright delicious! Holding your own apple taste test will help you learn even more about this glorious fruit!

With apples being so yummy and cheap, it’s no wonder the average person eats 65 apples a year!

In honor of Johnny Appleseed’s birthday (September 26th) and National Apple Month (October), fall is the perfect time to hold your own apple tasting.

Learn all about America's favorite fruit while you hold your own apple taste test. Fun hands on learning ideas and activities included!

How can a mom be okay with daughters who don't wear hair bows?

Why My Girls Don’t Wear Hair Bows

Why My Girls Don’t Wear Hair Bows 

Once upon a time, I was a young mom to the most amazingly gorgeous little brown-eyed baby. She was my heart and soul.

Bath times were followed by finding the perfect outfit for my princess. Once we found just the right outfit, we’d add the icing.

From the day my first-born was brought into this world, she always wore a hair bow, each perfectly created to match a specific outfit in her closet. This was back before big, boutique bows were in. Most baby girls simply wore measly little bows, no bigger than a Tootsie Roll, attached to a lace headband, that had been bought from (GASP!) Wal*Mart.

Everywhere we went, people commented on her custom-made hair bows. A local man even called her “Satellite Baby” . He said her bows reminded him of the HUGE satellite dishes that took over people’s backyards in the 80’s and 90’s.

I just smiled and reveled in the comments.

Why my girls don't wear hair bows! And I'm FINALLY okay with it.

Our Path to Homeschooling

Our Path to Homeschooling

-Our Path to Homeschooling-

Many people ask us how we knew the decision to homeschool would be the best fit for our family. After all, Mr. Man and myself both attended public school and we turned out fine. (That’s actually debatable. ;))

Well, here’s our story from the beginning…

Our path to homeschooling