Every family has a story to tell. Welcome to ours.

How my son overcame Phoneme Blending and (Finally!) Learned to Read

People often ask how we juggle the kids' school work when we travel so much. Living in California, we're able to do a blended approach with independent study AND local elementary school enrollment. I've explained a bit about how we meet our children where they are in the learning process and supplement with different tools at home. An online tool is actually what helped our son breakthrough and figure out phoneme blending when his school's traditional approach failed!

Augmented Reality Books that Kids will Love

Teaching our oldest son how to read was a winding road. We shared a bit about our IEP process, how we dug into school choices for him, and how we set up an educational tablet to give him independence and gamify independent reading. Thanks to some amazing teachers and tools, he did eventually learn to read! However, he stuck strong to his claim that he "hates books." Library time at school remained a problem. He couldn't envision the characters, and kept getting distracted. We asked around for recommendations to help get him really involved with a story, and a friend suggested augmented reality books.

We Put a Bed in our Living Room and Here’s What Happened

We’re still renovating our farm and our house, and our current big project is putting a bathroom in the master bedroom. There’s a lot going on in there. Plumbing, tile, demo. The works! Nate and I can’t sleep in there while all that’s going down, so we had to find an alternative. We thought about sleeping in one of our offices (too close to the back door), the playroom (too messy) and the boys’ room (too stinky). The solution? Putting a bed in our living room.

How to Fuel a Spouse who works a Shift Schedule

I've mentioned a time or two that Nate works a shift schedule in his role as an emergency first responder for the county. He's on for 12 hour blocks, three or four days per week, with overtime often adding up to 20 extra hours weekly.

Navigating the First Day of Childcare with an Energetic Kid

The first day of childcare with my first son was fairly typical. I'd read numerous studies about the benefits of childcare (I'm a former elementary school teacher, after all) and I knew that socialization would do him good. We started with a half day for practice, we implemented a brief goodbye routine, I sent him in with a lovey from home and tried to act super-confident before secretly dashing to the car and loudly sobbing about my baby growing up. My second son's transition was similar.And then came child number three.

Full Steam Ahead Printable Coloring Valentines

Lots of schools aren't allowing candy anymore, but you can still get creative with valentine ideas that offer excitement and fun. My kids have been ALL about coloring books lately, so we were inspired to make printable coloring valentines for their classmates!


It's time for our word of the year! You may recall that Nate and I always pick a word of the year that comes from a bible verse that speaks to us. There's always a specific word or short phrase that jumps out at us, and we usually do a little craft or make a frame to display that passage in our home. We keep it in our hearts to guide our decision-making from month-to-month. This practice has had a massive impact on our lives.

Three Benefits of the Nintendo Switch for Young Children

Nintendo for the whole family
Life is an adventure that is full of many twists, turns, lessons, hardships and joys. Hopefully, the overall net result is something that leaves one satisfied and fulfilled. Some vest their value in family and some find their pursuits aimed at the overall experience. Some seem to wander aimlessly while others are driven toward something great. I went to high school with plenty of aimless wanderers. They bounce off a lot of things.

7 Ways to Carve out more Cuddle Time with your Family

Cuddle time
I've always been a rather health-conscious parent, but as my kids get older I'm starting to realize how much emotional health matters, too. These concepts are so intricately-woven. As important as it is to provide their bodies with nutritious food, they also need to be supported with time and patience from their parents. Kids are more willing to try new things when they come from a foundation of security and safety.

10 Family Portrait Tips for Stress-Free Photos that Rock

We recently had family portraits taken by a professional photographer for the first time EVER. We've been in a few brand photoshoots, we've done the self-timer thing plenty of times, and we've enlisted other photographers in our family to snap all of us together for Christmas cards. Never before, though, have we done pictures just for us, taken by someone we didn't know, for no reason other than posterity. It was a nice change of pace, and I picked up some helpful new family portrait tips from the other side of the camera.